Why We Hurt Each Other: Tolstoy’s Letters to Gandhi on Love, Violence, and the Truth of the Human Spirit
by Maria Popova published on Brainpickings
“Love is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills.”
By Dave Lindorff
Kuopio -- Finland can be a shock to a visitor from America. The cities are clean, the highways and byways are smoothly paved and pothole-free despite the punishing winter climate faced by a country that straddles the Arctic Circle, schools look shiny and new, and it’s hard to see anyone who looks destitute.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Scene: A cafe. One table is occupied by a group of Vikings wearing horned helmets.
Whenever the word "war" is repeated, they begin singing and/or chanting.
A man and woman enter. The man is played by Eric Idle, the woman is played by Graham Chapman (in drag), and the Secretary of State is played by Terry Jones, also in drag.
Man: You sit here, dear.
Woman: All right.
Secretary of State: Morning!
Man: Well, what've you got?
Secretary of State: Well, there's sanctions and prosecutions; sanctions drone strikes and prosecutions; sanctions and war; sanctions prosecutions and war; sanctions prosecutions drone strikes and war; war prosecutions drone strikes and war; war sanctions war war prosecutions and war; war drone strikes war war prosecutions war cyber war and war;
Vikings: War war war war...
Secretary of State: ...war war war sanctions and war; war war war war war war targeted assassinations war war war...
Vikings: War! Lovely war! Lovely war!
Secretary of State: ...or a United Nations resolution combined with infiltration, a USAID fake Twitter application, a CIA overthrow, trained enhanced interrogators and with crippling sanctions on top and war.
Woman: Have you got anything without war?
Secretary of State: Well, there's war sanctions drone strikes and war, that's not got much war in it.
Woman: I don't want ANY war!
Man: Why can't she have sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes?
Woman: THAT'S got war in it!
Man: Hasn't got as much war in it as war sanctions drone strikes and war, has it?
Vikings: War war war war... (Crescendo through next few lines...)
Woman: Could you do the sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes without the war then?
Secretary of State: Urgghh!
Woman: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like war!
Vikings: Lovely war! Wonderful war!
Secretary of State: Shut up!
Vikings: Lovely war! Wonderful war!
Secretary of State: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can't have sanctions prosecutions war and drone strikes without the war.
Woman: I don't like war!
Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your war. I love it. I'm having war war war war war war war targeted assassinations war war war and war!
Vikings: War war war war. Lovely war! Wonderful war!
Secretary of State: Shut up!! Targeted assassinations are off.
Man: Well could I have her war instead of the targeted assassinations then?
Secretary of State: You mean war war war war war war... (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)
Vikings: (Singing elaborately...) War war war war. Lovely war! Wonderful war! War w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r war w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-r war. Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! Lovely war! War war war war!
No actual diplomats were harmed in the making of this production.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
In little-noticed news arising out of a recent Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas lease held by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the floodgates have opened for Gulf offshore hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
by Debra Sweet Dangerous arguments and actions came this week from both President Obama, who plans to increase airstrikes on Iraq & Syria and announced drone surveillance (as if that has not been happening for years), and from John McCain, leader of the “US has to get back in Iraq” cabal.“Limited” airstrikes by the world's most powerful military combined with U.S. more troops going into this extremely volatile region will not bring peace, stability, or safety.
Host Dave Lindorff interviews David Swanson, labor and peace activist, author of the book “War No More: The Case for Abolition” and the website warisacrime.org, about the rapidly expanding crises that the US has been promoting in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and the many countries where the US is using attack drones. Swanson argues that the US has been working hard to make Russia into an enemy again, that after portraying Syrian leader Bushar al Assad as a “Hitler” and arming and training his islamic rebel enemies, now a year later, Washington sees Assad as the “good guy” and is gearing up to bomb and kill the rebels, both in Syria and in Iraq, where they have expanded their rebellion. At least two of the crises, in Ukraine and the Persian Gulf, where a Coast Guard vessel has fired at an Iranian vessel, there is a real risk of war, either against Russia or Iran, Swanson warns.
October 4-11, 2014
Keep Space for Peace Week
International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space
Stop Drones Surveillance & Killing
No Missile Defense
No to NATO Expansion
End Corporate Domination of Foreign/Military Policy
Convert the Military Industrial Complex
Deal with climate change and global poverty
List in formation
- Aberporth, West Wales (Sept 21) CND Cymru has a demonstration at the drones testing centre totally in the spirit of Keep Space for Peace Week. email@example.com
- Andover, Massachusetts (Oct 9) Vigil in front of Raytheon, 350 Lowell St (Rte 133) 7:00-8:00 am. Merrimack Valley People for Peace firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 4) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062
- Berlin, Germany (Oct 4) Fly Kites, Not Drones! Gather in front of the German Parliament at 11:00 am and fly kites to make clear that we do not want to be threatened by drones and we do not want people anywhere to be threatened by drones. Then at 15:00, we will meet in parks throughout the city and fly kites to continue our protest. kampfdrohnen.aechten.berlin@
< >Berlin, Germany (Oct 3-5) Anti-War Conference Berlin at Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte. An initiative of scientists and journalists against militarization in Germany and in the member states of European Union and NATO. The conference will focus on new dimensions in the preparation and conduct of war through the use of information technology, media propaganda and recently developed weapons such as drones. http://antikriegskonferenz.de/RAF Croughton, England (Oct 5) Rally at U.S. satellite communication base, March to main gate 1 mile - starts Croughton village 12.00 midday, Returns 3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign, email@example.com Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson Arizona (Oct 4) Vigil at this drone base at 10:00 a.m. (Craycroft gate at Golf Links Rd.) Contact Felice or Jack Cohen-Joppa at firstname.lastname@example.org (520)323-8697Indore, India (Oct 9) Protest meeting “Space for Peace and Not for War” at Indore in the State of Madhya Pradesh by Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development Studies. Dr.Tapan Bhattacharya will be the Organiser. email@example.comKing of Prussia, PA (Oct 11) Noon - 3pm, large MQ-9 Reaper Drone Replica Display and kite flying in front of Lockheed Martin (L-M) at intersection of Mall & Goddard Boulevards. L-M is making a killing in drone war and surveillance technology, building the remote-controlled unmanned planes and satellites that direct the drones and launch their deadly Hellfire missiles which L-M also builds. For more info Brandywine Peace Community, (610) 544-1818 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.brandywinepeace.com Maine Walk for Peace & a Sustainable Future (Oct 11-20) Peace walk led by Nipponzan Myohoji from Rangeley to North Berwick. The walk will protest the growing militarization of the Maine economy and will call for conversion to sustainable production to help deal with climate change. Sponsored by Maine Veterans For Peace. www.vfpmaine.org Menwith Hill, England(Oct 11) Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire focused on drones in particular and US missile defense in general. 6-8 pm. Sponsored by CAAB email@example.com or 01423 884076Nagpur, India (Oct 4) Demonstration “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the students of Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work. Nagpur, Maharashtra State. Prof. Jyoti Niswade will be the organizer firstname.lastname@example.orgNagpur, India (Oct 5) Mass Squatting (sitting in protest) “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the S.E.C. Rly Pensioners Assn and Progressive Railway Women's Organisation at Nagpur, State of Maharashtra. (Ms. Seema Sondiya and Mrs. J. Saraswati are the organizers) email@example.comNagpur, India (Oct 6) “Space for Peace and Not for War” Rally of students of National Institute of Social Work, Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra. firstname.lastname@example.orgOlympia, Washington (Sept 27) Holly Gwinn Graham in concert at Traditions Cafe informing about space week and inviting actions and participation in vigiling during the week email@example.comStockholm, Sweden (Oct 4) Standing demo in front of parliament, Mynttorget. 11.00-13.00 Banners and handing out leaflets against ‘nEUROn’ drone which will be launched in 2015 in the north of Sweden at North European Aerospace Test Range. nEUROn is an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle being developed with international cooperation, led by the French company Dassault Aviation along with Switzerland, Spain, and Greece. Contact: Agneta Norberg firstname.lastname@example.orgStuttgart, Germany (Oct 4) Protest against Drones and AFRICOM at 02:00 pm at AFRICOM Headquarters. More information to come! Oct 1) Vigil at space warfare base from 3:30 to 4:45. Contact Dennis Apel at (805) 343-6322
· Volk Field, Wisconsin(Oct 4) Air National Guard Base 90 minutes north of Madison. They train pilots to fly Shadow drones used for surveillance and target acquisition. Vigiling at the gates for 2 1/2 years. Plan to go to a rest area on Interstate about 10 miles south of Volk Field. There is a lot of traffic there and we will leaflet and talk to people about what is happening at Volk Field. Joyfirst5@gmail.com
· Weld County, Colorado (Oct 4) Protest vigil at N8 nuclear missile silo on the 12th Anniversary of our Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II, 2002. We join all the other lovers of space, land, water and air people and creatures who know and trust that peace is possible.
- Keep Space for Peace Weekis co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, KnowDrones.com and the Drone Campaign Network (UK)
- October 4 is also a Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killingand is being sponsored by a host of groups around the world. See more at http://globaldayofaction.
Resources: · Download our full-size space week poster at: http://www.space4peace.org/
· Download our full-size space week poster at: http://www.space4peace.org/
WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti), Lyudmila Chernova – The deployment of NATO forces to new bases in Eastern Europe opens new possibilities for endless war and hostilities, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) Alice Slater told RIA Novosti.
The disturbing saber rattling from NATO chief Anders Rasmussen announcing that NATO will deploy troops for the first time in Eastern Europe since the Cold War ended, build a “readiness action plan,” boost Ukraine’s military capacity so that “in the future you will see a more visible NATO presence in the east,” while withdrawing Russia’s invitation to an upcoming NATO meeting in Wales, “opens new possibilities for endless war and hostilities,” Slater said.
The NATO secretary-general told European journalists that the alliance was to deploy its forces in Eastern Europe in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to counter the threat posed by Russia to the former Soviet Baltic republics.
"It is ironic, that at this moment in history when so many people and nations around the world are acknowledging the 100th anniversary of our planet’s hapless stumble into World War I, great powers and their allies are once again provoking new dangers where governments appear to be sleepwalking towards a restoration of old Cold War battles,” Slater said.
"A barrage of conflicting information is broadcast in the various national and nationalistic media with alternative versions of reality that provoke and stoke new enmities and rivalries across national borders," the expert added.
The nongovernmental organization director noted that with the United States and Russia in possession of more than 15,000 of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons, humanity can ill-afford to stand by and permit such conflicting views of history and that opposing assessments of the facts on the ground can lead to a 21st century military confrontation between the great powers and their allies.
"While sadly acknowledging the trauma suffered by the countries of Eastern Europe from years of Soviet occupation, and understanding their desire for the protection of the NATO military alliance, we must remember that the Russian people lost 20 million people during World War II to the Nazi onslaught and are understandably wary of NATO expansion to their borders in a hostile environment," she explained.
"This, despite a promise to Gorbachev when the wall came down peacefully and the Soviet Union ended its post WWII occupation of Eastern Europe, that NATO would not be expanded eastward, beyond the incorporation of East Germany into that rusty Cold War alliance," Slater added.
"Russia has lost the protection of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US abandoned in 2001, and warily observes missile bases metastasizing ever closer to its borders in new NATO member states, while the US rejects repeated Russian efforts for negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, or Russia’s prior application for membership in NATO," Slater concluded.
Germany’s Der Spiegel reported Sunday that Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia felt threatened by Russia's intervention in Ukraine and feared of what they described as Russian aggression.
NATO members are scheduled to meet in Wales to discuss the alliance's response to Russia, which it accuses of interfering in Ukrainian affairs.
Ahead of the NATO summit at the end of next week, the four countries have urged the military bloc to mention Moscow as a potential aggressor in its summit communique.
Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO told RIA Novosti on Monday that Moscow has no plans to participate in any activities during the NATO summit in Wales.
Stephen McKeown reports:
We had a good turnout at the Bridge Peace Vigil today to commemorate the the 86th anniv. of the KBP. About 70 people with 30 VFP members held signs and VFP flags. VFp rang Armistice bells 11 times on all 4 corners of the bridge...bells that we made ourselves. Fourteen people then walked the 6 miles to the Science Center on Kellogg Boulevard and claimed the Blvd for Peace again. We rang the bells again. There were not a lot of spring chickens in the walk. It was a good day...Steve
Learn what it's all about at http://davidswanson.org/outlawry
53 National Religious Groups, Academics, and Ministers Urge Alternatives to U.S. Military Action in Iraq
August 27, 2014
Dear President Obama:
As religious communities, leaders, and academics, we write to express our deep concern over the
recent escalation of U.S. military action in Iraq. While the dire plight of Iraqi civilians should
compel the international community to respond in some way, U.S. military action is not the
answer. Lethal weapons and airstrikes will not remove the threat to a just peace in Iraq. As
difficult as it might be, in the face of this great challenge, we believe that the way to address the
crisis is through long-term investments in supporting inclusive governance and diplomacy,
nonviolent resistance, sustainable development, and community-level peace and reconciliation
Pope Francis has affirmed that “peacemaking is more courageous than warfare,” and more
recently said that “it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underscore the verb ‘stop;’ I don’t say
bomb, make war---stop him.” But how we ask?
John Horgan asked me for a paragraph on what to do about ISIS. I sent him this:
1. Apologize for brutalizing the leader of ISIS in Abu Ghraib and to every other prisoner victimized under U.S. occupation
2. Apologize for destroying the nation of Iraq and to every family there
3. Begin making restitution by delivering aid (not "military aid" but actual aid, food, medicine) to the entire nation of Iraq
4. Apologize for role in war in Syria
5. Begin making restitution by delivering actual aid to Syria
6. Announce a commitment not to provide weapons to Iraq or Syria or Israel or Jordan or Egypt or Bahrain or any other nation anywhere on earth and to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign territories and seas, including Afghanistan. (The U.S. Coast Guard in the Persian Gulf has clearly forgotten where the coast of the U.S. is!)
7. Announce a commitment to invest heavily in solar, wind, and other green energy and to provide the same to democratic representative governments.
8. Begin providing Iran with free wind and solar technologies -- at much lower cost of course than what it is costing the U.S. and Israel to threaten Iran over a nonexistent nuclear weapons program.
9. End economic sanctions.
10. Send diplomats to Baghdad and Damascus to negotiate aid and to encourage serious reforms.
11. Send journalists, aid workers, peaceworkers, human shields, and negotiators into crisis zones, understanding that this means risking lives, but fewer lives than further militarization risks.
12. Empower people with agricultural assistance, education, cameras, and internet access.
13. Launch a communications campaign in the United States to replace military recruitment campaigns, focused on building sympathy and desire to serve as critical aid workers, persuading doctors and engineers to volunteer their time to travel to and visit these areas of crisis.
14. Work through the United Nations on all of this.
15. Sign the United States on to the International Criminal Court and voluntarily propose the prosecution of top U.S. officials of this and the preceding regimes for their crimes.
Originally posted at AcronymTV
AtPeace Makita is a single mother of five, a life long resident of Detroit, and the Creative Director of the Detroit Water Brigade. She wants you to know that the push for the privatization of the water supply in Detroit could be coming to an area near you soon.
“If Detroit can be used as a prototype,” asks Makita “why can’t it happen in LA, Chicago, or New York? On top of the bankruptcy, on top of the foreclosures, on top of the mayoral issues and emergency manager, on top of all of it – now you want to take our life source?”
Watch the clip below, or you can watch the full episode here.
State Dept. Overseers of Contentious Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline Workaround Have Industry, Torture Ties
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other green groups recently revealed that pipeline giant Enbridge got U.S. State Department permission in response to its request to construct a U.S.-Canada border-crossing tar sands pipeline without earning an obligatory Presidential Permit.
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/25/14
Obama and ISIS in Dance of Death
The growing U.S. bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria serves no one but war profiteers, said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson. “I know that ISIS had to be aware that slitting throats on camera would result in more bombing, just as President Obama had to be aware that blowing men, women and children up with 500-pound bombs would result in slitting throats,” said Swanson, publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.Org. “The beneficiaries of escalation, which is entirely predictable, are the weapons makers.”
Black Strategies Must Include Self-Defense
“First and foremost, it is right for our people to rebel,” said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and co-author of the groundbreaking report “Operation Ghetto Storm,” which documented extrajudicial killings of Black Americans under color of law. “I think it boiled over in Ferguson as a result of a transformation in our people’s consciousness, especially our young folks,” said Akuno. “They’ve had enough of the brutality, of being systematically excluded.” Black community self-defense must be part of any organizing strategy. “This has been part and parcel of what we know we have to do in the face of white supremacy and in the face of the brutality that the capitalist system has reserved for us, in particular.”
Black Passivity is Mentally Unhealthy
Political protest is therapeutic for Black Americans, said Dr. Vernellia Randall, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton and author Dying While Black. “I want us to be less passive, I want us to engage in civil disobedience” – and not the kind of protest-like activities sanctioned by the authorities. “If they’re telling us, Here’s how you can protest, then that, to me, is not civil disobedience,” said Randall. “If you are coloring within the lines that the establishment establishes, then you are putting no pressure on the establishment.”
Cuba Should Join in Fight for Slavery Reparations
The young United States was a horrible example of democracy, but it did lead the way in the business of human trafficking. “After the establishment of the United States, it quickly became the leader in the African slave trade to Cuba,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. “They also became the leader of the African slave trade to Brazil, helping to account for the fact that Brazil has more people of African descent than any other nation outside Nigeria,” said Horne, who hopes to enlist Cuba in “our journey to claim reparations for the enslavement of Africans in the Americas.”
Click here to download the show.
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
Barry! Barr -er Mr. President, I got Congress out in the parking lot looking at the new SUVs. I'm pushing the missile strikes on the Syrian government hard, but just a few little ones, and then ka-blam we get em with the whole package deal, 800 vehicles plus fuel and maintenance, a little shock, a little awe, a little razzmatazz, and we reel em right in.
Ataboy, John, go get em.
Oh, damn it all. Barry, it's not my fault. They were on recess and listening to people at town hall meetings. And AIPAC is totally AWOL. And the lousy stinking pacifist Brits voted it down when I never even asked them. Apparently the entire House of Representatives is going to ride bicycles from now on.
That's all right, John. That's all right. They can't hold out long. You'll get em next time.
It makes no sense, Mr. President. We rolled right over them on Afghanistan and Libya and all the drone strikes and all the bases, and here they go saying No to bombing Syria. And I told them Assad was Hitler. And you told them it was this or support poisoning children. But nothing. What are we missing? What if we throw in free GPS and hands-free telephoning. Plus, that way we can keep a close eye on them while they pay us for the favor. Huh? Huh?
You see, there's the old spirit. Now, listen, what we don't want is for them to go rogue and get desperate and pick up an old wreck from down in the back lot. You steer them away from that broken down Iranian convertible, OK?
Yes, Sir! John Kerry reporting for duty, Sir!
Oh, cut the shit, John, I've told you 18 times I'm not taping everything like Nixon.
Nixon didn't have the technology to . . .
LET ME BE CLEAR, the problem with the missile strikes on Syria last time wasn't the human cost or the financial cost or any of that crap. People didn't want to join a war on the side of al Qaeda rebels and terrorists. We'd told them those were the Enemy for over a decade. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to find a war where we can jump in on the side of the government, against the Islamic Extremists. Congress loves governments. The media loves governments. Everybody hates extremists. And guess where we're going to find this war?
Good guess. Try again.
Getting warmer. Try again.
Well, I don't . . .
Try again, that's a direct order.
Now I'll tell you: Syria.
Think about it, John. It's genius, if I do say so myself. Look, people forget that Syria was our ally a few years back, but Congress remembers. We just flip back. We have to, or we're fighting both sides of a war in Iraq and Syria. The key on Syria is to do something. Well what counts as doing something? Blowing shit up, that's what. And nobody wants us blowing up the government. Well, we'll blow up the rebels. Either way, we're destroying U.S. weaponry on the ground, which is much smarter than giving it to local police as a means of creating demand for more. You think they won't go for it because we're flip-flopping, right? You're always so damn terrified of flip-flopping.
You don't know. You didn't go through what . . .
Oh hell, they stole the votes in Ohio, John, and you bent over and said "Thank you sir, may I have another?" We're not flip-flopping. We're blowing up evil, evil people, lots of them. That's the story. We've been funding and arming all sides in all of these wars for some time now, payments to the Taliban, weapons to ISIS. You know, the troops on the ground in Libya three years ago could have exchanged parts -- they had the same U.S. guns.
Mr. President, there are hundreds of Americans who listened to us last year and have gone off and joined the rebels in Syria.
They can provide information, switch sides, or pay the price, John. Now, are you ready to go out there and make the pitch? I see the leadership on the curb there.
Mr. President, in all good faith, we've sold humanitarians on the need to bomb Assad, not bomb in defense of Assad.
Mr. Secretary, I'm giving you an order.
Mr. President, with all due respect, you keep saying there's no military solution, there's a million other approaches that don't create this sort of SNAFU, that just . . .
Mr. Secretary, Hillary would not hesitate.
I'm on it.
By John Grant
Back in June 2011, James Foley gave an hour-long interview to an auditorium of students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he had graduated three years earlier with a Master’s degree in journalism. It was 15 days after he had been released from 45 rough days of captivity in Libya. He was a handsome young hero returning to his alma-mater.
A BBC audio podcast from the show "Four Thought" (go here and click on the date "13 8 14") includes a talk by Italian journalist Mara Oliva. She grew up in the same Italy infatuated with the U.S. that I lived in as an exchange student -- an Italy that has largely fallen out of love with the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.
Oliva makes a case that the U.S. public is not nearly as pro-war as its government.
As early as 1954 the U.S. public opposed a U.S. war in Vietnam, and favored diplomacy with China, according to polls commissioned by President Eisenhower. Nixon finally went to China decades after the public had begun favoring that move.
In January 2003, two-thirds of the U.S. public wanted U.N. inspections to be allowed to continue in Iraq. In February 2003, a majority still wanted to see more evidence and wanted U.N. inspections to continue.
In September 2013, 80% in the U.S. were against attacking Syria. (Let's hope that holds now that Obomber wants to attack the other side in that war.)
So, it remains possible to be fond of the United States if one looks away from what we allow our government to do and focuses instead on what we tell pollsters we'd like.
But our expressing good opinions and then sitting on our hands is perhaps not the height of good world citizenship.
In October, Pax Christi will buy a full-page ad in the National Catholic Reporter prior to the annual meeting of the U.S. bishops. The ad will advocate abandoning the idea of a "just war," something the Catholic church, including in recent statements by the current Pope, shows signs of possibly being willing to do. James Rauner's article below reports how the Catholic church outside of the United States has opposed past wars, and suggests how little it would take to move the church in the U.S. to the same position. But opposing particular wars as "unjust," and suggesting that there might be just ones, leaves the war industry in place, making new wars inevitable. Pax Christi is to be applauded for urging the church to drop that outdated way of thinking, as the current Pope's statements suggest he already has. —DCNS
When Catholics Become a Peace Church
By Deacon James Rauner, Pax Christi Michigan
From Just War to Just Peace: The Time Is Now!
The Ides of War, March, 2003 …
In 2003, weeks before the attack, Pope John Paul II warned President Bush that his “preemptive war” on Iraq would throw the Middle East into chaos, that this war would be a “defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified.”
On March 5, 2003, Pope John Paul II sent the Italian Cardinal, Pio Laghi, to intervene with President George W. Bush and ask him not to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the US leader rejected the appeal claiming he was “convinced it was God’s will”.
The pope had already referred to this planned military intervention as an “adventure” and had warned that war would have serious consequences for both nations and the world. The pope had chosen Laghi for this delicate mission, because he was a friend of the Bush family and might have stood a better chance of being listened to.
The day before the scheduled meeting with the President, the cardinal was asked to meet with officials from the US State Department, as the President wanted to know the agenda of the meeting in advance. Cardinal Laghi was “interrogated” by the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice.
When the Cardinal arrived at the meeting with the President the next day, he handed Pope John Paul II’s letter to the President, “who
immediately put it on a side table without opening or reading it.”
The President then launched into an argument for war,. He told the cardinal that he, the president, “was convinced it was God’s will”, and sought to convince the papal envoy that it was the right thing to do.
“After a few minutes of what the Cardinal termed ‘a sermon’”, Laghi interrupted President Bush and said, “Mr. President, I came here in order to speak to you and to give you a message from the Holy Father and I would like you to listen to me.”
Cardinal Laghi told Bush that three things would happen if the United States went to war. First, it would cause many deaths and injuries on both sides. Secondly, it would result in civil war. And, thirdly, the United States might know how to get into a war, but it would have great difficulty getting out of one.
Cardinal Laghi realized from this exchange that the President had already made up his mind. This was confirmed shortly afterwards by General Pace, as he accompanied the Cardinal to his car. He shook hands with the Cardinal and told him, “Your Eminence, don’t be afraid. We’ll do it quickly and we will do it in the best way.”
Laghi knew his mission had failed, but he also realized that the Bush administration was very naïve about the consequences of war.
The press corps was waiting outside the White House after the meeting to interview the cardinal, but administration officials did not allow him to speak to them at the White House.
In the weeks and months before the U.S. attacked Iraq, not only the Holy Father, but also many in the Vatican spoke out against a “preemptive” or “preventative” strike. They declared that the just war theory could not justify such a war.
The Vatican also spoke out against war in Iraq. Archbishop Renato Raffaele Martino, a former U.N. envoy and current prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters that war against Iraq was a preventive war and constituted a "war of aggression", and thus did not constitute a just war. The foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, said that such a war of aggression is a crime against peace.
On September 13, 2002, US Catholic bishops had signed a letter to President Bush stating that any "preemptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq" could not be justified at the time. They came to this position by evaluating whether an attack against Iraq would satisfy the criteria for a just war as defined by Catholic theology.
War against Iraq is
John Paul II
So what happened
On 15 February 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.
Americans, and of course American Catholics, were largely unaware of the depth and importance of the opposition of Church leaders everywhere to an attack on Iraq, since for the most part the mainstream American media did not carry these stories. In the same way, many Americans were unaware that Pope John Paul II had spoken out against the first Gulf War at least 56 times. Media in the United States, controlled by corporate, government biased owners, omitted this from news commentaries on these wars.
We go to war ...
The invasion was preceded by an air strike on the Presidential Palace in Baghdad on 19 March 2003. The following day, coalition forces launched an incursion into Basra Province from their massing point close to the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.
While the Special Forces launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding petroleum fields, the main invasion army moved into southern Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on 23 March. Massive air strikes across the country and against Iraqi command and control threw the defending army into chaos and prevented an effective resistance. On 26 March, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was airdropped near the northern city of Kirkuk, where they joined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several actions against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country.
As the Bombs fell, … American Opposition became Silent…
“Son of man, Can these Bones Come to Life ?” Ezekiel 37:1-14
But, what if…
Following the solitary example of Bishop John Michael Botean, who had, on March 7th, just twelve days before the Iraq invasion, issued a Pastoral Letter to his U.S. diocese morally denouncing the War on Iraq as gravely evil,…
…. Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the USCCB, decides to call an emergency meeting of the entire American Catholic Hierarchy.
He had been powerfully moved by the strong words of Bishop Botean’s Pastoral Letter:
“When a moral conflict arises between Church teaching and secular morality, when contradictory moral demands are made upon a Catholic’s conscience, he or she, ‘must obey God rather than man’ (Acts 5:29).”
“A moment of moral crisis has arisen for us, I must now speak to you as your bishop… with the authority and responsibility I, though a sinner, have been given as a successor to the apostles on your behalf…. It is a moral imperative that I not allow you, by my silence, to fall into grave evil.”
“I must declare to you my people, for the sake of your salvation as well as my own, that any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin. Beyond a reasonable doubt this war is morally incompatible with the Person and the Way of Jesus Christ. With moral certainty I say to you it does not meet even the minimal standards of the catholic just war theory.”
Noticing that Botean was the first and only Bishop to yet speak out against the war, in support of the Pope’s urgent message, Bishop Gregory, as president, began calling all American bishops to a special session of the USCCB, to start the evening of Sunday, March 16th .
In doing so, Bishop Gregory believes it is necessary for the American Catholic church to reinforce the message sent to President Bush by Pope John Paul II….
When he consults with Bishop Skylstad, vice-president of the USCCB, Skylstad becomes very alarmed at the possibility of confronting the government. He tells Gregory that he has too much on his plate, that he has just had some real success with issuing “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” in his efforts to gain control of the scandal of the Roman Catholic sex abuse cases. Now wasn’t the time to anger both the public and the government.
Bishop Gregory knew there was great danger, and he saw that he had two obstacles to overcome. First, the conference itself would have to unite the bishops in support of the papal initiative, and in giving up their usual strategy of always proving Catholics were faithful and patriotic citizens no matter what. But then that would create the second difficulty. They would have to explain to American Catholics why there had been no teaching preparing them for something like this beforehand.
Gregory thought of the passage he had read recently from Richard Rohr:
"We are saddled and bridled with a religion that is not sure if it wants to become church. It’s adherent’s expectations are very set. … It is a comfortable and very materialistic religion, which tests it’s people’s commitment on the level of doctrine but is afraid to test that commitment on issues of lifestyle or mature conscience.” —Near Occasions of Grace, page 52.
Tensions and grumbling mounts within the church as its bishops prepare to travel to the emergency meeting. The Archbishop of the Military Vicarate, Edwin O’Brien, starts objecting loudly to the possibility of confronting his Commander-in-Chief.
… Speculation abounds…..
Some are estimating that if the church were to confront the government over this war, as many as 20% of Catholics might leave the church, and certainly the church, in parishes, dioceses, and organizations, would lose at least half of its income from collections and rich donors. One smart-alec suggested that it might solve the priest shortage,… if not too many of them left !
On Sunday evening, March 16th … the USCCB gathered in closed session. The question being put before the bishops was this: Should we, the Catholic Hierarchy of the United States, support the teaching of Pope John Paul II that a preventative war against Iraq is immoral, illegal and unjust, and should we teach our Catholic people to resist this war and refuse to serve in it? Or, should we simply be silent and do nothing, as we have always done during wartime? While the meeting is ‘completely closeted’, word does leak out in dribbles here and there. There seems to be a terrible argument going on, back and forth. Some want to be faithful to the pope, many are reluctant. Some are angry, many are scared.
Bishop Botean had said: “the Gospels reveal our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ to be nonviolent. In them, Jesus teaches a Way of life that his disciples are to follow, a Way of nonviolent love of friends and enemies”…. “All well and good, but it’s not practical!”... “All the recent popes have said the same thing!” … “But It doesn’t work. We’ll lose everything.”
“It’s our sacred and patriotic duty to sacrifice our children to defend our American life styles.”
“Any killing associated with this war is unjustified and, in consequence, unequivocally murder. Direct participation in this war is the moral equivalent of direct participation in abortion”……”We have a moral obligation to overthrow the vicious and evil regime of Saddam, the tyrant”…Time passes,… Monday …and then …Tuesday, … the arguments go back and forth until finally on Wednesday morning, the feeling is they can’t move any further …
It’s time to take a vote:… 79 % of the bishops vote in support of the Papal teaching, …14 % of the bishops dissociate themselves from the USCCB and walk out in protest… The holy Spirit has spoken through the majority,… we Catholics are now a church of Peace, and will try to dissuade President Bush from going to war.
Efforts are made all day long to get through to President Bush in the White House, but he is taking no calls from the American bishops, as he took no heed of the Pope himself.
By now, it’s the evening of March 19, 2003, President Bush is in the White House enjoying the evening with Rev Billy Graham, who prays that our American bombs may find their targets and destroy our enemies.
Before the USCCB meeting ends…
Special Peace and Justice committees are set up to determine what steps to take to implement the decision taken. It will be a multiple step process. It is a difficult time for the church in the United States. They begin listing what steps are needed and what organizing will be useful.
This is a good place to PAUSE….
The story so far sets up the possibility of the Catholic Bishops actually showing some GUTS, like the early church martyrs. What happens next will depend on your own vision and imagination, please follow the inspiration of the Spirit, as you are given.
The remaining paragraphs are just the “vision” of Jim Rauner. Now it’s your turn…
Please RESUME your story.
Efforts are made to reach out to Justice and Peace organizations within the church for help, … representatives of Pax Christi , Pace e Bene, Kroc Institutes, etc., and even the Knights of Columbus, our best organized and financed lay organization, were called in… if only the 4th degree would lay down their swords, and severe their Supreme Knight’s ties with the Republican Party.
(1) A committee of reconciliation sets to work with the 14% of bishops who walked out.
(2) A committee is set up to review and update the Pastoral letter on War: 1983 -“The Challenge of Peace” originally planned to be ambiguous, and now outdated by advances in catholic thinking and Papal teaching about war since that time.
(3) The Gospel teaching of nonviolence, and how “just war” theories are like “just abortion” theories will be taught in all parishes and pulpits in the country.
(4) Conscientious Objector counseling is set up in all dioceses and support offered for all Catholics confronted with situations of legal jeopardy due to their need to be C.O.s to this war.
(5) State Catholic Conferences begin lobbying Senators and Representatives explaining why the church will no longer support war… We begin to feel a chill in Church-State relationships!
(6) Homilists are beginning to explain to our congregations what it was like during the primitive church’s ‘communities of resistance’ to the Roman Empire, and how this is now similar to our Catholic parishes within the American Empire.
(7) We begin prayer and study groups in parishes to teach contemplation and help live in intimate union with Jesus, and follow his teachings to love one another, friends and enemies, learning forgiveness as we have been forgiven.
(8) Our efforts to support justice for immigrants and refugees is radicalized, we begin offering sanctuary for them and other minority group- victims in our society, opening our churches and communities across the country.
(9) Our jail/prison ministries protest inhumane conditions and practices, demand closing of ICE prisons, and release of millions of people, especially racial minorities, held for minor drug and non-violent crimes
(10) Most catholic parishes stop flying American flags as a counter cultural practice. Jesus is our commander-in-chief, not the president.
(11) 4th degree Knights of Columbus decide to no longer use their swords during church services, and hide them away in closets. A big revue and reorganization is going on with the 4th degree political/ patriotic level.
(12) Bishops' meetings begin discussing the ways of “critical collaboration” in working with the government – supporting efforts that benefit the common good, opposing legislation that harms the common good.
(13) Training in techniques of nonviolent Protest, Resistance, and Alternative Structures are offered in all dioceses, and these actions are used to enforce critical collaboration, and to offer a new means of nonviolent national defense.
(14) Movements are supported by the church, working with other religious, and non-religious groups, with Occupy citizen groups, and even international organizations to bring about the Kingdom of God, “on earth as it is in heaven”: Justice and Peace for all.
(15) Movements that would:
A. Create a just foreign policy. Cessation of all foreign military aid, outlaw all arms trade. Increase foreign peaceful aid and sharing by 10% each following year.. Strengthen the United Nations, and the World Court.
B. Dismantle the military-industrial complex, converting our industry to alternative energy and peaceful purposes. Start reducing our “Defense” spending by 20% for each following year. Invest this money in the Department of Peace. Close down the CIA, and department of Homeland Security
C. Take all private money out of the political election system, let all primary elections be open to everyone. Redraw all one party districts.
D. Corporations are not people – take away all rights of free speech or religious liberty. Severely limit corporations’ size and power, make them subject to the cost of their use of public commons and their damage to the environment.
E. Diocesan and parish action committees begin supporting citizen organizing to protest economic injustice, class warfare by the rich against workers, and to promote labor unions for everyone, and public banks.
F. These committees encourage the creation of a New Economic Bill of Rights.
a. Set Taxation of the rich back to the 1950’s. No one needs more than ‘enough’ to live well. Confiscatory inheritance tax of all but modest amount – a year’s average wage.
b. Free education for all capable students through college and professional universities / with social responsibilities afterwards.
c. Free and complete, single payer, Health Care for every person in the country, even visitors.
d. Minimum wages of $15 / hour indexed for inflation.
e. Guaranteed Job for every person able to work.
f. Guaranteed Income for every person unable to work.
(16) The church throws itself into supporting the Franciscan efforts to protect God’s creation, to save the environment and prevent catastrophic climate change.
... Well, you can see how easily I can go on, and on … I’d like to stop now …..And turn it over to you…… Why don’t you play with these ideas for awhile, and see what good things the Spirit leads you to….. Please let me know what you do come up with…. thank you,
Today, back in October, of the year 2014,
We members of Pax Christi are calling on “the US Catholic church to embrace nonviolence as the only stance consistent with Christian discipleship and to reject the just war tradition, as expressed, among other places, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2309). The just war theory is unChristian and obsolete… We urge our Church to return to its roots, as a power for peace, before it allied itself with the power of empire in the time of Constantine….”
“Clearly, it is time to embrace and reaffirm our primary tradition of just peace. Our Catholic Church, with 1.2 billion adherents worldwide and 22% of the US population, is ideally positioned to support peacebuilding, and avert what Pope Francis calls ‘the suicide of humanity.’”
“Do we expect it to be easy? No indeed. But we are a people of hope. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ We invite our Church to lend its prophetic voice to the abolition of war and the promotion of the way of just peace.”
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
Deacon James Rauner,
Pax Christi Michigan, state council
Remember the guy who dressed up in a blue shirt, khaki pants, and blue gloves and impersonated a TSA agent in San Francisco last month? He succeeded in leading two victims into a curtained booth and groped at least one of them. Well, we don't know exactly what he did, since he was hidden. We only know that he got away with it, and that if he had been an actual TSA clerk, whatever he did, including sexual molestation, would've been legal.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, spoke at the University of Virginia on Tuesday evening, in an event organized by the Center for Politics, which no doubt has video of the proceedings. Kislyak was once ambassador to Belgium and to NATO.
Kislyak spoke to a packed auditorium and took, I think, well over an hour of questions. He spoke frankly, and the questions he was asked by students, professors, and other participants were polite and for the most part far more intelligent than he would have been asked on, for example, Meet the Press.
He told the audience that Russia had known there were no WMDs in Iraq, and had known that attacking Iraq would bring "great difficulties" to that country. "And look what is happening today," he said. He made the same comment about Libya. He spoke of the U.S. and Russia working together to successfully remove chemical weapons from the Syrian government. But he warned against attacking Syria now.
There will be no new Cold War, Kislyak said, but there is now a greater divide in some ways than during the Cold War. Back then, he said, the U.S. Congress sent delegations over to meet with legislators, and the Supreme Court likewise. Now there is no contact. It's easy in the U.S. to be anti-Russian, he said, and hard to defend Russia. He complained about U.S. economic sanctions against Russia intended to "suffocate" Russian agriculture.
Asked about "annexing" Crimea, Kislyak rejected that characterization, pointed to the armed overthrow of the Ukrainian government, and insisted that Kiev must stop bombing its own people and instead talk about federalism within Ukraine.
There were remarkably few questions put to the ambassador that seemed informed by U.S. television "news." One was from a politics professor who insisted that Kislyak assign blame to Russia over Ukraine. Kislyak didn't.
I always sit in the back, thinking I might leave, but Kislyak was only taking questions from the front. So I moved up and was finally called on for the last question of the evening. For an hour and a half, Kislyak had addressed war and peace and Russian-U.S. relations, but he'd never blamed the U.S. for anything in Ukraine any more than Russia. No one had uttered the word "NATO."
So I pointed out the upcoming NATO protests. I recalled the history of Russia being told that NATO would not expand eastward. I asked Kislyak whether NATO ought to be disbanded.
The ambassador said that he had been the first Russian to "present his credentials" to NATO, and that he had "overestimated" NATO's ability to work with Russia. He'd been disappointed by NATO actions in Serbia, he said, and Libya, by the expansion eastward, by NATO pressure on Ukraine and Poland, and by the pretense that Russia might be about to attack Poland.
"We were promised," Kislyak said, that NATO would not expand eastward at all upon the reunification of Germany. "And now look." NATO has declared that Ukraine and Georgia will join NATO, Kislyak pointed out, and NATO says this even while a majority of the people in Ukraine say they're opposed.
The ambassador used the word "disappointed" a few times.
"We'll have to take measures to assure our defense," he said, "but we would have preferred to build on a situation with decreased presence and decreased readiness."
Wouldn't we all.
Join the campaign to shut down NATO.
Sign a petition for an independent investigation into the airplane crash in Ukraine.
Send a note to the Russian Embassy to let them know you're against a new Cold War too.
Cheney’s Legacy: Honesty Still in Short Supply
By Ray McGovern
As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago today.
Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and is the former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group, a network of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in US strategy in Afghanistan. A former State Department official, Matthew resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over US strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan in September 2009. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Matthew was in Iraq; first in 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, Matthew worked on Afghanistan and Iraq policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. Matthew’s writings have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Defense News, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. The Council on Foreign Relations has cited Matthew’s resignation letter from his post in Afghanistan as an Essential Document. In 2010, Matthew was named the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling. Matthew is a member of the Board of Directors for Council for a Livable World and is an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts (ExposeFacts.org). He writes on issues of war, peace and post-traumatic stress disorder recovery at MatthewHoh.com.
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At the 200th anniversary of the jackasses of 1812 getting the U.S. capital burned by the British in 1814, I found myself watching a new film by Rory Kennedy called Last Days in Vietnam. This film covers the moment of loss, of defeat, of the U.S. military at long last receiving its final ass kicking by the Vietnamese, for whom these were not the last days of Vietnam but the last days of the American War and of Western military occupation.
As in the Middle East these days, where the United States has been busy losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and wrecking Libya and Pakistan and Yemen and Palestine on the side, Vietnam was a disaster by the time the movie begins. As the U.S. news media blames ISIS for the state of Iraq, Last Days in Vietnam blames the North Vietnamese. This is the story of the loss in Vietnam, but it is told primarily by the losers.
A Pentagon-funded online celebration of the U.S. war on Vietnam describes the incidents shown in this film thus:
"The American evacuation ends. Saigon falls to the North Vietnamese troops, and organized South Vietnamese resistance to the communist forces ends. President Duong Van Minh announces the unconditional surrender of the Republic of Vietnam."
I recommend Veterans For Peace for a counter to the Pentagon's current $65 million campaign to glorify the U.S. war on Vietnam. And I recommend watching Last Days in Vietnam for an understanding of how wars end. In particular, this film should be watched by anyone who has managed to continue after all these decades to falsely associate war with victory or winning or success or accomplishment.
The final months of U.S. presence in Vietnam were a time of denial, by the U.S. ambassador and others, that the North Vietnamese were coming to kick them out. Every American and every one of their Vietnamese allies and collaborators, and all of the family members of both groups, could have been safely evacuated. Instead, there was a last-minute mad rush with helicopters dumped into the ocean after they unloaded passengers onto ships, and many left behind to be killed.
The film blames Congress for rejecting President Ford's request to fund an evacuation. But the Pentagon could quite easily have simply done it, and President Ford apparently never instructed the ambassador to do so. So, the spooky music plays, and the color of blood flows down the map from North to South as the barbaric communist aggressors who go so far as to use violence, something Americans would never do, approach Saigon. And they only come because President Nixon was driven out by the peaceniks. Never mind that that was several months earlier, they never would have come had Nixon been in the White House.
Of course, the views of the losers tend to obscure as much as to reveal. The war had to end. The people fighting for their homes had to prevail, sooner or later, over the people fighting for the fact that they'd already been fighting and couldn't face the shame of stopping. But Last Days in Vietnam shows the Americans watching the rushed evacuation from home, the Americans who had earlier "served" in Vietnam. And they believed all their efforts had "come to nothing."
Nothing? Nothing? Four million men, women, and children slaughtered. The U.S. society calls that nothing. The Germans are expected to know how many millions their government killed. The Japanese are required to study the past sins of Japan. But the United States is supposed to gaze at its navel, glorify its sinners, and pretend that its defeats are neutral, indifferent, nothingness. Try telling that story about Afghanistan or Iraq or Gaza, I dare you.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)