What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

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What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

Via Postal Mail - You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to: WikiLeaks (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country), BOX 4080, Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch, Victoria 3052, Australia

Monday, February 26, 2007


3,157 U.S. Soldiers killed in Iraq

Just to keep up to date on the cost of the War on Iraq. As of today there have been 3,157 U.S. Soldiers killed in Iraq.
Here are some links that will give you complete access to the updated numbers.

Graphic Chart of War
Collision Casualty Count
Why we went, officially.
What they will not show you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Universal Healthcare

300,000,000 people X $1,000 = $300 Billion / year = War On IRAQ

Four doctor visits, and two dental checkups per year, one physical, a couple of X-rays, an eye exam, prescription drugs at reasonable prices, and catastrophic emergency insurance with a high ($5000) deductible. Total cost of basic health care for one person is about $1000/year.

The most difficult thing most growing small businesses deal with is healthcare costs. Students can't study when they are sick. Children are vulnerable. We have a basic responsibility to take care of each other. If more people are healthy, we have more workers, working harder, longer. More income, more tax revenue, happy people with more potential live longer.

There are 300 Million Americans. Total cost of a U.S. national single payer health care plan is $300 Billion per year, or about the same as the war on Iraq. Enough said.

(note: those who already have health insurance pay about $300 Billion per year already. They would save about half of that by using the universal U.S. healthcare plan, reducing the real cost of helping everyone stay healthy. If you are a doctor you may fear government enforced price caps and if you are a drug pusher you may fear low cost drugs, but with all the extra money healthy people will make your markets increase, and your opportunities multiply.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Koyaanisqatsi - Movie 1978, a work of true genius

Director, Godfrey Reggio
Cinematography by Ron Fricke
Score by Philip Glass

From the Hopi word meaning
1 crazy life
2 life in turmoil
3 life out of balance
4 life disintegrating
5 a state of life that calls for another way of living

Translation of the Hopi Prophecies sung in the film.
"If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
"Near the Day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
"A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."

Art is about the journey, not a destination.
Meditate, pray, discipline your mind.
Rats race a maze, motivated by basic need.
Have we lost control of our technology, our lives?

Are we looking at a cityscape or a circuit board?
Corporate Religion is feeding our unquestioned life.
Our language is in a state of vast humiliation.
It no longer describes the world in which we live.

Everything that they call normal,
we call abnormal.
Everything that they call sane,
we call insane.

The day of purification will return the balance.
Earth, Air, Water, Fire.
Rockets flying to the sky.
Mathematical perfection, E = mc2.

This is an interactive film where the audience creates the meaning.
The music is edited to the feeling, not the structure.
There is no place for us in the commercial image.
The transaction between the music and the image requires the viewer.

Time is expressed not as we see it, but at the speed of terrible beauty.
We are most proud of our shining beast.
Realize the struggle toward resolution.
Of this thing we have all helped to create.

Also see
Powaqqatsi - life in transformation :
Naqoyqatsi - life as war : . 1. a life of killing each other. 2. war as a way of life. 3. (interpretation) civilized violence. (note: KPBS TV show Full Focus uses the Philip Glass Soundtrack to Naqoyqatsi for their theme song. Making a statement that they intellectually cover the life of killing each other. I prefer to think of this existence as a mired in conflict, not necessarily killing or war, but I'm an idealist.)

There is no more nature,
There is only technology,
Everyday life is war.


Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi



Friday, February 16, 2007


An Inconvenient Truth - By Al Gore

Nominated for 2006 Academy Award for Best Documentary

Al Gore nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.

An Inconvenient Truth - By Al Gore

"There is a very well funded, unethical, corporate campaign that is putting misinformation into the minds of the public, and this really threatens democracy." - Al Gore, on NPR's Fresh Air

From the first picture of the Earth in space in 1968, a few enlightened profits have supported the change in consciousness that calls for us to look at the world as an island in space, a singe unit, fragile and alone. Seeing such an image, we must take the view that the arbitrary nations and divisions of the Earth are meaningless in the overall scheme of life's existence in the universe.

"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." -Mark Twain

Light from the sun warms the Earth, and radiates back out into space. Carbon in the atmosphere holds the long wave-length infrared radiation and and allows it to warm the gas. Thus we get warmer temperatures. (Note: this is separate from the hole in the O-zone layer, which is a high layer of oxygen molecules that reflect ultra-violet radiation, keeping these harmful rays before they burn our DNA).

CO2 levels in the atmosphere keep rising, glaciers keep melting. Fresh water is flowing to the sea. The message is that in the last 650,000 years Carbon has never been above 300 parts per million in the atmosphere, Today it is spiking to reach 900-1500 ppm (3-5 times as much) within the next 50 years. The ramifications of this fact could mean catastrophe on a global scale.

Perhaps 25% of all life forms in the known universe will go extinct. Humanity, already stressed by over population, will face diminished resources and massive environmental change. Storms will become stronger, temperature will swing greatly, killing all the plants that can not adapt to these extremes, and with all this stress on resources, wars will likely increase. Soon we will deal with the consequences of our actions.

Richard Branson, European Billionaire, has just announced a $25-million dollar prize for the first scientist who comes up with an idea that will take a significant number of metric tons of carbon out of the atmosphere, over 10 years, without harmful side effects.

Perhaps in an alternate reality President Gore would have won the 2000 election. Instead we have the "Climate Change" finaly admitted by Bush. Global warming evaporates water off the oceans to seed the clouds, but also dries out the soil, increasing precipitation falling upon dry ground, which will erode the topsoil and increase changes in water chemistry ending species.

The places where people live is traditionally chosen by the way our weather creates environment. The weather has already begun to change so fast that we can not afford to adapt to our new environments. As permafrost melts, we may gain some arable land, but the polar animals go extinct. The melting of the Siberian Permafrost may release 70 Trillion metric tons of methaine within the next 100 years, perhaps doubling the already high green-house gas levels.

When light hits ICE, 90% is reflected into space, but in the open ocean light is absorbed at a rate of 90%. As the northern polar ice cap melts, that 80% difference creates a chain reaction. This will change the OCEAN CONVEYOR, the global flow of ocean currents, and the same thing happened just before the last ice age.

(With so much trapped heat, and no ocean current to transfer it around the globe, hot spots will get hotter, cold regions colder, and humidity and precipitation will increase as surface sea temperature rises. After the polar and Tibetan ice caps melt, we may find sea levels as much as 50 feet higher than today. Shifting continents due to ice melt will increase earthquake and volcanic activity, perhaps releasing more gas and ash that could blot out the sun and rapidly cool the world's surface. Deep snow will ice over the northern hemisphere, reflecting sunlight, sending temperatures down.)

The last European ice age, was started buy a huge influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean. A huge frozen lake, that covered much of North America broke a dam and catastrophically flowed into the sea. Greenland now may be in jeopardy of melting and the same threat to the ocean's currents, but the major problem will be a 20 foot rise in sea levels around the globe.

(note: this may have precipitated the evolution of Homo Sapiens and the extinction of neanderthals, by stressing both, a change that lead to our world today.)

Is is possible that we should be concerned about threats besides "terrorism"? China is burning coal that will release so much carbon that it may help melt the Tibetan glaciers that provide much of China's fresh water. There will be over 9 Billion people on Earth in 2050. Deforestation, adds thirty percent of the carbon to the atmosphere. With nuclear technology we can no longer think the same way about war. The Aral Sea, and Lake Chad, have dried up. In carbon emissions per person the U.S. is well above any other nation.

Parable of the frog: If a frog jumps into a pot of boiling water it will just jump out, but put the same frog in a luke warm pot, and raise the temperature gradually, it will stay until it boils to death, or it is rescued.

Smokers die of lung cancer the same way. Just as the tobacco farmer is responsible for the deaths of smokers, we are all responsible for carbon emissions.

There is no longer any disagreement between scientists about if global warming is happening, now the only real debate is how bad it will get, but that is a counter factual argument, it has not happened yet. It is up to us how bad we let it go, but most of the damage has already been done.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon him NOT understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

The Republican Neo-Conservtives say that addressing global warming will cost jobs and money. If we destroy the world, our jobs and money will not matter. And if you do the right thing everyone will prosper, and the process will create jobs. We can't sell our cars in China today, because we don't meet China's environmental energy efficiency standards.

We already know everything we need to know to address the Carbon Global Warming problem.

20% - Increasing Electricity End-Use Efficiency, such as major appliances and lights.
20% - Other End-Use Efficiencies.
20% - Passenger Vehicle Efficiency.
20% - Other Transport Efficiency.
20% - Renewable Energy.
20% - Carbon Capture Sequestration and Supply Efficiencies.
All add up and get us to 1970 levels of of Carbon Emission!

What can you do?
-Make choices to change your individual carbon emissions to zero.
-Use energy efficient appliances and light-bulbs.
-Get an energy audit of your home.
-If you have children discuss their future.
-Call the power company and ask if they supply green energy, and why not.
-Plant a tree, lots of trees.
-Speak up in your community, call that radio show.
-Raise fuel economy standards yourself, only buy cars that get 30+ MPG.
-Encourage everyone to see An Inconvenient Truth.

-Support the Kyoto Treaty. All nations except the U.S. and Australia have ratified the Kyoto Treaty. Most major U.S. Cities already pledge to support Kyoto.

Are we capable of rising above ourselves?
A free nation, of individual liberty, has that potential.
We ended the divine right of kings, slavery, women's suffrage, WWII.
What is at stake is the future of civilization, the future of all life.
It is your time to rise again to secure our future.

We have been given a window upon the future, it is our moral responsibility to decide what that future is going to be. You are no longer ignorant, you have been enlightened.


This story continues to unfold. 2006 was the hottest ever in the U.S. and Europe.

The ocean is Acidifying, the carbon in the atmosphere is bleaching the coral reefs, because of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is chalk, it is absorbed by coral to make their reefs, the death of coral reefs is due to the excess carbon entering the ocean. The effect is that without coral reefs the carbon acidity in the ocean will increase faster, and everything that makes a shell will be affected. The entire food chain will be affected. Algae blooms are already killing fish and spiking jellyfish populations.

We have the power and capacity to change this, we just need the will to act.

The demographics of families are changing. People are living longer, as populations increase, we keep the old around for decades. Solving the climate crisis is connected to making better choices.

"The greatest contraceptive that one can have in the developing world is the knowledge that your children will live." - Julius K. Nyerere, President of Tanzania 1965-84

- All of the above is paraphrased from Al Gore's slideshow documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Battle Ground - 21 Days on the Empire's Edge

Historically Essential Viewing

Every time I think I've seen everything, I watch another of these Award Winning War Documentaries, and find I can not sleep through the night.

"For three weeks in October 2003, against the backdrop of increasingly violent resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the award winning web-based Guerrilla News Network sent a crew to document everyday life for Iraqis and American soldiers. Dramatic Eyewitness accounts and candid commentary are interweaved with the heart-wrenching story of a former anti-Saddam Hussein guerrilla, who has returned to Iraq (13 years after G.H. Bush called for Iraqis to fight Saddam following the 1991 Gulf War), to find his family. BATTLEGROUND goes beyond the headlines and partisan politics to offer a wider understanding of this diverse conflict."

It is very important to note that this documentary was made in 2003, only six months after the end of "Major Military Operations", well before we forced Iraq to "vote" on their new constitution. At the time of this writing, Feb. 2007, we have been watching the situation worsen for four years, and the debate about the roll of U.S. Imperialism is just beginning to reach the the general public.

When you watch this documentary, take the time to view ALL the special features on the DVD. I can not stress how important the dialog on this video is to understanding the big picture of the reality of Iraq and our roll in the world.

In this documentary, among the main "characters", are some of the most amazing and articulate people from all sides of the conflict. I would be proud to meet or talk with any of them, all of them project their passion and wisdom, yet none are displayed without flaws. This is holistic view of the War on Iraq, and the lessons that reveal themselves are exponentially more relevant and ironic as time marches on.

Major Characters:
"Frank" - a former Iraqi Freedom Fighter during the 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein Regime. He fled Iraq after being shot and tortured by Saddam's forces and rescued by U.S. Soldiers. In 2003 he was returning for the first time in 13 years to find his family, whom he had not had contact with for fear of Saddam's reprisals. Syrindipidiously, he happened to be on the plane from Jordan with the film makers, and they decided to roll tape on his emotional odyssey of his journey home.

"I never thought I would see my country (again). I never thought how beautiful ... even the desert of it. This is just the border, but if we have a good government it wouldn't be a desert right now." - Frank, Iraqi-American refugee from the 1991 Gulf War, upon returning to Iraq in 2003

Raed - an Iraqi Blogger (the only real Iraq journalists left) who is investigating the cancerous effects of DU (Depleted Uranium) from the U.S. Military Forces used in the 1991 Gulf War. His deeply educated, young Iraqi views and opinions are recorded off-hand during a taxi ride on the way from the Tank Graveyard popping with radioactivity 300 times normal levels. A rare, honest look at what a real Iraqi thinks about the conflict.

"One of the questions that I was asked by the U.S. Military is ... 'what is the difference between the Shake of a Mosque and the Shake of a Tribe?' This is the kind of question that a two year old asks. How can you reach this country and not know (the minimum social facts of life). It was very funny." - Read, Iraqi Blogger

May - an interesting, Arabic/English speaking, western Journalist of obvious Asian decent, who lived at the Palestine Hotel during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and witnessed the death of reporters at the hands of the U.S. Military. She give us her highly intelligent insight about the state of Iraq in late 2003, with ironic truisms and world shaking wisdom that leave me speechless today.

"God! This place is totally unrecognizable. I remember, I'll never forget, the night before the bombing started, I came here (to the Ministry of Information (check on Wiki)) because I wanted to see, if there was ANYBODY left from the American Networks. They were all in one place, there doors were right next to each other. And each one of them had a lock on their door. The kind of permanent lock that you see when somebody is never coming back, ever." - May, American Journalist

Rena - an Iraqi woman, former Bathest party member, who is able to honestly express her opinion against the American occupation. I found myself often agreeing with her assessment of the U.S. invasion and government, even though she is obviously a bitter and damaged fascist, who would have supported Saddam if only because he was racially an Arab Iraqi. Rena has many issues, and her scars are obvious, but she is speaking truth to power, and expressing her honest opinion in an untenable situation. I can't help thinking that she and 'Frank' would be the deadliest of enemies if they ever met.

"You have to protect your country, everywhere, not only in Iraq. That's everywhere. And if you have an experience with occupation, you can feel the same things that I felt. I can't describe my feeling against the American because it's horrible." - Rena, Iraqi Translator

Hollis - an American Soldier, who very succinctly deconstructs the reasons for American military conquest and expounds upon the nature of Capitalism, Imperialism, and survival. His commentary is not accompanied by as much in-depth character development as the others, but the irony of his situation seems so glaringly obvious that the viewer becomes captivated. He is a Black American, who's ancestors were probably stolen from Africa by British imperialists, and after generations of slavery in America, having finally earned freedom and equality, this intelligent person is now becoming a perpetrator of the same imperialism. What is strange is that he seems consciously aware and totally realistic about the nature of his situation, yet shows no remorse, or opposition to the horrifying predicament. His last words ring in my ears, "Do you think anyone will really understand?".

"Are these people (Iraqis) warriors? Yes and no. Most of them believe in their religion, and and they are peaceful. But some of them that are going to fight, just like Americans, they are warriors. Now, how they choose to fight is up to them. We say we have the "Rules of War", and this is how you should fight. And the British had their "Rules of War", but when we (Americans) were fighting for our independence, we fought like the indians (Native-Americans), and so forth, and so forth." - Hollis, African-American Sgt. in the U.S. Army

I find myself wondering if any of these people survived, and what happened to them. I hope there is a followup documentary.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The Fog of War

The history of our country is exceptional. At no other time in history has a single person had the power to destroy the world. The evolution of human understanding and the challenges that arise from ultimate power have great and dire implications for both our potential and our fate. From the beginning of World War II until the end of the Cold War, perhaps no man had greater influence upon our destiny than Robert Strange McNamara.

Fog of War - 11 Lessons from the life of Robert S. McNamara

McNamara was educated, in Logic and Ethics, at UC Berkeley and became the youngest tenured professor at Harvard, and then President of Ford Motor Company. As the former Secretary of Defense during both the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Robert S. McNamara is a man that many consider a "Son-of-a-bich", but his experience and responsibility in leading the United States Military during some of the most crucial crises of the 20th century give him a unique perspective. Any wisdom he has gleaned from doing his job should be respected and taken to heart.

It is the job of old men to document their accumulated wisdom and leave a legacy for future generations. McNamara (and his wife) strived to solve world problems, and help us learn from our history. In the Fog of War, a documentary interview by Errol Morris, McNamara reveals his thought processes, and gives us the clues to derive the lessons of his life. Most revealing are his admissions of ignorance in the face of global crisis. The very decisions that killed or saved millions were made blindly, do to incomplete knowledge and understanding, leaving McNamara himself to conclude that we continue to exist today mainly due to blind luck.

Here I will re-list the lessons McNamara wants us to understand, as well as the lessons that the film choose to give us. I hope you watch the Fog of War and understand that these lessons are directly applicable to our conflicts TODAY and for our foreseeable future. We should not act blindly, and lacking wisdom we should first do no harm.

Lessons from The Fog of War:
#1 - Empathize with your enemy.
"We must try to put ourselves inside their skin and look at us through their eyes, just to try to understand the thoughts that lie behind their decisions and their actions." - Robert S. McNamara

#2 - Rationality will not save us.
"I want to say, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, at the end we lucked out. It was LUCK that prevented Nuclear War. We came THAT close ... Rational individuals - Kennedy was rational, Khrushchev was rational, Castro was rational - came that close to the total destruction of their societies. And that danger exists today." - Robert S. McNamara, in 2004, speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1964.

#3 - There is something beyond oneself. (Lead from the Front)
At the beginning of WWII, Robert S. McNamara worked for Army Intelligence (oxymoron) and found that 20% of our bombers turned back before reaching their targets due to pilot cowardice (President G.H. Bush?). All pilots knew that 4% of bombers never came back. McNamara told Colonel Curtis LeMay, whom McNamara considered the finest combat commander of any military service, but extraordinarily brutal. When the Colonel got the report he issued the order, "I will be in the lead plane on every mission. Any plane that takes off will go over the target, or the crew will be court-martialed."
(The lesson is to lead from the front, by example, and hold all your men accountable. This is a just policy, it puts the responsible commander where he belongs, and it forces men to confront their commitment and police their own actions, effectively identifying deserters and commanders as cowards if they fail. LeMay was also the name of both the commander who ordered the Nuclear attacks on Japan, and wanted to annihilate Cuba with Nuclear Weapons.)

#4 - Maximize Efficiency.
During Vietnam one of the big controversies was the promotion of soldiers based upon the ratio of enemy killed. This policy resulted in inaccurate reporting and unverifiable brutality. McNamara recounts his experience in WWII of LaMay's policy of maximizing destruction, he ordered the B-52's fire bombing Tokyo to fly at just 500 feet, even though they could have flown above enemy attack. The result was total destruction of all targets, perhaps 100,000 burned to death, and very limited American casualties. By putting planes at risk, they increased the kill ratio, brutally maximizing efficiency. (highly efficient, see rule #5)

#5 - Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
"The human race has not really grappled with the Rules of War. (The Fact is that there Are None) We behave as war criminals. What is t that makes it immoral if you loose, but not if you win?" - Robert S. McNamara.
(Perhaps if we had a capable opponent, like China, we would be less likely to enter war. Eventually, all nations will have nuclear weapons, and that will level the playing field, but see Rule #11.)

#6 - Get the DATA.
The current lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction in IRAQ, are evidence that without accurate information, we are doomed to make mistakes. Regardless of weather our leaders lie, the facts never do.

#7 - Belief and Seeing are both often wrong.
The 'ghost' attacks of the Tonken Gulf Incident demonstrate how inexperienced soldiers and over zealous leaders can create horribly tragic outcomes. (see rule #6, #8, and #11)
"We believe what we want to believe." - Robert S. McNamara

#8 - Be prepared to Reexamine your reasoning.
"We are the strongest nation in the world today. I do not believe that we should ever apply that political, economic, or military power unilaterally. If we had followed that rule in Vietnam, we would never have been there. None of our allies supported us. If we can not persuade nations of comparable values of the merit of our cause, then we better reexamine our reasoning." - Robert S. McNamara, 2004

#9 - In order to do good, you may have to engage in EVIL.
A Quaker Pacifist named Morison burned himself alive in front of the Pentagon in 1965 to protest the Vietnam War. He held his young daughter in his arms, she survived. "Human Beings must stop killing other Human Beings" - Morison's Wife.
In 1967, 20,000 people protested the Vietnam War at a rally in front of the Pentagon, as the U.S. Army stood guard without ammunition per McNamara's order.
(McNamara is considered responsible for the use of "Agent Orange", a cancer causing defoliant used on Vietnam, later found to be the cause of cancer and birth-defects in thousands of Vietnamese and American War Veterans.)

#10 - Never Say Never.
"Never answer the question that is posed to you, answer the question you WISH was posed to you." - Robert S. McNamara, on speaking to the press. Strange that he seemed to honestly answer questions for this documentary, perhaps his wishes coincided with those who questioned him?

#11 - You Can Not Change Human Nature.
After the Second World War, McNamara was the President of Ford Motor Company for a brief time, he instituted the seat belt and other safety devices, that surely saved thousands of lives, but you must force individuals to use them. Human animals are lazy cowards, willing to kill for personal profit, but not to sacrifice even minimal effort to avoid death and destruction. As finite animals it seems we lack the foresight to see the consequences of our actions.
"We all make mistakes, and we all know it. It is not that we aren't rational, we are rational, but reason has its limits." - Robert S. McNamara
"At the end of our exploring, we will return to where we started, and know it for the first time." - T.S. Elliot

Fog of War Quotes:
On Vietnam -
"The war which we can neither win, loose, nor drop is evidence of an instability of ideas." - Senator Scott, 1964

"Now America wins the wars she undertakes, make no mistake about it. And we have declared war on TYRANY and AGGRESSION. If this little nation goes down the drain, and can't maintain her independence, ask yourself what's going to happen to all the other little nations?" - President Linden B. Johnson explaining the "Domino Theory" in 1964.
(Sounds exactly like the "War on Terrorism" and the current policy in the Middle-East, our president doesn't learn from history, even that which he has lived.)

"This is not primarily a military problem, it is a battle for the hearts and minds of the people ... As a prerequisite to that we must be able to guarantee their physical security" (speaking about South Vietnam in 1960's, more bombs were dropped upon Vietnam than upon all of Europe during WWII)

"You are totally wrong. We were fighting for our independence, you were fighting to enslave us. Mr. McNamara you must never have read a history book. Didn't you know that we have been fighting the Chinese for 1000 years. No amount of bombing would have stopped us." - Former General Tong, of N. Vietnam in 1995, Speaking to Robert S. McNamara

"They believed that we had simply replaced the French as a colonial power, and that we were seeking to subject North and South Vietnam to our colonial interest, which was absolutely absurd. We saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War, not what they saw it as, a Civil War." - Robert S. McNamara, 2004

On Nuclear War -
"The Earth is our temple. Shall we pull it down upon our heads? During the Kennedy Administration, the U.S. developed a 100 megaton bomb. They tested it within the atmosphere. Is that what we want?"

"Any Military Commander, who is honest with themselves, will admit he has made mistakes, that those mistakes have cost lives. With nuclear weapons there will be no learning period. You make one mistake and you will destroy nations."

"Is it right and proper that today (2004) there are 7500 strategic OFFENSIVE nuclear weapons, of which 2500 are on fifteen minute alert, to be launched by the decision of one human being?"

Cuban Missile Crisis - October 16-28, 1962, when we looked down the gun barrel into nuclear war.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy received two letters from the Russians. The first was from Khrushchev and gave us a way to diffuse the situation. The second was from Russian Hard-lineers and would escalate the crisis. Tommy Thompson advised the president to respond to the first message and ignore the second. Kennedy was hesitant and worried about looking weak to the Russians, he was going to increase the stakes. Tommy told John F. Kennedy that he was wrong, and that he didn't agree. During the most crucial moment of the Cold War, Tommy told the U.S. President he was wrong. That was courage.

"We (USSR) and you (USA) aught not pull upon a rope which you have tied the knots of war. Because the more the two of us pull, the tighter the knot will be tied, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you. I have participated in two wars, and know that war ends when it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sewing death and destruction, for such is the logic of war. If people do not display wisdom, they will clash like blind moles, and then mutual annihilation will commence." - Khrushchev, on the eve of destruction.

"The major lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis is this: The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations." - RSM

Ten Lessons from Robert S. McNamara:
1) The human race will not eliminate war in this century, but we can reduce the brutality of war - the level of killing - by adhering to the principles of a "Just War", in particular the principal of "proportionality".
2) The indefinite combination of Human Fallibility and Nuclear Weapons will lead to the destruction of nations.
3) We are NOT Omniscient. We are the most powerful country - politically, economically, and militarily (for now). If we can not persuade other nations with similar interests and values of the merits of our proposed use of that power, (then) we should not proceed unilaterally except in the unlikely requirement to defend directly the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
4) Moral principles are often ambiguous guides to Foreign Policy and Defense Policy, but certainly we can agree that we should establish as a major goal of U.S. Foreign Policy and, indeed, of foreign policies across the globe: the Avoidance in the 21st century of the carnage - 160 million dead - caused by conflicts in the 20th century.
5) We, the richest nation in the world, have FAILED in our Responsibility to our own poor and to the disadvantaged across the world to help them advance their welfare in the most fundamental terms of nutrition, literacy, health and employment.
6) Corporate executives must recognize there is no contradiction between a soft heart and a hard head. Of course, they have responsibilities to stock holders, but they also have responsibilities to their employees, their customers, and to society as a whole.
7) President Kennedy believed "The" primary responsibility of a President is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.
8) War is a blunt instrument by which to settle disputes between or within nations, and economic sanctions are rarely effective. Therefore we should build a system of jurisprudence based upon the international court - that the U.S. has refused to support - which would hold INDIVIDUALS responsible for crimes against humanity.
(WOW - that was written by the U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, and a major player in the Military Intelligence that Bombed Japan during WWII. He would have certainly been tried by such a court with such broad jurisdiction.)
9) If we are to deal effectively with Terrorists across the globe, we must develop a sense of EMPATHY - I do not mean 'sympathy', but rather "understanding" - to counter their (un-empathic) attacks on US and the Western world.
10) One of the greatest dangers we face today is that terrorists will obtain access to weapons of mass destruction as a result of the breakdown of the non- proliferation regime we in the U.S. are contributing to that breakdown.

(It is interesting to note that as of this writing, Feb. 2007, the G.W. Bush administration has ignored ALL of these Lessons. The parenthetical notes and capitalization for emphasis are mine.)

McNamara reminds me of my grandfather, both were intelligent men with rational empathy and stubborn commitment to their country. They were born when Men were responsible for making decisions, and both made decisions that would later be seen as mistakes, yet both McNamara and Gramps surprise me by their continued to ability grow and learn from their experience right until the ends of their lives. I don't know if we can fairly judge the men who fought in World War II and the decisions they made during the second half of the 20th century. What we know now gives us the perspective of 20/20 hindsight, and given the information they had at the time, the context of their lives, their ignorance, we may have done nothing different. What we can do is learn from the patterns of conflict and their mistakes in judgement, and strive never to repeat them. Our crises should at least be original and unique to our time.

Robert S. McNamara
Vietnam Lessons

Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century (Paperback)

Friday, February 02, 2007


President G. W. Traitor

"LAST August, a federal judge found that the president of the United States broke the law, committed a serious felony and violated the Constitution." - James Bamford, in NY Times

It is just another fellony in a long list, but why not list them all?

James Bamford
The Puzzle Palace

Body of Secrets

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