Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day Of the dead

By Cindy Sheehan

May 26, 2009 (Information Clearing House) -- -I was on an airplane flying to Orange County from Sacramento to attend the al-Awda Conference; which is a Palestinian Right’s Conference. Al-Awda translates to “The Returning, “ when the Pilot voice filled the cabin to make an announcement that I think went unnoticed by most of my fellow passengers, but I heard it.

As the plane was on the approach to John Wayne airport, the Captain came on the intercom to remind us all to “remember our brave troops who have died for our freedom.” Even in this post 9-11 paranoid paradigm, if I wasn’t belted in for landing, I would have popped out of my seat at 13D and charged up to the cockpit to let the pilot know that my son was killed in Iraq and not one person anywhere in this world is one iota more free because he is dead.

As a matter of fact, the people of Iraq, the foreign country thousands of miles away where my oldest child’s brains, blood, and life seeped into the soil, are not freer, unless one counts being liberated from life, liberty and property being free. If you consider torture and indefinite detention freedom, then the Pilot may have been right, but then again, even if you do consider those crimes freedom, it does not make it so.

Here in America we are definitely not freer because my son died, as a matter of fact, our nation can spy on us and our communications without a warrant or just cause and we can’t even bring a 3.6 ounce bottle of hand cream into an airport or walk through a METAL detector with our shoes on. Even if we do want to exercise our Bill of Rights, we are shoved into pre-designated “free speech” (NewSpeak for; STFU, unless you are well out of the way of what you want to protest and shoved into pens like cattle being led to slaughter) zones and oftentimes brutally treated if you decide you are entitled to “free speech” on every inch of American soil.

If you watch any one of the cable news networks this weekend between doing holiday weekend things, you will be subjected to images of row upon row of white headstones of dead US military lined up in perfect formation in the afterlife as they were in life. Patriotic music will swell and we will be reminded in script font to “Remember our heroes,” or some such BS as that.

Before Casey was killed, a message like that would barely register in my consciousness as I rushed around preparing for Casey’s birthday bar-be-que that became a family tradition since he was born on Memorial Day in 1979. If I had a vision of how Memorial Day and Casey’s birthday would change for my family, I would have fled these violent shores to protect what was mine, not this murderous country’s. Be my guest, look at those headstones with pride or indifference. I look at them, now with horror, regret, pain and a longing for justice.

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Jus ad bellum and the pursuit of war

From Just War Theory by Austin Cline (About.com)

How do Just War theories expect to justify the pursuit of some wars? How can we ever conclude that some particular war may be more moral than another? Although there are some differences in the principles used, we can point to five basic ideas which are typical.

These are categorized as jus ad bellum and have to do with whether or not it is just to launch any particular war. There are also two additional criteria which are concerned with the morality of actually waging a war, known as jus in bello. ...

The idea that the presumption against the use of violence and war cannot be overcome without the existence of a just cause is perhaps the most basic and important of the principles underlying the Just War tradition. This can be seen in the fact that everyone who calls for a war always proceeds to explain that this war would be pursued in the name of a just and righteous cause - no one ever actually says “our cause is immoral, but we should do it anyway.”

The principles of Just Cause and Right Intention are readily confused, but differentiating them is made easier by remembering that the cause of a war encompasses the basic principles behind the conflict. Thus, both “preservation of slavery” and “spread of liberty” are the causes which might be used to justify a conflict - but only the latter would be an example of a Just Cause. Other examples of just causes would include the protection of innocent life, defending human rights, and protecting the ability of future generations to survive. Examples of unjust causes would include personal vendettas, conquest, domination, or genocide.

One of the main problems with this principle is alluded to above: everyone believes that their cause is just, including the people who seem to be pursuing the most unjust causes imaginable. The Nazi regime in Germany can provide many example of causes which most people today would regard as unjust, but which the Nazis themselves believed were quite just. If judging the morality of a war simply comes down to which side of the front lines a person is standing, just how useful is this principle?

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