Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day isn't what it used to be.

Veteran’s day isn’t what it used to be.  It used to be Armistice day.   A special day honoring the last day of the great ‘war to end all wars’.   The 11 hour of the 11th day of the 11 month of 1918.  And it was all folly.    It only marked a temporary end of global fighting.  It was an armistice that allowed any and every nation to rearm.  And after the failure of the League of Nations and the injustice forced upon the German people by the Versailles treaty -- the fuse was lit.  The immense German economic suffering led to political unrest and the rise of Adolph Hitler and the next world war. 
 Then, after 50 million lives were lost and weaponry developed threatened the survival of our species, the world tried again to find an alternative to war.  Victor nations created the United Nations.  Unfortunately these victor nations failed to give it any real power.  This flaw ensured that every nation state could continue its abuse of human rights or the expansion of their economic or political ideologies in any way they saw fit, with no real constraints globally.  This global lawlessness and persistent low level violence inevitably led to existential tensions between the superpowers.  This inevitably led to wars by proxy.  An era of conflict we now refer to as the Cold War. 
During this time, nuclear weapons probably did more to prevent the next global hot war than the United Nations.  But the aggressive and abusive habits of the nuclear and non-nuclear powered states alike, unrestrained by a powerless UN, laid the foundation for a yet another kind of war.  A warfare that would target civilians and those who hid among them -- the global war on terrorism.  
This was warfare not against an army, but against a tactic.  A tactic that could be used by any individual, in or out of a uniform, of any age, any sex, or any nationality.   In this evolution of war… universal human rights and the rights of ‘we the people’ even within democratic nations would be less important than the security of the nation state and the collective safety of its citizens.   Advances in technology however made any level of security an illusion.  Technologies exponential growth in power and accessibility for both unprecedented good and unimaginable harm became increasingly affordable to virtually any individual. 
Within one human generation the world went from super power nations to super powered individuals.  And still, no enforceable global standards for the protection of human rights or human security.  The rights of nations remain supreme. And with this, their right to protect their own interests, whatever its leaders deemed those interests to be.   Human rights remain an afterthought.  Just an noble ideal.  
It is this persistent insistence that the rights of nation states remain superior to human rights that is the source of nearly every problem our world faces today.  And instead of honoring the end of war, our nation decided to honor the deaths of soldiers who sacrificed their lives, not for the good of humanity, but for the glory of a nation state’s interests.   We claim these brave souls died for what our nation stands for.  Freedom.    But freedom to do what?  Our nation has done great things with its freedom.  It has also committed genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  And, not one leader has ever been held accountable for violating our citizen’s enduring, inspiring, but still meaningless pledge of “liberty and justice for all”. 
Until our great nation applies this honorable standard globally, we are only shades better than those nations we support who behead their citizens for the silliest of reasons, imprison millions for the crimes of a few, or remain idle when innocent people are intentionally mass murdered with Chemical weapons. 
Veterans of all wars deserve to be honored for their sacrifice, even if their nation wrongly invaded or occupied another nation.  Even if their war fighting contributed to the loss of innocent life.  Because it is the nation’s leaders who start and wage war.  And it is they who are ultimately responsible for any collateral damage caused.   Most soldiers honorably join to be of service to their nation’s highest ideals.  Their sacrifice of life or limb was never intended for a government deeply flawed by corruption, incompetence, politics and profiteering. 
So this Veteran’s Day, honor all veterans.  But also give some thought to the urgent  ideal of finding a replacement for war.   We have but one choice.  Law.   Specifically, the global rule of law, where the protection of human rights would reign supreme over the rights of nation states to do as they please.    
Albert Einstein walked this path.  A journalist once asked him how the Third World War would be fought. He said, he didn’t know. But he did believe the Fourth World War would be fought with sticks and stones. 
Our civilization is only one cyber attack, biological attack, or EMP event away from arming ourselves with sticks, stones and tire wrenches.   It’s time to replace the global war system of unenforceable international law with a the global rule of law.  Our nation’s original 13 states did it by forming a single nation under the force of law.  A flaw in our original Constitution and bill of rights, led to our nation’s bloodiest war.  We must all pledge ‘liberty and justice for all” if we want peace to be more than just a time to rearm.  


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