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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chemical Warfare

In the latest installment of the Empire Strikes Again, our President says he is going to attack "Syria" in the name of all that is good and decent, and, most importantly, "American." The rationale for attacking is that "Syria" used chemical weapons against "its own" people. Maybe, maybe not. That someone used chemical weapons is pretty clear. Just who, not so clear. It could have been the "rebels," some of their helpers, or even a renegade general in the "Syrian" command structure.

There are plenty of good reasons not to attack, as Ted Rall details in this article in Smirking Chimp. Juan Cole writes about opposition from European governments. It's a dumb idea. We of course haven't had such qualms about the use of chemical weapons in the past. The napalm and Agent Orange we used in "Vietnam" wreaked havoc, and still cause problems in that country. Our use of white phosphorous and depleted uranium in "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" is well-documented. Obama seems determined and undeterred, though, and has painted himself into a proverbial corner with his threats.

I have a slightly different response to the furor over chemical weapons. What intrigued me about this latest attack-mongering was the semantics, the use of words and their meaning. Chemical weapons. Weapons made of chemicals. Are chemicals only bad when they are used as weapons, but benign when used otherwise? If a person dies as a result of exposure to chemicals should someone be attacked? Just what are the criteria?

Vastly more people are killed every year through chemical warfare waged on the planet by the likes of Dow, DuPont and Monsanto, to name the most serious offenders. Some of us remember Union Carbide (now a part of DuPont), whose chemicals killed an estimated 16,000 in Bhopal, India in 1984 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster) No one was bombed afterwards, and no one from Union Carbide served any jail time (a few of their "Indian" executives were convicted, but were released on bail).

A typical worker from “Mexico.” If he were paid a decent wage, would 'Americans' do the work instead?Indeed, it can truthfully be said that millions around the planet have died untimely deaths from cancer and other diseases as a result of chemical exposure. No one as yet has been bombed to avenge these deaths or to prevent further carnage. No "red line" has ever been crossed, because none has ever existed.

What is the difference with Syria, one might ask. The difference, I suspect, is that Syria has not ante-ed up. If you want to poison people with chemicals you have to pay to play. It matters not whether it is involved in conflict or profit. What matters is the bribe. Pay someone off and you can pretty much do what you want.

Partners in crime. Or is it strange bedfellows? To read about Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, go to this URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/index.htmSaddam paid us in cheap oil. He was our friend, and gassed his own people, with our help. Then he got uppity, wanted a bigger share for himself and his country. It took a couple of invasions, but his demise was meant more as a warning to others.

Why, one might ask, would Obama be so keen to attack another country, given recent history?  I think the answer involves great complexity. His advisers, tough guys, are telling him to attack. Tough guys always want to attack. His "red line" was crossed. He wants to project "American," and by derivation his, power. He needs a "success," given recent "defeats." He doesn't want to be called "weak." It's good for momentum in getting other things done. He will get a lot of media attention. It changes the subject from other unpleasant topics, like the economy, global warming, NSA domestic spying, "gridlock" in the Congress, his "legacy," etc.

It's a dumb idea. The likelihood is it will do more harm than good, if any. Maybe our bought, "do-nothing" Congress will stop him. I wouldn't count on it. They are bought and do nothing. We're dying of stupidity.
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I linked to this song previously. It still comes to mind whenever I hear Obama or Kerry speak.

Here's an example of the harm done by chemicals. Here's another. This article gives some advice about chemical exposure. Here's a video of the most notorious napalming in "Vietnam."

For some info from National Public Radio on how "we" helped Saddam Hussein gas the "Iranian" army, click here.

Here's an old song from Woodstock. Here's another by the same guy.

Here's an update about Agent Orange in "Vietnam."

For a little perspective, this.

In case you were distracted by the shiny keys of war-mongering, here's a reminder of what the shiny keys are meant to distract you FROM.

In addition to chemical and atomic weapons, our "leaders" have had no qualms about using cluster bombs in our various wars and incursions around the planet.

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