Category Archives: Peace, Security, Terrorism, War
by Jared Keller, Pacific Standard, 12/29/15
Is there hope for next year?
Quintonio LeGrier was murdered on Saturday.
The 19-year-old engineering student was shot and killed by Chicago police officers, according to ABC 7 Chicago, after cops responded to a call around 4:30 a.m from LeGrier’s father saying his son was “acting crazy” and waving a baseball bat. LeGrier wasn’t the responding officers’ only victim; Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old anti-violence activist, mother of five, and LeGreir’s downstairs neighbor, was caught in the crossfire and killed. “An innocent lady got shot as well, because the police were trigger happy,” LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told reporters. “I went to the hospital. My son has seven bullet holes in him.” Amid the subsequent public outrage, beleaguered Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has quickly called for police reform.
This is by now a tragically familiar story. As of December 24, police officers have fatally shot 965 Americans this year, according to a Washington Post tally. Of those 965, only 564 were armed with guns; about 90 were totally unarmed. While the Post found that white police officers shooting unarmed black men—incidents that have sparked ongoing protests in cities across the United States—represented fewer than four percent of total fatal police shootings in 2015, “Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings,” the Post authors write. “Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year.”…
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By Pamela Alma Weymouth, Truthdig, 8/8/15
In 1950, my grandfather, Ralph Weymouth—a decorated World War II naval aviator who would become a vice admiral—stood inside the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, viewing for the first time the human cost of the atom bomb. He saw a child’s charred lunchbox, a helmet with the remains of a victim’s skull still stuck to the interior, a clock frozen at 11:02, and the one thing he’ll never forget: “fingers on a human hand ossified in glass.”
Last week my grandfather told me this was the moment that changed him. The eldest of three boys, he’d joined the military as a midshipman at age 17 to help his divorced mother in the midst of the Great Depression. He entered the Navy with “a schoolboy mentality” about the military: “I was your typical young, ardent performer.” The four visits he made to ground zero during his service in the Korean War left an indelible imprint on his views, leading eventually to his transformation from military man to activist for nuclear disarmament.
“I could see the facts from a different viewpoint,” he said, “right there at ground zero.” The remnants of the blast, the apology letter from some 50 physicists, the Smyth Report, released just days after the blasts—all these things conspired to transform my grandfather from a man who believed that war was inevitable into a man who believes that peace is possible….
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by Paul Krugman, New York Times, 5/18/15
Surprise! It turns out that there’s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago.
But many influential people — not just Mr. Bush — would prefer that we not have that discussion. There’s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.
Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.
The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time….
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