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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd
2004-09-07 - 11:34 a.m.
Ptolemy vs. Copernicus All Over AgainAll the emphasis on 9/11 and its aftermath at the Republican Convention reminded me of what I wrote just a few days after that awful event:
For the past several days the middle school student I am helping to homeschool had been studying the Middle East and the US/Israeli refusal to participate in the Conference on Racism. We had been reading the news and discussing the Middle East conflict. We suddenly had a new appreciation of what life must be like for those around the world who live daily with terrorism and constant unrest in their communities. How can we ever hope to repair the world when issues that face us are so far reaching and complex? How can we ever hope to heal when we already hear talk of war – of acts of revenge and retaliation that may threaten the lives of other innocent people.
Economic Sanctions Are WMD
Just yesterday I read a reference to something written by John and Karl Mueller in Foreign Affairs that gave me further cause to recall what I had written. They propose that economic sanctions may well be considered the leading weapons of mass destruction, having possibly contributed to more deaths during the post-Cold War era than all the WMD’s throughout history as the civilian population does not suffer accidental or collateral damage from sanctions; it is the prime target. – To Kill a Nation by Michael Parenti
As the media pundits call out for retaliation, few try to shed some light on what might motivate some anti-US sentiment in the Middle East. One exception was ABC’s Jim Wooten, who reported that “Arabs see the U. S. as an accomplice of Israel, a partner in what they believe is the ruthless repression of Palestinian aspirations for land and independence.” He continued, “The most provocative issues: Israel's control over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem; the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia near some of Islam's holiest sites; and economic sanctions against Iraq, which have been seen to deprive children there of medicine and food."
I have been heartened to hear John Kerry speak about rebuilding our alliances. I wish I’d hear even more about what David Ignatius writes about in this editorial in the N.Y. Times today:
We Americans are sometimes like the ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy. That is, we see the United States as the fixed center of the universe, with other nations and events revolving around us. I think it's one of our endearing qualities, this ebullient national self-centeredness -- except when it leads to errors in geopolitical navigation.
In today’s N.Y. Times, Paul Krugman in a column entitled A Mythic Reality offers Kerry some significant suggestions as to how he might counteract President Bush’s 9/11 One-Note campaign. He talks about what we all know – the nation is in the grip of a war/terrorist psychological mentality. We yearn for a President who can get us out of this mess and restore our nation’s reputation in the world and our security, at least to the degree possible in this terror-ridden world. Never mind that the President we have has blundered us even further into chaos since 9/11. Never mind that as many men have been killed in Iraq since sovereignty has been turned over as before “Mission Accomplished” was declared on that well-orchestrated aircraft carrier at the conclusion of the main part of the war. Never mind that more planning went into that well-publicized event than went into how to really win the peace.
To win, the Kerry campaign has to convince a significant number of voters that the self-proclaimed "war president" isn't an effective war leader - he only plays one on TV. This charge has the virtue of being true. It's hard to find a nonpartisan national security analyst with a good word for the Bush administration's foreign policy. Iraq, in particular, is a slow-motion disaster brought on by wishful thinking, cronyism and epic incompetence.
Good luck, Senators Kerry & Edwards! Give ‘em hell!