The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

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What’s the deadliest conflict since World War II?

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A: Congo. And it’s big:Tugelaridley.com

More than 5 million people have died in the past decade, yet it goes virtually unnoticed and unreported in the United States. […] In other words, a loss of life on the scale of Sept. 11 occurring every two days, in a country whose population is one-sixth our own. … A particularly horrifying aspect of the conflict is the mass sexual violence being used as a weapon of war.

And guess who got the ball rolling:

After supporting the allies in World War II, Congo gained independence and elected Patrice Lumumba, a progressive Pan-Africanist, as prime minister in 1960. He was assassinated soon after in a plot involving the CIA. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

How Big Business raids the third world thru the World Bank

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The Secret History of the American EmpireRemember Halliburton, and the suspicion that Mr. Cheney had directed vast Iraq contracts to it? The suspicions arose for a reason: apparently, it’s been SOP for government and multinational corporations since WWII.

I’m reading John Perkins’ phenomenal The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption. Turns out, the World Bank and IMF are tools by which multinational corporations use government to re-direct billions into their own coffers. Here’s the tip of the iceberg:

Created at Bretton Woods in my home state of New Hampshire in 1944, the Bank was charged with reconstructing countries devastated by the war. Its mission soon became synonymous with proving that the capitalist system was superior to that of the Soviet Union. To further this role, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Religion

Zinn: 7 Conclusions about war

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Baghdad bombingI found historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States so important that now I read everything of his I come across. Always controversial, here are some excerpts from this WWII bombardier’s introduction to “Bomb After Bomb: a Violent Cartography,” by Elin O’Hara Slavick, as reprinted in Counterpunch.

On bombing:

I am stunned by the thought that we, the “civilized” nations, have bombed cities and countrysides and islands for a hundred years. Yet, here in the United States, which is responsible for most of that, the public, as was true of me, does not understand–I mean really understand–what bombs do to people. That failure of imagination, I believe, is critical to explaining why we still have wars, why we accept bombing as a common accompaniment to our foreign policies, without horror or disgust. …

On patriotism, a useful distinction between government and country:

Patriotism is defined as obedience to government, obscuring the difference between the government and the people. Thus, soldiers are led to believe that “we are fighting for our country” when in fact they are fighting for the governmentRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

December 17, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Posted in patriotism, Politics

Should we have a “war on terror”?

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Candidate John Edwards offers a thoughtful foreign policy speech, including:

The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe.
It’s a bumper sticker, not a plan.

Hmm. Think of what we expect when a crisis becomes a war. In war, bombs are dropped. Armies invade. Civil rights are limited. Calling it a war means “it’s now a military campaign.”

But if it’s a crisis without the war label, military action remains the last resort. Diplomacy—through a host of channels—takes the lead. Aren’t we hearing from every expert and commission that diplomacy is exactly what we’ve lacked? Edwards again:

… The so-called “war” has created even more terrorism–as we have seen so tragically in Iraq. The State Department itself recently released a study showing that worldwide terrorism has increased 25% in 2006, including a 40% surge in civilian fatalities. …

The “war” metaphor has … failed because it exaggerates the role of only one instrument of American power–the military. … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

June 4, 2007 at 11:37 am

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

Iran, the weapons, and how America gets into wars

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So what’s up with these weapons they’re telling us about? Supposedly, they’re turning up in Iraq, and causing Americans casualties.

Before launching the B-1’s, let’s insist there are good answers to important questions. For, at the moment, the answers are much worse than the original news suggested:

1. How big an issue are these Iran-made weapons?

SIGNIFICANT: “Iran is a significant contributor to attacks on coalition forces.” – Sunday, 2-11-07, US briefing. Boston Globe, 2-14- 07

OR, NO MATERIAL EFFECT: “It seems to be a relatively small segment of anti-US activity. Even if this activity were to completely stop, that would not materially affect the threat to US troops.” Kenneth Katzman, Middle East analyst, Congressional Research Service (the research arm of Congress) – Boston Globe, 2-14-07

2. Are smugglers taking them to Iraq, or is this an Iranian government action against American troops? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

February 19, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Iran, Politics, Terrorism