Wednesday, April 30, 2008

sad, I think...

...that people consider Barack Obama* "inspiring" when people like Mike Gravel (and Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul and Ralph Nader) are also running for president. Yet those folks get no support from their parties because they speak about actual issues and run their candidacies based upon their own principles and a sincere agenda. Pandering is demanded by both parties and, it could be argued, by most of the voting public who seem to respond only to mindless jingoism and empty plans and promises.

I'm supposed to be taking the year off from my political soapboxing, but I couldn't resist posting this message from my man, Mike...

Two days ago I attended an event to address both one of the most disturbing and overlooked consequences of the Iraq War. Attended by both scientists and Iraq veterans, I heard how depleted-uranium weapons and ammunition have turned Iraq into a nation littered with radioactive fallout. We gathered across the street from General Dynamics in Scranton, PA-a war profiteer whose profits have spiked in the wake of the illegal Iraq War. The Nation magazine estimates over 11,000 US soldiers to have been killed from exposure to uranium since the first Iraq War. That does not even address the vast destruction to the Iraqi people and their country. Onset of cancer, permanent respiratory and neurological conditions, deformities in the children of our servicemen-make no mistake: Depleted-Uranium (DU) is the Agent Orange of the Iraq War.

How did we get here, that our industries are poisoning and killing our own troops? The fundamental problem is pervasive and the result of our militarized culture. On Earth Day, it was clearer than ever that we cannot sufficiently tackle the myriad environmental problems we face without bringing the Military-Industrial-Complex to heel. The links between nuclear power (against which I fought and succeeded a generation ago) and our malignant warfare industry is undeniable and inextricable.

Yet it is very possible to shake the military-industrial-complex's grip on our society. It will only come from empowering the people with The National Initiative. Our Congress is controlled by this complex lock, stock and barrel, and we have seen both the Democrats and Republicans dissolve into war parties, neither offering a definitive plan to end the War in Iraq. Nor will they end American Imperialism, which will ultimately bring future wars, havoc and destruction to the innocent. I count our delicate planet and natural world among those innocent victims.

I adamantly believe that, as a nation, we can get off of gasoline in 5 years, and the world can get off of carbon in 10. We have such great ability and capacity, yet we are squandering our treasure and resources on war and killing. I remember how American Industry could produce only one ship per year in 1941. Three years later, heeding the call to WWII, it was one per week. That same spark is possible to heal the environment, if we turn the military-industrial-complex on its head. Our society's massive abilities and capacities have been hijacked by war, but we can reclaim them for limitless sources of innovation. Zero-emissions transportation, revitalized infrastructure and mass transit system to counter congestion and spur real productivity-these possibilities go overlooked when we foolishly wage wars for finite, carbon-spewing fossil fuels. Rather, we must harness the resources before our eyes: the sun, wind, and the people's creativity.

Dwight Eisenhower, who predicted the military-industrial-complex, said that "one day, the people will want peace so badly that they will push the government aside." That reality is before us by unleashing the creativity of the American people with The National Initiative. Today, I believe in that possibility more than ever.

*PS - Not that this has anything to do with the above sentiments from Senator Gravel, but am I the only person who actually agrees with most (not all, but most) of what Obama's "spiritual advisor," the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has had to say...?

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Anonymous wendy said...

I read an awesome article about DU a couple of years ago and haven't seen a thing about it since. Big surprise there...

6:59 AM  

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