Archives for the month of: October, 2013

I received many responses to my interview on Bruce Gagnon’s T.V. show, This Issue. Below are my responses to two of those. Since my responses were written, events have moved on to give hope for a peaceful resolution to the present crisis in Syria. Please feel free to add your thoughts.

1. Because Obama threatened Syria with military action, there was/is a conversation. No threat, no conversation.  The status quo was not acceptable… or would you have rather Basher Assad continue using chemicals on his people. .Nothing is really black or white.  …Obama is a very strategic person. The media may not give him any credit for getting a dialog started but I will.

 

This was one reaction to my interview with Bruce Gagnon on the T.V. show, This Issue. I believe it was well put and representative of some people’s thinking concerning the Obama Administration’s threat to shoot cruise missiles into the sovereign state of Syria. There is much packed into the above statement. Let’s examine it piece by piece.

“Obama is a very strategic person.” There is little doubt in my mind that that is true. Overall it is my humble opinion that he is the best president we have had in the post WWII era. At the same time, his statement and proposed action concerning Syria is wrong and dangerous.

It is not his “strategy”. Gunboat diplomacy has been the approach of those who rule the USA for the past one hundred years. The threats, followed by bombings and/or boots on the ground, has a long history. It has intensified since WWII because the military industrial complex has usurped control of our countries foreign policy.

Here’s the way President Eisenhower put it, as he was finishing up his presidency.

“In the counsels 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.”

Concerning the status quo and Assad using chemical weapons, I believe this is being very trusting of the same media the viewer  disavowed in the last sentence. UN inspectors have stated that chemical weapons were used. They have not confirmed who used those weapons.

History is rife with examples of contrived events to justify intervention and war. From “Remember the Maine” and the Spanish American War of the 1890s to the Tonkin Gulf incidents at the threshold of the U.S. War in Vietnam, fabrications and outright lies have been used to intervene in the affairs of other countries, quite often violently. Do we really want to trust the people who run this country with this history in mind?

If it is true that Assad is responsible for these heinous attacks, do we want our country solely to be making decisions of war and peace in the world? The French said it best before the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003. “We would have to invade sixty countries to rid the world of every bad guy in power.” International institutions, the U.N in the first place, have to be involved in such decisions along with many other international bodies e.g. Arab League, European Union, African Union.  

I agree with the statement that the media will not give credit to President Obama – on anything. The Republican –Tea Party Right, combined with the incredible concentration of ownership of the media in the hands of very wealthy supporters of the same people, have conspired to bash President Obama at very turn. The media’s trashing of Obamacare is a good example. But we would be mistaken to see the media’s handling of the crisis in Syria as the main reason for gunboat policy failing in this instance.

What really stayed the hand of war was the intervention and outcry of the people. Most poles showed only 9% supported the President and expanding the war in the Mid-East. The organizing both on the ground e.g. there were demonstrations every week in New Haven and elsewhere, and on the Internet, led to an avalanche of protest against gunboat diplomacy. It is the people who started the dialogue and stayed the hand of imperial designs in this instance.

2. One viewer stated that the show, This Issue, and the focus on the U.S. threat to Syria, was negative. This viewer said that a culture of peace must be engendered through positive examples and initiatives. I appreciate and respect this view. However, at this moment in time I do believe it is wrong-headed.

This is one of those times when the danger of war and its expansion are great in the Mid-East. Clearly Iran is the target of ruling circles here in the USA and elsewhere. The moderator, Bruce Gagnon on the T.V. show This Issue, and I pointed out that real danger.

Concerning being positive, both Mr. Gagnon and I pointed out that the people of the country were not accepting the bellicose statements of the Obama Administration. We mentioned that positive development multiple times.  Notice also that we concluded on the very positive development of the Commission on the Future in Connecticut. This group will actually begin plotting the civilian green conversion of the economy in CT from military products. That is both exciting and positive.

Bruce Gagnon also developed the history of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) in pushing civilian green conversion of the economy. It was former president of IAM, William Winpisinger, in particular, that encouraged this positive direction. This was very important to point out as the T.V. channels showing This Issue play in Bath, Maine. It is here in this ship building port that the Aegis Destroyers are made. They carry the cruise missiles being used to threaten the sovereign country of Syria. Bath Iron Works (BIW) is also organized by IAM. So this coming together of the peace, environmental and trade union movements in CT will be a shining example for Bath, the workers there, the community, and the rest of the country. These are very positive developments indeed.

While Obama’s actions and recent statement are the stuff of raw imperialism, we have one of those “educational moments.” We need to expose the machinations of imperialism and the military industrial complex. That isn’t some narrow sloganeering. The T.V. show, This Issue, points out specific moments in history to show that what is happening before our very eyes is not some accident of history. We’ve seen this picture before.

The culture of peace we all desire needs a material base. As long as huge profits flow from these military industrial complexes, that will be difficult. The very Maine senators and congress people we mentioned on the show in Maine end up cheerleaders for huge contracts from the military. They just procured another one for 2.84 million dollars to make more Aegis destroyers. That is why both Bruce Gagnon and I thought people needed to put maximum pressure on these representatives to oppose shooting missiles into Syria.

A transformative movement, involving trade unions, peace, and the environment, is needed to help turn our country away from gunboat diplomacy and war. I have a profound respect for the broad accomplishments of groups around a culture of peace. The ideological work debunking that “war is in our genes” is particularly needed at this moment in time. We need the education, songs, poems, prose, art and other initiatives that continues to flow from the Decade For A Culture Of Peace. We also need the hard political work that will lay a material base for a culture of peace to flower.

Advertisements

Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network interviewed author Len Yannielli about his latest book, Moon Shadow Of War. Much of the discussion centered on the latest threat to world peace, the civil war in Syria, and the proposal by the Obama Administration to use cruise missiles against a sovereign state.