Friday, April 18, 2008

'Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The environmental footprint of war' is available for sale

THE NEW FILM, "SCARRED LANDS AND WOUNDED LIVES: THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF WAR," IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE. "When we make war...we destroy our Earth.... In all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat to clean up, war... pollute[s] land, air, and water, destroy[s] biodiversity, and drain[s] natural resources."
Fund for Sustainable Tomorrows
Alice & Lincoln Day
2124 Newport Place, NW, Washington, DC 20037-3001

Dick Bennett

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Earth Fest a part of 2008 Springfest


Film on effect of war on the environment draws crowd in D.C.

To all of you who attended the lecture by Alice and Lincoln Day at Terra Studios or who knew about their visit and their film on war and the environment, and to all who care about the environment (that means you!), here is an inspiring letter from them about the film's enthusiastic premiere.
And a gratifying thank you note regarding OMNI's early support of the film.
This film will provide new motivation and energy for the peace and environment organizations to work together even more closely.
We could start the an organization to decry the destruction of land and species in Iraq as the result of the illegal invasion and occuipation (as a part of OMNI's developing Campaign Against the Iraq War). OMNI for the Land and Species of Iraq? May several step forward.
We could bring the Days back to show their film? A coordinator? Will need to raise at least some of the money.
At least to arrange a showing of their film.

Dick Bennett
(479) 442-4600

From: Alice & Lincoln Day []
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 9:26 AM
To: Dick Bennett
Subject: DVD on the way

Dear Dick:
Thank you so much for passing on the poetry, "Side Effects," by Marge Piercy. It speaks exactly to what we hope to convey in our documentary.
Good to know that you are still out there pursuing peace. At the moment, opportunities for withdrawing from Iraq seem to be ever-receding. Petraeus and Crocker managed to have it all their way, hedging their bets about "progress" and putting the Democratic candidates in the position of having to bow to their "expertise" and onsite experience.
We wanted to you let you know that "Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: the Environmental Footprint of War" was officially launched, Tuesday, March 11, 2008, as the opening film in the 16th. annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital.
The event exceeded our wildest hopes and expectations. The Carnegie Institution (400 seats) was filled to capacity and we are told that 100 or more people were waiting in line outside who, unfortunately, were unable to get in. The end of the film was met with hearty and sustained applause. In the panel discussion after the screening, six of the specialists we interviewed in the film participated in answering questions from the audience.
We have received many cards, e-mails, and telephone calls from people saying that they were really moved by the film. As well, there have been many inquiries about organizing other showings.
Both the turnout and the enthusiastic response have been very gratifying. In the last 4 weeks since the film was first shown, we have engaged in (or planned for the near future) some 11 additional presentations, each of which opens new opportunities.
We are sending you a DVD of the March 11 version of the film, as well as, a program note that we wrote for the Festival catalogue and a list of the final 13 people we interviewed on film.
April 22, it will be 2 years since we visited you in Fayetteville. You gave us an initial big push. Many thanks for that and for keeping in touch.
All the best to you and the Hales and the other fine people we met.
Alice and Link
Alice & Lincoln Day
2124 Newport Place, NW
Washington, DC 20037-3001
202 293-4798

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Please volunteer April 19 to help give away oak trees in Fayetteville and Rogers

From Dina Nash of the Arkansas Sierra Club:
The Arkansas Forestry Commission asked if the Sierra Club would like to do a tree give-away project: They have 50,000 extra 3-foot-tall oak trees (Willow oaks, Water oaks, Shumard oaks, and Pin oaks) and they'd like to give them away.  I said yes, and we very much need your members to volunteer some hours to help take these little trees out of the paper bundle of 100 trees, put 1 or 2 in a bag, tape the top of the bag with masking tape, and give them to people who will promise to water them once or twice a week for several months so they will get a good start.

So if you have 3 or more hours to help give away trees to help global warming, please email or call me ASAP, so I can plan who'll be there to take care of the give-away table:

    Location:  Wal-Mart on Mall Drive at Joyce Street, a block west of College.
                   Near the Garden Center
                   10 AM-4 PM  (3 hour shifts, 10-1 and 1-4, or the whole 6 hours)
                   Three people per shift, some bagging, some taping, and some
                     handing out trees and putting the planting info sheet with them

                   An easy way to green up some bare places you may know of, too.
                   Take some home to your yard, church, school, or farm!  Give some
                   to neighbors who lost a tree in a storm, etc.
There are also openings at the Rogers Wal-Mart on Walnut Street on the l9th!!
Thanks so much for making this a success: please call me at 530-8328 My cell phone is in the 479 area code so Fayetteville friends don't need to make a long-distance call to reach me in Little Rock.  Or you can email me at .

Dina Nash, Vice Pres. Central AR Sierra Club
Little Rock

If you can't reach Dina, you may call Aubrey Shepherd at 479-444-6072 for information. You need not be a Sierra Club member to participate.

Friday, April 11, 2008

True Majority says Condolezza Rice must resign for approving torture

It's been only 24 hours since we started our Condi Must Go campaign and thanks to you it's taken off. Already 22,793 of you signed our petition for Secretary of State Rice to resign for approving torture, and the media has turned its eye towards Condi. Now, we need to turn up the heat.

Help True Majority in effort to have Condolezza Rice resign

Next week, the eyes of the world will be on Pennsylvania as the Democratic and Republican primaries approach and the candidates debate. This is our chance to bring our campaign to the attention of the political establishment. Next week we will launch an advertising campaign in Pennsylvania with one simple message-- Condi Rice must resign as Secretary of State. But, we need your help.

Contribute $35 right to turn up the heat:

Here's what The Nation had to say about our campaign yesterday:
Given these new revelations not only are Rice's chances of becoming a veep candidate blown out of the water--if there's any trace of decency left in a GOP headed by two torturers-in Chief, Bush & Cheney--but this news should also lead to demands that she resign as Secretary of State.
As True Majority puts it: "America needs a Secretary of State who can repair relations with countries around the world and stand up for human rights. Instead, we have a Secretary of State who chaired meetings on specific torture techniques. Our international reputation and moral standing are just the latest in the ever growing costs of this Administration's foreign policy".1

This is the moment of accountability. Do we let Condoleezza Rice off the hook for approving torture? Or do we send her away in shame like Alberto Gonzales before her? Together, we can make sure America makes the right choice.
Contribute $35 right now for a media buy in Pennsylvania:

Thanks for acting to reclaim America,


Ilya Sheyman
Online Organizer

Help True Majority in effort to have Condolezza Rice resign

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Violence won't end terrorism


“The thing I find most puzzling about the United States today is how little real debate there has been over the almost unanimous acceptance of the idea that the only way to defeat terrorism is through policies of war.” These words apply to US actions, either through attack or threatened attack, in a dozen or more countries in recent years—from Panama to Serbia, to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let’s take a hard case—Western Pakistan. In referring to the clans and tribes along the Afghan border, our government leaders and pundits sometimes sound like the citizen of Gabon, who said about its 72-year-old autocrat, Omar Bongo, the longest-serving leader in the world: “God brought him to us and only God can call him away.” Western Pakistan is perceived by US leaders and mainstream media as intractably violent and orderly only by violence. Vice-President Dick Cheney on March 20 urged Pakistan to battle extremists in its border regions, and almost on the same day apparently U.S. missiles from an unmanned drone struck a “suspected militant safehouse and killed about 20 people.” In some areas a “Talibanized” takeover of mosques and suicide bombers seems to be spreading.
But such violence has not always been the case; the future of western Pakistan is not inevitably violent. Let’s remember three things about this in many ways benighted part of the world: the nonviolent movement of Ghaffar Khan during the 1930s, the yearning for schools apparently all along the northern and western frontiers, and the present rise to power of the three secular parties, including the third in size Awami National Party.
The biography of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan by Eknath Easwaran, A Man to Match His Mountains: Badshah Khan, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam, centers on the metamorphosis Khan effected in the violence-afflicted Pathans of India's northwest frontier turning them into the peaceful nonviolent disciples of Gandhi during India's independence movement. Easwaran focuses on the spiritual change and on Ghaffar Khan's leadership and his emergence as the frontier Gandhi. The book’s great achievement is telling an American audience about an Islamic practitioner of nonviolence at a moment when few in the West understand its effectiveness and fewer still associate it with anything Islamic.
The story of Greg Mortenson’s long struggle to bring education to the Balti children of northern Pakistan, entitled Three Cups of Tea, reinforces a vision of peace parallel to that of Khan’s (who also built schools). In this area similar to the Afghan border provinces, Minnesotan Mortenson encountered bandits, precarious mountainous travel, avalanches, being kidnapped, the absence of school materials, the shortage of food, water, and medicine. But he also became the hope of the many who wanted education (including refugees from Afghanistan after 9-11 who had been bombed by U.S. planes), and not the madrassa schools being built by Saudis. His conclusion: “If we try to resolve terrorism with military might alone, then we will be no safer than we were before 9-11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not bombs.”
Finally, in the recent elections in Pakistan the deeply conservative northwest voters threw out the Islamist parties that ruled the ethnic Pashtun North West Frontier Province for five years, and gave their support to secular parties that promised streets, jobs, and peaceful dialog (and opposed U.S. pressure to intensify attacks on suspected militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban). The main secular party in the northwest, the Awami National Party, has been invited to join the government being formed by Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (against President Mushaffraf’s Pakistan Muslim League-Q). The alliance of Awami with the two largest secular parties should not astonish, since Islamist parties in Pakistan have never won more than 11 percent of the vote.
Let us remember too UNESCO’s “Seville Declaration,” summarizing the scientific evidence against the view that we have an inherent tendency to make war, and Douglas Fry’s extraordinarily well-supported case in The Human Potential for Peace that humans possess propensities not only to behave aggressively but also to behave cooperatively with kindness for others.
Ali, Zulfiqar and Laura King. “Attack Kills at Least 20 in Pakistan.” TMN (3-17-08)(US bombing Pakistan)., Editorial Reviews.
Easwaran, Eknath. A Man to Match His Mountains: Badshah Khan, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam. Plough, 1985.
Fry, Douglas. The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence. Oxford UP, 2006.
Gannon, Kathy. “Voters Toss Religious Extremists: Northwest Conservatives Back Secular Parties.”
Guerrero, Patty. Rev. of Mortenson, Greg, and David Relin, Three Cups of Tea, in Worldwide WAMM (March 2008).
“Pakistan,” ADG (Feb. 21, 2008) p. 8A.
Pennington, Matthew. “Pakistan’s Key Opposition Agrees to Govern Together.” TMN (Feb. 22, 2008).
Pitman, Todd. “Bongo Now Longest-Serving Leader,” ADG (3-22-08).
Rubin, Trudy. “The General’s Dangerous Aim.” ADG (Nov. 12, 2007).
Wood, Edward, Jr. Worshipping the Myths of World War II: Reflections on America’s Dedication to War. Potomac Books, 2006.
Dick Bennett

Accurate count of casualty count in Iraq and Afghan wars


“The U.S. military says four American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb Sunday in Baghdad, raising the U.S. death toll in the war to at least 4,000.” But the 4,000 is an undercount; that number had occurred months earler. The Morning News on April 1 reported that 4,003 soldiers (including Pentagon civilian employees) “have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003,” but of those “3,264… died as a result of hostile action in operations in or related to the war in Iraq,” while “739 have died from nonhostile causes.” However, the Pentagon has special motives and methods of counting.
Consider the story of Sgt. James W. McDonald. McDonald suffered severe head wounds from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq. After treatment in Germany, he was sent to Fort Hood for extensive facial surgery. Six months after the explosion he was found dead in his barracks. “The Army ruled out suicide and accidental factors, but autopsy could not determine the exact cause of death.” Consequently the Army declared McDonald’s death “non-combat related” (“with the caveat that medical experts couldn’t rule out that ‘traumatic brain injury” may have been a factor”).
Sgt. McDonald’s mother objected: “’If my son was not at the war, he would not be dead.” He was medically evacuated for battle-related injury. And he was having difficulty sleeping and suffered from severe nose bleeds. But despite considerable evidence of traumatic brain injury, the Army does not include him in their combat-related casualty list.
Yet TMN and mainstream media generally repeat the Pentagon’s erroneous statistics about killed and wounded. We should thank The Morning News (TMN) for reporting at least those numbers (few newspapers do that much). But month after month, year after year, TMN has underreported the US casualties, killed and wounded, and when it has, rarely, reported the civilians killed, its count is extremely low.
On March 11, 2008, The Morning News reported the Pentagon’s total figure of 31,187 “wounded in action” in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in their new book, The Three Trillion Dollar War, Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Prize in Economics) and Linda Bilmes (Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) report that “some 67,000 U.S. troops had suffered wounds, injuries, or disease in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and that “at least 45,000” of these “are directly attributable to the current conflict.”
TMN reported the Pentagon’s figures unquestioningly. But Stiglitz and Bilmes inquired, investigated, pursued the truth, despite a Pentagon that is “highly secretive about the true number of casualties” and uses “considerable discretion in defining any injuries as combat-related.”
The truth is drastically more injured in the reporting of civilians killed and wounded. The Johns Hopkins University study of civilians killed in Iraq, according to Stiglitz and Bilmes, followed established sampling methodologies for ascertaining changes in death rates, and used a large sample. That study as of July 2006 put the increase in fatalities at 654,965. Extrapolating from that rate, the Johns Hopkins study estimated the total number of Iraqi deaths “would exceed one million” through March 2010.
Why does the military skew the numbers? The authors suggest that the Pentagon has “some incentive to label [killed and wounded US soldiers] non-combat because it does not want to credit the enemy with a success.” The Pentagon’s failure to report Iraqi casualties suggests a darker possibility, abhorrent to both our religious and humanist traditions, that the lives of foreigners lack value.
Burnham, Gilbert. “Mortality After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq,” The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9545 (October 21, 2006), pp. 1421-28.
“Casualties of War,” TMN (3-11-08, 4-1-08).
Imrie, Robert. “Son’s Death War-Related, Woman Says.” TMN (3-23-08).
“Iraq War Costs Growing.” TMN (3-19-08).
“Reid, Robert. “Extremists….U.S. Death Toll Reaches 4,000.” TMN (3-24,08).
Stiglitz, Joseph and Linda Bilmes. The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. Norton, 2008. See p. 138 on the Johns Hopkins U. study, and p. 276 footnotes 20 and 21.\