Posted

Note: The recent killing of Qassem Suleimani in an unauthorized illegal drone strike makes it more important that we stop the madness and embrace a path that will lead us to peace.

Christmas 2019

What would happen, I wonder, if the armies suddenly and simultaneously went on strike, and said some other method must be found of settling this dispute? – Winston Churchill

Living in what is quite likely the most warlike country in the modern world (and quite possibly all of history), it is sometimes difficult to keep hope alive. The latest defense spending bill, which easily passed through a Democratic controlled house, totals 738 billion dollars. This includes 40 billion dollars to establish the world’s first “space force.” This is almost equal to the amount South Korea spent on their entire military in 2018. The US defense budget will amount to over 1/3 of the total military spending in the world. The bulk of this money simply goes to making the military industrial complex richer and more powerful. It is not being used for defense.

Military Budget

Military Spending

Both parties in the US have made it clear that they are parties of war and in complete support of the military industrial complex. In spite of this bleak reality, there is some hope that sanity will prevail among the people and they will elect a leader in 2020 who is not beholden to the military complex. At the present time, Senator Bernard “Bernie” Sanders aka “The Bern” is rising in the polls and holds a strong second place to former Vice President Biden. He is the only candidate who is both viable in the polls and running on a peace platform. When it comes to foreign policy, he offers a refreshing approach to the endless war policy that has reigned over the last two decades and most of the history of this country.

Bernie on Foreign Policy

While the future has not yet been determined and the US continues with their endless bombing campaigns (just recently stepped up with the drone strike assassination in Iraq), we can find a modicum of hope in the past. One hundred and five years ago, on December 25, 1914, roughly 100,000 soldiers on the western front in the war that is now known as World War I, ceased combat in a non officially sanctioned truce. Today this event is known as the Christmas Truce and it was an almost truly unprecedented event in military history.

As described in one newspaper, “Thoughtlessly I raised my head, too. Other men did the same. We saw hundreds of German heads appearing. Shouts filled the air. What miracle had happened? Men laughed and cheered. There was Christmas light in our eyes and I know there were Christmas tears in mine. There were smiles, smiles, smiles, where in days befrore there had been only rifle barrels.” Thu, Mar 25, 1915 – Page 7, Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana)How One Christmas Truce Spontaneously Similar events were happening all along the western front. A Belgian soldier described what occurred, “At dawn the Germans displayed a placard over the trenche; on which was written “Happy Christmas,” and then, leaving their trenches, unarmed, they advanced towards us singing and shouting “Comrades!” No one fired. We also had left our trenches and separated from each other only by the half-frozen Yser, we exchanged presents. They gave us cigars, and we threw them some chocolate….the whole day passed without any fighting.” Sat, Jan 2, 1915 – Page 3, The Times (London, Greater London, England) Christmas Truce A Belgian Point of View

For one day, and in some cases longer, fighting ceased through a mutual unspoken agreement and both sides celebrated Christmas together. This was extraordinary considering that for days and weeks before they had been shooting at each other. In December of 1914, the war was yet young, but it had settled down into the fairly static trench warfare that would define it for years to come. Many of the bloodiest battles of the war still lay in the future, but the 5 months leading up to the Christmas truce had not been without large amounts of bloodshed. On August 14, 1914, 27,000 French soldiers died in a 24 hour period during the battle of the frontiers. Bloodiest Day in French History The First Battle of the Marne in September 1914 resulted in nearly 500,000 combined casualties. Many of the soldiers involved in the war had left home thinking that the war would be over by Christmas. Yet when Christmas arrived, it was far from over and would continue until November 11, 1918. Nevertheless, for that one day, these men, who had been enemies, stopped fighting and began fraternizing, exchanging gifts, and even in a few locations playing football (soccer) with each other.

While truces and breaks in the fighting to bury the dead were not that uncommon at this point in the war, fraternization on a wide scale all along the front was a singular occurrence. Perhaps the idea had been seeded when the Pope had attempted to arrange an official truce for Christmas during the weeks before. But this attempt to broker an agreed upon ceasefire had failed as the Allied leadership did not believe it was to their advantage. Pope Benedict XV at least deserves a mention for attempting to bring this truce about, his was a lonely voice for peace among the outcries for continued slaughter and bloodshed.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 was the most famous and large scale event of its kind, but it was not the first time this had happened in war. During the American Civil War, just following the Battle of Fredericksburg, a similar event occurred between Union and Confederate soldiers. A Confederate soldier, Tally Simpson, described it in a letter to his sister, “Papers were exchanged, and several of our men bought pipes, gloves, &c from the privates who rowed the boat across. They had plenty of liquor and laughed, drank, and conversed with our men as if they had been friends from boyhood. “ Tally Simpson Letter On the other side of the war, John R. Paxton would later recall it in this manner, “Then they put parched corn, tobacco, ripe persimmons, into the boats and sent them back to us. And we chewed the parched corn, smoked real Virginia leaf, ate persimmons, which if they weren’t very filling at least contracted our stomachs to the size of our Christmas dinner. And so the day passed. We shouted, “Merry Christmas, Johnny.” They shouted, “Same to you, Yank.” And we forgot the biting wind, the chilling cold; we forgot those men over there were our enemies, whom it might be our duty to shoot before evening. “ Christmas on the Rappahannock

During the Civil War, both sides spoke the same language so it was easier to arrange an exchange of gifts and a truce. During the 1914 truce, in many cases the soldiers simply had to trust that the other side would not open fire when they left the safety of their trenches. This was a huge leap of faith – leaving the safety of the trenches and exposing themselves to the potential of enemy fire. This spontaneous cessation of hostilities during the Christmas truce goes against generally accepted principles of war. As the famous Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz noted, “If two parties have armed themselves for strife, then a feeling of animosity must have moved them to it; as long now as they continue armed, that is do not come to terms of peace, this feeling must exist; and it can only be brought to a standstill by either side by one single motive alone, which is, that he waits for a more favourable moment for action. “ Clausewitz Yet this truce was not brought about by the political or military leadership but rather through the actions of the men of both sides. This goes to show the power of the collective in war. There was nothing the leadership of either side could do to prevent the truce because the soldiers collectively decided to make peace with each other for Christmas.

Unfortunately the Christmas truce did not have a happy ending. The war would continue and 3 more Christmases would pass before it ended. There were a few attempts at a reprise of the truce on Christmas of 1915, but the leadership were more prepared for it and by and large prevented a large scale reoccurence of the 1914 truce. They were not altogether successful though – one such Christmas truce of 1915 can be read about here By 1916, the loss of life in the war had further increased and the war had become increasingly brutal in the attempts to break the stalemate on the Western Front and there were no attempts at a Christmas truce (that I could find) The truces of 1914 (and 1915) were to be singular events in the war and in history.

The Christmas truce shows us that even in the midst of one of the worst events in human history, there was still a moment of morality and compassion that was shared. While this event was fleeting, it still shines as a beacon of hope for humanity. In the present time, we face a choice between continuing the never ending wars and uniting together for peace to fight the greatest crisis the human race has ever faced – climate change. If we continue war, it is all but certain that the human race will be facing an extinction level event. The course that we are currently on is leading to this crisis. It is not too late for humanity to come together and remember that peace is not a dream, it is possible and in fact necessary for survival.

Further reading

Fraternization

Conspiring with the Enemy and Cooperating in Warfare

The Christmas Truce

Author

Posted

The Myth of War Being Patriotic

“The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war”
Bob Dylan, God on our Side

May 28, 2018. Today is Memorial Day. Let us not forget the sacrifices made by soldiers and honor them by bringing an end to war so that no more blood sacrifices have to be made to the demonic gods of the military industrial complex.

Note: Most of this was written about a year ago. Since then, the US has bombed Syria again, this time with the help of France and the UK. Like the previous strike, this one was also symbolic and helped only the military industrial complex. On May 24, 2018, the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of passing HR 5515, a military spending bill that allocates 717 billion dollars for 2019. If this bill is passed by the Senate, it will set a new record high for defense spending. Most of this money will end up in the hands of the military industrial complex.

Every war we see the same propaganda. Essentially it boils down to if we don’t support the war, we are being un-American. The other side is evil and America is the “good guys.” Unfortunately, this is seldom the actual case.

Fighting to defend our freedoms is a myth. None of the current conflicts the United States is fighting have anything to do with defense. They have everything to do with making massive profits for the military industrial complex. The American citizens are paying taxes to fund these wars. This tax money could be used to help fix the many domestic issues that face the United States today – such as healthcare or education.

When Trump decided to carry out his tomahawk missile attack on Syria in 2017, the media took extra time to cover it. Trump said the following, ““We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world, we pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail. Good night, and God bless America and the entire world.” Observer This is the typical line – God, justice, and the American way. The way toward peace does not involve more bombs.
The media responded, Fareed Zakaria said on CNN when asked what changed with the attack, “I Think Donald Trump Became President Of The United States.” Elliot Abrams wrote in The Weekly Standard, “But that 75-day break-in period has just ended, and the Trump administration can truly be said to have started only now. The president has been chief executive since January 20, but this week he acted also as Commander in Chief. And more: He finally accepted the role of leader of the Free World. “ Weekly Standard Apparently nothing says leader of the free world like dropping bombs.

This attack had little to no actual impact on the conflict in Syria. It wasted a huge amount of money that went straight to Raytheon’s profit margin and was in essence simply a publicity stunt by the president. The media neglected to point this out – Brian Williams of MSNBC went so far as to say, “They are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making a brief flight.” Washington Post There is nothing beautiful about war. Together with Comcast, General Electric owns NBC. As recently as July 19, 2017, General Electric was given a defense contract worth 409 million dollars. Reuters When taken in this light, Brian Williams’ remarks on the beauty of the tomahawk strikes make more sense. The mainstream media is about profit, not about unbiased reporting.

William Cohen, a former Defense Secretary, when interviewed on CNBC said, “I think the American people want him to act as he did last night.” This is the story that they want us to believe. They want to think that the Americans support such displays of military might. This attack on Syria was framed as a retaliation for an unproven chemical attack theoretically made by Assad against his own people. Yet in the United States, many are dying from lack of affordable healthcare. Thousands of United States veterans are homeless. Instead of helping solve this problems at home, nearly every day the United States is dropping bombs in multiple countries that are resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians. These attacks are not publicized like the tomahawk strike in Syria because they do not fit the framework of avenging evil. If the United States does not come out as the good guys, the media is not nearly as interested in covering it. This is nothing new, the coverage of the Gulf War in the 90s was the same story. I recommend reading the entire article by Norman Solomon on this phenomenon where he notes that, “Less than 1 percent of the U.S. sources were anti-war on the CBS Evening News during the Iraq war’s first three weeks.” Norman Solomon

While the media was busy praising these strikes, a more appropriate response was given by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard,“This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to the death of more civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia. “ While there have been no more strikes on the scale of the tomahawk attack, the United States has continued with a high level of bombing. Since Trump took office, bombs have been dropped in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan. This is continuing America’s legacy of war. It doesn’t matter who is president, bombs are being continually dropped. Obama was dropping bombs on all of these same countries. Trump has just increased the number of bombs being dropped.
Business Insider

None of these bombings will make America safer. None of them will protect our freedoms. Every single one of them will make a profit for the military industrial complex. These wars are not patriotic fights for truth, justice, and the American way – although the American way is one of war, so perhaps one out of the three. The United States has a disturbing history of needless wars and it is long past time that they end. What Eisenhower said still rings true today, “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.” Presidency Project Sadly, peace will remain out of sight as long as the military industrial complex rules this country.

We still face the same problems that Major General Smedley Butler wrote about almost a century ago, “Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.” Archive.org Sadly, this democracy has not been well preserved. The interests of the corporate elite now run the country. It is no longer a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Innocent people are needlessly dying to bombs dropped by our country for no other purpose than corporate profit. In a sad testament to this, the US Senate approved an unprecedented 700 billion dollar defense budget in a vote of 89-9. This is not the will of the people but rather that of the military industrial complex. Even the name defense budget is a misnomer. Much of this money is being spent on aggressive actions, not on defending our soil. The United States maintains bases in over 70 countries. A total of 177 countries have US troops in them. These are not necessary for defense. This is imperialism on a global scale. The sun never sets on the American military industrial complex – it is time for that change for the better of the country and of the world.

Author
Categories Hope for the future

Posted

Part 2 – The Human Costs of War

“You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing!” – W T Sherman

What are the costs of war? Major General Smedley Butler’s answer to this question is, “This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries.”

The amount of deaths is just the start. For every death in war, there are hundreds or thousands of others who are mentally or physically injured. The term PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) had not yet been invented when Major General Butler was writing but, among other issues, it is clearly what he is referring to when he writes of “shattered minds.” He goes on to describe what this looks like, “These boys don’t even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone. “ This has not changed from the time that Butler was writing. Indeed, the mental toll of war may even have gotten worse due to the phenomena of combat isolation.

While the body count (on the US side) of recent conflicts has not been comparatively high, the price paid by those involved in the wars remains incredibly high. In addition to those who have suffered physical injury or death in the recent wars, there are many more whose lives were severely damaged by the trauma of war. A study of Vietnam says “that at the time of the study approximately 830,000 male and female Vietnam theater veterans (26%) had symptoms and related functional impairment associated with PTSD. “ However, this number may actually be much greater than that as ““In a reanalysis of the NVVRS data, along with analysis of the data from the Matsunaga Vietnam Veterans Project, Schnurr, Lunney, Sengupta, and Waelde (2003) found that, contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam. “ For more info, see Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study

In 2011, a Pew survey found that 37% of post 9/11 veterans surveyed said that they suffered from PTS. The number goes up to 49% of those who saw combat. Pew – War and Sacrifice It is difficult to determine how many veterans suffer from PTSD, but whatever the actual number is, it is clear that warfare produces severe mental trauma. A direct result of this mental trauma can be seen in the increased suicide rate among veterans. A recent study by the VA found that “risk for suicide was 21% higher among Veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adults.” Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet This amounted to an average of 20 veteran suicides per day in the year 2014 for a total of 7,403 suicides. In comparison, a total of 4,491 United States service members were killed in action in the Iraq war between 2003-2017. (It should be noted that in contrast to this, the lowest estimate for Iraqi casualties from 2003-2006 is 151,000 deaths, it is likely that total Iraqi death toll will never be known for sure – in terms of casualties, these have been extremely one sided wars) While we have not seen a war on the same scale as the First World War, it is clear that the price of war has not changed since Major General Butler’s time. Whether it be death, injury, or mental trauma, soldiers pay a high price in war. In exchange for this, they receive very little compensation compared to the millions that the corporate warlords are making off these wars. With what it costs to buy a single Tomahawk cruise missile, the Army can pay the salary of 34 military police sergeants, including benefits, for an entire year. (Numbers based on Defense Budget 2017 and Army Benefits) As Butler puts it, “No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here.”

The human costs of war for the other countries, those that are being bombed or invaded, is much higher. In Part 1, I already mentioned the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Since writing that, it has only gotten worse. As of July 2017, 17 million people are insecure for food and 3.11 million have been displaced. There is essentially no access to healthcare and “ A child under the age of 5 dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes. “ More information on this crisis can be found at Yemen. The statistics are horrifying. According to another UN Report, “Since March 2015, OHCHR has recorded a total of 13,504 civilian casualties, including 4,971 killed and 8,533 injured. “ Yemen Casualties These are civilians, not combatants. Combatants at least make a conscious decision to risk their lives in war – these civilians did not choose this, they were simply collateral damage in a war that they have no part in. Many of these casualties were caused by armaments sold to Saudi Arabia by the United States. Others were caused directly by United States attacks.

In many ways the situation in Yemen mirrors that of Vietnam. Many atrocities were committed during the Viet Nam War. The most famous of these atrocities was the My Lai massacre in which over 300 unarmed civilians were slaughtered by US troops. There were many other such incidents which did not receive as much publicity. I recommend reading this BBC report on the atrocities in Vietnam – Was My Lai just one of many massacres in Vietnam War? Another, more vivid reminder of the atrocities committed during this war can be found in Nick Uti’s photographs of a napalm attack from 1972. Warning, graphical content: Nick UT In this instance, the United States did not carry out the napalm attack, but it goes to show how terrible war can be and in many other instances during the war, napalm was dropped by United States forces into civilian areas. The use of napalm against civilians was banned in 1980 by international law although the United States did not agree to this until 2009. In spite of this, the United States and allies continue to make use of white phosphorus, a chemical weapon similar to napalm. It appears that white phosphorus was just recently used in attacks on Raqqa and Mosul in Syria. Raqqa and Mosul phosphorus is manufactured by Monsanto which is also linked to the manufacture of Agent Orange, a chemical weapon used in Vietnam with devastating effects which are still felt today by the people of Vietnam. The other company involved in the manufacture of Agent Orange, Dow Chemical, also produced napalm for use in Vietnam. Both of these companies have seen enormous profits from the use of these incredible inhumane weapons in war. This is nothing new – every war is inhumane.

“The history of all forms of warfare is, however, essentially inhumane.” John Keegan, Introduction to “The Book of War”, Viking, New York, New York: 1999.

What we are seeing in many modern day conflicts is simply a repeat of what happened in Vietnam. Millions of civilians are being killed, injured, and displaced. The fate of these people is not a concern to the military industrial complex. Thousands have died crossing the Mediterranean in their attempt to flee the war zones but the corporations have made billions so they turn a blind eye to this suffering. Refugee Statistics

The only way to end all this suffering brought about by war is to end war. As Eisenhower said, “Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.” Our Documents

Author
Categories Hope for the future

Posted

The Moral Imperative to End War

Part 1 – The Profits of War

The world is currently facing two interrelated issues that could result in the end of humanity. These are war and climate change. (“Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world … struggling over limited amounts of water and land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of conflict.” Bernie Sanders Both of these issues are already causing great amounts of harm throughout the world. If we can end war, it will be a major step forward in defeating climate change and creating a better planet for all life.

While it is easy to say “stop war, stop global warming,“an actual solution to these problems is much more difficult in practice. In order to stop war, it is necessary to understand how illogical and unnecessary war is. In the long run, no one benefits from war. However, in the short term, the only people who stand to gain from war are the military industrial complex. This corporate behemoth reaps the profits of war with little regard to the long term costs of war to humanity as a whole.

“The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits — ah! that is another matter — twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent — the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it. “ Major General Smedley Butler

An example of the military industrial complex can be found in the Raytheon Corporation. As the 4th largest defense contractor in the United States, Raytheon bases their business around making profit from war. In 2014, the United States Department of Defense gave Raytheon a total of 12.6 billion dollars in defense contracts. National Priorities This same year they made a total EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization )of 3.66 billion. Roughly 90% of Raytheon’s business is in arms sales. Billions of dollars are being made by selling death and destruction.

Where does this money come from? It is coming from the taxpayers – the American people. Essentially money is being taken from American citizens, given to large corporations, and then used in military actions that have not been approved by the American people.

In addition to taking American tax money, Raytheon also has a significant presence overseas. They do not limit their business to just America. They will take money from anyone. They actually have a presence in over 80 countries. This is less than the amount of countries that the American military has a presence in, but it is still a significant amount.

One of the countries with which Raytheon does business is that of Saudi Arabia. As they declare ontheir website, “In May 2017, Raytheon announced a new chapter in this close relationship with the kingdom: plans to create Raytheon Arabia, a Saudi legal entity wholly owned by Raytheon that will create indigenous products and services in defense, aerospace and security with an emphasis in the following areas:
Air defense systems
Smart munitions
Command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (commonly known as C4I)
Cybersecurity for defense systems and platforms
Raytheon

They are proud to be contributing to the “defense” of Saudi Arabia. They are happy to provide Saudi Arabia with weapons in exchange for oil money. Saudi Arabia is currently involved in a messy interventionist war in Yemen. The United States has also played a part in this conflict. As a result of this war and a massive drought in the region, Yemen is currently facing a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions. The United Nations describes the crisis in the following, “Currently, 17 million people are food insecure while a staggering seven million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and are at risk of famine. At least three million people have fled their homes, public services have broken down, less than half of the health centres are functional and medicine and equipment are limited. “ United Nations Raytheon selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United States continued military strikes will do nothing but exacerbate this crisis. In March, the International Committee of the Red Cross doubled their budget for Yemen to 90 million dollars. Meanwhile, the latest deal the Trump administration has made with Saudi Arabia reportedly has “more than $1 billion worth of munitions including armor-piercing Penetrator Warheads and Paveway laser-guided bombs made by Raytheon Co (RTN.N)”. Reuters It must be noted that Raytheon does give around 200,000$ a year to the Annual Disaster Giving Program of the Red Cross – however this fund goes to help with disaster assistance in the United States and does nothing to counter the devastation caused by the use of their weapons. Raytheon
In contrast to this 200,000$ a year, Raytheon spent 4.8 million on lobbying in 2016. Open Secrets This lobbying was used for inluence in the United States government in order to perpetuate continued war and defense spending.

This is not a new phenomenon. On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower warned against the dangers of the military industrial complex during his farewell address. He said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Our Documents

Unfortunately, the country has not heeded Eisenhower’s warning and the profits of the military industrial complex have been given priority over the needs and desires of the people. The corporations are more interested in their profits than they are in the human cost of the wars which are driving these profits. Raytheon is only one example out of many in the vast military industrial complex. These corporations are the only ones profiting from war. In part 2, I will delve deeper into the human costs of war.

Author
Categories Hope for the future

Posted

The primary reason why the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) must be stopped is environmental. It is long past time that we move beyond fossil fuels into renewable energy. A pipeline transporting fracked oil is clearly not the way to do this.

Not only does burning fossil fuels contribute to global warming, but the transport of oil via pipeline is incredibly dangerous to the environment. Sunoco, the company behind the pipeline, does not have a good track record with oil spills. Over the last six years, their pipelines have had 203 spills. Reuters
This is just from the one company. In the last twenty years, according to a report by Citylab, pipeline accidents “have resulted in 548 deaths, 2,576 injuries, and over $8.5 billion in financial damages.” CityLab This is from a total of over 9,000 major spills. These statistics also do not really take into account the environmental damage done by these spills. The pro-pipeline argument is that in spite of the spills, transporting oil via pipeline results in fewer incidents than via road or rail. This is true – but leaving the oil in the ground is the safest alternative. It can’t spill if it isn’t being transported at all. And if it doesn’t spill, it won’t contaminate the water supply.

We now have feasible alternatives to fossil fuels. It is simply corporate greed from the oil companies that is driving the pipeline. Just recently, Tesla powered the entire island of American Samoa with solar power. ZME Science Europe has also made great advances in solar power with Germany leading the way. Triple Pundit America is far behind on their use of renewable resources even though the technology exists to create a more green future. The reason for this is simply because of the amount of lobbying power the big oil corporations have. This is corporate oligarchy at work. The election of Donald Trump will do nothing to help counter the control of the government by the wealthy elite. It is necessary for millions of individuals to stand up against the corporate interests and stop the pipeline. This is the first step toward a better future that doesn’t rely on dirty fossil fuels.

It must also be noted that the original route of the pipeline was supposed to cross the Missouri River north of Bismarck. According to the Bismarck tribune, “ one reason that route was rejected was its potential threat to Bismarck’s water supply, documents show. “ Bismarck Tribune The pipeline route was then moved to its current position where it remains a threat to the water supply of anyone down river including the Standing Rock Sioux. This decision to move the pipeline appears to be inheritantly racist. Essentially, by moving the proposed route of the pipeline, what they are saying is that the water quality of the Standing Rock Sioux is not of equal importance as the water quality of Bismarck, ND, with a population that is almost 95% white. Bismarck Demographics See also: ABC News

In response to this threat to their water supply (and that of millions of people living down stream of the crossing point), the Stand Rock Sioux established a camp near the proposed crossing in order to peacefully protest the pipeline. This camp, the Oceti Sakowin camp, has been steadily growing since it was first established.

The pipeline has responded by militarizing their construction zone through the use of police and private security. Since this militarization, a series of human rights abuses have been carried out against the protesters. On September 3, attack dogs were used against unarmed protesters. On October 27, a long range accoustic device (LRAD) was used against the protesters. This is a device that is capable of causing permanent hearing loss. Gizmodo This same confrontation resulted in 141 arrests, some of the arrested protesters were placed in improvised holding pens that were essentially dog kennels. On November 20, a water cannon was fired on the protesters in sub-freezing temperatures. Concussion grenades and rubber bullets were also used during the stand-off. Over 150 (some reports say upwards of 300) protesters were injured that night including Sophia Wilansky, whose arm was severely damaged in an explosion most likely from a concussion grenade. New York Times
See also – Unicorn Riot and Heavy

The official statements of law enforcement have directly contrasted eye witness reports and journalists on the scene. Live video shot from the scene also contrasts the statements of the law enforcement officials. The actions of the police in attacking peaceful, unarmed protesters constitute a clear human rights violation.

In spite of inclement weather and an Army Corps of Engineers evacuation order, the Oceti Sakowin camp remains strong. Thousands of veterans are currently arriving or traveling to the camp. While establishment politicians and the main stream media have remained quiet on the DAPL, it is good to know some people are standing up to corporate greed and protecting the environment.

The DAPL must be stopped.

Here are a few things that you can do to help:

Call the White House – 202-456-1414
Call the Army Corps of Engineers – (202) 761-5903
Sign the White House Petition – Petition

Move your money out of the big banks that are backing the pipeline and let them know why – Banks

Donate to the Standing Rock Sioux Fund – Donate

For more information see:The Prairie Blog

Author
Categories Meaningful labor