Stephen Lendman
Sun Nov 26, 2006 18:00


From its use already in 4 wars, the use of DU weapons is an act of insanity as well as possibly the greatest ever crime against humanity (and all other living species) and a war crime. Those responsible include 3 presidents, scores of high government officials and the Pentagon high command to include a lot of generals and admirals. These people are criminals. They're guilty of mass murder without end. They all should be made to answer for their crimes through indictment and trials both in our federal courts and at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague which was established in 2002 to try individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. These people, or at least most of them, are guilty of all three crimes and should pay the highest price for them with no leniency. Their convictions should once and for all serve as a reminder to all future leaders that this type reckless behavior will never again be tolerated.

Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, a distinguished author and man of great honor, passion and eloquence, in his 2005 acceptance speech made these comments about the current Iraq war. Too ill with cancer, he was unable to travel to Oslo for the award ceremony and instead read his comments on videotape. Pinter is a sharp critic of the Iraq war and the U.S. and his U.K. government's role in it. In his Nobel award address he called the invasion of Iraq a "bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law." He stressed "the United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious......It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant."

Pinter is right, and he said much more in his 46 minute acceptance speech. He also could have added the Bush administration since 9/11/01 has governed recklessly and arrogantly. With obsessive secrecy and contempt for the Constitution, the Congress, the courts and the U.S. public, George Bush has governed by Executive Order or Decree, a tool of tyrants when used to excess as this president has. He's done it to pursue a policy of permanent imperial war for U.S. global domination. The tragedy of 9/11 aside, the Bush administration created a fear-induced sham world terrorist threat to fight a so-called "global war on terrorism" for decades to come. It also created a near police state at home with baseless mass roundups, illegal detentions and deportations as part of a racist war against dark-skinned immigrants, illegal warrantless domestic spying and systemic use of torture of those detained and those held in offshore prisons and "renditioned" to mostly unnamed countries tolerating this practice. The Bush administration did all this based on a foundation of willful deception, deceit, and endless web of lies, and an utter contempt for political, economic and social justice at home and abroad and the rule of law.

Until recent months, Bush has gotten away with it all. Now with his poll numbers plummeting, the Iraq war a hopeless quagmire (despite the disinformation to the contrary), the possibility of further high level administration officials being indicted beside Lewis Libby along with the potentially huge political and financial Jack Abramoff corruption scandal, and the Democrats and some Republicans finally stirring and expressing their ire, the administration may be nearing its Waterloo. Like many other regimes in the past guilty of imperial arrogance and overreach (like the last one that tried - the Nazis - and thought they'd rule for 1000 years but only lasted 12) this administration and its reckless and heartless agenda may meet a similar fate.

Great thinkers and perceptive observers have ventured to guess what our fate may be as a result of our actions. Without predicting it, Noam Chomsky in a recent talk cited the worst of all possible outcomes - a nuclear holocaust, environmental destruction or the end of even nominal democracy.

Yale Senior Research Scholar Immanuel Wallerstein in his important 2003 book, The Decline of American Power, believes the U.S. "has been a fading global power since the 1970s, and the U.S. response to the (9/11) terrorist attacks has merely accelerated this decline." He goes on to say "the economic, political and military factors that contributed to U.S. hegemony are the same factors that will inexorably produce the coming U.S. decline." He later wrote he can't predict the outcome of "this chaotic crisis of our capitalist world system", but the U.S. attempt to stop it will fail. At best, they'll only delay it as they've been trying to do. Wallerstein sees a future that will go one of two ways (if we survive) - either one based on progressive values or something that's quite the opposite.

Retired professor Chalmers Johnson, in his important 2004 book, The Sorrows of Empire, also predicts the dissolution of the U.S. empire if its present path continues. Unlike imperial Rome that took hundreds of years before it fell, he sees U.S. sorrows arriving "with the speed of FedEx." He predicts 4 sorrows if the present trend continues that will create an ugly alternative to our present constitutional form of government: imperial overreach with a "state of perpetual war" leading to more terrorist retaliation against us; a loss of democracy and our constitutional rights; the end of truthfulness "replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war, power, and the military legions"; finally, he sees the nation going bankrupt from its inability to maintain ever more "grandiose military projects." The U.S. national debt now exceeds $8.2 trillion. It's growing unsustainably by over $400 billion annually as is the current account deficit that in 2006 may reach $1 trillion. Both deficits rely "on the kindness of strangers" (foreign governments and investors willing to keep buying our treasury securities and invest in our equity and fixed income markets) to sustain us. They'll do it only as long as they believe they're making sound investments. Johnson doesn't believe the present trend is irreversible. There's still time to change it, but so far he says we're not even trying. He thus believes the only hope for us and the planet is for the world community of nations to act together to "checkmate" us. If they don't or won't or can't, nuclear war may eventually ensue and "civilization will disappear."

To prevent the above scenarios from happening, the world community of nations must coalesce soon and go for "checkmate." And united they should demand that this kind of behavior will never again be tolerated by any nation. They should strengthen the international laws now in place enough to insure it, require every nation to be a signatory and force all nations to abide by these binding laws with the severest consequences for those who don't. But even if all this were to happen, the damage already done is overwhelming and spreading. It may already be too late. In the U.S. alone, 42 states are now contaminated with DU from its manufacture, testing and deployment. Also, the manufacture of millions of DU bombs and their deployment to U.S. military bases around the world continues.

Leuren Moret just learned from a declassified document a Hawaii based Quaker group obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the U.S. military has 2.7 million DU bombs in U.S. still occupied South Korea (over 50 years after the end of the Korean War). She says it's little wonder North Korea wants nuclear weapons. She believes these bombs were moved there in the 1990s from U.S. still occupied (Japanese) Okinawa (60 years after WW II) because the Japanese (who abhor nuclear weapons) refused to domicile them any longer. And she speculates further that we very likely have many millions more DU bombs deployed in other countries where we have bases. That could include a great many more according to Chalmers Johnson. In The Sorrows of Empire, Johnson mentioned the existence of at least 725 known U.S. bases in 153 countries, besides hundreds more in this country. He also believes we have secret bases so the real total could be much higher and now likely is with all the new bases we're building in Iraq, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and plans for Africa. Even without these weapons being used, imagine the potential danger we're placing the people of these countries in (and our own citizens as well) just because the weapons are there (and here). There could be accidents, the military engages in exercises where they likely test and use these weapons, and, of course, they could be stolen or even sold by rogue military or other personnel looking for a quick buck.

Imagine for a moment a reverse scenario. What if the U.K, France, Russia or China had bases in this country (bad enough) and additionally stored millions of DU bombs or other nuclear weapons on our soil. Would we citizens tolerate just the bases, let alone with DU bombs? Unlikely. Also imagine if the public here knew thousands or millions of these weapons were being stored on U.S. bases here, near where they lived.

They might also consider the 104 current operating commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. They're all dangerous, but especially the aging ones. Every one is a potential unstable nuclear bomb and possible disaster waiting to happen, either from an inevitable accident or from sabotage. Responsible experts believe it's just a matter of time before a major nuclear disaster occurs somewhere in the world, possibly or even likely a full nuclear core meltdown - the worst possible kind of nuclear catastrophe other than a nuclear or thermonuclear explosion or widespread use of DU weapons.

If a core meltdown happened (or more likely when one happens), a vast area would be contaminated and made uninhabitable forever. Where I live in Chicago I'm surrounded by 11 nuclear power plants, many of them aging and all of them with histories of safety violations caused by aging and shoddy maintenance. Even without an accident, these facilities (and all others everywhere) discharge enough radiation daily in their normal operations to contaminate the food we eat (even organic food), the water we drink and the air we breathe into our lungs. If one of these plants had a core meltdown and metropolitan Chicago was downwind from the fallout, the city and suburbs alone would become uninhabitable forever and would have to be evacuated quickly with all possessions left behind and lost (including our homes) except for what we could carry in suitcases or in the trunks of our cars. Everyone should thus ask the obvious question - is this kind of insane "nuclear Russian roulette" risk worth taking? There are much cleaner, safer alternatives available or that can be developed, if we'd just be willing to invest heavily in alternative energy sources other than the nuclear option and fossil fuels. There are also common sense ways to practice conservation, without significantly impeding our western lifestyle.

Up to now, our leaders have been irresponsible and derelict in their duty to inform us of the risk and act responsibly to remove it to protect us from potential harm. They've also shown no restraint in their actions or respect for the people in countries we seek to dominate. Those countries are never the developed ones in the Global North with the power to respond. They're always weak, less developed and overexploited ones, usually with darker skinned people and a non Judeo-Christian faith. In this country, especially without a draft and with few good career opportunities for the poor and underprivileged, military service with the promise of education and other benefits (that most inductees never get) becomes the temporary career choice of expedience. The rich and well-off only wage the wars but don't fight in them. Instead they send the poor to fight and die for them to make them richer. When our Vietnam era military came home sick and dying from the toxic effects of Agent Orange (highly toxic dioxin), Henry Kissinger, a Nobel Peace prize recipient and accused war criminal, arrogantly insulted them all when he called them "just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." Used, abused and discarded like worn out shoes. Kissinger's past has come back to haunt him. Before travelling abroad now, he must check with the State Department to be sure there are no warrants out for his arrest.

The world today is closer to the tipping point than ever before. We may, in fact, have passed it and it's already too late. The price we've paid for our technological advances has been an equal growth in the threat to our survival. Up to now we've found no way to end this destructive path. We're fast running out of time, and unless we do it and soon, we may not get another chance. The U.S. today is like a giant Gulliver Agonistes and the rest of the world like the Lilliputians - in Jonathan Swift's classic satire. Despite the mismatch, the Lilliputans (who stood 6 inches high) were able to tie down this giant and prevent him from wrecking their homes. In the end, they got Gulliver to leave and were able to go on with their lives. The lesson is clear. People everywhere need to understand the great peril we all face - our survival. Then, like the Lilliputians, we need to hog-tie this out-of-control predatory Gulliver to save ourselves.

Two final thoughts to consider - the first one from Dr. Helen Caldicott, president of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, an expert on the medical hazards of nuclear energy, author, activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee from her 1978 book Nuclear Madness (updated in 1994): "As a physician, I contend nuclear technology (military and commercial) threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue (and they have and have gotten worse), the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."

The second is from the great British journalist, Robert Fisk from his year end London Independent column entitled War Without End: "Only justice, not bombs, can make our dangerous world a safer place."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at


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