Monday, April 07, 2003

Some utterly shameless copies from the slashdot regarding the war.

War and America 1

1. America and Rebuilding

Rebuilding: Let's see, how about some examples of "rebuilding" we've directly involved outselves in more recently (40 years):

* Guatemala: urged by the United Fruit Company (outraged that the democratically elected socialist government was going to take their land, paying them exactly what they originally paid for it), we engineer a coup d'etat, installing a repressive dictatorship who proceed to kill and torture political opponents for the next 30 years. The U.S. continues to pour millions of dollars of support to the dictatorships. Only recently has Gautemala emerged from the long shadow of this brutal regime which was supported almost exclusively by the U.S. government.

* Chile: After a socialist government is democratically elected (and mismanages for a couple of years), we support Pinochet and his military junta in a coup d'etat. The military dictatorship, under guise of fighting communism, establish a brutal police state, torturing and "disappearing" political opponents (labeled Marxists and including American citizens) for the next two decades. The U.S., again pours millions of dollars of support into the dictatorship. You know the rest.

* Vietnam: The American backed South Vietnamese government reneges on a promise to hold national elections (fearful that Ho Chih Mihn might actually win a fair election) and civil war breaks out. The U.S. attempts to prop up the repressive South Vietnamese government with money and advisors, eventually, sending American troops into battle against the Viet Cong (South Vietnamese rebels) and the N.V.A. The U.S. is supported by many troops from Canada, ANZAC and the R.O.K. Millions of people are killed in the conflict before the U.S. withdraws its troops. You know the rest.

* Iran: After the democratically elected government takes steps to nationalize the oil industry, the CIA engineers a coup, where the Shah of Iran replaces a Constitutional Monarchy. The Shah, while stealing billions of dollars from the country, represses political freedom so fiercely that it political dissent squirts into the only haven it has, extremist religion. The formerly unpopular religious extremists gain thousands of converts, they overthrow the Shah and kidnap the American Embassy. You know the rest.

* Iraq: Pissed off at the betrayal of Iran (and unable to muster the balls to outright declare war on Iran after the specter of Vietnam), we support Saddam Hussein with materiel and money, as long as he continues his war against Iran. We turn a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons as long as he continues this war. You know the rest.

* Afghanistan:... nevermind, look it up for yourself, how we trained, armed and supported the extremists who created the core of Al Qaeda. The chickens coming home to roost indeed.

All of this is well documented and easily verifiable by reading some modern history books or googling around on the web. I would say that our record of "rebuilding" countries into democracies (especially when large corporate interests area involved) is about as shitty as it gets. The cynic in me wants to say that the only reason that Japan and Germany succeeded in becoming democracies was because they had no natural resources for post-war American companies to exploit. Hence there was no need for the U.S. to go in and "intervene". BTW, those same democracies appose our unilateral attack on Iraq

2. Michael Moore's E-Mail

Got this in Email this morning, passing it along:

Published on Monday, March 17, 2003 by Michael Moore

A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War

by Michael Moore

George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC

Dear Governor Bush:

So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you:

1. There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON'T FIND THEM! Why? 'Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe it or not, we don't want to kill him! Funny how that works!

2. The majority of Americans -- the ones who never elected you -- are not fooled by your weapons of mass distraction. We know what the real issues are that affect our daily lives -- and none of them begin with I or end in Q. Here's what threatens us: two and a half million jobs lost since you took office, the stock market having become a cruel joke, no one knowing if their retirement funds are going to be there, gas now costs almost two dollars -- the list goes on and on. Bombing Iraq will not make any of this go away. Only you need to go away for things to improve.

3. As Bill Maher said last week, how bad do you have to suck to lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein? The whole world is against you, Mr. Bush. Count your fellow Americans among them.

4. The Pope has said this war is wrong, that it is a SIN. The Pope! But even worse, the Dixie Chicks have now come out against you! How bad does it have to get before you realize that you are an army of one on this war? Of course, this is a war you personally won't have to fight. Just like when you went AWOL while the poor were shipped to Vietnam in your place.

5. Of the 535 members of Congress, only ONE (Sen. Johnson of South Dakota) has an enlisted son or daughter in the armed forces! If you really want to stand up for America, please send your twin daughters over to Kuwait right now and let them don their chemical warfare suits. And let's see every member of Congress with a child of military age also sacrifice their kids for this war effort. What's that you say? You don't THINK so? Well, hey, guess what -- we don't think so either!

6. Finally, we love France. Yes, they have pulled some royal screw-ups. Yes, some of them can pretty damn annoying. But have you forgotten we wouldn't even have this country known as America if it weren't for the French? That it was their help in the Revolutionary War that won it for us? That our greatest thinkers and founding fathers -- Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etc. -- spent many years in Paris where they refined the concepts that lead to our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution? That it was France who gave us our Statue of Liberty, a Frenchman who built the Chevrolet, and a pair of French brothers who invented the movies? And now they are doing what only a good friend can do -- tell you the truth about yourself, straight, no b.s. Quit pissing on the French and thank them for getting it right for once. You know, you really should have traveled more (like once) before you took over. Your ignorance of the world has not only made you look stupid, it has painted you into a corner you can't get out of.

Well, cheer up -- there IS good news. If you do go through with this war, more than likely it will be over soon because I'm guessing there aren't a lot of Iraqis willing to lay down their lives to protect Saddam Hussein. After you "win" the war, you will enjoy a huge bump in the popularity polls as everyone loves a winner -- and who doesn't like to see a good ass-whoopin' every now and then (especially when it 's some third world ass!). So try your best to ride this victory all the way to next year's election. Of course, that's still a long ways away, so we'll all get to have a good hardy-har-har while we watch the economy sink even further down the toilet!

But, hey, who knows -- maybe you'll find Osama a few days before the election! See, start thinking like THAT! Keep hope alive! Kill Iraqis -- they got our oil!!

Yours, Michael Moore

3. American "elite" and war

And let's see every member of Congress with a child of military age also sacrifice their kids for this war effort. What's that you say? You don't THINK so? Well, hey, guess what -- we don't think so either!

Dubya got out of Vietnam because Bush Sr. got him into the Coast Guard. Nice how the Bush clan wants the war and yet doesn't bear the brunt in the least.

I kinda liked the Middle Age approach -- the king/lord leads his men into war. Makes people a bit less likely to wage war. Kind of drives home the whole mortality and human cost bit.

That it was France who gave us our Statue of Liberty

Incidently, they built and paid for the thing, and then we refused to pay to have it shipped to the US. Pretty goddamn pathetic, I have to say. In the end, after a long campaign, Hearst managed to get enough people together to pay for shipping.

4. American Bombing campaigns since WWII:

Korea 1950-53

China 1950-53

Guatemala 1954

Indonesia 1958

Cuba 1959-60

Guatemala 1960

Congo 1964

Peru 1965

Laos 1964-73

Vietnam 1961-73

Cambodia 1969-70

Guatemala 1967-69

Libya 1986

El Salvador 1980s

Nicaragua 1980s

Panama 1989

Iraq 1991-99

Sudan 1998

Afghanistan 1998

Yugoslavia 1999

Iraq 2003-????

Does anyone have any omissions? Does anyone have a similar list that dates to the Founding of The USA? Any "non-bombing" missions?

One further note, to Non-Americans: Im Canadian, I live on the border, I can tell you without a doubt that Americans* are COMPLETELY out of control. They are myopic and ignorant. Watching CNN is about 1% of what its like in the street. These people *REALLY* believe that it is their RIGHT to do this, that they are special in the world, that opposition is manafest 'jealousy' - they BELIEVE this tripe about "terrorists hating their Freedom"... its like a bad, surreal movie.

Like Nazi Germnay before the invasion of Poland, Americans* are completely and absolutely drunk with Nationalism, Jingoism and Arrogance (its amazing) to the point that Im scared (literally) for the future of Canada and the world. This Iraq effort is the natural progression of American Empire, of 250 years of American history.

If Iraq manages a retalitory strike on American Soil, they are going to start WWIII (nuke Iraq off the planet - the citizens will be all for it).

An interesting Notice to Americans: Listen to this PLEASE and THINK ABOUT IT. []

*That I work with, that my wife works with and that Ive spoken to. Im not generalizing - i live in Windsor - this is the most busy border in NorthAmerica, the two cities literally live together.

5. Canadian to Americans'

Having seen a few criticisms from American officials regarding other nation's opposition to the war, I was reminded of a few word's Rick Mercer had to say on 'This hour has 22 minutes'. I present this not to criticize America, but in hopes of lightening the mood a little:

On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry.

I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron but, it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all it's not like you actually elected him.

I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better than your own.

I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.

I'm sorry we burnt down your White House during the War of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's very nice. I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but, we feel your pain.

I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a crazed dictator, you wanna have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this - We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

Thank you.

5. An American's concern regarding war

You know... I honestly don't know if this war is justified or necessary. We've been told about how horrible Saddam is, how he's gassing his own people and whatnot, but I really have no idea how true that is. I know from watching various foreign coverage of world news events that what we see here in the US, and what is broadcast elsewhere can be two very different things. I don't like Saddam though, and I'll be happy to see him removed.

I realize that Saddam had years and years to disarm, and that he's (supposedly) got weapons of mass destruction, and he's violated the UN decisions time and time again... But he's not the only one. North Korea openly admits to having nukes, while Saddam continues to insist that he got rid of all the mass destruction stuff. There are plenty of nations out there that have ignored and/or violated UN decisions, and we can now add our name to that list, but we aren't attacking all of them.

What really bothers me about this is the fact that we're the bad-guy. In just about every other war I can think of, and especially anything recent, the US was the good-guy. We were going in there to make things better. To fix something that was broken. And generally speaking, the world stood behind us. This time around, it looks as if the only ones who want to go to war are the US and Brittain, while everyone else screams for peace.

I wouldn't find that nearly so disturbing if our reasons didn't seem to shift with every new day. First we had this "war on terror" thing, and Iraq was linked to terrorism. Then it was about him not disarming and ignoring the UN. Then it had something to do with pre-emptively attacking so he couldn't hit us. Now we're "liberating" Iraq. Sure, all these reasons could be true.... That's possible. But the way they're being presented feels like a kid fishing around for excuses.

I've taken plenty of comparative religion and anthropology courses in college, and I just can't shake the feeling that we shouldn't be going over there to "liberate" anyone. Maybe they're oppressed...maybe they aren't. I don't know. But it seems to me that if a nation wants liberation, it should come from within. Who are we to say that they need to be liberated? Who else around this world needs to be liberated? Who is next?

I'm also more than a little saddened to see history repeating itself... We've funded more than one extremist group in the Middle East beause it served our purposes at the time. We give them money, hardware, training...tell them that we'll help them rebuild after it is all over...and they attack our enemies. Sounds great, but then we leave them high and dry, with no help on the rebuilding. This, understandably, leaves a sour taste in their mouth and eventually leads to a new enemy for the US. And then we go in and "liberate" the country from these horrible, awful people. That's how Bin Laden and the Taliban got their start...that's how Saddam got his start... And if you'll notice, it looks like we're leaving Afganistan high & dry at the moment.

I suppose, if I had more faith in the President, that I wouldn't be objecting nearly as much. The fact of the matter though, is that I don't like Bush. He seems like an idiotic rich kid who just got voted in because of his daddy. I know this probably isn't true, I doubt if it is really that easy to become president, but that is the image that he portrays. Add to that the questionable evidence of drug use, alchoholism, and his ties to big business... I don't like his politics. I don't like how he's handling the international scene. I don't like his assorted tax cuts and school reforms. In short, I can't wait to vote him out.

I can't help but wonder if we'd be better off if Gore had been elected. Maybe we'd still be going to war, maybe we wouldn't.... Nobody can know that. Maybe this war is completely necessary, and there's no way it could have been avoided. But, with this idiot behind the wheel, I have a very hard time feeling good about anything the US is doing these days. When so much of the world is against us on this decision, it just makes me wonder even more. Is this really necessary? Are the motives really humanitarian? Is there no better way?



6. And the crux of the matter

let's talk about democracy's role in all this. is ignoring war protests tantamount to ignoring democracy? no, i say, democracy is still winning. current polls place opposition to the war at around 30%, maybe 40% at most. that means the majority of Americans still support getting rid of Saddam.

This is troubling on so many levels. Democracy cannot be just about the majority and winning. Hitler was elected by a majority and no one had a problem with his attempted genocide. Slavery was considered ok by a majority people in the US for a very long time, and those who even thought about protesting or abolishing slavery, like Lincoln, were killed.

People risk their lives trying to bring unpopular issues to the frontline of political debates. In 1965 it was a demonstration in Selma, that results in the cold blooded murder of the minister James Reeb, presumable by a person intent on keeping black from achieving equal rights. Should Reeb have ignored Dr. Martin Luther King's plea for help in his effort to liberate the black population from oppression? Should the goverment have lables them terrorists??

In Dogma, right before Bartebly exacts holy vengeance on the boardroom of sinners, he has a speech in which he says

Fear. And therein lies the problem. None of you has anything left to fear anymore. You rest comfortably in seats of inscrutable power, hiding behind your false idol, far from judgment, lives shrouded in secrecy even from one another. But not from God.

And I think this is the issue. There are people so powerful, so spoiled, so in need of clue, that they respect and fear almost nothing. The exception are the few things demonstrable equally powerful. People this powerful feel that the world is there to service their needs. Furthermore, even if they claim to believe in God, that belief is not reflected in their actions. They do not have maturity or self control to realize that just because you can take something, doesn't mean you have to. In words from the original Star Trek, we can choose not to kill today.

As I mentioned such people will fear things or people that are equally powerful. For example, a few years ago Texas was in the midst of passing a hate crime bill. Dubya was governor. The impetus for this bill was the lynching and dragging of James Byrd, Jr in Jasper. The bill was not great, but it was needed. It was eventually supported by Dubya, after a bit of embarrassing publicity, and would have had very little trouble becoming law except for one problem. It not only wanted to protect minorities, but also homosexuals. There was a basis for this, as about 1/3 of all hate crimes are directed to homosexuals. Dubya could not afford to offend the religious right, so he fought to remove the protection for homosexuals, which killed the bill. From this we can see that those without power, homosexuals can be sacrificed, while there is genuine fear of the fundamentalist Christian right.

7. Tailpiece and Food For Thought

Love of and devotion to one's country.

The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.

adios amigos..