anti-war

On a cold, wet November morning in the village of Rocles in central France, I attended a World War I centenary event unlike any I had seen before.

In the town square there is a small war memorial with a marble plaque listing the district's fallen sons, much as you find in every locality across France and Australia.

However, on closer examination, this one is a bit different. Instead of "Vive la France", it has palm leaves engraved in the stone, slogans calling for peace and acknowledges all the victims of war. How could this be?

It is an understatement to say that relations between the US and North Korea are very tense.

The US government continues to threaten to further tighten economic sanctions on North Korea, and launch a military attack to destroy the country’s missiles and nuclear weapons infrastructure. For its part, the North says it will respond to any attack with its own strikes against US bases in the region and even the US itself.

The military intervention that the United States political and Pentagon establishment never talked about is suddenly in the news after a joint patrol comprising 12 US troops and 30 Nigerien soldiers was attacked by a small group thought to be an ISIS affiliate known as ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS).

The incident itself was little mentioned until US President Donald Trump – after two weeks of silence on the matter – offended the family of soldier La David Johnson in a characteristically insensitive condolence call to his widow Myeshia Johnson.

Three things stand out about the October 14 truck bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

First is the huge number of casualties. The detonation of a large truck packed with explosives created an apocalyptic scene of carnage. It levelled nearby buildings, killing at least 327 people and injuring more than 400 others.

Many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, 160 being buried without even an attempt at identification being made.

Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.  

It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.

As the Nobel Committee announced on October 6 in Oslo that  the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons had won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the same time, US President Donald Trump is expected to “decertify” the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal next week. Democracy Now! spoke with Tim Wright, the Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. The full transcript follows the video.

The world media’s attention has focused on the very real humanitarian crisis gripping hurricane-ravaged nations in the Caribbean and regions of the United States, but the “world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe” (in the words of The New York Times in August) is in Yemen.

The unfolding disaster in Yemen is entirely human-made, is worsening and is the result of policies pursued by the United States and Britain.

Over the past three months, the world has watched the escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States with growing alarm. North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear weapons program since first testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4.

It is unlikely either side is planning to start a nuclear war, but the situation could escalate out of control and lead to a conflict involving nuclear weapons. This would have unthinkable humanitarian and environmental consequences.

Yet the arms companies that make such a conflict possible are benefitting from the increased threat of nuclear war, along with their investors.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales used his September 19 speech to the United Nations General Assembly to condemn terrorism, abusive market practices and wars in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya as well as the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

In his address to the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York, Morales also sent his solidarity to the people of Mexico after the 7.1 earthquake and Caribbean nations devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

US President Donald Trump made the unprecedented threat to “totally destroy” North Korea, not in a tweet or off the cuff remark, but in a written speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 20. No other leader of a country has ever stood before the UN and openly stated its intention to destroy another country. 

Coupled with Trump’s earlier threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea, this threat must be seen as one that at least includes the possibility of a nuclear attack.

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