Moment of Truth In Afghanistan, Iran, Israel-Palestine, SE Asia, Africa, FSU

http://ow.ly/npFP Afghan War Needs New Strategy: US Commander McChrystal

I include many areas where the world faces huge challenges, including the former Soviet Union (FSU).

We make a mistake when we segment challenges. One boat rocks others. We may not be gaia but there is some truth to our interdependence.

In all these situations, violence is active or incipient. In all of them, there is no solution being proposed that promises an end to the prospect of more of the same.

To cite examples:

There is every possibility that Iran will remain firm in refusing to stop enriching uranium and this will activate Israel eventually. If that happens the US may not be far behind.

There is every chance that the civil violence (if that is not an oxymoron) in many areas of the FSU will continue and that worsening economic conditions there will exacerbate conflict. Again involving other nations including the US.

In Africa there are at least five situations in which any notion of rights and decent behavior is a pipe dream without international action that would involve the US.

In Asia, Burma and Sri Lanka are merely the most conspicuous examples of continuing repression. I have not even mentioned North Korea.

And in Afghanistan we have the head US military man suggesting that with more resolve and manpower we can succeed — a truth that is no more likely to hold than the belief that Iraq will be a stable and unified democracy over time.

No serious thinker following Nietzsche and living through the Holocaust believes that the world can permanently weather a continuation of the dynamics which gave rise to the cataclysmic wars of the 20th Century.

We cannot weather full economic breakdown and a global nuclear winter.

How then are we to proceed?

I see no way other than for our President to declare a global emergency and address the underlying issue of a global military-industrial complex and a reliance on force that is fueled by governments still operating with 20th century notions that the sword is the instrument of peace and justice.

President Obama needs to declare a restructuring of the moral apparatus of the world. Realpolitik must be seen as the politics of negotiation and peace. Religion must be seen as the proximate capacity to dream, not as a license to kill. Economies must be made to create sustainable communities, not fortress societies.

Only the leadership of courageous persons can accomplish the movement needed today. Specifically, in Afghanistan we need to understand that there cannot be a military victory, period. In the future the only real victories will be those of aroused peoples who insist that the ways of war be permanently shelved. This will mean more movements like those in Iran following the most recent elections.

The President needs to stand at the helm of a global civil rights movement. He needs to show that realism is not inconsistent with this. He needs to hark back to Eisenhower and identify the military-industrial complex as the true enemy of civilization.

This is a moment of truth. This is not one person’s belief. It is the stance of all who have lived under the lash of the global war machine. We must reject the leadership of those for whom belief in force has overcome belief in themselves.

The moment of truth is a reappropriation of who we are and of our inherent possibilities.


Natalya Estemirova Murder Reveals Russia’s “Terror Campaign”: Activists Speak Out

Chechnya’s Climate of Permissiveness, Impunity and Grave Crimes

From The Article at HuffingtonPost

GROZNY, Russia ” Weeping mourners walked through Chechnya’s capital on Thursday to honor activist Natalya Estemirova, whose brazen kidnapping and execution-style killing shocked Russia’s beleaguered human rights community and prompted international outrage.

In Moscow, Russia’s leading rights advocates blamed Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed president for the killing. They also said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shared responsibility for the slaying and for the lawlessness plaguing the North Caucasus region.

“They have killed our soul,” said Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial rights group that Estemirova worked for.


We can and must expect that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton will deal with this forcefully , not least to help surviving workers who are made ever more vulnerable wherever impunity reigns.

We can also hope that the media that have remained silent will finally join in focusing on a crime which is every bit as serious as repression in Iran.

The religionists who have used just war and exceptionalist premises to cover a multitude of sins, should forcefully that the deity that the deity does not countenance violence of any sort.

We now have weapons in this battle that we did not have before the advent of cyberspace. It is time to cast the light of all that can be known on this heinous crime and let the eyes of justice probe beyond rote claims and locate those who conceived and carried out this affront to civilization.


VIDEO: Chill, Don’t Kill

This comment addresses the post “VIDEO:  Chill, Don’t Kill” at the link below.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

I don’t agree if the message comes from those most affected, the most vulnerable or  better yet from perps who have thought about their deeds. There can be no progress if we allow things that we regard as self evident to remain so when there is a chance to chip away at the public mindset. There is less slavery in the world now than there was 200 years ago. Gradually the marginalization of women and the exploitation of children is being addressed. It is not too soon to make killing unacceptable even if we do so awkwardly and hesitantly.


OK Israel Deal With It

The headline is as much a message to me as to my beleaguered fellow religionists.

Let’s get that out of the way. I see the root of our global violence crisis in two broad ways.

First all human beings are wired for violence. It is part of the spectrum of who we are and the reason for the wiring may have to do more with enabling us to be decent to ourselves by channeling the energy decently. But for discussion purposes the wiring means that the countries not mired in the Abrahamic religions — that would be Asia and the Far East mainly — have contributed to the fund of historic violence with just as much gusto as have the Abrahamic realms.

Second, the potential overcoming of this violence thing is a tiny reality within the Abrahamic faiths — these would be Judaism, Islam and Christianity — in verses of Isaiah (all three of them), scattered through the Koran and manifest in many sayings act activities attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. But the behavior of the Abrahamic faiths up to the present time has been execrable, shameful. idolatrous and all other nasty words you care to list. The strong prophetic message of moving beyond binary simplicities to something like reconciliation is tough medicine for wired human beings. And religion has typically drawn its organizational and cultural clues from societies that are not exactly cottoning to the prophetic core of these faiths. Simply, they have not given peace much of a chance.

This is why the end of the world could very well rest in the hands of the orthodox, the fundamentalists, the idolatrous and culpable representatives of these Abrahamic faiths. Whether the Taliban latching on to nukes in Pakistan, the Jews building offensive settlements with impunity to face down Palestinians, or the good Christians who support our military industrial complex simply doing business as usual and seeding the world with the high tech weapons it needs to destroy itself.

Against this double whammy of universal violence and Abrahamic my-God-can-beat-your-God violence, rational discussion of Israel is by definition totally impossible. This is why the UN and other human rights groups skirt the issue or come to blows when there is a lapse in avoidance. And this is why I limit myself to an occasional screed which amounts to throwing up my hands and giving up the ghost in a pantomime of inevitable doom.


Enter the little window opened up to history by the Obama Presidency, a tiny aperture through which we might permit some simple reason to shine. Such is the likely origin of this salient article in Newsweek. from which I will offer a few salient paragraphs and a link, so you can read it in full.

If Obama is serious about peacemaking he’ll have to adjust that balance in two ways. First, whatever the transgressions of the Palestinians (and there are many, including terror, violence and incitement), he’ll also have to deal with Israel’s behavior on the ground. The Gaza crisis is a case in point. Israel has every reason to defend itself against Hamas. But does it make sense for America to support its policy of punishing Hamas by making life unbearable for 1.5 million Gazans by denying aid and economic development? The answer is no.

Then there’s the settlements issue. In 25 years of working on this issue for six secretaries of state, I can’t recall one meeting where we had a serious discussion with an Israeli prime minister about the damage that settlement activity—including land confiscation, bypass roads and housing demolitions—does to the peacemaking process. There is a need to impose some accountability. And this can only come from the president. But Obama should make it clear that America will not lend its auspices to a peacemaking process in which the actions of either side willfully undermine the chances of an agreement America is trying to broker. No process at all would be better than a dishonest one that hurts America’s credibility.

Read all of If Obama Is Serious He should get tough with Israel.


Violence and Instability: A Global Survey

In the US, reaction to the economic crisis has been modest compared to what has been going on for a year or so around the world.


The moral would seem to be that as we get our recovery going, we help create a needed counterweight to the instability. And set an example. More or less the course we can infer from the President’s excellent speech last night.