New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Saving Syria?

September 03, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

What We Can Do Instead of Waging More War

by David Swanson

Evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” is “no slam dunk,” U.S. officials are saying this time around, reversing the claim made about Iraq by then-CIA director George Tenet.

Opposition to a U.S.-led attack on Syria is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, drawing its strength from public awareness that the case made for attacking Iraq had holes in it.

A majority in the United States, still very much aware of Iraq war deceptions, opposes arming the “rebel” force in Syria, so heavily dominated by foreign fighters and al Qaeda. And a majority opposes U.S. military action in Syria.

But that public opinion is only just beginning to get expressed as activism. With Republicans more willing to actively oppose a war this time, and some Democrats still opposed, there’s actually potential to build a larger antiwar movement than that of 2003-06.

What discouraged an attack on Syria has been the public uproar that was created back then over the disastrous attack on Iraq. The nation of Iraq was destroyed.  Millions of refugees still can’t safely return. As with every other humanitarian war thus far, humanity suffered, and the suffering will last for ages. While the damage done to the United States itself doesn’t compare with the damage done to Iraq, it has been severe enough to make many a near-sighted potential war supporter cautious. (more…)

Object Permanence

September 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Missy Beattie, Politics

Inured to the Propaganda?

by Missy Beattie

The Empire marches on. Next stop and drop, Syria. Accomplishing missions.

The top stories on Google News this morning (Monday) are chemical weapons in Syria and Miley Cyrus’s gyrations and crotch grabbing as she performed “We Can’t Stop.” We. Can’t. Stop.

We can’t stop is the order of the day from the commander in chief whose weapon of choice is a drone. And while polling indicates most Americans oppose US military involvement in Syria, they support intervention if there’s proof of chemical weapons use. I’ve read the comment sections beneath mainstream articles to take the nation’s pulse and those chemicals are “game changers”. On and on it goes with WMD propaganda. We can’t stop till we get enough. Never enough.

I’m seeing dead people.

I’m seeing the war profiteers direct their maids to dial down the thermostats as the planet boils, dial up during the bitterly cold winter that’s predicted, unconcerned about climate change, oblivious to the poor and middle class. I’m seeing them limo their way to board a private plane to paradise while there’s still some sand left on beachfront property. (more…)

Spectator Wars

August 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Something Has to Give in the ‘Great American Consensus’

by Robert C. Koehler

“Pakistani authorities have long denounced the strikes, out of concern that civilian deaths caused by drone strikes inflame the local population, bolster militant groups and violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.” — CNN, July 26

“Analysts said the administration was still grappling with the fact that drones remained the crucial instrument for going after terrorists in Yemen and Pakistan — yet speaking about them publicly could generate a backlash in those countries because of issues like civilian casualties.” — New York Times, Aug. 2

Oh, the serious news! I read it with ever-fresh incredulity. It’s written for gamers. It reduces us to gamers as it updates us on the latest bends and twists in the geopolitical scene. We’re still playing War on Terror, the aim of which is to kill as many insurgents as possible; when they’re all dead, we win (apparently). The trick is to avoid inflaming the locals, who then transition out of passive irrelevance and join the insurgency. They get inflamed when we kill civilians, such as their children. (more…)

Common Future Identity

March 29, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Politics, Winslow Myers

Erikson’s ‘Golden Rule in the Light of New Insight’ Revisited

by Winslow Myers

Sixty years ago the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson gave a talk in India on the Golden Rule, a formulation that occurs, with some variation, in all the major religions. Judaism: “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to you fellow man.”

Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.” Christianity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Erikson’s theme was the creative potential of mutuality — between spouses, parents and children, doctors and patients, teachers and pupils, even between nations. Mutuality, Erikson asserted, is a relationship in which partners depend upon each other for the enhancement of their respective strengths.  The curiosity of a student elicits from the teacher the skills for transmitting the excitement of learning in a way that benefits both teacher and student.

In the case of nations, fear of Hobbesian chaos if leaders relax their futile race toward military superiority makes it difficult to encourage mutuality. Ruthless power relations turn the life-giving spirit of mutuality on its head: do not even think of trying to destroy me because if you do I will destroy you. This paranoia rationalizes the unabated manufacture of ever more destructive weaponry, irrespective of sensible policy goals, by ever more powerful corporations. (more…)

War’s Lingering Phantoms

February 28, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Hearing the Stories as a Prelude to Rebuilding

by Robert C. Koehler

“War’s lingering phantoms haunt every society.”

As two hellish, costly and needless wars struggle toward collapse, this is the time — now, right this minute, before the next false alarm goes off — for us to look honestly at the cost and quality of national security based on militarism. It’s time to squeeze the romance out of war and get it through our heads that war is not inevitable.

War is just another form of mass murder. Its core principle is dehumanization — of all participants, the enemy and the good guys. This is because you can’t hate, dehumanize and train to kill “the other” without dehumanizing yourself and damaging your soul.

“Kill! Kill! Kill, without mercy, Sergeant! . . . Blood! Blood! Bright red blood, Sergeant!”

The dehumanization happens at an individual level, to soldiers who, in basic training, go through an intense process of overriding their humanity and establishing “muscle memory” that allows them to kill on command; and who then participate in the killing of the enemy — often enough, in our current wars, the killing of civilians, including children — in battle situations. (more…)

Compassionate Weapons?

October 23, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Summoning the Moral Equivalent of Nuremberg

by Robert C. Koehler

My favorite quote was from the British government spokesperson, who assured us: “All ammunition used by UK armed forces falls within international humanitarian law and is consistent with the Geneva Convention.”

Tears come to my eyes as I think about the kindness of coalition bullets, the empathy of coalition bombs — unlike, I’m certain, the ammo used by terrorists, which is cruel, which hates our way of life and wants only to destroy it.

Forgive me the sarcasm. Another study has come out, this one underwritten by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan, linking the U.S.-British war in Iraq with a hideous, heartbreaking and “staggering” increase in birth defects in areas of the country where bombing and heavy fighting occurred.

When does amorality turn to immorality? How bad must the crime of war reveal itself to be before those who wage it cease and desist, of their own volition or in deference to global outrage? Must an organized global power arise that so terrifies the leaders of nations they surrender to peace? I doubt that that’s how change will occur. (more…)

Every Grain of Sand

May 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Guest Author, Politics, Tina Lynn Evans

Hydraulically Fracturing Our Humanity

by Tina Lynn Evans and Tom Kerns

{Editor’s note: Environment and Human Rights Advisory recently released a report on the human rights implications of hydraulic fracturing. The report’s author Tom Kerns, Executive Director of EHRA, and Tina Lynn Evans, who organized the network of individuals and organizations that brought the report to fruition, reflect on the intersection between environmental damage and damage to human health. They call upon us to consider the fundamental moral implications of fracking and to use the concept of universal human rights as a defining feature of our engagement with the environment and other people.}

I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man; Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand. — Bob Dylan

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That refrain from the 1992 presidential election would aptly describe the subject of most concern to many in the U.S. today. This is not surprising in the aftermath of the bursting housing bubble and the larceny committed by the banks (with government assistance), and it’s not surprising in an atmosphere of crushing unemployment and myriad underwater mortgages. (more…)