from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Monday, 21 March 2011

things to be up in arms about

I was distressed at the graphic description this morning, on the go-ahead of the UN Security Council, of French military jets deploying Cruise missiles to destroy a number of tanks and troops (let's call them 'people') in Libya. The soldiers were apparently asleep beside the tanks, and they'd withdrawn from Benghazi by 10 miles or so, as the UN Security Council had ordered. OK, they were not innocent civilians; OK they had been shelling Benghazi, and were still likely to do so again. But the UN Security Council had initially resolved simply to prevent Qaddafi using aircraft to carry out airstrikes on the civilian population, and as far as I know 'we' and France were engaged, if that's the right verb, initially at least to do that. Obama required 'convincing evidence' that this was the case. I guess none of Qaddafi's aircraft in the air doesn't count as convincing evidence? - (Don't get me wrong. I am not in any way condoning Qaddafi, clearly. Just concerned about our motives, our conviction that it's OK to tell other nations how to live, and our willingness to wade in and cause countless deaths on our terms. And yes I know there are times when tyrants need to be stopped.) But three nights of UN-sanctioned airstrikes now, too, and there are bound to be civilian casualties.

Why am I so surprised at the news? Maybe because it stinks of the Iraq situation. Maybe because we in our wisdom have decided to force regime change – again. Maybe because the French were so outspokenly against going to war on Iraq, and de Villepin made some impassioned and convincing presentations to the Council.

Anyone else smell oil and the odour of power mixed up with blood in all this?


And you may also be aware that the contract for the UK census which, administered as it is by a US firm, raises questions about data security, is under the control of Lockheed Martin. Chris Browne in the Guardian on Friday wrote:

'Lockheed Martin is best known for its production of cluster munitions, F-16 jets and Trident Missiles. It is one of three contractors that run the nuclear weapons facility at Aldermaston, and has been a beneficiary of both the US's bloated military industrial complex, and the "war on terror" for the past 10 years.

'It has sold arms to the repressive Saudi and Bahraini regimes, but perhaps most controversial was its provision of private contract interrogators to Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib – the site of the infamous prisoner abuse scandal.'

Well, you can fill in the forms. We are between a rock and a hard place here – the census is used to make valuable, crucial even, decisions about the needs of the population, and public spending. But to have that overseen by an arms manufacturer ... hmmm. I don't think so.


The size of our defence budget: how is it that we live in world where tens or hundreds of thousands of people are starving or freezing to death in Japan (and elsewhere, of course), not to mention the scale of the rebuilding of infrastructure needed, and we still think it necessary to spend billions on maintaining our weaponry, and a whole lot more on developing more...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive