I agree with what is said in “Pestilence, Famine, War, Neo-liberalism, and Premature Deaths” by Judith Deutsch (Peace Magazine Jul-Sept 2009). However, I have a fundamental disagreement with the article because of what it does not say.
In my view, one of the root causes of the anticipated pestilence, famine, war, and premature deaths is overpopulation. With social, lifestyle, and technical fixes alone, such as improving the faulty neo-liberalist social structures, with tightening belts of the rich countries to improve the position of the poor, and with appropriate technology using higher efficiency and renewable energy resources, we cannot save the integrity of the ecosystem; to re-establish the health of the ecosystem, vital for human wellbeing, we must reduce the human population on planet Earth.
I would much prefer to write a letter about the wonders of our bounteous crops and gardens. But it is an unescapable fact that we Canadians have aligned our military – along with our American neighbors and NATO – in an offensive war in faraway countries: Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2008, global spending on the weapons of war was 1.47 trillion dollars. The US accounted for about 50% of that total; Europe 20%; China, East Asia, and Australia 8% each; and Russia 5%.On June 19th, 2008, our Conservative government posted a military strategy document that would increase Canada’s military budget by $490 billion over the next 20 years. Of course, all coddle the merchants of death with incentive grants, loans, tax write-offs and orders.
When our young and vibrant Canadians in Afg-hanistan make the ultimate sacrifice, they are flown home with all the honor and pageantry that the military can muster. We know the names of our dead, and often the members of the broken families who are left behind to mourn their untimely death. But are we not as Christians obliged to think about our Afghan brothers and sisters, particularly the women and children?
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. They already have endured 30 years of war by foreign military invasions. I shudder to think about what care Afghan civilians have available when they have been displaced or wounded during a firefight or strafing and bombing, when NATO planes attack what they state is a Taliban stronghold.
We, the rich nations of the world could and should do better. It’s time to bring Canada’s fighting units home – alive.
A key reference was inadvertently omitted from Maxine Kaufman Lacusta’s article “Strategic Organizing for the Middle East” (Peace, Jul-Sep 2009). The passage “One model that [Jeff Halper] elaborated (and treats at some length in a 2008 paper) is that of a regional confederation,” should actually read: “… (and treats at some length in a 2007 article and in his 2008 book An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel) …’
The article is titled “Israel-Palestine: Apartheid or Confederation?” and is at <“http://icahdusa.org/2007/85”:http://icahdusa.org/2007/85>. In his book, Jeff expands on regional confederation, reframing the conflict, and other concepts touched on in the article.
These references are also given in a revised online version of Maxine’s article: archive.peacemagazine.org/v25n3p08.htm.