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An Example of How the World Sees the U.S.


Here is an article from "The Nation" in Kenya. Some of the facts are incorrect, such as stating that Casey is Cindy Sheehan's only child; perhaps they meant "only son". However, the opinions expressed in the article are valid and poignant.

At Least, Our Leaders Shun War

The Nation (Nairobi)
August 20, 2005

By Ambrose Murunga

Kenyan leaders may routinely line up their pockets at our expense, or occasionally impose a suspect public educational system while their children benefit from first-rate education elsewhere.

But looking at events beyond our borders, I'm grateful that our leaders, in spite of their exceptional insatiability, have at least shunned external aggression.

I find that a remarkable achievement in a region where practically all our neighbours have been to wars.

No Kenyan parent would want to be in the position of a mother called Cindy Sheehan. For the past few weeks, Cindy has been publicly mourning her son, Casey.

Casey, Cindy's only child, is reported to have been an altar boy, and a reserved young man who enjoyed playing video games and watching wrestling on television.

Together with 20 fellow soldiers, Casey went to the rescue of colleagues who had been ambushed in Baghdad. He was among the seven who never made it back.

His mother has been camping outside President Bush's Texas ranch to seek audience and a rational explanation for her son's death.

The president initially met Cindy in a group of other parents at White House and explained that their sons died for a noble cause.

But the mother does not see it that way. Sheehan asks: If the cause is that noble, how come President Bush has not sent his two girls to war?

President Bush has twins in their early twenties, just about Casey's age.

Casey's mother is confronting the age-old question of the moral of war. The difference here is that she is addressing the right person, directly.

The political leadership has, at various times in history, used such phrases as "safeguarding our way of life" to justify wars whose real motive has little to do with the citizens' way of life.

Cindy has probably caught on that war is the greatest con of all time. War is a business whose chief product is death, but a business all the same.

The only guaranteed winners of a war, whether those on the frontline win or lose, are the peddlers of death; those who make modern weapons so devastating and effective at killing masses.

The residents of Tokyo encountered one such weapon at quarter to midnight on March 9, 1945.

Bombs had largely failed to demolish Japanese cities, and one livid US General called Curtis LeMay decided to try out a different weapon.

It was the napalm bomb, and this was its first notable use in war.

Napalm is a flammable gel used in flame-throwers and fire bombs. It sticks to whatever it comes in contact with, until it completely burns out.

Napalm burns at much higher temperatures than the ordinary fire bombs, reaching up to 3,000 degrees Celsius. And it burns very slowly.

A conventional napalm bomb scatters hundreds of smaller napalm bombs over a wide area, burning everything in the way.

On that March night, Gen LeMay was in a particularly foul mood, so he ordered his bombers to offload more than 2,000 tonnes of napalm bombs over Tokyo.

And burn, Tokyo did. Strong winds spread the fire storm, totally wiping out an area five times the size of Nairobi.

Days later, when the flames finally died, more than 80,000 Japanese had been roasted to death, their bodies reduced to half their sizes by the intense heat.

No malice meant, the US military nonchalantly explained as millions back home celebrated the "victory".

The 80,000 dead were listed as "acceptable" collateral damage in achieving a strategic objective.

Napalm was quietly eased out of the arsenals of most countries after the public outrage that followed the publication of an Associated Press photograph in March 1972.

In the photograph, terrified Vietnamese children are seen fleeing down a road after a napalm attack on their village.

In the picture, is a naked nine-year-old-girl, her body still smouldering. She is screaming in visible anguish as she tries not to further distress the raw flesh by walking.

But the weapons industry was not beaten. In the US, they replaced napalm with the even more horrifying fuel air explosive, dubbed the GBU-28 FAE.

When deployed, the FAE exerts up to seven times the pressure a human being can withstand.

Victims at the outer edge of impact suffer crashed internal organs, while those at the centre are reduced to pulp.

So young men like Casey Sheehan cheerfully prance off to war - or get drafted against their will - armed with these deadly toys, while intoxicated on some dubious concept of a "noble cause."

Some, like Casey, make their return in "personnel transfer containers", traditionally called coffins. Their families are told in appropriately sombre tones: "Your son died serving his country."

Military philosophers, like Thomas Aquinas five centuries ago, attempted to design a moral template for a righteous war, arguing that it must have a "just cause" and should be a "last resort."

The party waging the war must also have "legitimate authority" over the opposition, and "use of arms should not lead to more harm and disorder than the ill to be removed."

But even with the benefit of better knowledge, modern human beings have faithfully stuck to the medieval motivation for war: political control, coveting a "neighbour's" territory, plunder of choice wealth ... even revenge.

They have further succeeded in making war a more efficient and impersonal affair where a soldier does not necessarily have to look into the eyes of the victim.

However appealing military aggression may be made to sound, it is still murder on a grand scale; an obscenity that modern people have little excuse in perpetuating.

In Kenya, whatever else our leaders may be guilty of, at least they cannot be accused of being a bellicose, war-mongering bunch. That alone saves us the pain and heartache of Cindy Sheehan.

Does that make us cowards? Nay. I prefer the word "civilized."
LINK TO ORIGINAL

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Beautifully said

"Civilized" - What a wonderful word:

1. having an advanced or humane culture, society, etc.
2. Polite, refined

"Once upon a time, or mabye twice, there was a paradise called Pepperland. It lay eighty thousand leagues beneath the sea.

The principal natural resources of Pepperland were - and still are - Sun . . . music .. . laughter . .. and LOVE."
- From "The Yellow Submarine" - The Beatles

peace.

All Americans (well, almost all) are deeply concerned about their image as a people. Their desire to be perceived as warm-hearted generous purveyors to the world of all that is good and right and noble is beyond question.

The stark reality, however, is that governments of the United States of America (regardless of political denomination) merely play upon and use such desires of its ordinary citizens to achieve purposes and ends that most often reflect very different motives. Those true motives, more often than not, relate to the aims and ambitions of an elite establishment with multinational corporate interests.

So, when the U.S. government speaks about bringing good things ("freedom", "democracy", "justice", etc.) to other lands, it plays well with the domestic audience -- both ordinary citizens and the elite who know what the message really means.

The rest of the world, having long been on the receiving end, is quite naturally very sceptical about such "generosity" from U.S. governments -- much more sceptical than Americans themselves. Regretably, their scepticism is almost always well warranted if not always well reported on the "home front".

Bottom line: America (the country) is often seen internationally as a dangerously hypocritical threat to world peace and security. Americans (the people) are often seen as well-meaning, but hoplessly naive and ineffectual dupes of their own government.

I agree that Americans are taught that we are this "Pentacle of Goodness" in the world, which in a lot of ways is true. However, when Truman got duped into forming the "CIA", we created an International "Shadow Military Arm" of the PNAC NEO CONS not unlike how Albert Pike's "Ku Klux Klan" was the domestic shadow enforcement agency of the nouveau riche "Republican/Roman" Industrialists in the late 1800s. This Shadow Side has beome our "Face/Identity" to much of the world.

However, the most frightening "Shadow Side" that I see being energized by current NEO CON propaganda, especially in the Southern Fundamentalist Churches, is the "They are UNGRATEFUL!!!" rhetoric.

In an economic system where the middle class in dropping exponentially into poverty, struggling people are angry and want to know why this is. Instead of the "Ruling Class" telling the truth about thier "Greed", they tell these frightened children that it is those "damn Liberals giving away all your money to foreigners that are all ungrateful 'heathens' that hate you and want to kill you."
(If I had a dollar for every time I heard a Southern Preacher scream at a child, "The Muslims follow a FALSE GOD!!" . . .)

And, well, if the "Preacher-MAN says it's so in North Carolina, it's the Truth." Regardless of the fact that this pulpit-putz missed the entire point of the Protestant Reformation and is just trying to build up an Empire "bigger than Billy Graham's". . . "wanna buy a tape or CD of last Sunday's sermon? It's a Tax-Free 'Love Offering' to MY church.")

"Preacher man talking on the TV
Putting down the rock and roll
Wants me to send a donation
Cuz he's worried about my soul."
- Charlie Daniel's Band

peace.

Yeah, President Kennedy was going to bust the CIA back down to what they were supposed to be when Truman set them up, an "intelligence gathering agency" and not a pack of International Assassins and Machiavellian Saboteurs.

But "Bang, Bang-Bang, Bang, Bang" in Dallas, TX Nov 22, 1963 stopped that from happening.

Why was Johnson at a party in Texas the night before with Nixon, Hoover, and all the Texas oil millionaires?

Good thing the Warren Commission was there to get to the bottom of everything, just like the 9/11 Commission.

Please don't get me started on organized religion and its contributions to hypocracy as a way of life. The evangelical satellite broadcast ministries may currently be the most blatant examples, but they're just technological value-added spin-offs of a very long tradition.

I shudder to think of a simple carpenter and the honored philosopher-founders of other religions faced with the world today, and what they would have to say to us about our many perversions of their creeds.

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