Tag Archives: wars

Project Bugsplat

Holiday season cycles around again, and my book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound, could be a healing gift for anyone you know experiencing loss or grief. The book, of mostly personal columns reflecting on the miracle and comedy of life, has been reduced in price through the end of the year.  A purchase also helps me keep the column afloat.  More info below.

By Robert C. Koehler

“The Lakotah had no language for insulting other orders of existence: pest, waste, weed . . .”

But what about “bugsplat”?

That’s the word for the cop at UC Davis, walking up and down the line of students sitting with their arms locked, zapping them in the eyes with pepper spray. It’s the word for the Tunisian police and bureaucrats who humiliated Mohamed Bouazizi and destroyed his livelihood as a street vendor. It’s the word for anyone whose power exceeds his humanity.

And, according to a 2003 Washington Post story, it’s the name of a Defense Department computer program for calculating collateral damage; it’s also, apparently, casual terminology among Pentagon operation planners and the like to refer to the collateral damage itself . . . you know, the dead civilians. CIA drone operators talk about bugsplat. The British organization Reprieve calls its effort to track the number of people killed by U.S. drone strikes — in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen — Project Bugsplat.

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War Crimes in Libya – The Smoking Guns

By Michael Collins

“The UN said in its resolution that they wanted to protect civilians. I am a civilian. I’m asking the United Nations and the National Transition Council for help for the citizens of Sirte.” ~ Ali Salah Arzaga, Sirte, Libya. (His home and business were destroyed in the final assault on his city.)

There are very public smoking guns that inculpate the rulers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and others in war crimes in Libya.

The rationale for NATO’s entry into the Libyan conflict was based on humanitarian principles, correctly noted by Mr. Arzaga. (left, text and image: VOA video). The United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1973 on March 17 and NATO followed up with actions that the alliance and its partner Qatar claimed conformed to the resolution. The sole purpose of NATO’s involvement was to “protect the Libyan population,” we were told.

The outcome has been anything but humanitarian. Tens of thousands of Libyans are injured or dead. The nation’s infrastructure is in tatters. One city, Sirte, was destroyed during the final push while another city, the non-Arab Black Libyan town of Tawergha, is absent its entire population, 25,000 residents. They were there just a few weeks ago.

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The Old Integrity

By Robert C. Koehler

The old order and the old integrity slowly collapse, but the statues remain, and the words. How odd they sound:

“The founder of the University of Chicago, John D. Rockefeller, on December 13, 1910, made provision for the erection of this chapel and thus defined its purpose: As the spirit of religion should penetrate and control the university, so that building which represents religion ought to be the central and dominant feature of the university group. Thus it will be proclaimed that the university is dominated by the spirit of religion. All its departments are inspired by religious feeling, and all its work is directed to the highest ends.”

Well, hmm. This was the 19th century’s religion, of course. Its patriarchal God presided over empire and scientific progress and the Industrial Age, but even still — no matter how many passionate arguments I’ve had with this God over the course of my lifetime — I was struck, on this beautiful fall afternoon in Chicago, as I stood in the vestibule of Rockefeller Chapel with my out-of-town guests, by this God’s absence in contemporary public life. The regulating force is gone and we’re spinning, it seems, out of control.

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Social Security vs. War Budget: Obama claims the Republican agenda as his own

By Socialist Worker

Turns out the president many expected to revive the New Deal is out to bury it instead.

That’s the inescapable conclusion following President Barack Obama’s offer to trade cuts in the Social Security and Medicare programs–part of a projected $4 trillion in reductions over 10 years–in exchange for Republican votes to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by August 2.

In return for giving the Obama administration the authority to keep borrowing to finance government operations, Republicans were expected to bow to modest tax increases that will annoy the superrich and outrage Tea Party ideologues in the short term–but would actually lock in tax rates for the wealthy at historic lows over the long term.

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Where should we send your card, from the President? (Our answer)


By Honest Elections Cow
with additional comments (in red) by Rady Ananda

Please send my thank you card from the President to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and wherever else we are still causing death and suffering and tell them I am so sorry this Presidency has failed to stop the war the last regime started, with the approval of Democrats. Then send a copy to all the poor of our nation  and indeed of all the world and tell them I am so sorry that corporations are still more important than people, and that greed still rules the world and that it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether we have Democrats or Republicans in power over here.

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