After Attempted Coup, We Must Fight White Supremacy and Sow Revolutionary Love

After Attempted Coup, We Must Fight White Supremacy and Sow Revolutionary Love

photo above: Protestors march against racism and police brutality on Broadway in Amityville, New York, on July 5, 2020.Thomas A. Ferrara / Newsday RM via Getty Images

WN: These are beautiful words, and a call to “revolutionary love” not only for fellow Blacks, but for all–Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community”. All I can add: Amen!!!

excerts:

Years ago my friend and teacher Mia Herndon listened patiently as I railed against capitalism and how broken the system was. Then she said, clearly, “Capitalism is not broken. It is working exactly as it was designed to work.” A light bulb went on in my head that has illuminated how so many things we want to call dysfunction are actually oppressive and inhumane systems functioning exactly as they were intended to work.

This line of thinking beamed through the performative shock of the attempted coup on January 6, when media pundits and interviewees said, “This isn’t American.”

Oh really?

White Supremacy Is Embedded in U.S. History

The confederacy, whose flag was waved in the Capitol building on Wednesday, was a four-year alignment of 11 states committed, among other things, to the right to own slaves. It emerged toward the end of a centuries-long period during which it was easily assumed that the role of people of African descent was to provide free labor until death. The foundations of U.S. wealth and reach are heavy bricks sunken into the bloody soil of that labor.

In the 19th century, the Union was declared the winner, and eventually emancipation was technically true on paper. But the systems were not abolished; they morphed into the prison-industrial complex. The wounds were not healed; they morphed into Jim Crow and then again into surface post-racialism and razor-sharp microaggressions and racist policies. They fester, still hungry for the heart of the nation.

When will it end?

When it is no longer controversial to assert that Black lives matter.

Today, we are far from that evolved place, but one thing is official: Republicans who bet on white supremacy, who bet on the Confederacy, have lost themselves the presidency, House and Senate. In four years.

Still, I “claim no easy victory,” as Amilcar Cabral, the Cape Verdean revolutionary, puts it. I know we are up against the ruling structures of a system, of a nation, that has never loved us. This is history unfolding, a pendulum swinging back and forth along prescribed lines. We must find a way out of those lines if our nation plans to outlive the Confederacy, and if — because racialized fascism is a growing global threat — our species hopes to outlive the Nazis.

Please click on: Revolutionary Love

  1. [1]

The American Abyss

A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.

photo above (screenshot): The police forced the crowd out of the Capitol building after facing off in the Rotunda, Jan. 6, 3:40 p.m.Credit…Ashley Gilbertson/VII, for The New York Times

WN: This is brilliant–and scary!–analysis. America (and the world), take heed! He has clearly had Trump’s–and America’s–number over the years. I cannot however understand why the theme of Empire, one he clearly raises in his writings, seems disconnected to America. But he knows far more than I! . . .

excerpts:

When Donald Trump stood before his followers on Jan. 6 and urged them to march on the United States Capitol, he was doing what he had always done. He never took electoral democracy seriously nor accepted the legitimacy of its American version.

Even when he won, in 2016, he insisted that the election was fraudulent — that millions of false votes were cast for his opponent. In 2020, in the knowledge that he was trailing Joseph R. Biden in the polls, he spent months claiming that the presidential election would be rigged and signaling that he would not accept the results if they did not favor him. He wrongly claimed on Election Day that he had won and then steadily hardened his rhetoric: With time, his victory became a historic landslide and the various conspiracies that denied it ever more sophisticated and implausible.

In this sense, the responsibility for Trump’s push to overturn an election must be shared by a very large number of Republican members of Congress. Rather than contradict Trump from the beginning, they allowed his electoral fiction to flourish. They had different reasons for doing so. One group of Republicans is concerned above all with gaming the system to maintain power, taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters. They have no interest in the collapse of the peculiar form of representation that allows their minority party disproportionate control of government. The most important among them, Mitch McConnell, indulged Trump’s lie while making no comment on its consequences.

Yet other Republicans saw the situation differently: They might actually break the system and have power without democracy. The split between these two groups, the gamers and the breakers, became sharply visible on Dec. 30, when Senator Josh Hawley announced that he would support Trump’s challenge by questioning the validity of the electoral votes on Jan. 6. Ted Cruz then promised his own support, joined by about 10 other senators. More than a hundred Republican representatives took the same position. For many, this seemed like nothing more than a show: challenges to states’ electoral votes would force delays and floor votes but would not affect the outcome.

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.

Please click on: The American Abyss

National Security Experts Warn Trump “Is Promoting Terrorism”

National Security Experts Warn Trump “Is Promoting Terrorism”

The president’s post-election incitement expands on a tactic he has long used: stochastic terrorism.

photo above: A person in a gas mask protests Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic policies at the Michigan State Capitol in May 2020Paul Sancya/AP

December 17, 2020

WN: Indeed: “At what point does this become sedition?” (See below.)

excerpts:

In the waning days of his presidency, Donald Trump is engaged in a deliberate campaign of terrorism aimed at Americans who oppose him politically. That description of his actions is neither a metaphor nor hyperbole—it is the assessment of veteran national security experts, whose view of the political violence being stoked by the outgoing president is echoed by law enforcement and political leaders. As Trump has pushed a litany of lies and conspiracy theories claiming that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him through “massive fraud,” he has stirred his most extreme supporters into menacing public officials, election workers, and his Democratic and Republican critics alike. Over the past four years, numerous perpetrators of threats and violence have directly invoked the president and his rhetoric, and recent gatherings by far-right groups in support of Trump’s efforts to reverse his election defeat have led to beatings, stabbings and a shooting

Trump is using a tactic known as “stochastic terrorism,” says Juliette Kayyem, a national security expert and former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a method of political incitement that provokes random acts of extremist violence, in which the instigator uses rhetoric ambiguous enough to give himself and his allies plausible deniability for any resulting bloodshed. Violent threats or attacks linked to the rhetoric usually generate muted denials and equivocal denunciations, or claims to have been “joking,” as Trump and those speaking on his behalf have routinely hidden behind.

The Firebug [literally the Fire Devil]: A President sets his country on fire

Among national security experts, Kayyem is not alone in this view. “It really matters that the president of the United States is an arsonist of radicalization,” said Kori Schake, who served in leadership posts at the National Security Council and State Department under President George W. Bush. “It will really help when that’s no longer the case,” she added, speaking in a recent online panel discussion about the danger fueled by Trump and his enablers.

Trump’s post-election incitement has manifested in new and alarming ways. By early December, after the president unleashed a wave of false claims attacking the election results in battleground states including Michigan, a group of armed Trump supporters gathered outside the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson as she and her young son were putting up Christmas decorations. They chanted “Stop the steal” and shouted “You’re a felon and must turn yourself in immediately.” Less prominent officials and election workers around the country have been harassed for doing their jobs processing votes, menaced with nooses and death threats, and stalked online or at their homes. On December 14, state electors faced with “credible threats” in Michigan and Arizona were compelled to take extraordinary security measures—including locking down buildings and meeting at an undisclosed location—as they convened to certify Biden’s presidential victory.

The president’s tactics have been imitated by his operatives and political allies. Recent comments from Trump campaign lawyer Joseph DiGenova were a textbook example: After the president fired DHS cybersecurity director Chris Krebs, who had described the 2020 elections as the most secure in history, DiGenova said in an interview that Krebs should be “taken out at dawn and shot.” DiGenova later claimed his comments “were sarcastic and made in jest.” As electors in Arizona prepared to certify Biden’s win, state Sen.-elect Wendy Rogers, a backer of Trump’s false claims about the election, tweeted: “Buy more ammo.” When Arizona Democrats criticized Rogers for using incendiary language on such a consequential day, she tweeted repeatedly that she was simply cheerleading for Second Amendment rights. “She knows exactly what she’s doing & wants plausible deniability,” responded Rep. Jennifer Longdon, an assistant Democratic leader in the Arizona House. Longdon’s tweet described Rogers’ own as a “clarion call to lone wolf extremists.”

Longdon, a gun violence survivor, knows well the danger of fringe actors who go on the attack over a political cause, including those who threatened, stalked, and assaulted her over her work on gun safety. Trump’s allies, she says, “have ramped this up to a level that’s beyond irresponsible.” If violence follows, Rogers and others “will just shrug their shoulders and walk away from it. But someone is hearing that call, and that call is coming from someone they consider to be a responsible voice of leadership.” Longdon added that the targeting of conservative Republican state officeholders who deemed Arizona’s election results fair and credible was telling. “This is a really dangerous and cynical attempt to whip up a base for what comes next,” she says. “At what point does this become sedition?”

Please click on: Trump Terrorism

Jesus Was a Victim of Empire. Acknowledging This Should Transform Christianity.

Jesus Was a Victim of Empire. Acknowledging This Should Transform Christianity.

photo above: Christian devotees reenact the Way of the Cross during a Good Friday commemoration in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, on April 19, 2019.BRIAN OTIENO / AFP via Getty Images

WN: This is the central theme of this website! A significant portion of what follows is from the previous highlighted part. There is as well on the same page a list of great books about Jesus and Empire.

And yet . . . And yet . . . The author of the highlighted article below is right that Christianity would be transformed the world over, should the ultimacy of this realization take hold. But history shows that we keep losing our way–and far worse! So we ever must keep rediscovering Jesus over against Empire for the very first time!

American Empire is of course prime exemplar of this kind of brutal Empire: extension since its founding in fact of the brutal British Empire, especially in its twin original sins of slavery and indigenous genocide. American Empire has always and supremely been about “plundering, butchering, and stealing”, “the sack of cities, the rape of populations, pyramids of bones, acres of desolation (Novelist J.M. Coetzee in Waiting for the Barbarians (1980, p. 133))”, leaving “desolation”, “destruction and misery and death” in its wake (while calling it “peace and freedom”–Roman historian Tacitus). America has ever been in voracious bid for domination of others (since World War II worldwide), in order to extract maximum wealth from all peoples and the Planet.

We first-world non-Americans, such as in Canada, through our multiple military alliances and multitudinous economic intertwinings, are no less complicit and therefore guilty. Nick Turse’s 2009 publication, The Complex: How the Military Invades our Everyday Lives, while focussing on America, is no less the case for all in the West. And of course, as in Nigeria discussed in the article highlighted, a similar complex is ubiquitous in nation-states and international systems of all kinds.

Our call is to practise insurrection against Empire in all its avaricious, brutal and horribly destructive ways. (No small order is of course hopeless understatement!)

In this historical moment that supreme manifestation of Empire is the United States–to which the entire Western world is tied in various supportive ways; under which domination the rest of the world suffers: in the Greater Middle East as only one example, which endures brutal will to domination and oppression at the hands of American Empire. I reflect on this in an introduction to a posting here. An expanding list of postings on American Empire may be accessed here.[1]

The Vietnam War is classic instance of what it means for America to be “leader of the free world”. It was prosecuted under five Presidents: from Eisenhower to Nixon, 1955 to 1975. The New York Times ran an article in 2003 about a series published by The Toledo Blade, based upon accounts of several Vietnam War veterans, entitled “Report on Brutal Vietnam Campaign Stirs Memories”. The article reads in part:

The report, published in October [2003] and titled ‘Rogue G.I.’s Unleashed Wave of Terror in Central Highlands,’ said that in 1967, an elite unit, a reconnaissance platoon in the 101st Airborne Division, went on a rampage that the newspaper described as ‘the longest series of atrocities in the Vietnam War.[2]

Please consult further two of many websites: Major US Vietnam War Atrocities Case Exposed by Ohio Newspaper; and The Mad Men Premiere’s Dark Vietnam Subtext.

There is “no honour among thieves”? There is no honour among American leadership—with rare exceptions throughout its history. Expressed differently, American leadership has been for centuries made up of thieves, brigands and murderers of the highest order.

One American scholar asks: Was America Great When It Burned Native American Babies? That question with its implicit answer (detailed in a book the article tells about) can be asked of any historical period of the United States.

In the middle of the Vietnam War President Lyndon Johnson made a speech about America “The Great Society” to a group of university students. He said in part, while fully aware of the supreme atrocity that was the Vietnam War–one he was vigorously waging:

Will you join in the battle to make it possible for all nations to live in enduring peace — as neighbors and not as mortal enemies?

Will you join in the battle to build the Great Society, to prove that our material progress is only the foundation on which we will build a richer life of mind and spirit?

There are those timid souls who say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will, your labor, your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.

Those who came to this land sought to build more than just a new country. They sought a new world. So I have come here today to your campus to say that you can make their vision our reality. So let us from this moment begin our work so that in the future men will look back and say: It was then, after a long and weary way, that man turned the exploits of his genius to the full enrichment of his life.

Thank you. Good-bye.

In the end, he was ultimately fooling himself! The United States has been above all else about “soulless wealth” almost since inception. Its way of enduring peace has ever been that only of the graveyard–of vast hordes of slaughtered victims over time and the world, multiple times in excess of the tally of The Nazi Holocaust. The classic biblical text is of course: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) In answer to the question posed, the majority of “settler” Americans simply do not know it–never have! One of my longstanding (American theology professor) friends has asked me over the years: Why are you so angry (about this)? To which I reply thunderously: THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AMERICAN HALL OF HORRORS HAS NEVER BEEN TOLD (to average Americans)!!! But there are they who have told it. One could start with Howard Zinn . . .

Yet people do not want to hear this. Why?! Does The Truth hurt that much?! There is in this regard the ominous comment by Desmond Tutu about White South Africa during apartheid:

The former apartheid cabinet member Leon Wessels was closer to the mark when he said that they had not wanted to know [about brutal repression of Blacks and Coloureds], for there were those who tried to alert them (p. 269).

There are always “those who try to alert”. They are called prophets. They are generally ignored and worse. Jesus (Matthew 23:30 -32):

And you [Americans] say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.]’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets/[Native Americans/Blacks/Etc./Etc./Etc.] Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

And to this day America tragically has been doing exactly that!

But Archbishop Tutu also indicated:

There but for the grace of God go I (p. 253). . . .

And that puts us all in the West in the same soup! Ugh!

Here is a classic expression of America’s will to worldwide domination to extract maximum wealth from all peoples and the planet, the central motif of (American) Empire:

In 1948, George Keennan, State Department Director of policy planning, noted that the United States then possessed “about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population.” The challenge facing U.S. policy makers, he believed, was “to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security.” [1. PPS 23, “Review of Current Trends, U.S. Foreign Policy” (February 24, 1948).] The overarching aim of American statecraft in other words, was to sustain the uniquely favorable situation to which the United States had ascended by the end of World War II. It’s hard to imagine a statement of purpose more succinct, cogent, and to the point. Judged by this standard, the stewards of U.S. foreign policy down to the present day have done more than passably well… (America’s War For the Greater Middle East: A Military History, Andrew J. Bacevich, New York: Random House, 2016, p. 358) (See my commentary on this and more with reference to Michelle Obama here; similarly President-elect Joe Biden here.)

General (George) Lee Butler, a “nuclear warrior” in the early years of the Cold War (that many claim began with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, August 1945), spent 27 years in nuclear policy-making. He eventually in an overt mea culpa became a passionate proponent for outright nuclear abolition. He self-published Uncommon Cause: A Life at Odds With Convention (volumes I & II). He catalogued a long list of disturbing experiences:
• investigating “a distressing array of accidents and incidents involving strategic weapons and forces”
• seeing “an army of experts confounded”;
• confronting “the mind-numbing compression of decision-making under threat of nuclear attack”;
• “staggering costs”;
• “the relentless pressure of advancing technology”;
• “grotesquely destructive war plans”;
• and “the terror-induced anesthesia which suspended rational thought, made nuclear war thinkable, and grossly excessive arsenals possible during the Cold War.” (The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John W. Dower, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017; p. 37. See also my post on this here.) Dower continues:

In retrospect, he decried the “wantonness,” “savagery,” “reckless proliferation,” “treacherous axioms,” and voracious “appetite” of deterrence — for which he himself had helped create many systems and technologies, including “war plans with over 12,000 targets.”… Elegant theories of deterrence,” he exclaimed in one speech, “wilt in the crucible of impending nuclear war.” In later recollection of the folly of deterrence, Butler pointed out that at its peak the United States “had 36,000 weapons in our active inventory,” including nuclear landmines and sea mines and “warheads on artillery shells that could be launched from jeeps.” He concluded that mankind escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of diplomatic skill, blind luck and divine intervention, probably the latter in greatest proportion. (ibid, pp. 36 & 37).

Nuclear strategist Albert Wohlstetter described this longstanding policy as a “delicate balance of terror (ibid, p. 27).” In short, any number of nuclear war planners in Washington contemplated striking 295 Soviet cities, with an estimated death toll total of 115 million, and another 107 million dead in Red China, besides millions more in Soviet satellite countries (ibid, pp. 28 & 29). In some circles, as a kind of sick dark humour, the two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki due to “only” 200,000 dead, came to be called “firecracker nukes (ibid, p. 29).” (This is not to mention the millions killed since World War II with related devastation in at least 37 countries around the world, or the millions murdered through US proxy wars, CIA covert operations the world over, surrogate terror exported to countries throughout Central and South America for more than a century, and other parts of the world, etc., etc., etc… (See ibid, throughout the book.)[3]

What was true for Latin America was true for around the world: massive human rights abuses, assassinations, regime changes of democratically elected governments, etc., etc., etc. orchestrated by US Empire. Yet Americans invariably have wanted it both ways: to be seen as the exemplary “City on A Hill” that upholds universal human rights and democracy, while operating a brutal Empire directly contrary to all such elevated values, and a concomitant rapacious Empire market economy that takes no prisoners. This began of course even before the founding of the United States of America and continued apace, in its mass slaughter and dispossession of indigenous peoples, in its brutal system of slavery on which its obscene wealth in the textile industry in the first place was built. “The Land of the Free” conceit was a sustained con job on the part of America’s leaders. It was also apotheosis of hypocrisy. American exceptionalism was/is true in one respect only: it was brutal like no other Empire in its eventual global reach.

And these “noble” American nuclear strategists holding up of course America as bastion of freedom and democracy throughout the world, blithely contemplated over many decades mass murder on a scale that all previous mass murderers combined in the history of the world could only dream of! And serious contemplation of first-strike deployment was given repeated consideration: Public as well as confidential proposals to launch a “preventive” or “pre-emptive” strike against the Soviet Union were not uncommon before the Soviets developed a serious retaliatory capability — including for instance General Douglas MacArthur. The American public likewise supported this in general (ibid, p.41).

This is America — Leader of the Free World?! Vocabulary for such gargantuan evil mindsets utterly fails! Yet every US Administration since Truman authorized the first atomic bombs dropped (which phenomenon he, a Baptist Sunday School teacher, declared to be “the greatest event in human history” — and not the Resurrection?! — one massively death-dealing, the other universally life-giving), along with thousands of strategists, day-in, day-out, went off to work with this kind of obscene potential horror, like “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads”. How delightfully American (Empire)![4]

And Hitler, and Stalin are considered “mad” in their mass murders?! By the above dark humour standard, they were only “firecracker despots” compared to a long line of US Presidents. What then are all these upstanding Americans — right up to the present, with possibly a genuinely deranged current President seemingly itching to “nuke” some nation such as North Korea — if not mad monsters? And the overwhelming monstrosity of America the Ultimate Evil Empire only increases exponentially when one reads noted historian Alfred McCoy’s description of what is being developed by said American Empire. A paper that I wrote years ago, Christianity and the Subversion of Just About Everything!, in relation to this, with an introduction and excerpt, may be accessed here. I explain in introducing it that today were I writing the paper, the overall positing of “Just About Everything!” would mean Empire. The Judeo-Christian Story is nothing if not one long Counter-Narrative to Empire! A sermon preached on this theme by Pastor Rob Brown of Eden Mennonite Church may be found here. There is an expanding scholarship that underscores this, links to several instances of which are below, and also mentioned on the page introducing the paper above. Amen! Thy Kingdom Come! Maranatha! (Come, O Lord).

Please also see the post on U.S. biological warfare: Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker. And Trump blames the Chinese!

excerpts:

Within hours, my Twitter timeline was ablaze, with many people lauding me for my bravery in “speaking the truth.” Among the likes and retweets was the sentiment that it was actually radical to suggest that a Christian response to government corruption and impunity would be to reject performances of piety, and imagine a world where we, the people, transcended the strictures of the nation state and its attendant logics.

The fact that religiosity (in my context, Christian religiosity) is often used as a cover for impunity is obvious for anyone who has even a cursory understanding of history. Religious officials have long been available to be co-opted to serve as moral chaplains to those in power, “resulting in turning the moral witness of the church into a mere political gallery,” in the words of theologian and historian Lamin Sanneh.

But there is another way to read the scriptures, and that is to seriously contend with the historical and material circumstances of Christianity’s central figure — Jesus of Nazareth — and against that backdrop, see Jesus’s message as recorded in the Gospels not as one that is easily coopted in the service of the nation-state but as one that inherently challenges state power and violence, and invites us to do the same.

It was at Cambridge that I first read Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited, and began to ask myself what response my faith could give me when confronted with the reality that the state did not always act with benevolence toward its citizens. State-sanctioned murder was the reality for Black people in the U.S., and it was the reality for me back in Kenya, where the police have always acted with impunity and without accountability, and where political forces can always intimidate, bribe, harass, murder and “disappear” people — as happened with the ICC cases.

Until this point, I had not seriously wrestled with what my faith could give me in this moment. In my younger years, I took it for granted that although Kenya’s political and economic system was flawed, I could still overcome it with hard work and good connections. In the wake of that disputed election in 2007, and the spiral of political dysfunction that followed (and especially after Uhuru and Ruto became president), I could no longer say this with confidence. By this time, I had also stopped calling myself a Christian, because in my mind, it meant aligning myself with people who wielded prayer rallies and public performances of piety as a shield to deflect calls for justice and accountability.

But in Howard Thurman I found a different reading of Jesus.

Thurman’s Jesus was not an abstract Christ. He was a man who existed at a particular moment in historical time, grappling with real, material oppression. It is impossible to think that the young Jesus was untouched by this central question of the day. The question was not academic — as Thurman argued, it was the most crucial of questions. In essence, Rome was the enemy; Rome symbolized total frustration; Rome was the great barrier to peace of mind. And Rome was everywhere.

Howard Thurman writes:

No Jewish person of the period could deal with the question of his practical life, his vocation, his place in society, until first he had settled deep within himself this critical issue…. This is the position of the disinherited in every age. This is the great question of today. What must be the attitude toward the rulers, the controllers of political, social, and economic life?

This reading of the Gospel for me was life and freedom, because for the first time in my life, I had some kind of blueprint for actually seeing and wrestling with the injustice, cruelty and pain of an unjust state and of unaccountable power, instead of thinking that if I kept my head down and worked hard it would all work out in the end.

My friend, J.L. Legard, pushed this revelation even further for me when he argued a case for Christian anarchy. In his abolitionist reading, the nation-state — as an entity that claims to possess a monopoly of violence — itself is illegitimate and unnecessary for liberating the oppressed. We should never assume that we must cooperate with the state or work within state structures in order to achieve freedom. Legard’s reading of Jesus is that of an apocalyptic prophet who dares us to reject all forms of coercion and invites us to imagine liberation as a voluntary and cooperative effort that affirms the agency of all and rejects the domination and subordination of human beings.

“The apocalyptic Christ allows us to imagine that individuals and communities can be trusted, because God entrusted God’s power in our very beings over which no state or person can rule without our consent,” he writes.

We can read the scriptures in any number of ways, and for me, I have now found in the Gospels a template for imagining a world where the execution of Jesus by an unjust power elite, as a state-sanctioned lynching, tore apart the Temple curtain which kept ordinary people from the Holy of Holies where God’s presence resided. As Legard argues, with the breaking of this hierarchical barrier separating the masses from God, “our bodies become the temple and empire of God, and thus the jurisdiction of God. Therefore, no state can legitimately encroach or impose its power upon the sacred — the human being. It is a merging of both flesh and spirit, which elevates the once downtrodden and oppressed into a position of power, not to coerce but to extend the voluntary divine community.”

I am amazed that I hadn’t really seen the Gospels as a disruptive spiritual and political technology until I saw Jesus as a victim of empire — oppressed, marginalized and disinherited. The neat intertwining of patriotism and religiosity is not possible when one takes the vantage point of the disinherited.

This Jesus was not available to provide spiritual cover for state power, impunity and corruption. This Jesus was not in the business of abetting oppression while preaching patriotism, quiet obedience, or simplistic appeals to law and order. This Jesus did not even move to Rome to cozy up to the power structures of Empire and “influence” Caesar for good. This Jesus was executed because his life’s work dared to speak of another kingdom and another way of being in the world, where God is on the side of the poor and oppressed and is fighting alongside them for their full humanity.

Please click on: Jesus Over Against Empire

  1. [1]Please look at several articles as well on American/Western will to world domination by clicking on “Selected Articles: Western Aggression Backed by Western Media”. The series of articles is introduced thus:

    The Western allies never run dry of resources to support their global war of terror and aggression, ostensibly an integral part of their foreign policy. They dynamically legislate laws lest the people awaken. They have the unbending support of the corporate media, which skilfully distorts reality. When will they ever back down from their destructive quest for colonies? Read our selection below.

  2. [2]It continued:

    ‘For seven months, Tiger Force soldiers moved across the Central Highlands, killing scores of unarmed civilians – in some cases torturing and mutilating them – in a spate of violence never revealed to the American public,’ the newspaper said, at other points describing the killing of hundreds of unarmed civilians.

    ‘Women and children were intentionally blown up in underground bunkers,’ The Blade said. ‘Elderly farmers were shot as they toiled in the fields. Prisoners were tortured and executed – their ears and scalps severed for souvenirs. One soldier kicked out the teeth of executed civilians for their gold fillings.” The New York Times confirmed the claimed accuracy of the stories by contacting several of those interviewed. It reported: “But they wanted to make another point: that Tiger Force had not been a ‘rogue’ unit. Its members had done only what they were told, and their superiors knew what they were doing.

    “Burning huts and villages, shooting civilians and throwing grenades into protective shelters were common tactics for American ground forces throughout Vietnam, they said. That contention is backed up by accounts of journalists, historians and disillusioned troops…

    ‘Vietnam was an atrocity from the get-go,’ [one veteran] said in a recent telephone interview. ‘It was that kind of war, a frontless war of great frustration. There were hundreds of My Lais. You got your card punched by the numbers of bodies you counted.’

    Current likely Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was also quoted giving evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. He reported that American soldiers in Vietnam had “raped, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

    Nicholas Turse [later author of: Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam], a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, has been studying government archives and said they were filled with accounts of similar atrocities.

    ”I stumbled across the incidents The Blade reported,” Mr. Turse said by telephone. ”I read through that case a year, year and a half ago, and it really didn’t stand out. There was nothing that made it stand out from anything else. That’s the scary thing. It was just one of hundreds.”

    Yet there were few prosecutions.

  3. [3]Historian John Coatsworth in The Cambridge History of the Cold War noted:

    Between 1960, by which time the Soviets had dismantled Stalin’s gulags, and the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those of the Soviet Union and its East European satellites. In other words, from 1960 to 1990, the Soviet bloc as a whole was less repressive, measured in terms of human victims, than many individual Latin American countries [under direct sway of US Empire] (“The Cold War in Central America”, pp. 216 – 221).

  4. [4]The highlighted article about renowned whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg points to again what is utterly chilling, horror-filled, exponentially beyond immoral, American (hence the world’s) reality: “Daniel Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Many Low-Level Field Commanders the Power to Push the Button“.

    He has since written The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Of it we read:

    Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
    Finalist for the California Book Award in Nonfiction
    The San Francisco Chronicle’s Best of 2017 List

    In These Times “Best Books of 2017”
    Huffington Post’s Ten Excellent December Books List
    LitHub’s “Five Books Making News This Week”

    From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America’s Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day.

    Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America’s nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization–and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration–threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.

The COVID-19 tsunami is coming, and it will be worse than most people can imagine

The COVID-19 tsunami is coming, and it will be worse than most people can imagine

SquireForYou

Tuesday December 01, 2020

WN: The article highlighted is heart-wrenching! The gross absolutely unfeeling negligence and incompetence of the White House makes one wish to scream bloody murder to high heaven! It’s a slow-moving endlessly replaying (like the movie Groundhog Day) train wreck exponentially exacerbated by an Administration mercilessly bereft of know-how or empathy.

By any standard of competency or human decency, the entire Administration should have been fired within the first month of the pandemic for the unmitigated horror and danger it has universally foisted upon health care workers–alone! The “System” is impossibly broken. This, in the wealthiest nation on earth, “Home of the Free”, a “Shining City on a Hill”–Indeed!

excerpts:

Like any tsunami, the wave started innocuously enough. Even disconcertingly calmly. Elective surgeries weren’t scheduled over the Thanksgiving holiday anyway, and the glut of open beds meant that the emergency department, for once, had a manageable caseload. Of course, this was all relative: A half-dozen nurses and technicians were out with COVID-19 because a patient came in with a fractured shoulder (and no other symptoms). When the X-rays came back, boom: They showed the telltale sign of a COVID-19 infection: hazy “ground glass” infiltrates in the lungs. The patient was an asymptomatic superspreader who would never have known they had COVID-19 if they hadn’t fallen off a ladder putting up Christmas decorations.

Beyond that, though, the department has been running on half staff for months now. The 10-year retention rate for ER nurses and technicians is around 5%, even when there isn’t a global pandemic. The hospital’s inability to hire more in the interim—a combination of budget constraints and lack of providers who want to take jobs on the very the bleeding edge of the COVID-19 crisis—hasn’t helped any. But at least the staffing levels were merely woeful instead of critical. Over the next few days, however, things began to turn rapidly.

No emergency department anywhere was designed to be able to handle a mass casualty event lasting for days or weeks.

Effective intervention was needed from the get-go. A coordinated message to push for masking. Using the Defense Production Act to make sure there was enough personal protective equipment to go around. Onshoring critical national security supply lines. Keeping schools and teachers safe. Not forcing working-class folks and small business owners to choose between paying bills and getting sick or dying.

And while these front-line providers may recognize that federal failure logically, their conscience will never allow them to believe that.

Please click on: COVID-19 Tsunami

 

Trump Has Pushed Ahead With Drone Strikes, Putting US Citizens in the Crosshairs

Trump Has Pushed Ahead With Drone Strikes, Putting US Citizens in the Crosshairs

by , Truthout

Published December 5, 2020

photo above: U.S. army drones stationed at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, on January 13, 2020.AYMAN HENNA / AFP via Getty Images

WN: This excerpt from the article highlighted is devastatingly the case, one that gives the lie to the strictly compartmentalized/schizophrenic “decency” of Biden:

Where does that leave Biden and where does he stand? Biden has largely been silent about drone strikes. Biden never publicly criticized Obama’s drone war legacy nor has Biden clarified his own stances on the policy of targeted killing. On his campaign site, Biden makes no mention of targeted killing and drone strikes. He does promise to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East,” but adds he will “narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS.” He does not spell out what “narrowly focus” actually looks like on his site.

However, during the campaign, Biden and one of his advisers admitted that he plans to keep special operations forces — who, along with drones, have carried about targeted killing operations in secretive overseas counterterrorism missions — in the Middle East and Afghanistan. If Biden plans to keep special operations forces on the ground, then it is very unlikely he will scale back drone strikes. This indicates that Biden will pick up where Bush, Obama and Trump left off — continuing a sophisticated program of global targeted killing under the guise of “fighting terrorism.” He will “end” the forever wars without truly ending them.

To participate in the federal government administration is to varying degrees by definition to participate in mass murder–from the first to the current Administration, and all in between. And Canada and the West? No less implicated through our Alliances such as NATO current and past.

excerpts:

President Donald Trump is (almost) out of office. Yet, there still needs to be reckoning with his record on drone strikes, assassination and militarism. As Trump plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, some may imagine Trump is a less militaristic president than his predecessors. But the reality is that Trump continued the perpetual war machine, especially the targeted killing program created by George W. Bush and greatly expanded by Barack Obama.

Within the first two years of his administration, Trump launched far more drone and lethal strikes than Obama. According to a Daily Beast analysis, Trump launched 238 drone strikes in 2017 and 2018. During Obama’s first two years in office, in 2009 and 2010, his administration launched 186 strikes. As of this writing, according to Airwars, Trump has launched 205 declared strikes in Yemen and 196 in Somalia. In fact, a recent Airwars report suggests that Trump may have ordered more attacks in Yemen than all previous U.S. presidents combined, with anywhere between 86 to 154 civilians killed.

As Trump entered office, he relinquished constraints on the U.S. military and CIA to conduct air and drone strikes and raids around the world.

As a result of these looser rules, the U.S. war machine under Trump has been dropping more bombs and killing more civilians. The Pentagon estimated that 499 civilians were killed in U.S. military operations in 2017, but that’s an undercount. Within the first six months of Trump’s presidency, the U.S. killed more civilians than Obama in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. According to an Airwars investigation, U.S.-led coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria killed around 2,200 civilians by July 2017, or 360 civilian deaths per month. In comparison, under Obama, from mid-2014 (when the U.S.-led war against ISIS began) to the end of 2016, coalition strikes killed at least 2,300, or 80 civilian deaths per month.

According to a United Nations report, U.S.-backed forces in Afghanistan killed more civilians in the first three months of 2019 than the Taliban and ISIS did. From January 2019 to March 2019, Afghan and a U.S.-led coalition of Western military forces killed 305 civilians, while anti-government elements — such as the Taliban, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS and other militants — killed 227. The previous year saw the largest number of civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan. In 2018, 3,804 civilian deaths occurred due to fighting between the Afghan government and U.S.-led coalition forces on one hand, and the Taliban and ISIS on the other, according to the UN. More civilians were killed in 2018 than in previous years of the war and, during this decade, over 32,000 civilians have been killed in the Afghanistan War.

Please click on: US Drone Strikes Mass Murder

A New Technology That Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying on Citizens

A New Technology That Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying on Citizens

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

WN: The highlighted article is truly scary. Makes one want to revert to the era of Morse code or pictograms or simply unplug . . .

If such surveillance is widely deployed, it is never benign!

excerpts:

If you’re worried about the capability of government to conduct surveillance of citizens engaged in political assembly and protest, or even just personal activity, then you should be aware the technological capability of government surveillance is about to expand exponentially.

The US Air Force’s Research Lab (yes, it has its own lab) has recently signed a contract to test new software of a company called SignalFrame, a Washington DC wireless tech company. The company’s new software is able to access smartphones, and from your phone jump off to access any other wireless or bluetooth device in the near vicinity. To quote from the article today in the Wall St. Journal, the smartphone is used “as a window onto usage of hundreds of millions of computers, routers, fitness trackers, modern automobiles and other networked devices, known collectively as the ‘Internet of Things’.”

This problem of government surveillance on free citizen activity is not new. It took a giant leap after 9-11 with the Patriot Act and acquisition of phone data by Homeland Security and other government agencies. It was supposed to have stopped. But it hasn’t. The snoops have continued to ignore Congressional resolutions and court decisions on privacy invasion of citizens. The latest Air Force lab testing is likely just a recent ‘tip of the iceberg’ revelation. And if the Air Force is doing it, be assured so are the Army, Navy, the NSA, CIA, FBI and all the other government snoops.

Certainly this kind of technology would be used not only by the US government. If the USA has it, you can bet other governments do too–especially China, Russia, Israel, and probably some of the Europeans as well.

Unlike in 2001, in 2020 SignalFrame’s technology takes government surveillance to a new level–given the ubiquity of smartphones, Internet of Things (IOT) devices, digital circuit board dependent autos, and all the many household devices now with MAC wireless access addresses. And now, unlike circa 2001 and the passage of the Patriot Act (and its continuation in annual NDAA legislation), we have AI, machine learning, neural nets everywhere, and massive government data processing power.

Please click on: Big Brother is Watching

Manmeet Singh Bhullar Left A Legacy Of Making Others Feel Like They Belong

Manmeet Singh Bhullar Left A Legacy Of Making Others Feel Like They Belong

The grief and lessons, five years after I lost my brother.

We lost Manmeet Singh Bhullar on Nov. 23, 2015. He left the world as he lived it: helping others. An Alberta MLA and the first turbaned Sikh Cabinet minister, he was driving from Calgary to Edmonton when he stopped to assist a stranded vehicle. A semi-truck lost control and struck Manmeet as he carried out his act of kindness.

As his older sister, I have become accustomed to the words “I’m sorry for your loss.” Manmeet was the pillar of our family, and we leaned into his guidance, his counsel and his honesty. Without him, our good days are now bittersweet, and our bad days sting worse. We still half expect him to walk into every family gathering.

While life without Manmeet comes with daily and sometimes hourly reminders of our loss, I have found myself often thinking about the community he served, the work he carried out, the people he inspired. To all of them, I am sorry for your loss. You had a champion that was driven by his unwavering commitment and deep responsibility to making our community better. You had someone whose story was about more than him alone — it was about all of us.

Please click on: Manmeet Singh Bhullar

Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?

Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?

Donald Trump has revealed the depths of the country’s prejudice—and has inadvertently forced a reckoning.

image above: The Atlantic

WN: I love the ironic optimism of this piece! As you will see excerpted in context below, I also love the ultimate irony of this statement:

Though it was hardly his intention, no president has caused more Americans to stop denying the existence of racism than Donald Trump.

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great Light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The Light will shine on them.–Isaiah 9:2

One can hope that in this worldwide kairos moment, this truth below and beside takes deep root:

On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you[1], which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.1 John 2:8

Hope wells up, especially as the new Church Year beginning with Advent season is this Sunday!

excerpts:

But in a twisted way, Trump was right. As his administration’s first term comes to an end, Black Americans—indeed, all Americans—should in one respect be thankful to him. He has held up a mirror to American society, and it has reflected back a grotesque image that many people had until now refused to see: an image not just of the racism still coursing through the country, but also of the reflex to deny that reality. Though it was hardly his intention, no president has caused more Americans to stop denying the existence of racism than Donald Trump.

Trump held up a mirror to American society, and it reflected back a grotesque image that many had refused to see.

Veteran activists and new recruits to the cause pushed policy makers to hold violent police officers accountable, to ban choke holds and no-knock warrants, to shift funding from law enforcement to social services, and to end the practice of sending armed and dangerous officers to respond to incidents in which the suspect is neither armed nor dangerous. But these activists weren’t merely advocating for a few policy shifts. They were calling for the eradication of racism in America once and for all.

Yet fundamental shifts in American views of race were already under way before the COVID-19 disparities became clear and before these latest examples of police violence surfaced. The percentage of Americans who told Monmouth pollsters that racial and ethnic discrimination is a big problem made a greater leap from January 2015 (51 percent) to July 2016 (68 percent) than from July 2016 to June 2020 (76 percent). What we are witnessing right now is the culmination of a longer process—a process that tracks closely with the political career of Donald Trump.

To Trump, and to many of his supporters, the American body must be a white body. When he launched his presidential campaign, on June 16, 2015, he began with attacks on immigrants of color and on the person whose citizenship he’d falsely questioned as a peddler of birtherism: Barack Obama. They were all desecrating the American body. Of Mexican immigrants, he said: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Of Obama, he said: “He’s been a negative force. We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again.”

Led by Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, the administration worked on ways to restrict immigration by people of color. There was a sense of urgency, because, as Trump said at a private White House meeting in June 2017, Haitians “all have AIDS” and Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” once they came to the United States.

The America that denied its racism through the Obama years has struggled to deny its racism through the Trump years. From 1977 to 2018, the General Social Survey asked whether Black Americans “have worse jobs, income, and housing than white people … mainly due to discrimination.” There are only two answers to this question. The racist answer is “no”—it presumes that racist discrimination no longer exists and that racial inequities are the result of something being wrong with Black people. The anti-racist answer is “yes”—it presumes that nothing is wrong or right, inferior or superior, about any racial group, so the explanation for racial disparities must be discrimination.

In 2008, as Obama was headed for the White House, only 34.5 percent of respondents answered “yes,” a number I’ll call the anti-racist rate. This was the second-lowest anti-racist rate of the 41-year polling period. The rate rose to 37.7 percent in 2010, perhaps because the emergence of the Tea Party forced a reckoning for some white Americans, but it fell back down to 34.9 percent in 2012 and 34.6 percent in 2014.

In 2016, as Trump loomed over American politics, the anti-racist rate rose to 42.6 percent. It went up to 46.2 percent in 2018, a double-digit increase from the start of the Obama administration. In large part, shifts in white public opinion explain the jump. The white anti-racist rate was barely 29.8 percent in 2008. It jumped to 37.7 percent in 2016 and to 40.5 percent two years into Trump’s presidency.

The United States has often been called a land of contradictions, and to be sure, its failings sit alongside some notable achievements—a New Deal for many Americans in the 1930s, the defeat of fascism abroad in the 1940s. But on racial matters, the U.S. could just as accurately be described as a land in denial. It has been a massacring nation that said it cherished life, a slaveholding nation that claimed it valued liberty, a hierarchal nation that declared it valued equality, a disenfranchising nation that branded itself a democracy, a segregated nation that styled itself separate but equal, an excluding nation that boasted of opportunity for all. A nation is what it does, not what it originally claimed it would be. Often, a nation is precisely what it denies itself to be.

In the end, only four Republicans and the House’s lone independent voted with all the Democrats to condemn the president of the United States. That means 187 House Republicans, or 98 percent of the caucus, denied that telling four congresswomen of color to go back to their countries was racist. They believed, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, that “the president’s not a racist.”

To call out the president’s racism would have been to call out their own racism. McConnell had been quietly killing anti-racist bills that had come out of the House since January 2019, starting with the new House’s first bill, which aimed to protect Americans against voter suppression.

Then came Charlottesville. On August 11, 2017, about 250 white supremacists marched on the University of Virginia campus, carrying torches that lit up the night sky with racism and anti-Semitism. Demonstrating against Charlottesville’s plan to remove statues honoring Confederates, they chanted, “Blood and soil!” They chanted, “Jews will not replace us!” They chanted, “White lives matter!”

The white supremacists clashed with anti-racist demonstrators that night and the next afternoon. White lives did not matter to the white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. He drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, murdering Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

I fear that this is how many Americans are thinking right now: Routine surgery—the defeat of Donald Trump at the polls—will heal the American body. No need to look deeper, at police departments, at schools, at housing. Are Americans now acknowledging racism, but telling themselves the problem is contained? Are they telling themselves that it is a big problem, but it can’t have spread to almost every part of the body politic? Will this become the new form of American denial?

False hope was my new normal, until it wasn’t. When they scanned my body, doctors found that the cancer had spread. I had Stage 4 colon cancer. I had two choices: denial and death, or recognition and life. America now has two choices.

Please click on: End of American Racism?

  1. [1]21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.I John 4:21

Washington Post Publishes Names and Details of 1,400 Civilians Killed in US-Led Bombings of ISIS

Washington Post Publishes Names and Details of 1,400 Civilians Killed in US-Led Bombings of ISIS

WN: “Collateral damage” has always meant huge numbers of civilians–aged and young, noncombatants of both sexes, etc.–indiscriminately slaughtered during U.S. drone strikes and other bombings the world over.

American military historian Tami Biddle wrote that

when aerial warfare was still only imagined in the 19th century, it meant “English-speaking peoples raining incendiary bombs over the enemy to impose the customs of civilization (Tami Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: the Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-1945, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002, italics added; page number lacking).”[1]

“To impose the customs of ‘civilization’ “. The white man’s (at least the West’s) noble burden indeed. In a word: bullshit!

The United States is Planet Mass Murderer Enemy Number One . . . (Not even to mention Climate Change, Nuclear weapons, CIA operations in every country on earth. etc., etc., etc.)

Obama became known as “Assassin-in-Chief” in many parts of the world due to his use of ubiquitous reach killer drones that “rained down terror and death” (not “the customs of ‘civilization’ “; drone warfare begun by George W. Bush, “perfected” under Obama and Biden, expanded by far under Trump)  on multiplied numbers of innocents each year, including (though so far not American–or not?) women and children?

excerpts:

The Washington Post on Wednesday published an extraordinary interactive report that names hundreds of civilians killed by coalition airstrikes during the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State.

The report, which contains harrowing survivor testimonies, draws upon data from the U.S. military and the U.K.-based journalistic monitor group Airwars to name each victim, as well as when and where they were killed. The paper mentions “thousands” of civilian casualties since President Barack Obama launched the war against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria in 2014, but focuses only on the approximately 1,400 deaths acknowledged by both the Pentagon and Airwars.

Instead, the paper focuses on notoriously conservative Pentagon casualty figures, as well as Airwars incident reports that have been rated “confirmed” by the group. Airwars’ methodology ranks casualty reports in six levels of certainty: “confirmed,” “fair,” “weak,” “contested,” “discounted,” and “no civilian harm reported.” The problem with the “confirmed” category is that U.S. military officials often fail to investigate or acknowledge (pdf) deaths and injuries caused by coalition airstrikes. Many of the casualty incidents reported by local and international media fall into Airwars’ “fair” category.

In a nation whose military claims it doesn’t “do body counts” and whose corproate media more often than not ignore or bury reports of civilian casualties, it is difficult if not impossible to say exactly how many innocent people are killed during its wars. In February 2019, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said around 11,800 Iraqi and Syrian civilians, including some 2,300 children, were killed in U.S.-led bombing. These numbers closely mirror Airwars’ figures.

This, on top of the at least hundreds of thousands—and possibly as many as two million (pdf)—men, women, and children killed in at least seven nations since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. And since waging the world’s only nuclear war in 1945, the U.S. military has killed more foreign civilians than any other armed force on the planet—by far.

Airwars’ own reporting paints a very different casualty picture from the Post’s. In August 2015 the group published Cause for Concern (pdf), which counted between 459 and 1,086 Iraqi and Syrian civilians killed by coalition airstrikes in just the first 11 months of the anti-ISIS campaign. By the end of the Obama administration, the group reported (pdf) “at least 1,500 non-combatants” killed in Syria and Iraq.

Then came President Donald Trump, who infamously promised to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS militants and “take out their families.” Trump loosened rules of engagement meant to protect civilians, with former Defense Secretary James Mattis—who earned his “Mad Dog” moniker during the atrocity-laden First Battle of Fallujah in 2004—declaring in May 2017 that the U.S. was shifting from a policy of “attrition” to one of “annihilation” in the war against ISIS.

By the end of May 2019, Airwars reported (pdf) “at least 7,978 non-combatants likely died as a result of U.S.-led actions—that is, predominantly but not solely airstrikes.” By that time ISIS had been all but vanquished in both Iraq and Syria, but Airwars reports of U.S.-led airstrikes—and civilian casualties—continue to this day.

In a nation whose military claims it doesn’t “do body counts” and whose corproate media more often than not ignore or bury reports of civilian casualties, it is difficult if not impossible to say exactly how many innocent people are killed during its wars. In February 2019, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said around 11,800 Iraqi and Syrian civilians, including some 2,300 children, were killed in U.S.-led bombing. These numbers closely mirror Airwars’ figures.

Please click on: U.S. Planet Mass Murder Number One

  1. [1]In Luke 9:55, Jesus’ disciples wanted to rain fire down upon a Samaritan village, and Jesus “rebuked them”.  So ever is the Way of Jesus.  Willard Swartley comments:

    “Rather than eradicating the enemy, as was the goal of Joshua’s conquest narrative in the earlier story – in a similar location [Samaria] – the new strategy eradicates the enmity…  Instead of killing people to get rid of idolatry, the attack through the gospel is upon Satan directly (Luke 10).  Instead of razing high places, Satan is toppled from his throne! [Note 48 reads: “Hence the root of idolatry is plucked from its source…] (Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics, Swartley, 2006, p. 144)”

Kairos means a highly significant historical moment. We are in one this year (2020), given:

— a worldwide pandemic

— worldwide anti-racism protests

— an attempted coup by U.S. President Trump–that affects the entire world.

The very busy kairos post you may wish to click on is:

Cornel West Says ‘Neo-Fascist Gangster’ Trump and Neoliberal Democrats Expose America as ‘Failed Social Experiment’

Thanks for clicking on the post. I encourage you to leave a comment at bottom of this or any post, and of most pages. See Sitemap for a full list by titles and dates, under “HOME“; or see  BLOG for thumbnails you may view from current to previous; or check ARCHIVES below each post for groupings by year and month. You may also see Related Posts below each post. There as well, you may choose to rate posts/most pages. At bottom of each page is also a “SEARCH” box. My commitment is to respond if comment is approved. I can learn something for sure! Hopefully you may too…

Thanks, 

Wayne Northey

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