We are approaching the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. So much has happened since that day. Over time, history seems to have been blurred quite a bit, especially in when it comes to the war in Afghanistan. Let’s review a few critical facts about what led us to Afghanistan in the first place. This is a story of typical imperial scope creep (and we don’t hear much about how this mission has added to the much-discussed national debt).
Americans need to understand the world much better than we do. We frequently talk about “leading the world.” And U.S. foreign policy is based on the idea that we make the rules. If we are to show leadership in the world, we need an electorate that understands today’s international challenges. We need to understand what problems exist, and how we can best assist others to solve these problems. Understanding such issues should empower our citizens to elect representatives who will promote effective policy that goes beyond the failing status quo.
Here are some interesting—and entertaining—videos clips and charts about what is going on in the world. I hope you enjoy these resources.
We now have over half a million military personnel serving on more than 737 military bases all over the world. These bases are on more than 130 countries. According to the late military scholar, Chalmers Johnson, these bases facilitate the “policing” of the globe and are meant to ensure that no other nation, friendly or hostile, can ever challenge us militarily. He predicts that military spending will “sooner or later…threaten our nation with bankruptcy.” Many would argue that a strong military is necessary because it is a deterrent to potential adversaries. Really? Then explain to me why our tax-payer-funded military bases include a ski center, over 200 military golf courses, dozens of luxury jets, and many luxury hotels. Conservatives like to compare government (public) workers (such as military personnel and Wisconsin teachers) with private workers, insisting, for instance, that Wisconsin teacher, police, and firefighters’ pensions and wages are too generous compared to what private workers are paid (to justify why unions should be crushed). So I am sure they will not want to make the argument that military personnel should have private golf courses and other superfluous luxuries that those in the private sector do not enjoy.
It is interesting to me that many in our country who scream the loudest for war are the same people who think we should be considered a “Christian nation.” Wasn’t the message of Christ about “turning the other cheek,” and of forms of peaceful resistance? Liberals and conservatives should unit to help end the immoral military interventions that we are currently engaged in. It is the courage of individuals, who stand up to the madness of corruption and war, who bring peace to our world.
The history of U.S. relations with Latin America is a story of imperialism, exploitation, and crimes against humanity. Eduardo Galeano’s book, “Open Veins of Latin American,” is an excellent introduction to this history. Greg Grandin’s 2006 book, “Empire’s Workshop,” and Naomi Klein’s more-recent book, “The Shock Doctrine,” cover issues of modern economic and military imperialism in the region. From the Monroe Doctrine to the School of the Americas, the tax dollars of U.S. citizens have been used to sell arms to cruel militias, install and uphold brutal dictators, train anti-communist insurgencies in torture methods, implement trade policies that increase extreme poverty and inequality, and undermine democratic movements. But there are hopeful signs on the horizon.
For over 40 years, MIT linguists professor and activist, Noam Chomsky, has been a powerful voice of dissent in the United States and around the world. The New York Times has called him, “perhaps the most important intellectual alive.” He has published over one-hundred books, is the most quoted living scholar. His most recent book, […]
I just finished watching an excellent documentary called, “The End of Poverty?” The film explores how international poverty has been perpetuated by corrupt capitalism, through multinational corporations and the U.S. government.