It’s Labor Day. I wasn’t going to write anything, just drink some bottles of my favorite German wine and light the grill and put some Italian Sausages on. I have a very good life, quiet, secure and safe. That’s why I wonder why I do the things I do. Let me explain.
Why do I get upset when I see my nation putting its military footprint all over the world and treating Muslims like they are the scourge of the Earth as they kill as many of Allah’s followers as they can? Why should I care? Why should I care when suspected “terrorists” or “insurgents” face “extraordinary rendition” and are tortured by other countries at the bequest of the U.S? Why should I give a shit?
As Alan Grayson said (Email message, 8/22/10): “As far as the Republican Party is concerned, they wouldn’t mind if Timothy McVeigh wins the Republican primary [in his Florida Congressional district] on Tuesday. (And by the way, if McVeigh ran, he would win.) The National Republican Party doesn’t care who wins on Tuesday. They just want to get rid of me. Whoever wins the Republican primary, you can be sure that he fits the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, hateful, fearful mold that is the National Republican Party of 2010. And that mold gets moldier every day.”
Do you think that Mr. Grayson went too far with the Timothy McVeigh comment? In a speech last month, talking to the faithful, Sean Hannity referred to them as “Timothy McVeigh wannabees” — to great applause.
“It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.” – Malcolm X
If someone broke into your house, pinned down your loved ones and began pouring poison down their throats, would you stop that person?
What if someone poured crude oil all over your crops and livestock? Wouldn’t you try to stop them from doing it?
Pointed questions like these come from a man named Derrick Jensen. They provide a lens through which to view the havoc that corporate capitalism is wreaking on our planet. They are meant to jolt us into the awareness that we are watching life on earth annihilated. They are also meant to challenge us into thinking about what form our resistance to this should take.
In slightly over a month, on October 7, the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan will enter its tenth year.
The conflict represents the longest continuous combat operations in the history of the United States and Afghanistan alike. With the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the only time in its existence activating its Article 5 mutual military assistance clause in September 2001 and thus entering the Afghan fray, European nations that had not been at war since the Second World War are now engaged in an endless combat mission.
There are 150,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, 120,000 of them under the command of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Military personnel from over a quarter of the 192 members of the United Nations.
As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.
The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan.
“Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live our entire lives without going to war or sending our children to war.” (Tony Blair, speech as newly elected Prime Minister, 1997.)
August is seemingly Spotlight on Illegal Invasion month. President Obama has made his Mission-Lost-Cause speech about US., Iraq fantasy “withdrawal” – leaving behind 50,000 troops, perhaps 50,000 mercenaries, and some have suggested 100,000 “advisors.”
Carlos Arredondo, photographed by Andy Carvin at the January 2007 anti-war protest in Washington DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Carlos Arredondo, a native Costa Rican, stands in a parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine, next to his green Nissan pickup truck. The truck, its tailgate folded down, carries a flag-draped coffin and is adorned with pictures of his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, 20, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004. The truck and a trailer he pulls with it have become a mobile shrine to his boy. He drives around the country, with the aid of donations, evoking a mixture of sympathy and hostility. There are white crosses with the names of other boys killed in the war. Combat boots are nailed to the side of the display. There is a wheelchair, covered in colored ribbons, fixed to the roof of the cab. There is Alex’s military uniform and boots, poster-size pictures of the young Marine shown on the streets of Najaf, in his formal Marine portrait, and then lying, his hands folded in white gloves, in his coffin. A metal sign on the back of the truck bears a gold star and reads: “USMC L/CPL ALEXANDER S. ARREDONDO.”
In 1981, when cold warrior Ronald Reagan was president, total military spending ( I refuse to call it ‘ Defense Spending ‘ ) was 158 billion dollars. Each year in office, Reagan coerced the Congress to continually increase it. By 1988, his last year as president, the total was 290 billion. If you recall, by 1988 the Cold War was officially over. The Berlin Wall came down, and Russia and most of the former Soviet Union became our trading partners. Remember? No more threat of Russkie Nukes flying down from the Arctic circle into our towns and cities. Peace! They even talked of a Peace Dividend when Bush 1 came into office. Well, that all changed in 1991 when Iraq went into Kuwait ( after getting the unofficial ‘ Who Cares ‘ by the Bush 1 crew ) . You know the rest. We had Desert Storm and lots and lots of our tax money being spent on War Industries , or as Eisenhower labeled them in his 1961 Farewell Address: The Military Industrial Complex.