Volume 21, Number 11
Battle of St Paul
“FREE GAZA MOVEMENT”
Breaking Gaza's Seige
The Infamous Three G's
Outrageous Gift Offer
Goodbye to Bush Offer
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Quo Vadis Culture Wars?
US Nuke Threat
Bush Seeks Legacy
Globalization v. Democracy
Jeffrey M. Smith
Eleanor J. Bader
Abortion & Life
Eleanor J. Bader
The American War in Pakistan
Bailout & Election
Bush Economic Legacy
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The Threat of Nuclear War Grows
In this Kafkaesque age everything is stood on its head: the champion violator of international law, sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of states is gung ho for respecting state sovereignty and territorial integrity (of Georgia, but not Pakistan); primary terrorist and ethnic cleansing states (the United States and Israel) invade, bomb, and torture, but wax indignant at retail terrorism that flows largely in response to their wholesale terror; and these same two states, brimming over with nuclear arms and increasingly threatening to use them, are aghast that Iran might want and someday be able to make a nuclear weapon.
These two states are mainly responsible for the steadily rising probability that nuclear weapons will again be used in the not too distant future. Both have a stock of nuclear weapons and up-to-date delivery systems: that of the United States is gigantic, but Israel's is substantial (estimated at between 60 and 200 ready bombs). Israel has developed its nuclear capability outside the authority of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), with the collusion of the Western powers, which have been so aggressive in denying any similar rights to Iran (except during the period of rule of the Western-imposed Shah). This weapons accumulation and refusal to accept the NPT has entailed no penalty for Israel—no threats, no sanctions, no refusal to assist its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Israel has threatened to use its nuclear weapons, earlier against the Soviet Union, later against Iran.
The United States has also steadily violated both the letter and spirit of the NPT. It had agreed in signing on to this treaty in 1968 to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. Not only has it not done this, it has made them officially a core part of national defense strategy and in recent years has worked steadily to make them more usable in warfare. It has also withdrawn its NPT promise not to use nuclear weapons against any state that signs on to the NPT and promises not to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. has also violated the spirit of the NPT by helping and supporting Israel's development of a nuclear weapons capability, of turning a blind eye to Pakistan's nuclear development during years when it was serving as a useful client, and now recently agreeing to assist India's nuclear program despite that country's refusal to join the NPT. Pakistan and China of course resent the U.S. support of a nuclear India, clearly based on political expediency and which weakened further any control over nuclear weapons proliferation.
The End of Soviet Nuclear Containment
One important reason for Israel's and the U.S.'s greater openness to the possibility of using nuclear arms is that the countries they threaten, with the exception of Russia, have no nuclear retaliatory capability. In earlier years the Soviet Union, with its own large nuclear weapons arsenal, was a barrier to nuclear threats, especially to countries which were allied with the Soviets. Its termination diminished the containing force that had previously put some limits on U.S. and Israeli violence.
A country like Iran would surely respond to a nuclear attack, but it has no comparably devastating weapon. The stream of military attacks in recent years by the two primary aggressor states has been grounded heavily in the imbalance of power and weakness and limited ability to respond on the part of the victims (Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Iraq). A nuclear capability on the part of potential victims would enhance their power of self defense—a terrifying threat to aggressor states.
Russia could respond, but it is substantially weaker in its retaliatory potential than the Soviet Union. It is smaller and militarily less formidable in the wake of its economic disaster of 1992-1998, with substantial cutbacks in military expenditures and national demoralization. It has made some recovery in recent years with higher energy prices and a stronger and more independent government—and the short war with Georgia indicates that it is now prepared to resist the West's (mainly U.S.'s) political and military encirclement and possible attempts at further dismantlement. But it is still vulnerable and justifiably worried about a U.S. first strike capability, enhanced by the planned placement of U.S. anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, with perhaps others to follow.
With God-instructed politicians in command in the United States, a manageable (or ignorable) populace, and with its overweening power, aggressive nuclear attack and/or misreadings that set off trigger-alerts are more likely than in the recent past.
Not only are the Russian triggers more alert and sensitive as a U.S. first strike potential and threat grows, Russia has also warned that it is elevating its tactical nuclear weapons to potential use where it is threatened by advanced electronic technology that it cannot match. During the years after 1990, with its devastating economic and political setbacks, it fell further behind the United States in its weaponry and feels obligated to offset this—or at least talk about and threaten to offset this—with the formidable weaponry it still possesses.
Deteriorating Moral Environment
Another important reason for the growing probability of nuclear warfare is the deteriorating moral environment. This has resulted in good part from militarization and war itself, both of which get people habituated to the resort to force and a steady diet of killing, which are normalized. Militarization and war also contribute to justifying the development and use of outlandish weapons, allegedly needed to "defend" the home country and clients from the threat of demonized enemies. Enlightenment values erode and disappear quickly in such a moral environment; mass killing becomes acceptable and even laudable—the large-scale killing of civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been the basis of celebration in the United States.
One measure of the deteriorated moral environment is the open acceptance of aggressive war as an appropriate policy option even in the absence of a military attack or serious threat. This was notorious in the case of the 2003 attack on Iraq and is equally obvious in the case of the ongoing threats to attack Iran. In the U.S., pugnacity and a willingness—even eagerness—to use force is a political necessity, at least for satisfying the establishment media and major election funders. What the public thinks on this is less clear—the public usually drags its feet in the war-making process, often preferring diplomacy and reliance on the UN, and has to be managed into a proper frame of mind, although once the bombs start falling patriotic zeal takes over.
Writing during World War I, Thorstein Veblen pointed out that "once a warlike enterprise has been entered upon, it will have the cordial support of popular sentiment even if it is patently an aggressive war." Furthermore, "The higher the pitch of patriotic fervor, the more tenuous and more threadbare may be the requisite moral sanction ("On the Nature and Uses of Patriotism," in An Inquiry into the Nature of Peace).
The Democrats are deemed by the establishment to be less trustworthy as war-makers than the Republicans—they are supposedly weak on "national security." This causes their politicians and aspiring political nominees to lean over backwards to demonstrate their bomb-worthiness. For both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all options were "on the table" in dealing with that gigantic threat that Iran might be able to defend itself sometime in the future and Obama has compensated for his Iraq war foot-dragging by promising an escalation in Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan. He also chose Joe Biden as his running mate, for his "experience" (he's been wrong lots of times) and aggressive foreign policy.
Biden has recently proclaimed that he is a "Zionist," and in fact virtually every Democratic politician has appeared before AIPAC to pledge allegiance to the state of Israel. This steady genuflection, and the financial dependence of the Democrats on organized Zionist money, has been a further factor in moral degradation. It has completely stymied any political opposition to Israeli ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the war against Lebanon in 2006. As Israeli leaders wanted the Iraq attack and are eager for a war with Iran, the Democratic Party went along with the Iraq war, dragged its feet in extrication even after the antiwar vote of 2006, and has demonized Iran and helped set the stage for war there.
It has been pointed out by former NATO planner Michael McGwire that of the two first class global threats, nuclear war and global warming, the first could be eliminated with small costs (actually, its elimination would release large resources for human improvement and welfare), whereas combating global warming will be quite expensive. But eliminating the nuclear warfare threat and, in the process, demilitarizing, would be contrary to the interests of the Pentagon and rest of the military-industrial complex, as well as those special interests that benefit from permanent warfare. At the moment these special interests are in command. Whether the financial crisis and permanent war setbacks will change the situation and allow a move toward a decent and rational world order remains to be seen.
Edward S. Herman is an author, economist, political columnist, and media critic.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.