A little leak can be quickly fixed by stuffing it. Large leaks, however, often require more structural repairs or completely different solutions. Bradley Manning’s and just days ago Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified information demonstrates just how big our structural repairs need to be. What they exposed are further indicators of the faulty framework of the national security debate.
“The War to End all Wars” never achieved what H.G. Wells implied with this term. On the contrary, World War I not only resulted in the death of more than 16 million humans, it also resulted in a victor’s peace directly setting the stage for World War 2 where an estimated 60 to 100 million people died. I like to believe that no World War is on the horizon, but I was quite surprised to read the headline of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece “To Secure Peace, Be Ready for Battle. The surprise not so much was the title itself. This language—promoting ‘peace’ by amassing more military—has been all-too-familiar and all-too-common in the twenty-first century perpetual ineffective and counterproductive war on terror and other misguided relics like humanly insane nuclear deterrence or the offensive, war-waging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” was a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. To no surprise the current electoral season turns politicians into stick-carrying hunters – only now it does not seem necessary to speak softly.
The red line was crossed; let’s fire a shot across the bow. It sounds so easy, so clean, so surgical. Splash! A harmless shot landing in the water to make the enemy compliant. Since the American public – and for that matter the entire world – is rightfully doubtful of yet another U.S. military adventure, the administration is trying to play down what indeed are the preparations for going to war with another country.
Bringing the aircraft carrier USS Ranger to Fairview as a museum and memorial, a proposal reported in The Oregonian’s July 5 article “Carrier on the Columbia,” is not a good idea. What is being memorialized? The Ranger’s extensive engagement in the Vietnam War and Gulf wars?
In 1951 the US government’s Civil Defense Branch produced the film Duck and Cover. Bert the Turtle reached millions of school children and adults as part of a national campaign to prepare the population in case of a nuclear attack. Even at that time the usefulness of the proposed duck-and-cover maneuver in the face of the utter annihilation arising from a nuclear blast was questioned. Today’s advanced, larger, and far more numerous nuclear weapons have made the chance of surviving a nuclear attack with the ‘duck and cover’ tactic as hallucinatory as chatting with Bert the Turtle. The threat posed by nuclear weapons is still grave and the only true security for our society lies in their elimination worldwide.
A new, citizen-driven nonviolent reality is emerging in the escalated war on drugs in Mexico. The international perception of present-day Mexico is one of disgust about the escalated violence, thousands of fatalities, mass graves and militarized approaches to fight the powerful drug cartels.