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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Letter of the month

The following letter appeared in the UK Guardian on October 27:

"Two thousand Americans are dead. Fifty times that many Iraqis are dead; 300 times that many human beings are injured. One million times that have been indirectly affected by a barbarous act of inhumanity. War is about numbers. The small number of humans who have much to gain by war. The large number affected. The small number who sit home and rally the large number to send their kids to die physically or mentally. The largest number who say nothing. The financial numbers are so huge that millions aren't accounted for, and millions more are paid in bonuses.

"I'm a Vietnam infantry veteran who has taken the time to peel away the onion of war. Strip off the uniforms, the flags, the nationalities, the slogans. War is, at best, the failure of leaders to solve problems. At worst, war is a massive money-generating machine with no regard for life. It's all in the numbers."

Arnold Stieber
Grass Lake, Michigan, USA

8 Comments:

Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

We could probably have a stab at another number that's relevant here. For every one letter like this there are five thousand venomous, pro-war comments in the blogosphere.

Perhaps it's not as bad as that, but sometimes it seems that way.

Monday, October 31, 2005 8:27:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

And ten thousand people who seem to believe that war brings peace, Iraq is a democracy and America's aims are noble.

Monday, October 31, 2005 8:56:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

All true, but the numbers in the 'for' and 'against' camps are the trivial ones; it is "largest number who say nothing" that is true cause for dismay.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:44:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

"The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference."

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:49:00 pm  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

It appears that Arnold needs a lesson in math and truth. Dirty merely need a lesson in language arts.

The opposite of emotion is indifference. The opposite of love is hate. No wonder you don't know what you are talking about.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 8:47:00 am  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

Some of the truest words I've ever read concerning war are these:

"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 7:02:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Ian, thanks for sharing your past with us. It explains a great deal.

I have always found your posts to include a delth of understanding, compassion and wisdom. Now I understand why.

Did you get thet quote from the op-ed "War is a racket"?

Needless to say I thoroughly agree with you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 12:31:00 am  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

"War is a racket" are the words of Major-General Smedley Butler, one of only 2 US Marines to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice. So no cream puff!

I only quoted part of what he said, http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/butler1.html has the full text.

I first heard of him soon after I first went to 'Nam. The last paragraph in the first bold type section struck me as particular apt for the times. I resonates even more strongly today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 6:42:00 pm  

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