US Refuses to Sign Cluster Bomb Ban

Nations began signing a treaty banning cluster bombs on Wednesday. 100 of the 192 nations in the UN are expected to sign, with non-signing exceptions such as China, Russia and the United States. I don’t understand why we are so reluctant to sign the ban- After all, 98 percent of cluster bomb victims are civilians, 27 percent of those being children. Cluster bombs are essentially lots of little bombs packed into artillery shells, bombs and missiles that shoot them out over a large area in order to cover more ground. However, some of the bombs lie dormant for years, and they are all too often deactivated by unsuspecting children who are distracted by their unfamiliar shape and bright, toy-like coloring, much like land mines.

In the US, scientists and weapons experts work every day to develop new ways to kill. I find that reality repulsive, but if we are working on new weapons all the time, why would it be harmful to ban a more outdated, clearly less accurate method such as cluster bombing?

Despite these statistics, the US refuses to sign the ban. Weapons such as cluster bombing or (God forbid) nuclear warheads desensitize us to the raw humanity of war- with the push of a button, one person can end the lives of thousands or even millions of people, and maim countless others. I don’t believe humans should have that kind of power, but that is the reality in which we live. Because all it takes is the push of a button, for some people, it seems like a “cleaner” war- but the truth is that war is never “clean.” The fact that the US is so reluctant to sign a ban that could potentially save that 98 percent of innocent, civilian victims is disgusting and yet entirely typical of our overly hawkish foreign policy. If our President can look someone in the eye and tell them that he is willing to take responsibility for that 98 percent of unecessary casualties, it demonstrates his lack of thoughtfulness and chilling insensitivity- another reason I hope the door of the White House hits him on the way out.

Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 1:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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McCain on position for Cheney in his administration: “Hell yeah.”

(Sefermpost.typepad.com, June 11 2008)

At a July 15 appearance in Michigan, McCain dampened the speculation by calling Cheney “one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had.”

In interviews for Stephen Hayes’ 2007 biography of Cheney, McCain “strongly” asserted that Cheney “has been of enormous help to this president of the United States.” Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports today that in unpublished comments to Hayes, McCain also said that he would consider Cheney for a post in his administration:

Going further, McCain even told Hayes in comments heretofore unpublished that he’d consider Cheney for an administration post.

Asked whether he’d be interested in Cheney had the vice president not already have served under Bush for two terms, McCain said: “I don’t know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah.”

My two cents: this should scare people- the fact that McCain says “hell yeah” to a position for Dick Cheney (former CEO of Halliburton)- because of his nefariously sketchy and well-documented war profiteering exploits. Here are some facts (www.unspun.us)

Halliburton has had a monopoly on all oil contracts in Iraq awarded under the U.S occupation.

These contracts have all been awarded without competition and given the Halliburton the power to run all phases of Iraq’s oil industry including the ‘operation’ of Iraqi oil fields and ‘distribution’ of Iraqi oil.

For running this monopoly they have not only recieved enormous fees from the U.S Government (over Seven billion dollars in 2003 alone) they are allowed to charge a levy of over $6 dollars on every barrel of Oil that is exported from Iraq.

In September 2003, when asked by Tim Russert whether he was “involved in any way in the awarding of [Iraq] contracts” to Halliburton, Cheney replied “Of course not, Tim. . . . And as Vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government.” In Fact internal Pentagon documents reveal that the awarding of the Halliburton contracts “has been coordinate [with] VP’s office.” An internal Pentagon email reveals that the award of no-bid Halliburton contracts “has been coordinated with the VP’s office.” (Burger & Zagorin, Time Magazine 05.30.04, CAP Daily Report 06.01.04 and 06.15.04).

McCain: Bush’s, and apparently Cheney’s, third term.

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mother Earth Disowns Republican Senators

Let me say this: The priorities of Republican senators are all screwed up. In their most recent act of thick-skulled incomprehension in a long line of acts of thick-skulled incomprehension, Republican senators blocked the passing of a bill that sought to reduce American emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by nearly 70% by 2050. The bill was viewed as a step in the right direction, but by no means the solution to the climate crisis. While the Republicans went on and on about industry and how inconvenient and costly it would be to implement the bill, our planet heaved another sigh of despair, saying to itself, “here we go again.”

Nobody ever said that dealing with climate change would be a cake walk, but last time I checked, America stands for something. We should reconnect with our better selves and acknowledge the huge challenge that is dealing with climate change. America’s brand stands on the pioneer spirit that led our forefathers to the colonies, that led the settlers west, that led us to the moon- we are not a nation built on petty cynicism and stick-in-the-mud mindsets. Republican senators, who seem to be wearing thick, foggy glasses that render them incapable of differentiating between the wellbeing of the earth and mankind rather than their constituency’s temporary convenience, have apparently forgotten this fact. If there’s one thing we can learn from the Republicans further inhibiting our ability to progress as a society, it’s that we must elect Barack Obama. Our senators have proved that the current American brand has been reconfigured to include George Bush’s obtuse denials of the climate crisis. We must not let this happen again.

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Price of Oil: 4,000 American Lives

As I watched Keith Olbermann’s spectacular Special Comment in which he rightly lambasts President Bush for his arrogant, futile and reckless administration, I felt deep sadness.

I felt this sadness because I realized that I am living under the leadership of a man who bullheadedly denied all evidence that contradicted his desire to go to war in Iraq, and to be, as he once gleefully told a reporter, a “wartime president.” It pains me that 4,000 Americans have died and many more are maimed for life, and for what? They certainly haven’t died to fight terrorism, because the terrorists were in Afghanistan. They certainly haven’t died to protect our safety, because Iraq posed no nuclear threat. There are laws in place that prevent the filming of coffins coming home from Iraq. Why is this? Because if we don’t see it, then it must not exist.

There is an agreement that has been put before the Iraqi government in which it would cede 70-80% of their oil to the United States. However, they are unwilling to give us such a large slice of the pie, and this reluctance is drawing out Iraqi-American negotiations. In 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney hosted a series of meetings with a group of energy industry representatives and lobbyists. From these meetings, the Bush administration unveiled a controversial National Energy Plan, which consisted chiefly of $33 billion in public subsidies and tax cuts for the oil, coal, and nuclear power industries, as well as provisions to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for industrial oil drilling.

The reason George W. Bush truly wanted to go into Iraq was for the oil-  and now that it’s probable that we won’t get our 80% of Iraqi oil (because who really wants to be weaned off our foreign oil dependency, anyway?) he will have failed at that, too. Bush and his twin, John McCain, want to stay in Iraq not for some high minded debt we think we owe the Iraqi government/people, but rather for the same prize that has motivated nearly every action of the Bush administration since 2000: Oil.

The responsibility for the loss of 4,000 Americans rests squarely on George Bush’s shoulders. The barbaric torture practiced by his administration is completely un-American, and not only that, but inhuman.  Bush exploited the fears of post-9/11 America so that he could plunge the US further into the oil-dependent abyss we’re in. 4,000 lives were lost so that oil companies could continue to profit and Americans could keep fueling their gas-guzzling SUVs. President Bush has become so apathetic to basic human rights that he was perfectly willing to destroy families, send 20-year-olds to be blown up by suicide bombers, and make American citizens more vulnerable because of a thinly-spread, overextended military. This war, as Keith Olbermann said, is George Bush’s war.

I pledge allegiance to the flag, the Constitution, and the United States of America- but not to its President. Oil prices have risen again, and now, we see that the true cost of oil is not just $100 a barrel, but 4,000 American lives. And counting.

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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