WARNING: May contain opinions
Another Letter From America by Dean Edwards, Salembard
Peace, Violence, and the Olympic Peace
The ancient Greeks enforced a ban on military campaigns during the Olympic games. Today, as we prepare for lavish mega-corporate presence at the modern Olympics in London, I am drawn to consider the prevalence of official violence and its affects on our peoples. The concern affects far more than military conflicts. We bring their shadows home to haunt our lives.
Large public parks in London have been transformed into military bases where the people can no longer go. The city itself, always heavily monitored by linefeeds that would make George Orwell blush, has stepped up surveillance of the people, all in response to threats to "the Olympic Peace."
Back in America, violence has once again struck the communities of Aurora and Littleton, Colorado. My brother lives in Aurora, so I have long been aware it stands immediately next to Littleton, home of Columbine High School, scene of gun violence and slaughter in the late 1990s. The nation was shocked by the violence, once again.
Official Violence in Iraq Under Military Occupation Raises New Questions.
In a disturbing juxtaposition of these events, I recently watched a video at livestream site for Occupy Brisbane. I went there for ?The Running Man" and "V For Vendetta," but came across a British study of US military reports about civilian, collateral, casualties in Iraq, 2003-2009. All these paint a deeply troubling and disturbing image of our relationships with official violence in Britain and America today.
The video report, "Iraq's Secret War Files," available at:
examines official US military records disclosed in the Wikileaks voluminous catalogue of over 400,000 military documents. these "Reports of Significant Actions reveal patterns of internal censorship as the military failed to monitor and maintain acceptable standards of conduct during occupation involving civil conflict. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, London, also followed up with live interviews in Iraq among survivors of various reported incidents. Their reports suggest even more is excluded than video and written documents indicate.
How Do We Respond?
What responsibility do we as peoples trying to maintain our democracies have to conduct foreign affairs and military actions according to our values as human beings? How different we feel when we know about actual events! It gives one pause to ask what similar documents exist in the British records?
In Aurara, Colorado, usually abbreviated as CO, people stand in shock over a dozen deaths, 50 injuries in an otherwise quiet suburban community. Yet, the Iraqi death tool according to official US military estimates is well over 60,000 innocents, civilians, their families, doctors, patients, children as well. What responsibility do we have to consider and reflect on the trauma of people under military occupation?
And, just as disturbing, what affects do these experiences have on our service people? When they are deployed with clearly inadequate rules for engagement in unfamiliar cultural settings, what do they return with? What internal disturbances and conflicts are brought home to our communities? What responsibility do we take to help them heal and seek forgiveness for doing what they thought was right? The patterns of omissions suggest they knew full-accurate reporting would bring only trouble. Surely, the Wikileaks materials demand an accounting of how a democratic people brought death and torture to the very peoples they sought to liberate. What is our responsibility?
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