Saturday, March 22, 2008


By Ed Kinane
(1,100 words)

This Commentary is Unpublished.

People keep going to war. They go for many reasons. The only defensible reason, however, is self-defense – of one’s family, one’s community, one’s country.

Years ago, a group of anti-war activists here in Syracuse brainstormed reasons to oppose the imminent US attack on Iraq. Not much tweaking would be needed for that long list to apply equally to a US invasion of Iran. That tweaking would be no academic exercise. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush, having despoiled two Islamic nations, are poised to despoil a third.

What follows draws on our brainstorm of years ago. As we did then, we begin here with why people of conscience must oppose war in general...

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Kinane spent two weeks in Iran in 2007 with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and five months in Iraq in 2003 with Voices in the Wilderness. Reach him at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Harry Targ
(1,660 words)

This Commentary is Unpublished

In the Beginning
After suffering the greatest economic depression in United States history, this country participated in a war-time coalition with Great Britain and the former Soviet Union to defeat fascism in Europe and Japanese imperialism in Asia. As a result of the economic mobilization for war, the United States economy grew to become the most powerful one by war’s end. By 1945, Americans were responsible for three-fourths of the world’s invested capital and controlled two-thirds of its industrial capacity. Near the end of World War II, General Motors CEO Charles Wilson recommended that the U.S. continue the wartime partnership between the government, the corporate sector, and the military to maintain what he called a “permanent war economy.”

To justify a permanent war economy-ever increasing military expenditures, bases all around the world, periodic military interventions, and the maintenance of a large land army, navy, and air force-an external threat was needed. In 1947 President Truman told the American people that there was such a threat, “international communism.”

Many liberals and conservatives remained skeptical about high military expenditures. But, just before the Korean War started, permanent war economy advocates threw their support behind recommendations made in a long- time classified document, National Security Council Document 68, which recommended a dramatic increase in military spending. NSC-68 also recommended that military spending from that point on should be the number one priority of the national government...

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Harry Targ teaches U.S. foreign policy and international relations and is a member of the National Executive Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


By Ed Kinane
(700 words)

This commentary is unpublished.

We keep hearing certain words – such as “democracy” and “terrorism” -- that are seldom defined. The pretense is that we all know what these words mean. Yet that’s hardly the case.

Here’s how the U.S. State Department defines terrorism: the use of violence or the threat of violence to harm or intimidate civilians for political purposes.

Given all the commentary on terrorism, you’d think this pithy definition might often be invoked. It seldom is. Why? Because applying that definition evenhandedly – to assess each violent episode or campaign, regardless of who perpetrates it -- would boomerang. It would expose terrorists who usually aren’t thought of as terrorists.

Retail terrorism – like abduction or suicide bombing – is a tactic of the hardware have-nots. It gets all the attention. Wholesale terrorism – invasion and aerial warfare, for example – is the strategy of the haves...

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In 2003, Ed Kinane worked with Voices in the Wilderness, in Baghdad. Contact him at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Badge of Honor

By Dee Aker, Emiko Noma and Laura Taylor
(750 words)

This commentary is unpublished.

Around the world, one in three women is physically, sexually or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries. Most often, the perpetrator is someone she knows. She is not safe in her home, or in the public sphere.

Men must stand up and be equal partners to end violence against women. “I call on men around the world to lead by example: to make clear that violence against women is an act perpetrated by a coward, and that speaking up against it is a badge of honor,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed as he launched UNITE, the new U.N. campaign to end this scourge on society. “No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune,” he said.

The last 15 years have witnessed the increase of statistical research on the subject, and while new protection laws and public awareness campaigns are also on the rise...

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The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) at the University of San Diego sent a delegation to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. This article was written by IPJ staff Dee Aker, Emiko Noma and Laura Taylor.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Terror at Home: Gun Violence in Our Schools

By Thomas J. Humphrey
(940 words)

This Commentary is Unpublished

On 14 February 2008, while most people planned their Valentine Day’s celebration, a former student of Northern Illinois University dressed in black, walked into the university’s Cole Hall, stepped onto a stage, and fired into a lecture hall filled with students getting ready to leave class. Inside the classroom, panic struck hard at the students as the students scrambled for safety, some crawling up the aisles while others hid beneath their chairs. Others waited to run until the gunman stopped shooting. He was reloading. Outside the classroom, faculty, students, and visitors walked by Cole Hall, heard the popping of gunfire, and recoiled as students burst through the doors of the building, some of whom were spattered with blood. Some helped wounded students, others helped student find cover, and many called police. The entire incident erupted and ended in just a few minutes. Six students were murdered that day before the killer took his own life. Eighteen others were wounded.

The shooting at NIU was horrific but, sadly, hardly unique...

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Thomas J. Humphrey is an Associate Professor of American History at Cleveland State University, and received his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.


By John LaForge
(1310 words)

This Commentary is Unpublished

Like earlier Pentagon denials of the dangers of the Vietnam Era defoliant Agent Orange, the U.S. military now claims publicly that its uranium munitions -- made from waste uranium-238 and sometimes called depleted uranium (DU) -- are not known to cause health problems. Yet the strongest evidence to the contrary comes from its own reports.

According to a June 1995 report to Congress by the U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute (USAEPI), "Depleted uranium is a radioactive waste and, as such, should be deposited in a licensed repository." To put the issue frankly, the U.S. has been shooting this radioactive waste at people all over the world: At testing ranges in the U.S., So. Korea and on Vieques Island; at civilian populations in Iraq (380 tons in 1991; 170 tons in 2003), Afghanistan in 2001 (amounts unknown), Kosovo in 1999 (10 tons) and Bosnia in 1994-95 (5 tons).

On August 16, 1993, the U.S. department of the Army's Office of the Surgeon General issued its "Depleted Uranium (DU) Safety Training" manual. The document plainly says the expected effects of DU exposure include possible increase of cancer (lung and bone) and kidney damage. It recommends "…that you convene a working group to define competing risks of combat with DU weapons, to identify countermeasures against DU exposure …"

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-- LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch and edits its quarterly newsletter. A draft version of these remarks was presented Feb. 14 to the Standing Committee on Defense of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague.