Been doing a little catch up reading on AlterNet today and came across two articles worthy of pointing out. The first is Three Ways (Out of 100) That America’s Screwing Up the World by John Tirman which excerpts three sub-chapters from his book 100 Ways America Is Screwing Up the World, natch. Here’s a small sample:
1. “We Don’t Do Body Counts”
When U.S. General Tommy Franks uttered those words in 2003, he was conveying the new sentiments of the American military and its civilian leadership, that counting the dead of “the enemy” was not necessary or useful. Franks, who may be remembered as the only general in the annals of American history to lose two wars, was simply repeating what his political handlers told him to say, as all active duty generals do. In this case, it was an attempt to deflect the moral consequences of a “war of choice,” a lesson Frank’s generation learned from Vietnam. But the “no body counts” policy reverberates around the Arab and Muslim world, to America’s detriment.
The policy is an insult and a mistake for two reasons. First, it lends the impression—or is it a fact?—that the United States does not care about civilian casualties. In the autumn of 2005, in a fairly typical sequence, the military announced that a sweep of Anbar province in Iraq had resulted in the death of 120 “terrorists.” No civilian casualties were reported by the U.S. government, or by the American press. Al Jazeera, the Arabic news organization, had firsthand accounts of dozens of casualties. And it is inconceivable that major military operations of that kind would not result in casualties of the innocent. This is an embittering legacy of the war: not merely the fact of large numbers of war dead, but the neglect of even acknowledging that this could be occurring or is important enough to investigate.
The other two screwups listed are the War on Drugs (“The one remedy that has not been tried, of course, is legalization.”) and Torture (“The torture, the illegal detentions, the unnecessary killings, the grisly prisons—not a single benefit has been shown from this tawdriness and moral depravity.”). Good stuff and a book I’ll have to add to my collection.
The other article of note is Public Stoning: Not Just for the Taliban Anymore by John Sugg on the growing threat posed by Christian reconstructionists such as Herb Titus and Gary North:
“I don’t want to capture their [mainstream Americans’] system. I want to replace it,” fumed North to a cheering audience. North has called for the stoning of gays and nonbelievers (rocks are cheap and plentiful, he has observed). Both friends and foes label him “Scary Gary.”
Are we in danger of an American Taliban? Probably not today. But Alabama’s “Ten Commandments Judge” Roy Moore is aligned with this congregation, and one-third of Alabama Republicans who voted in the June primary supported him. When you see the South Dakota legislature outlaw abortions, the Reconstructionist agenda is at work. The movement’s greatest success is in Christian home schooling, where many, if not most, of the textbooks are Reconstructionist-authored tomes.
These people are out to make America into a Theocracy and they’re not even pretending to hide that fact. Anyone with even a moderate concern over the eroding of the Wall of Separation would do well to keep an eye on these folks and speak out against them and their policies.