MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
April 10, 2003
Miscellaneous Subjects #181: Taking Stock of the Latest Developments in Iraq and More!
As the downfall of Saddam Hussein's 35 year brutal regime is being celebrated in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities by a boisterous population tasting a bit of freedom amidst the ruins of their country, some may be tempted to think that war and violence were after all justified to break the tight hold of this dictator upon its oppressed people. This would certainly be the wrong lesson to draw from this massive onslaught of the mightiest, most sophisticated military machine on Earth against a weak opponent whose means of defense were from another era. It only proves that when you are the biggest bully on the block, you can sow terror and impose your will wherever you wish until you are faced with a more formidable foe than you. Resorting to such violence has not solved anything and most ominously, no weapons of mass destruction have been found yet to vindicate the British-American claims justifying their illegal invasion. All that can now be hoped for - once all residual fighting has ended - is that sufficient humanitarian assistance will be swiftly provided, water and electricity will be quickly restored to all the main cities, and harmonious international cooperation will enable this part of the world to climb back from the abyss of anarchy and destruction it now faces and gradually create conditions for peace, harmony and justice to prevail for all.
In the meantime there is still much to be said to expose the various motives at the root of this war and the various repercussions and possibilities following in its wake.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/MiscelSubjects181.htm
P.S. The next thing I'll send you is the continuation of The Immortal Child story ;-)
"The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from a Jan. 25, 1967, speech in Los Angeles entitled "The Casualties of the War in Vietnam"
"Oh Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; ...help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander the wastes of their desolated land... We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love."
- Mark Twain, after viewing a pre-emptive war in the Philippines a century ago. Cited in the March 30, 2003, New York Times magazine.
1. Word from Baghdad; A Campaign that is just Beginning
2. Witness to War
3. Some Stats!
4. Widespread Use of Cluster Bombs Sparks Outrage
5. THE PETRO-DOLLAR AND THE EURO: MONEY IS THE ROOT OF WAR
6. An American in Canada
7. Declaration of "all out peace!"
U.S. Airstrike Kills 11 Afghan Civilians
KABUL, April 9 -- A U.S. warplane mistakenly killed 11 civilians, most of them women, when a 1,000-pound laser-guided bomb missed its intended target and landed on a house in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said today. For the first time since the U.S-led coalition opened its war in Afghanistan in October 2001, the military immediately claimed responsibility for killing innocent civilians, calling the deaths a "tragic accident" and promising to investigate the error. It has acknowledged past incidents after investigations. Afghan government ministers predicted that the errant bomb, which fell as Taliban fighters are regrouping and launching attacks along the Pakistan border, will spawn new acts of terrorism aimed at destabilizing the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
Hotel hit 'deliberate': French TV (April 9)
FOOTAGE filmed by France 3 television of a strike on a hotel which killed two journalists in Baghdad today shows a US tank targeting the journalists' hotel and waiting at least two minutes before firing. The journalist and film editor who filmed the attack, Herve de Ploeg, who filmed the attack, said: "I did not hear any shots in the direction of the tank, which was stationed at the west entrance of the Al-Jumhuriya (Republic) bridge, 600 metres north-west of the hotel. The tank's turret is seen moving toward the Palestine Hotel, where foreign reporters have set up shop, and the gun carriage lifting and waiting at least two minutes before opening up. The French TV channel had positioned two cameras in two rooms facing the bridge as of 6.30am (11.30pm AEST). "It had been very quiet for a moment. There was no shooting at all. Then I saw the turret turning in our direction and the carriage lifting. It faced the target," said De Ploeg.
The 200 miles per gallon carburator is an urban legend!
You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths by Russ Kick (Editor)
Already a massive underground best-seller in the US, this extraordinary book acts as a battering ram against the distortions, myths and outright lies put out by the government, corporations, the media and others who want to keep the truth from us.
The Reason Why
Thanks to the most crudely partisan decision in the history of the Supreme Court, the nation has been given a President of painfully limited wisdom and compassion and lacking any sense of the nation's true greatness. Appearing to enjoy his role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces above all other functions of his office, and unchecked by a seemingly timid Congress, a compliant Supreme Court, a largely subservient press and a corrupt corporate plutocracy, George W. Bush has set the nation on a course for one-man rule.
GE, Microsoft Bring Bigotry to Life (February 12)
Hate-talk host Michael Savage hired by MSNBC
Oppose this right-ward swing of MSNBC at http://www.moveon.org/mediacorps/msnbc.html
Voices of September 11 Calls For Answers (April 3)
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation - see "Support the Rachel Corrie Resolution"
"A mind-boggling research portal" recommended by "Antares" <Antares@time.net.my>
Antares also wrote: "Now more than ever we need to know exactly what's going down behind the scenes on this planet. The evidence has always been right under our noses, but the truth is so "far-out) you're unlikely to believe it - unless you've somehow managed to deprogram yourself from institutionalized mind-control programmes installed millennia ago by those who view Earth and all her life forms as mere "resources and commodities."
Iraq Is A Trial Run - by Noam Chomsky
To Activists, Real Battles Are on Home Front (April 5)
(...) "We must mobilize ourselves by the tens of millions," said the Rev. James Lawson, who was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and a King confidante. "The struggle must be for health care, not warfare. It must be a demand for the end of racism, poverty and homelessness." Those who now demand peace in Iraq must also demand justice in the United States, Lawson told the forum, because racism and violence, militarism and greed are "connected to each other."
Turf War Rages in Washington Over Who Will Rule Iraq (April 5)
Kerry Says US Needs Its Own 'Regime Change' (April 3)
Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that President Bush committed a ''breach of trust'' in the eyes of many United Nations members by going to war with Iraq, creating a diplomatic chasm that will not be bridged as long as Bush remains in office.
U.N. Envoy Sees 'Real Potential' for N. Korea War (April 3)
"There is a real potential for this escalating into conflict," Maurice Strong told a London news conference. "I think war is unnecessary, unthinkable in its consequences, and yet it is entirely possible."
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (4 April 1967)
Just substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam" in this wonderful speech by By Rev. Martin Luther King
Patriotism is far more than blindly following politicians in power at the moment (April 4, 2003)
As a retired U.S. Army officer who spent two years in Vietnam and eight in the Pentagon, my natural reaction would be to want to support our president's decision to go to war. But I cannot. Try as I might, I just don't believe my government's rhetoric. Part of my doubt stems from my Vietnam experience. I went the first time in 1965 as a 22-year-old lieutenant, as fresh-faced, trusting and naively patriotic as our young men and women we see today in Iraq. Only years later did I begin to comprehend just how ill-served we were in that misguided war by a government that was not worthy of the trust of its citizens. Lyndon Johnson and Robert MacNamara knew going in that our troop buildup was a bad idea, but their pride, their hubris, wouldn't let them pull the plug. And we are still paying for that tragic mistake in broken lives and great loss of national treasure. I believe we are making an even worse mistake today. In waging an aggressive, preemptive war against Iraq in defiance of the U.N. Charter and the opinion of most of the world and many here at home, our country has forgotten its solemn pledge made at the end of the Vietnam War never again to go to war without strong support at home and abroad. (...) Is it right for us to protest against this war while it is ongoing? Absolutely. Those citizens who believe that our country is wrong in this war have not only the right, but the duty under our democracy to oppose the war by all nonviolent means. Once it has been brought to an end, we will continue to have the duty to oppose the militaristic and jingoistic tendencies that are so prevalent in our society.
Recommended by "Karen Kirschbaum" <email@example.com>
From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Subject: IPT Update: Word from Baghdad; A Campaign that is just Beginning
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003
Organization: Voices in the Wilderness
Our team in Baghdad just called. It is difficult for us to convey the obvious relief that we experienced upon hearing from them. The phone disconnected three times giving us less than 10 minutes to communicate with them. They told us U.S. soldiers and tanks are on streets and street corners, they seem to be everywhere. Further, they expressed with great emphasis that an excessive amount of bombs have rained down on Baghdad for the last week.
Today as we watch on television the countless hours of reporting on the tangible and symbolic destruction of a Saddam Hussein statue, the number of injured civilians, families losing loved ones, lootings, fires, and fighting increases. Meanwhile our team in Amman attended a press briefing where they heard statements from United Nations humanitarian coordinators. These statements have gone unmentioned in the mainstream media.
Carel de Rooy director of UNICEF in Iraq stated, "Before this conflict took place UNICEF had networks and systems in Iraq that helped achieve our life-saving vaccination campaigns, nutrition campaigns, and work in education. What is horribly worrying about the looting, chaos, and break down of order, is that those systems we counted on may completely collapse," he added that at the beginning of this week, the UNICEF Iraq appeal has received just 1/5th of its funding. "This is obviously and simply not enough. We have an emergency on our hands. Our actions in the next few weeks will determine the physical and mental well-being of a generation of Iraqi children."
A representative from the World Health Organization, speaking to the increasing humanitarian crisis added, "Reports from Baghdad tell of serious civilian casualties and growing pressure on hospitals and health workers. Electricity supplies are erratic, the standby generators are being overworked to the point of collapse; many hospitals are running short of clean, safe water, staff are working extremely long hours in unimaginable circumstances and some vital surgical and medical supplies are running short...in a hospital with a basic infrastructure not functioning, and where doctors and nurses have to perform difficult emergency surgical operations and provide intensive care without access to some of the most basic services and supplies."
Months prior to the "shock and awe" onslaught, UN officials, as well as delegates with the Iraq Peace Team, had warned and protested against the use of such violence due to the realities Iraqis are faced with today, the realities as outlined in the statements above. Adding greater concern to an already desperate situation, UNHCI commented on the inability for UN agencies to enter Iraq at the current time, because of the lack of safety on the roads and access to warehouses and offices.
As our team in Baghdad continues to bear witness, we ask all of you to continue to do the work that has just begun. The urgency for water and relief that is felt by many civilians throughout Iraq is one that must be heard and echoed throughout the world until their needs are met. In the most recent diary from our team in Iraq, Cynthia Banas wrote, "Death, destruction, maiming, and lifetime trauma are the consequences of war. We have witnessed children frightened beyond their years, and have seen their mangled bodies in the hospital. War for them will never end."
Thank you for your work. Thank you for caring.
Bitta Mostofi, for Voices in the Wilderness
Forwarded by "Boudewijn Wegerif" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WITNESS TO WAR
By Sarah Meyer
For those who have been a Witness to War,
please don't show us any more red carpets,
pictures of presidents or prime ministers or politicians
or military experts talking about 'moral high ground,'
'victory' and 'democracy.'
Don't show us press conferences,
diplomats behind microphones,
reporters in flak jackets, Hollywood stars,
soldiers in clean uniforms and expensive goggles,
cleaning planes leaving ships costing more than a meal
that would feed a country.
Show us children hanging from trees,
a mother wailing for her dead, dust tears,
shelled houses, empty towns.
Show us raped women, burning men;
soldiers riddled with shrapnel, or twisted dead,
shoes with only bones,
mass funerals, mass graves.
Show us body parts,
legs, arms, head flung ripped apart.
Show us the blood;
Show us refugees in dirt and despair.
Show us the ravaged earth
Let us hear the nightmares of soldiers,
Show us reality unedited.
Let us hear and see the truth.
Listen to the people of peace.
Hear our rage.
April 5 - The Independent:
Over 130,000 British and American troops are in action in Iraq from a total force of 250,000 in the Gulf. The Allies have launched 725 Tomahawk cruise missiles, flown 18,000 sorties, dropped 50 cluster bombs and discharged 12,000 precision-guided munitions. There have been an estimated 1,252 Iraqi civilian deaths, 57 Kurdish deaths and 5,103 civilian injuries. 88 Allied troops have been killed in the conflict, 27 of whom are British. At least 12 Allied soldiers are missing, 34 Allied soldiers have been killed in 'friendly fire' incidents or battlefield accidents. 9 journalists have been killed or are unaccounted for. There have been 2 suicide attacks on US troops, killing 7 soldiers. 8,023 Iraqi combatants have been taken prisoner of war. So far, 0 weapons of mass destruction have been found. 1,500,000 people in southern Iraq have no access to clean water. 200,000 children in southern Iraq are at risk of death from diarrhea. 17,000,000 Iraqis are reliant on food aid, which has now been stopped. 600 oil wells and refineries are now under British and American control. 80 billion dollars has been set aside by US Congress to meet the cost of war.
Widespread Use of Cluster Bombs Sparks Outrage
Published on April 4, 2003 by The Financial Times (UK)
by Mark Odell
Confirmation by the US and Britain of widespread use of cluster munitions in Iraq caused anger yesterday among campaigners and politicians who claimed it ran counter to the coalition's aim to minimize civilian casualties.
The danger posed by the use of these weapons, designed to destroy concentrations of armour and infantry by scattering small bomblets over a wide area, was shown during the Nato bombing campaign in Kosovo in 1999 and again last year in Afghanistan.
"We are appalled, in the context of a conflict where we have been assured that civilian casualties will be minimized. It is very hard to use these weapons knowing exactly who you are going to target," said Richard Lloyd, director of Landmine Action.
The weapons are dropped or fired in such large quantities at any one time that, with a failure rate as high as one in 10, an attack leaves hundreds of unexploded bomblets scattered around a target site, creating a de facto minefield.
Although many are unleashed as so-called cluster bombs, both the US and British armies have also fired large numbers from the ground in artillery barrages.
Campaign groups such as Landmine Action and the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund are targeting the use of these weapons, in the same way they successfully fought for the ban on anti-personnel mines under the 1998 Ottawa treaty.
The debate has heightened the sensitivity to their use among the military, particularly the British, as demonstrated by a bizarre chain of events yesterday.
Officers at a British divisional headquarters near Basra confirmed that new cluster munitions, with a much lower failure rate, had been fired by artillery at targets around Basra, although not where they might injure civilians.
Almost immediately, however, Colonel Chris Vernon, the spokesman at the British army headquarters in Kuwait, categorically denied that any such weapons had been used.
Hours later, Geoff Hoon, UK defense secretary, contradicted that statement when he confirmed in parliament that British forces were in fact using cluster munitions.
Mr Hoon said the weapons were used only when it was "absolutely justified . . . because it is making the battlefield safer for our armed forces". Mr Lloyd said they were in fact a threat to forces who used them, adding: "The first British casualties in Kosovo were two Ghurkhas killed clearing our own cluster munitions."
The US was put on the defensive yesterday after the International Red Cross backed Iraqi claims that BLU-97 cluster bombs had been used in the town of Hilla.
Brigadier-General Vincent Brooks, the spokesman at Central Command, said he did "not have any factual basis" on which to respond.
But Mr Lloyd said: "We have some very clear footage of unexploded BLU-97s in the ground in Hilla. We are very clear on that and would stake our reputation on it."
Paul Keetch, defense spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "Cluster bombs send the wrong message to the people whose hearts and minds we are trying to win."
Additional reporting by By Victor Mallet in Kuwait City, Richard McGregor at Central Command, Qatar, and Jean Eaglesham in London
Robert Fisk: The Day Cluster Bombs Rained On Babylon (April 3)
The wounds are vicious and deep, a rash of scarlet spots on the back and thighs or face, the shards of shrapnel from the cluster bombs buried an inch or more in the flesh. The wards of the Hillah teaching hospital are proof that something illegal - something quite outside the Geneva Conventions - occurred in the villages around the city once known as Babylon. The wailing children, the young women with breast and leg wounds, the 10 patients upon whom doctors had to perform brain surgery to remove metal from their heads, talk of the days and nights when the explosives fell "like grapes" from the sky. Cluster bombs, the doctors say - and the detritus of the air raids around the hamlets of Nadr and Djifil and Akramin and Mahawil and Mohandesin and Hail Askeri shows that they are right. Were they American or British aircraft that showered these villages with one of the most lethal weapons of modern warfare? The 61 dead who have passed through the Hillah hospital since Saturday night cannot tell us. Nor can the survivors who, in many cases, were sitting in their homes when the white canisters opened high above their village, spilling thousands of bomblets into the sky, exploding in the air, soaring through windows and doorways to burst indoors or bouncing off the roofs of the concrete huts to blow up later in the roadways.
THE PETRO-DOLLAR AND THE EURO: MONEY IS THE ROOT OF WAR
Published in the April 4, 2003 issue of Ether Zone.
War is always about achieving a political end. Even holy wars seek to impose a secular control over the vanquished. At the root of every political conflict, lies the MONEY component. On the scale of greed or fear, international discords can slide up or down. Depending on the circumstances or demands, governments rally domestic populations to accept their foreign interventionist goals. Claims of altruistic liberation are fictitious, when the rhetoric is stripped away and the real substance is exposed. Notwithstanding, variances of emphasis; the motive of money underpins the movements of all military confrontations.
The case that the conquest of Iraq is about appropriating control over oil reserves is well known. The argument that removing Saddam Hussein for a friendly regime change will enhance the adherence of global community policies, secure and annex a ëgreater Israelí and project the power of the empire into the region, has been circulated widely. The excuses of a ìWar on Terrorismî, elimination of WMD, combating radical Islamics, fulfilling prophecy and personal grudges between feuding criminal families and former business partners, have been known to all. But the one aspect that seems to allude the scrutiny of most observers is that of the precarious nature of the global economy, which teeters on the fragile requirement that the US Dollar must remain as the world reserve currency.
OPEC always priced oil in US Dollars. In the perceptive essay, The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq by W Clark, the thesis that a shift using the EURO as the settlement currency, drives the Bush/Cheney administration hydrocarbons geo-strategy.
"The Federal Reserve's greatest nightmare is that OPEC will switch its international transactions from a dollar standard to a euro standard. Iraq actually made this switch in Nov. 2000 (when the euro was worth around 82 cents), and has actually made off like a bandit considering the dollar's steady depreciation against the euro. (Note: the dollar declined 17% against the euro in 2002.)
"The real reason the Bush administration wants a puppet government in Iraq -- or more importantly, the reason why the corporate-military-industrial network conglomerate wants a puppet government in Iraq -- is so that it will revert back to a dollar standard and stay that way." (While also hoping to veto any wider OPEC momentum towards the euro, especially from Iran -- the 2nd largest OPEC producer who is actively discussing a switch to euros for its oil exports)."
The effect of an OPEC switch to the euro would be that oil-consuming nations would have to flush dollars out of their (central bank) reserve funds and replace these with euros. The dollar would crash anywhere from 20-40% in value and the consequences would be those one could expect from any currency collapse and massive inflation (think Argentina currency crisis, for example). You'd have foreign funds stream out of the U.S. stock markets and dollar denominated assets, there'd surely be a run on the banks much like the 1930s, the current account deficit would become unserviceable, the budget deficit would go into default, and so on. Your basic 3rd world economic crisis scenario.
A U.K. article by Hazel Henderson, is cited that outlines the likely consequences of the displacement of the US Dollar (translate: federal reserve counterfeit species) as the reserve currency.
1. US global over-reach in the `war on terrorism' already leading to deficits as far as the eye can see -- combined with historically-high US trade deficits -- lead to a further run on the dollar. This and the stock market doldrums make the US less attractive to the world's capital.
2. More developing countries follow the lead of Venezuela and China in diversifying their currency reserves away from dollars and balanced with euros. Such a shift in dollar-euro holdings in Latin America and Asia could keep the dollar and euro close to parity.
3. OPEC could act on some of its internal discussions and decide (after concerted buying of euros in the open market) to announce at a future meeting in Vienna that OPEC's oil will be re-denominated in euros, or even a new oil-backed currency of their own. A US attack on Iraq sends oil to 40 (euros) per barrel.
4. The Bush Administration's efforts to control the domestic political agenda backfires. Damage over the intelligence failures prior to 9/11 and warnings of imminent new terrorist attacks precipitate a further stock market slide.
5. All efforts by Democrats and the 57% of the US public to shift energy policy toward renewables, efficiency, standards, higher gas taxes, etc. are blocked by the Bush Administration and its fossil fuel industry supporters. Thus, the USA remains vulnerable to energy supply and price shocks.
6. The EU recognizes its own economic and political power as the euro rises further and becomes the world's other reserve currency. The G-8 pegs the euro and dollar into a trading band -- removing these two powerful currencies from speculators trading screens (a "win-win" for everyone!). Tony Blair persuades Brits of this larger reason for the UK to join the euro.
7. Developing countries lacking dollars or "hard" currencies follow Venezuela's lead and begin bartering their undervalued commodities directly with each other in computerized swaps and counter trade deals. President Chavez has inked 13 such country barter deals on its oil, e.g., with Cuba in exchange for Cuban health paramedics who are setting up clinics in rural Venezuelan villages.
What is missing in this excellent analysis is that the nature of fractional reserve debt created money, requires ever growing liability and increasing deficits. There is a limit when higher taxes become unsustainable. However, the clock never stops on the interest payments needed to retire previous bond obligations and service ever higher levels of future obligations. And just wait when interest rates rise to reflect real market risks! Remember all those projections of imaginary surpluses? This is not a partisan issue between party factions. It is a systemic quandary, created by design.
The box that the world economy has been placed into requires a repudiation of this sham cycle founded upon the viscous and unforgiving disposition of compound interest. The consequences for disciplining rogue countries who dare stray from the dictates of the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, are visible with each explosion of every JDAM bomb. Even in victory, the pyrrhic character of temporary relief, offers but a fleeting reprieve to acquire that villa in Tuscany.
The Clark essay is significant and should not be ignored. Currency speculation and exchange rate conversions, carry with them such huge transactional volume. Entire economies rise or fall on pegging their relative value, against the surreal and contrived evaluations for the US Dollar. Oil paid in the EURO is more of a serious threat to the reign of the dollar than all those mythical WMD that Saddam will use. Nevertheless, donít be naive and conclude that it is in our own personal best interest to protect the reserve currency status of the dollar. Quite to the contrary, as more Western Hemisphere countries adopt the US Dollar, the adverse impact upon our own net worth, is magnified.
The inevitable fall of the US Dollar is unavoidable, when the charade can no longer be cloaked with smoke and mirrors or tolerable foreign adventures. At that point the calls for a single world currency, administered through a solitary clearing house and autarchic central bank, will be offered as the answer for economic stability. Thus, the ultimate transfer and expropriation of individual wealth will be achieved. The world runs on money, not oil. Those who control it and require legal tender laws, rule the economic and political order. You will come to learn this lesson, no matter what currency you use ...
From: Stan Penner <srp33@SoftHome.net>
Date: 6 Apr 2003
AN AMERICAN IN CANADA
For the record, I don't believe you all hate me. And I know all about bluster.
FOR THE RECORD, I don't believe you all hate me for a bastard.
As a recent American immigrant to Canada, I should be entitled to feel a little sensitive about Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish cursing my countrymen, then adding "I hate those bastards." I would certainly reserve the right to be bothered by the cheers she earned when she refused to apologize for those remarks on CTV's Open Mike with Mike Bullard.
Being from America, I'm used to hearing politicians try to make hay from intemperate bluster. We've had Pat Buchanan run for president three times, remember. So it's easy enough to shrug off Parrish's comments as a bit of backbench rabble-rousing.
Besides, nothing I've experienced in the 15 months I've been in Canada would make me believe that such a statement was sincerely meant or deeply felt. Not only has no one given me a hard time for being from the States, but the few anti-American rants I've heard have been directed more at the institution than the actual people. (And for what it's worth, every American friend I've shown Colin Mochrie's recent "A Canadian apologizes" bit to has found it hysterically funny.)
While on the subject, I should also add that, unlike Paul Cellucci, Ari Fleischer or the various windbags who populate American talk radio, I am not deeply disappointed in Canada for failing to join the U.S.-led coalition invading Iraq. Quite the contrary. But I'm slightly ashamed to see my government issuing threats of retribution against its closest neighbour, simply because the Canadian government chooses to respect principles of international law. Certainly, it's true that the U.S. would leap to Canada's defence were it ever threatened. But come on, when was the last time you guys were invaded -- the War of 1812? (Oh, wait, that was us. Never mind.)
Given that news reports are full of data showing broad support in the U.S. for this war, my position probably seems a little atypical. After all, 70 per cent of Americans supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a poll released during the first week of the war. But what the poll should have added is that in this post-9/11 world, we Americans are deathly afraid of seeming unpatriotic. Moreover, as other polls have pointed out, over 40 per cent of us believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. So of course we tell pollsters that we support the war effort -- even if we don't.
To be honest, I don't know any Americans who are actively for the war. Most look at it the same way they do bad weather: they accept that it's coming, and are resigned to being unable to do anything about it. If they saw what the Canadian press has been showing -- dead and bloodied Iraqi civilians, terrified American POWs, angry European and Arab protestors -- they'd likely be appalled.
But they don't see much of that stuff. News reports in the States, whether from the rah-rah patriots at Fox News or the seemingly objective staff of the New York Times, have been disturbingly partisan in their coverage, protecting Americans from some of the harsher truths about this war. The difference between what gets reported in Canada and what gets served to the States is sometimes frightening. That Americans are misinformed is hardly news (40 per cent of us believe Saddam attacked the WTC, remember), but being an American in Canada makes that situation painfully apparent. What also becomes obvious over time is that people in the States are surprisingly fearful and paranoid -- totally convinced that the terrorist threat is imminent and omnipresent.
I lived in New York during September 2001. I stood on 4th Street in Brooklyn and stared, uncomprehendingly, at the cloud of reddish-brown dust that suddenly replaced the twin towers in the skyline. I remember what it was like to have my office evacuated because of a bomb threat in Times Square, to see co-workers burst into tears because they were so stressed and afraid. Like everyone else, I spent weeks on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It didn't. Despite vividly imagined fears of terrorist attacks on Times Square or the Brooklyn Bridge, New York didn't become the new Jerusalem, full of armed troops and exploding jihadists. Even so, it's hard for Americans to shake that fear, to convince ourselves that there aren't fanatical plotters just around the corner, ready to strike.
Fear of terrorism is no justification for war, of course, but it is a powerful tool for manipulating public opinion, something the Bush administration knows only too well. Likewise, having former allies revealed as enemies when they won't get with the program is a good way to shore up support at home. What red-blooded American wants to seem like those damn cowardly Frogs?
It's curious that Canada is being tarred by the same brush, whereas Germany -- which not only has declined to join the war effort but built the bunker Saddam is likely hiding in -- is not. But Americans have always liked the Germans, world wars aside, and disliked the French. Besides, it's easier to take the "French" out of fries than to come up with a substitute for the "Hamburg" in hamburger.
Fortunately, Canadians are too polite to react like Americans to the bullying tactics of the Bush administration. Believe me, were the shoe on the other foot, I don't think American politicians would stop at the word "bastard."
Long-time journalist J.D. Considine now lives in Toronto.
To respond, email@example.com
From: "Krista Herring" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Declaration of "all out peace!"
Date: 2 Apr 2003
Ha ha!!! This is so great. You're gonna love it.
Laughter to all, Krista
Declaration of "all out peace!"
Speaking from a platform at his new virtual address at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com, the Swami said, "We've been holding our peace for far too long. It's time to let it out! Why should peacekeepers keep the peace for themselves when the world needs it so badly nowadays?"
The Swami was interrupted numerous times by gleeful supporters shouting the peace mantra, "Ah .. peace on it!" and waving banners reading "Our World: Love It Or Leave It!" "Play For Nonjudgment Day" and "Disarmaggedon Is Near!"
"It's a fight to the life!" Swami told his minions, vowing to open the floodgates of love, light and laughter to cleanse the body politic of cultural, economic and political toxins that have caused folks to "take things poisonally" -- and perpetuate war.
"These are challenging times," said the Swami, "which call for Emerge-n-See measures. It is time for us to emerge from our fearful and powerless hiding places and see the big picture. We have met the Savior and He is Us. I see all Children of God praying for Jesus to intervene, but we cannot expect to be fed intervenously forever. Time for Children of God to grow up, for Christ's sake, and become Adults of God for a change. Playful adults, that is."
"Because the key to lasting peace is laughter," he told the crowd. "Do you know what the leading cause of war and terrorism is? I will tell you. It is seriousness. Seriousness is the most serious problem we face on the planet today. I'm serious. Think about it. Every terrorist act -- not to mention terror itself -- begins with seriousness. Everywhere we look, we are faced with laugh-threatening seriousness." The Swami called on his supporters to "report any serious behavior to the Department of Omland Security."
"Levity, on the other hand, helps us rise above whatever's been bringing us down," the Swami continued. "Did you know that one Youngman of laughter -- approximately the mirth contained in the average one-liner -- can release up to a megahurt of emotional pain?"
Finally, the Swami outlined his plan for conducting the Blisskrieg and waging all out peace. "It is very simple indeed. While it makes no sense to take up arms against warfare, it makes all the sense in the world to lift up arms and embrace anything that nourishes peace."
Whereupon Swami offered the following 5-point plan to spark outbreaks of peace all across the planet:
1. Create A Department of Emerge-n-See Planning Now.
If war is a necessary evil, why not seek peace as a necessary good? We should be putting at least as much energy and money into secretly plotting peace -- sneaking food and clothing into war-torn nations under the cover of darkness, sending tanks to drought-stricken areas so that they can capture rainwater, sending in comedy troops in an all-out amfunniest assault -- and an even more controversial measure, dropping canisters of laughing gas on persistent pockets of seriousness.
2. Enlist the World Religions to Do Something Useful.
Prayer works. According to Dr. Larry Dossey and others who have studied the healing power of prayer, surgery patients who were prayed for tended to heal more quickly. Not only that, but if the people who were doing the praying were also prayed for, results were even better! And it worked regardless of the language or religion they were praying in. Instead of engaging in that childish and destructive game, "My dogma's better than your dogma," the major religions would do better to organize a worldwide prayer calm-petition -- it could be called the God Will Games -- and donate the proceeds to ending spiritual hunger on the planet. Regardless of who wins the pray-offs, everyone will benefit.
3. Support the Alter Native Economy.
If we're going to aggressively wage peace, we want to spend more of our wages peacefully. So support the alter native economy -- whatever alters the natives for the better. Our lives are byproducts of what we buy. So if you want to counteract the profits of doom, only buy products with healthful and helpful byproducts. And consider trading in your old Dodge for an Evolvo and running your karma on esteem. Rising esteem can actually improve the overall atmosphere by causing the heart to warm, and the head to cool. This may be the answer to global warming!
4. Support the Peace Effort on the Om Front.
We've heard the experts say nothing will bring peace, so I say let's prove 'em right. Our lives are so filled up with somethings that we have no room for nothing anymore! That's why my ultimate meditation tape, Sounds of Silence, is completely blank. Think about it. Our minds are filled up with information everywhere we go. After a busy day thinking of everything, what a welcome relief it is to think of nothing. So as part of my work on behalf of inner peace, you can now come to my Om Page and download as much healing silence as you need -- absolutely free! And you can do your part for world inner peace by sending some peaceful silence to a friend. Sure this is a peacemeal approach, but it works. A little peace here, a little peace there, and pretty soon you have one big peaceful meal everywhere.
5. Spread Contagious Laughter Wherever You Go.
If we truly want to bring about Nonjudgment Day, we need to do whatever we can to increase the laugh force on the planet. Take the funniest jokes from the internet, and share them on the outernet. Commit random acts of harmless comedy. Practice Fun-Shui by creating playful beauty everywhere. Make sure you spend some time each week laughing with friends and loved ones. Remember that when it comes to laughter, the more the merrier. And remember too, what goes around comes around. In other words, the laugh you save may be your own.
All content © Steve Bhaerman http://www.wakeuplaughing.com, 2002
Swami Launches Blisskrieg, Declares "All Out Peace!"
(see http://www.wakeuplaughing.com for cartoon)
Swami Beyondananda, spiritual leader to millions of FUNdamentalists (accent on "fun") has launched a worldwide "blisskrieg"in a declaration of "all out peace!"
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