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From the Author of No Land an Island and Unconscionable

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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Do not enlist either to serve violence or to destroy liberty

The former causes the latter: 
continual warfare imperils liberty
Edited excerpt, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

“Don’t send your sons to serve in the Army ─ not for anything”
(A mother of a dead soldier is speaking)
Soldiers are returning invalids, insurance not paid, parents forced to pay delivery of their bodies, compensation to relatives of the dead unpaid.

Though her words reflect a Russian experience, they ring true in the American experience of the State’s use, abuse and discard of its own dead soldiers; homeless, broken, ill, unemployable veterans; friends and families (home and abroad) in despair; society undone.

Olesya Oyun is speaking

“It looks like the Ministry of Defense made it their goal to keep the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia busy.

“Each mistake
it makes results in perishing, killing, maiming, or disappearance of soldiers.

“The Committee keeps thick file folders stuffed with documents and correspondence, each helping in efforts of a mother to find if not justice then at least the remains of her son to (be buried) properly. …

“The soldiers are returning home invalids but

…are not paid insurance;
…parents are forced to pay for delivery of bodies of their sons,
…compensation to the relatives for those killed is not paid.…

“…As the politicians see it, the sacred duty of mothers is to supply ─ without interruption ─ the raw material for the State.

“Nobody gives a thought to the notion that parents may have plans for their children that are different from the plans of the General Staff.…

Summons to sundown: Parents receive “a State-issue casket with the body for which the State has no further use.” 

ut we in America are different. We are the world’s model democracy, principal lecturer and indeed the envy of the world in democracy ─ except in endless war when violence and fear suspend all pretense and new laws and precedent destroy it entirely.
Last year Anup Shah reflected on “Democracy” from the Greek rule by the people, viewed “as one of the ultimate ideals that modern civilizations strive to create or preserve,” he wrote, “a system of governance that is supposed to allow extensive representation and inclusiveness of as many people and views as possible to feed into the functioning of a fair and just society.” These ideals, he says, “are so appealing to citizens around the world that many people have sacrificed their livelihoods, even their lives, to fight for it.” 

The problem, he suggests, is that “our era of ‘civilization’ is characterized as much by war and conflict as it is by peace and democracy (I’d say the former far exceeds the latter): the twentieth century alone has often been called ‘the century of war.’”

In the 21st century
the state of affairs is worsening. 

 “Even in established democracies,” Shah writes, “there are pressures that threaten various democratic foundations.

“A democratic system’s openness allows it to attract those with vested interests to use the democratic process as a means to attain power and influence ─ even if they do not cherish democratic principles.” And once those who are not genuinely supportive of democracy attain power, they rarely or not easily relinquish it.

Power’s endless war silences, punishes dissent
Abuses human rights, imperils democracy
Through policies and practices of its public officials, America has made mistakes in the past, the 39th U.S. President James (Jimmy) Carter (1977-1981) wrote in an opinion piece last year. But “the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade” constitutes “a dramatic change from the past.” A couple of weeks ago, Carter told the German publication Spiegel:

‘America no longer has a functioning democracy.’

much earlier warning was issued by America’s fourth president, James Madison: “No nation (can) preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Sources and notes

“Don’t Send Your Sons to Serve in the Army, not for Anything” ─ Sayana Mongush (Kyzyl, Tuva) quote from the last letter of a Russian Army private, The “Plus Inform” newspaper, February 16, 2005 Olesya Oyun lost her son to the army.

The author is from Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva (Tyva), a republic of the Russian Federation, located in extreme southern Siberia, on the border with Mongolia. The story centers on two soldiers from Tuva who, having deserted, had been hiding in the basement of an apartment building, and were killed there by the police SWAT team. The circumstances of their death remain unclear, but, as Sayana Mongush writes in another article, when relatives of one of the soldiers, disobeying instructions, opened his coffin, they found a bullet wound in the back of his head. http://www.englishwriting.ru/statji/Don_t%20Send%20Your%20Sons%20to%20Serve%20in%20the%20Army,%20Not%20for%20Anything.pdf

Theater of Music and Drama, a charitable marathon event held by the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia to create the “Fund to Aid Soldiers’ Mothers and the Servicemen in Distress”
English translation © Efrem Yankelevich, efrem@englishwriting.ru

“Democracy” by Anup Shah, January 28, 2012, http://www.globalissues.org/article/761/democracy

“Jimmy Carter: NSA Intelligence Gathering Ruining Democracy” (by Sandy Fitzgerald), July 18, 2013, http://www.newsmax.com/US/carter-nsa-spying-democracy/2013/07/18/id/515811

“NSA-Affäre: Ex-Präsident Carter verdammt US-Schnüffelei” German language (Von Gregor Peter Schmitz, Atlanta), http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/nsa-affaere-jimmy-carter-kritisiert-usa-a-911589.html

“NSA affair: Ex-President Carter condemned U.S. snooping” Google English translation (Gregor Peter Schmitz in Atlanta), July 17, 2013, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/nsa-affaere-jimmy-carter-kritisiert-usa-a-911589.html

In the wake of the NSA spy scandals, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter criticized the American political system. ‘America has no functioning democracy,’ Carter said Tuesday at a meeting of the Atlantic Bridge in Atlanta.

Previously, the Democrat had been very critical of the practices of U.S. intelligence. ‘I think the invasion of privacy has gone too far,’ Carter told CNN. ‘And I think that is why the secrecy was excessive.’ Overlooking the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, said Carter, whose revelations were long ‘likely to be useful because they inform the public.’

Carter has repeatedly warned that the United States’ moral authority has sharply declined due to excessive restriction of civil rights.

Last year he wrote in an article in the New York Times (that) new U.S. laws allowed the ‘never-before-seen breach our privacy by the government.’


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