bm178 Resisting the War, Moving to Canada

Many of us grew up with stories of how soldiers who disagreed with Vietnam found asylum in Canada. Over 30 years later, soldiers are once again acting on their principles and beliefs and moving to Canada… with some help.

My guest, Lee Zaslofsky, the coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign

We discuss
-what is was like during the Vietnam era, to seek aslyum in Canada.
-how the support campaign began and when
-the steps a soldier must take, or what the process is today
-Canadian laws, courts, and the government in relation to how easy or difficult it is
-The rights of US soldiers living in Canada, the benefits and options
-The response to critics who despise the work and ideals of war resisters
-Alternative destinations for war resisters in the world

The article I mention, posted on Alternet

Welcome to 07, Lets Start with Saddam

Everyone will talk about the Saddam execution, and I can’t help but be one more today.

Nothing screams modern society like a hanging. And did you see the uncensored video of it? Talk about watching a barbaric civilization.. and when I say that Im referring to the so-called human civilization.

I know.. its the new year and Im enjoying life in Berlin.. why be so hard on humanity? Well.. I refuse to take-it-easy on humankind in ’07.

But here’s an aspect of the execution that I’ve been especially compelled by, sorting through todays news i came across a BBC article that interviews the US military nurse in charge of Saddam since capture. He says some pretty interesting things, including that Saddam frequently asked why the US had invaded Iraq if its laws were fair and the inspectors had declared there were no WMD. It also talks about some lesser important details about how he gardened and saved his bread scraps to feed birds. The last detail that really got me was about the occasion where the nurse had to leave to return to the US, and Saddam embraced him and said that now.. they were brothers.

All these details further add to the pile of questions and inconsistencies about the man. Above all, that he really does not understand what has happenned to him, his country, and perhaps even what he did – wrong or right.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, many leaders around the world have already expressed their opinions that the trial was not a fair one and that the execution was a mistake.

For my part I would add that something seems very odd about the timing, and how fast this execution was pushed. When you think about it, having Saddam dead prevents any intimate details from ever coming out about important moments in history – including the days when he was buddy buddy with the US.

bm170 Venice and the Crusades

The idea behind this podcast begins in the alleyways of Venice, only a few days ago. When observing the buildings and reading the history, one particular period stood out for me as significant to everything happening today. Listen to my amateur-armchair history summary and hear the shocking list of parallels between the Venice of 1200 and the Venices of today.

Univ of Wisconsin archive on the Crusades
Wikipedia, if you can stand it

Hypocracy of Death

So lets just review:

A president of a country.

Gets involved in a few deadly and terrible wars.

Targets civilians and uses deadly weapons.

Strips citizens of their rights

Pockets most of the country’s wealth for himself or his friends

Plunders the wealth of other countries

Refuses to admit he has done anything wrong.

Insists that a president must do everything in his power to preserve the country and his office.

…..gets sentenced to death.

Collective Amnesia and Unecessary Deaths

One US television weekly news program that I watch fairly religiously is 60 minutes. I don’t love it, but I’m fascinated by it and my own research indicates that 1 out of every 6 stories they cover are actually quite good. Still, I watch them all; the good, bad, and obscenely cliché.

In their most recent program, they began with a piece that had me extra annoyed and yelling at the screen as I so often do as I slowly spiral into madness. I highly recommend watching it online, as the channel has apparently decided to “get with it” and offer their content online for free.

The piece focused on the US military’s medical care for wounded soldiers, how modern, fast, efficient, and effective it has been. Throughout the report they include lots of impressive images of helicopters and super-medical planes to hammer home the point that the military is very modern and good at treating wounded. Which, I must say, is useful since you’ve got over 44,000 wounded soldiers so far.

Also included in the report are a few first-hand testimonies, from soldiers who survived and army doctors based in Baghdad. One particular lady got on my last nerve, as she did what so many of those interviewed did: get very solemn and teary eyed remembering those that died and then she goes on to say how hard they fight to save lives of soldiers and iraqi’s as well. There’s a few minutes even dedicated to an Iraqi child who died on the operating table.

Dead, wounded, and still they rationalize the bullshit.

That is about when I lost it, and I shall try to explain why…

There is no ignoring the enormous irony in all this. An army doctor crying about not having saved an iraqi child, while for most of the last 15 years, her military has bombed the shit out of the country and killed thousands upon thousands of children. Or the spectacle of an Iraqi working with the military talking about how so many people have died, but it is worth it.

How the hell does he know it is worth it? Who promised him that when democracy comes all lives will get better and peace/justice will reign. I can think of many many nations that have democracy and no such conditions exist in those countries. Yet this guy tells the camera, as he looks over the dead bodies of children: it is a sacrifice, but it is worth it.

What the hell measuring stick do these people use? How do they determine how many dead people per vote or maimed children per mcdonalds, indicate that it was all “worth it.”

All I see is violence on a terrible scale. And deaths that did not have to happen. Crying army doctors, destroyed lives, and legless veterans, going around telling us what a shame it sometimes is…. but hey.. it is all WORTH IT.

bm153 Kitschification of 911

The Kitschification of 911. The words of Phillip Roth as quoted on a recent episode of radio open source. In this program I discuss how the events of that day have been used and abused in the poorest of taste for the most shameful of activities. I also remember and asess numbers, in terms of cost of lives and resources.

On Point Episode with Howard Zinn on the Utility of War

Open Source on 9-11 literature