A War Wound


A man on a wheelchair, no half a man really- he had no legs. His wife stood beside him at the Domestic Airport in Washington.

The woman wore a tee that read thus “Army-Wife”, the man wore a shirt that said ” We were winning when I left”.

Photo Credit: Luciana  Braga.

The chap must have been younger than I am, and I am only twenty three. I am speechless.

Jesus Among the Neocons


            Had Jesus, the Shepherd of  sheperds,

            been a bodily traveler among us

            today, he might not have been able

            to ride any plane, or cruiser,  or bus

            into the United States,

            or to conquer any of its many hates.

            What with his Asiatic visage

            and sable skin,

            compounded by his Bin Laden beard,

            he would have had to dare

            more than the fates.

            Supposing he had entered the place,

            aided by some technical subterfuge,

            would he have recognized the New World

            as love’s haven, or christian refuge?

            The born-again, beefy giant

            at the check-point tray

            might have slapped the cuffs

            on him even as he made his pliant

            in unintelligible Aramaic huffs;

            and no sooner than you think

            he might have landed in Guantanamo Bay.

            Once  secured there, O Jesus,

            answer me this:

            would you have pleaded anew

            ‘father, forgive them; 

            they know not what they do?’

            Or, would you, more realistically,

            (as Luke has you say) express

            your wrench and anguish thus:

            ‘father, why hast thou forsaken me’

            in a glittering, golden wilderness

            from whence the reigning evil one

            decrees to demonise Creation

            with dirty uranium and white phosphorus?

___________________________________________

Easter thoughts in a lovely poem, forwarded to me by e-mail.

Alice in Nuclear Blunderland


Read this article at the greenpeace website. It is absolutely brilliant. Reproduced below in case you’re to lazy to click:

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Vienna, Austria — Editor’s note: In preparing this article about the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, we read the news stories from all of the most reputable sources, we read the reports from all of the best institutions, we read the statements from all of the governments and agencies, but nowhere could we find a reasonable, rational, or plausible explanation of what was happening. We decided the only answer was the absurd.

Ever since Alice had slipped down the Rabbit Hole, the news had been getting curiouser and curiouser. She found herself at a very large table where the March Hare, a dormouse, a hippopotamus, and the Mad Hatter were having tea.

The Hatter was telling a story about how George W. TweedleDum had just got back from a trip to India, where he was promising to give away shiny new nuclear technology. At the same time, TweedleDee had been getting very red-faced at the United Nations about some shiny new nuclear technology in Iran that he wanted taken away. He broke off his story to wave an empty teapot at Alice.

“Would you like less tea, my dear?”

“Don’t you mean more tea?” asked Alice politely.

“No no no no. We don’t have any “more tea” we only have “less tea.” And it’s very rude to ask for what we don’t have. Now, would you like some more Peaceful Nuclear Technology and Less Nuclear Weapons to go with that?”

“Umm, yes please” said Alice, thinking this must be the correct answer and not wanting to upset the Hatter again.

“There you go again, asking for what we can’t possibly give you!” cried the Hatter, springing to his feet.

“How about some safe, clean nuclear power instead?” offered the dormouse helpfully.

“That sounds quite nice, I suppose,” said Alice with some hesitation.

“Wrong answer! No such thing!” the Hatter shouted with glee, politely adding “One lump or two?”

Alice was quite put out. “Isn’t it rude to offer something you don’t have?” asked Alice. “And even ruder to offer something that doesn’t exist? What kind of a tea party is this?”

“Why this is an IAEA Board of Governors meeting, my dear, and we’re having an NP Tea Party!” said the March Hare, glancing nervously at a very large watch which was chiming the hour by barking loudly.

“An NP Tea Party? What’s that?”

“It’s all very simple,” said the Hatter as he handed out slices of cake and then went around smacking everyone’s hand when they started eating it, “the NPT is a treaty in which the parties that have nuclear weapons agree to get rid of their nuclear weapons in exchange for the parties that don’t have nuclear weapons promising not to get nuclear weapons. As part of the incentive for not getting nuclear weapons they’re rewarded with the means to make nuclear weapons. Slice of Cake?”

Alice eyed the yellow cake suspiciously. She heard a distant voice shouting “Off with their heads!”

“Now, at the moment we’re discussing the case of Iran, which has signed the treaty and promised not to build nuclear weapons and so has been rewarded with the means to make nuclear weapons. But there are some people at this party who think that they’re actually using those means to make nuclear weapons as a means to make nuclear weapons.”

“Which they’ve said they don’t want…” said Alice.

“Oh yes, but as you of all people should know, my dear, saying what we mean isn’t always the same as meaning what we say. Saying that they aren’t making nuclear weapons is just what you’d expect them to do if they were making nuclear weapons. Proof enough.”

The Hatter took a slice of cake and pushed it into the face of the Hippo, who already had his mouth full. “You shouldn’t eat so much cake,” he sputtered.

George W. TweedleDum suddenly appeared. “Personically, I’d like to see less nuclear weapons in the world. Which is why I’m building more.”

“THAT’s the spirit!” cried the Hatter.

“But I don’t understand!” cried Alice. “If you can use nuclear power technology to make nuclear weapons, and you want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, shouldn’t you stop handing out the nuclear power technology?”

George W. TweedleDum patted Alice on the head. “You are an absurd little creature, aren’t you? Hatter, why don’t you explanify the Treaty thing?”

“The TREATY thing, yes yes, mustn’t forget that!” cried the Hatter as he absent-mindedly dipped the dormouse in his tea.

“Now you see on the one hand, Iran has signed the Non-treaty on Weapons Proliferation, and the Treaty on the Proliferation of Non-weapons Nuclear, and the Proliferation of Treaties on the Proliferation of Weapons, Non…”

“Which are all the same thing,” said the dormouse, yawning.

“So if THEY try to get nuclear weapons, that’s quite illegal and we must send them to the Queen of Hearts’ Security Council for punishment.”

“India, on the other hand,” said the Hatter holding up a second hand and dropping the teapot on the dormouse’s head, “has never signed the treaty, so their nuclear weapons are perfectly OK and they should be rewarded with more nuclear technology.”

“Pakistan, on the third hand,” and oddly the Hatter actually produce a third hand at this point, ” has never signed the treaty, but we’re not so sure about them, so we’re NOT going to reward them with more nuclear technology.”

George W. TweedleDum smiled broadly. “The lessonification here is never, never sign a treaty. That’s my motto. Lot of bother. I promise to keep my nuclear weapons and everybody else has to get rid of theirs unless I say they can keep them. That’s my kind of Treaty. I believe in maintaining high standards. I believe in maintaining high standards.”

“You said that twice.” said the Hatter.

“He has to say it twice,” said the dormouse. “It’s a double standard.”

The Hatter now declared it was time for a vote. “Now, who thinks we should send Iran to the Queen of Hearts? (“Off with their heads! came the cry from the garden next door again…) Everyone looked at the Hippo. The hippo started to raise his foot, and everyone in the party started to raise their hands. Or paws. Then the hippo put his foot down, and everyone in the party did the same. Then George W. TweedleDum took a large hatpin and quietly stuck it into the rather large backside of the Hippo, who jumped into the air with his foot raised, and everyone in the party followed suit.”

“There then, it’s settled, off to the Queen of Hearts with them!” sang the Hatter.

“Is that what you call democracy?” asked Alice curiously.

“Well it looks like democracy, but in reality the Hippo decides, and the Hippo just does what TweedleDum tells him to do” said the Hatter.

“Oh. I see,” said Alice. “I suppose then it’s not really a democracy at all, is it?”

“Well it’s just a very different kind of democracy, my dear. Some people call it a Hippocracy. Cake?”

Some thoughts on Non-Proliferation



Someone told me that my commitment to peace was dubious because I didn’t support test ban treaties. I want to understand this accusation. Should I accept an act of global imperialism because I claim to be pro-peace? And If I do give into this act of global imperialism does my commitment to peace become genuine?

The Nuclear Non proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968 says three things, all of which I have problems with. The treaty states that only those ‘powers’ that possessed nuclear weapons prior to its being signed could possess nuclear weapons. Nice way of saying that USA can remain the country with the largest legal stockpile of nuclear weapons, secondly it implies that some countries can under some circumstances possess weapons of mass destruction. My commitment is to complete disarmament- and I would rather America started first!

Next, all other countries are obliged to accept and swear to the acquisition of these weapons and accept international safeguards on all fissile materials. In return, these countries are promised access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, including power generation. So- that means the N-5 gets to Bomb alone.

Nuclear blackmail eh?