Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our great debts, some eternal, some related and fixable

Thanks to our addiction to war and war preparation, as well as the costs of war that drag on long after all US troops are out of the invaded country (whatever that country may be), we are in debt, massively. Our first debt is not financial, it is a debt owed to the Iraqi people for inflicting an invasion that brought in violence and took the stops off other violence. Just as al Qa'ida can never repay the debt they owe to victims of 9.11.01, the US can never repay the debt to Iraqis for our 2003 criminal invasion and all the violence that continues to erupt even after we are officially gone. That debt is eternal.

As to our financial debts, some think it's due to overconsumption. That's true, but you have two sorts of overconsumption and they have a dialectical, mutually exacerbating relationship.

One, military overconsumption. We have built and manufactured the most gargantuan arsenal ever assembled on Earth with the most military bases on the sovereign soil of the most nations in human history.

Two, consumer overconsumption. Americans are all about shopping and less about producing. They choose lower prices and thereby often support sweatshops and child labor. Wal-Mart's Big Lie about buying American is a bit like a jihadis faith in being a suicide bomber as his path to paradise and 69 virgins--an easy sell to addicted consumers who desperately want to believe.

The sick positive feedback loop (with negative consequences) is clear: We build more guns and bombs so we can enforce the global theft of human and natural resources that enriches us unfairly and through the use of violence and intimidation, resources that feed our consumer habits, which in turn make our militarism necessary.

Guess what, shoppers? Guess what, militarists? The feedback loop is shutting down, slowly but surely. Why is this? For a number of reasons, including (but not limited to):

  • a long nonviolent push against devaluing nonAmerican lives from the Global South.
  • a peace movement that has featured valuing the lives of US troops as well as foreign civilians.
  • a long, strong rise in a global movement by the oppressed to insist on fairness.
  • the slow acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • demonstrations of alternative methods of liberation using nonviolence.
  • case studies of peace processes that are teaching humanity other ways to resolve conflict.
  • case studies that show, again and again, how violence costs everyone (except the profiteer and power-seeking elite, as the Baghdad man-on-the-street says clearly in this short video, following more escalation of post-US withdrawal violence).

So, we can do it nice or we can do it rough, but we need to push ahead with alternatives to both negatives, to overconsumption by both the military and civilian sides. What better time to do it than now, when we can stop supporting sweatshops and child labor by giving holiday gifts that come from other sources? Vote with your holiday shopping and later on in 10 and one-half months, vote with your ballots for more peace and justice, radically reduced military, and boycotts of all goods from all countries who are in violation of basic human rights.

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