Here is what I read:
Give Peace a Dance
Righting Injustice and Recognizing the Human Family
Earth Meanders by Dr. Glen Barry
October 1, 2006
Vote Peace and to Establish War Crimes Truth Commission
Under President Bush a terrible criminal tragedy is being transformed into World War IV. It need not have been. Al Qaeda never enjoyed great popularity until the incautious invasion of Iraq that has needlessly and under false pretenses made a particularly fecund breeding ground for those that want to kill Americans. Welcome to this scathing truthful examination of murderous islam, Bush war crimes, and a path to peace.
The threat from Islamic fundamentalists is real - they want to kill free thinking non-believers of their cult. Yet the fact that such a crude attack succeeded given many warnings is Bush's fault - it occurred on his administration's watch, already some one sixth of the way into his first term presidency (counting vacation days).
As I saw the apocalyptic images of the twin towers falling, I
was ready for some weeks to rejoin the army, which in my youth I
had attempted to leave as a conscientious objector. But then
came the wildly disproportional and damaging American imperial
response. There has been a total lack of prudence, temperance
and thinking through of consequences in the American
government's war policies.
Not only has war been launched based upon lies, but in the
process the United States is becoming an empire building police
state. It is no longer entirely clear if there are any good guys
in the "global war on terror". America simply must find a way to
live with and minimize the risk of terrorism without loss of
their freedoms, militarizing the world, and losing track of
other threats to our well-being such as climate change and
ecosystem loss and diminishment.
Bush's main emphasis of late has been upon trying to cover his
and his cronies' asses for past and ongoing war crimes while
further taking away civil liberties. Torture, rendition, spying
on citizens, disappearances - is this America? And as some of
the most egregious abuses are overturned in the courts, or
lessen in severity as they become public, others are being
codified into law.
Legislation is likely to soon be approved that would allow
military trials without defendants seeing the evidence against
them - even possibly American citizens. They could come for you
or anyone, anywhere including in the United States, at any time,
torture you and imprison you, without you having a fair trial.
And Bush administration war criminals get a "get out of jail
free card" under changes to the War Crimes Act. That is Bush's
A small group of religious fanatics carried out an atrocious act
that sunny morning in New York, and since then Bush has inflamed
the situation with intemperate, incompetent and incautious
responses. There was a magnificent opportunity for the world
community to unite and stop the scourge of war and violence
immediately following 9/11, but instead Bush chose militarism
and war crimes. And "staying the course" means low-level perma-
America grows more like their enemies each day. As with all
unlawful violence, Islamic jihadism must be addressed, and I
shall engage this momentarily. But let me first note the
importance of Americans voting for peace this November to end
the unlawful pre-emptive Iraq war and bring troops home now, get
on with the task of bringing Osama and his lunatic followers to
justice, and establish an "American Truth Commission" to
investigate war crimes by the Bush administration.
Winning the "war on terror" depends equally upon defeating Al
Qaeda and charging Bush administration officials with war
crimes. Only this dual emphasis can end the Iraq war, mend the
clash of superstitious fundamentalisms, and nurture a sense of
global humanity that shuns both terrorism and militarism, while
getting on with the most pressing task of our times - achieving
just and equitable global ecological sustainability.
Islamic Fundamentalism as Bad as the Christian Sort
Having shared my thoughts in earlier writings on organized
religion's fundamentalists, and christianity in particular, now
let me briefly share my thoughts on islam. Islamic
fundamentalism like any religious extremism is dangerous. The
truth of the matter is that Muhammad was a mass murdering,
polygamous warlord that inspired an incredibly violent religion,
holey book and fatally flawed worldview.
Militant jihadist Islamists are medieval, dangerous cretins that
care for little else than maintaining ancient barbaric ways in a
modern world. It is true that only a minority of islam's
adherents are militant fundamentalists that follow their
prophet's example of violence and injustice. Yet, what a vile
religion that has a concept of "holy war", and whose violent
jihadism intensifies during its "holy month" of Ramadan. Simple
joys like dancing and appreciating female beauty are taboo.
Most muslims are not senselessly violent, yet like their
christian and jewish brethren, they are superstitious and follow
a myth propagated by the sword of a false medieval prophet.
Islam has little to offer the world in terms of answers to
global issues of justice and sustainability. There is no chance
of saving the Earth, righting injustices or modernizing based
upon newly discovered scientific truths with these guys
Osama bin Butthead is a monster. But no matter how bad his
actions, the American response has been disproportional and
played right into the monster's hands. The threat is morphing
from a small criminal cabal into a popular people's war and
needs to be contained, not made worse. Even given President
Bush's ham-handed governance and imperial war waging, the
Western liberal democratic system of government is clearly
superior to a medieval caliphate based on a garden variety false
Do you think Al Qaeda gives a rat's ass about the environment,
human rights, cultural diversity or truth and justice? Even more
crazily and self-defeating than Christians waiting for the
rapture, delusional extremist islamists look forward to blowing
themselves up - often killing other muslims - so they can enjoy
the company of a bevy of virgins in heaven.
Religious extremism of all types stymies efforts to achieve
just, equitable and sustainable human societies. The threat
posed by islamic jihadism has grown so grave that we should
either withdraw or go in and take over the Middle East. There is
little hope of a middle, status quo pathway to peace.
The Answer: Righting Injustice and Building Institutions
Representing the Human Family's Interests
The way out is to withdraw from Iraq, contain islamic
fundamentalism as we did communism, lead by example with liberty
and justice, invest in sustainable development, bring to justice
Osama bin Laden, and impeach Bush and Cheney while jailing
lesser war criminals as well. Humanity must not rest until
murderous war criminals on both sides are killed or spend time
in jail for their war crimes.
America and the United Kingdom in particular need to demand
peace and address terrorism lawfully and ethically within a
strengthened international law regime. America simply cannot
afford to spend $440 billion a year on defense - and continuing
these expenditures will lead to its fall, as has happened
throughout human history when empires go broke financially and
ethically. What else could be purchased with these funds? Clean
water, a stable climate, health care, jobs and primary education
for the whole world? Think that might cut terrorism?
America essentially has two options regarding the Iraq War:
either withdraw and contain the threat of militant islam, or
escalate and militarily pacify the entire region. Because of
President Bush's imprudence and incompetence, there is no longer
any middle ground.
The latter would require reinstating the draft, putting America
on a war footing, and invading the entire Middle East. Unless we
are willing to do so, we must withdraw from Iraq and continue to
contain and combat terrorism through international cooperative
measures. Terrorist acts must be aggressively lawfully thwarted.
And the West must be scrupulously just and fair in our dealings
with the muslim world. We must be less violent, fairer and
better behaved than the other side.
Islamic jihadism is but one aspect of the North/South divide
between over-developed and poverty stricken countries. Given the
glaring lack of global governance and policing, it were not the
clash of ancient false religions and global oil addiction,
continued primitive tribal conflicts within the human family
would be over water, land and other resources. America must once
again become the leader in building international law and
institutions, and then follow the rules as all countries must,
in order to end war forever.
What kind of life do we want for ourselves and our children over
the next 50 years? Will it be war and conflict to support
militant over-consumption? What of the joys and necessities of
life? Are Americans so afraid of their enemies that they are
willing to stop living as a free, secular and modern society? We
need to be better than them.
It would be less tragic to have an occasional 9/11 type attack
then to jettison the greatest system of free ideals the world
has ever seen. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Give
peace a chance. Don't need no more lies. Continue on the current
track and Western democracy may fall to murderous jihadist
imbeciles, and the world plunged into a new inescapable middle
age of societal and environmental collapse.
By and large I believe the fall of Western liberal democracies
would be a negative for the environment and well-being of the
human family. But perhaps permanent disruption of oil supplies
and fall of the consumer culture would in net allow the Earth
and humanity to persist longer.
It's just us - no omnipotent God - but Earthly spirituality
surrounding us, as we try to evolve to overcome tribalism and
different mythologies. Become a seeker of truth, starting with
the reality that all of humanity is one family.
I am not going to tell Americans how to vote this coming
November except to vote for peace. And I will not tell you how
to live, but recommend you dance and think freely rather than
wage fundamentalist wars. Give peace a dance.
Ã(DaveNote: the only way to vote for peace is to vote against war-mongers! So yes, the people who think ARE telling those who do not think how to vote! Thus if you can think, do (then you will of course vote against a continuation of the NUSH DYNASTY, )
(In ...'amerika'....---THOUGH, THAT WILL NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE, UNTIL DEMOCRACY IS RE-INSTTUTED AND FAIR ELECTIONS ARE ENFORCED!)
Earth Meanders is a series of personal essays that places questions of
environmental sustainability within the context of other contemporary issues.
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