Tag Archives: “change you can believe in?”

U.S. State Department: United States Uses Casualties to Support Military Action; Pentagon Declined to Count Civilian Casualties Caused by U.S.’s War Conduct

Military action is wasteful in terms of human lives, lost potential, and money. The focus should be on uniting as human beings for the good of human beings, not endless wars waged on poor countries by rich countries. Military action is not justified in Syria; reliance on body counts to justify action is also hypocritical when the U.S. government refuses to count the people killed as a result of its own military actions.

Today, U.S. State Department  provided a count of the casualties caused by the chemical weapons attack in Syria–1,429:

A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children, though this assessment will certainly evolve as we obtain more information. (page 1)

Yet, when the United States was asked to provide a count of civilians killed in its military action waged in Iraq, U.S. General Tommy Franks said, “We don’t do body counts.” Yet, the United States government is conducting a body count today.

The chemical weapons attack in Syria is offensive, but there are judicial bodies set up to bring people to account for their wrongdoing. Bombs and military action are blunt instruments; no one can control the devastation they cause. How accurate are these bombs? Can all people be convinced that this proposed bombing will only hurt the targets of the operation? Suppose the bomb goes astray and kills innocent civilians instead. What would be the response of those who dropped the bomb?

The United States must avoid taking sides in a civil war. Instead, it should focus on getting the disputing sides to peacefully negotiate their differences and end the bloodletting.

David Ignatius: Military Action Against Syria Not Justified; Statement to Support Warmongering Deceptive

In a column, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius mentioned a disagreeable statement:

“Among Egyptian generals, Saudi princes, Israeli politicians, and other conservative players in the Middle East, the consensus seems to be that [U.S. President Barack] Obama is a weak president–and that they need to rely on themselves for security.”

This statement is disingenuous because it assumes that power to strike militarily is equally shared. It is not; thus, Ignatius is  putting forth an argument that is meant to encourage yet another misadventure in the Middle East. The United States has long had sanctions against Syria, yet now is the time for another regime change operation, after the Pyrrhic victories of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nevertheless, an objective look at the facts shows that Ignatius’s intentions with his column are less than pure and, thus, are best to be ignored.

State United Nations P-5 Member Population (in millions) Nuclear Weapons Gross Domestic Product (in U.S. dollars)
United States Yes 313.9 (2012) Yes 14.99 trillion (2011)
United Kingdom Yes 62.74 (2011) Yes 2.445 trillion (2011)
Russia Yes 143.0 (2011) Yes 1.858 trillion (2011)
Israel No 7.766 (2011) Yes 242.9 billion (2011)
Egypt No 82.54 (2011) No 229.5 billion (2011)
Saudi Arabia No 28.08 (2011) No 576.8 billion (2011)
Syria No 20.82 (2011) No 59.15 billion (2010)
Iran No 74.8 (2011) No 331.0 billion (2010)
Lebanon No 4.259 (2011) No 40.09 billion (2011)
Iraq No 32.96 (2011) No 115.4 billion (2011)
Afghanistan No 35.32 (2011) No 19.18 bilion (2011)

Source: For population and gross domestic product, Google. For nuclear weapons, www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat. For United Nations, www.un.org/en/sc/members/.

2010 Census: Percentage of the White Population Declined Slightly; Nevertheless, Whites are Still the Dominant Majority Population

In my posts dealing with the “futility of colorblindness”, I often refer to the Census’s breakdown of race to show that the White population is the dominant population in the country. The percentage number for Whites went down a little bit, but White still make up over 223 million people.

United States (population: 281,421,906 (2000 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 75.1% 211,460,626
Black 12.3 34,658,190
Native American 0.9 2,475,956
Asian 3.6 10,242,998

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

The Futility of “Colorblindness”: Trayvon Martin–The “Post-Racial” Makeup of Government Leadership & Its Profound Irrelevance

[Update 7-15-13: After deliberating about 16 hours, and listening to the evidence in the approximately 14-business-day trial, a  jury determined that George Zimmerman was not guilty of both murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.]

In an article about the marches to respond to the events leading to and following the death of Trayvon Martin, a Washington Post article seems to express a disbelief that people are still affected by negative behavior because of their skin color even when the president is African American, the attorney general is Black, and the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division is Hispanic (a national origin, not a race).

I don’t think that the non-White racial identification of government leadership is relevant in a situation where a Black person is killed and the known shooter will likely not receive any arrest, trial, or penalty for it. In addition, as I mentioned in a previous post, the so-called post-racial era never existed. It is impossible where Whites are the preferred race and dominant population.

What happened to Mr. Martin is shocking to me–a surprise that such an event is still occurring in 2012.It suggests that for a Black person simply living his or her own life is at risk of being killed as a result of the anxieties or false beliefs of someone else.

Zimmerman was not arrested, and I am not sure whether a case can be made against him now. The Sanford, Fla., Police Department effectively closed the case until the recent news coverage reopened the case. While I hope that charges can be filed against Zimmerman, with the poor preliminary police work and evidence gathering, I am not sure if charges can be filed that will strong enough to succeed in court.

Federal Pensions: Third Way Was Able to Increase FERS Contributions; Congress Directed Extra Monies to Unemploment Extension

Because of the way that the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) is set up, when federal employees contribute more (without an increase of the pension benefit), they actually are paying that money to the Treasury. In the case of the recent new law (P. L. 112-96, title V), this money is going to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits (and not an increase in pension benefits). So, basically, federal employee pay was effectively cut back.

The group, Third Way,  still has influence. It asked for a 5.2% increase of employee’s contributions; the Congress delivered 3.1% not only for the civil service but all participants of the Federal Employees’ Retirement System.

[The crocodile tears of Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Representative Chris Van Hollen (member of the so -called supercommittee) did not affect me at all, except to make me marvel at their skills of "gaslighting."]

United States: Waging War to Regain Former “Glory” Futile; Foreign States That Seek War Must Bear All Costs & Consequences without U.S. Taxpayer Assistance

State

Gross Domestic Product

Population

United States $14.59 trillion 311,591,917
Iran $331.015 billion 73,973,600
Israel $217.33 billion 7,624,600
Iraq $82.1503 billion 32.0308 million
Afghanistan $17.2431 billion 34.3851 million

Source: For gross domestic product, Google. For population, Google.

It is said that the state of Israel is preparing itself for war. If that state wants to wage war, it must prepare to accept all of the costs and consequences of that move by itself. Meanwhile, the “elites,” or the 1%, of this country should not assume if they work up themselves into a frenzy enough that they can lead the people of the United States to support a military action.

At root of all of this bellicose behavior seems to be not a direct threat on the people of the United States but rather a closely held policy view that the United States (via Israel) should be the only political power in the Middle East region. Should Iran be able to have the elements of nuclear power, even without actually creating a bomb, the United States will no longer be able to dictate its wishes with the implicit threat or use of military force.

With the civilian-instituted political revolutions (e.g., Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and others) going on in that region, the power of the United States to make such dictates has been severely weakened; attacking Iran will not allow the United States to regain this permanent loss of power. When Mubarak waived the presidency, the U.S. power grip was broken.

This power loss is demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States waged war in both places with nebulous results after costly losses to this country and most definitely to the civilian population and treasury of both Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States surely cannot say its hand has been strengthened with the overwhelming use of force in these poor countries. Iraq is not truly sovereign; it does not have a viable military, air force or military armaments to thwart would be invaders (except the United States).

The people of the United States cannot tolerate any more wars, unless aggression is encountered within the U.S. territory. Other countries are free to do with their money, militaries, and populations as they see fit.

U.S. Foreign Policy: “Might is Right” Doctrine Potentially at Play in Iran; States that Administer it Are Playing with Fire

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old nuclear scientist in Iran, was assassinated with a bomb that was magnetically attached to his car by a motorcyclist. The whole event seems to be a professionally targeted hit. (How many common criminals use a magnetic bomb?) The United States condemned the Roshan’s killing. Regardless, the assassination was quite unwise as the nuclear knowledge already present in Iran will not be gone because Roshan is not there.

States using with terroristic methods ultimately play with fire. If it were a Western scientist assassinated under nebulous circumstances would be soundly condemned as terrorism against Western ideals (for example, academic freedom) with fiery calls for vengeance. How, then, can today’s assassination of a young scientist be even thought of as a success?

The United States continues to grieve the attacks of September 11; it should avoid provoking (in any way) backlash-inducing catastrophes.

Note: Nuclear weapon states.