My latest article — Sending mentally ill soldiers back to Iraq: Reckless disregard for soldiers’ welfare and for Iraqi lives – is now available on ZNet, OpEdNews, and InformationClearinghouse.
“As the US military has difficulties recruiting and retaining soldiers for its never-ending war of occupation in Iraq, the armed services are resorting to increasingly desperate means of coping. The Stop-Loss option in soldiers’ contracts has allowed soldiers to be kept in uniform months or years after their term of service has expired. The National Guard has been sent overseas to a previously unprecedented extent. And military standards have been lowered, so that drug or alcohol abuse, pregnancy, and poor fitness no longer necessarily lead to dismissal of new recruits.
Now word comes that “mentally ill” troops are being sent back to Iraq. [See: Some troops headed back to Iraq are mentally ill] This article refers to “a little-discussed truth fraught with implications,” but the implications discussed all have to do with the effects on the soldiers being returned, and these soldiers’ “effectiveness in combat.” In many instances, being returned to combat, and to a state of constant tension, will exacerbate the soldiers’ problems, the article — correctly — suggests….”
“One “implication” not even mentioned in the article is that sending “mentally ill” soldiers back into combat puts not only the soldiers’ own mental health at risk, but endangers Iraqis as well. What is the quality of decision-making by highly stressed soldiers, whether they suffer from “PTSD” or only from “combat-stress reaction”? These soldiers are armed with lethal weapons and are often in a position to make split-second life-or-death decisions. After all, “stress” is often used as a defense when other armed authorities, such as police, are caught engaging in abusive or even murderous behavior. Surely the effects of stress can only be magnified on soldiers who spend a year or more being assigned to a country where they can never feel entirely safe.”
Read the entire article.
March 27th, 2006
The global warming crisis is upon us, TIME proclaims [Earth Is at The Tipping Point: The climate is crashing and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis hit so soon -- and what we can do about it.]. The article proclaims that recent events, including hot weather and hurricanes are a result of global warming. For once in the corporate press it clearly indicates that there is virtual unanimity among climate scientists and that the “doubters” are mainly corporate sponsored.
Excerpts on various consequences of global warming:
Stop of Gulf Stream and freezing of Europe:
“’The big worry is that the whole climate of Europe will change,’ says Adrian Luckman, senior lecturer in geography at the University of Wales, Swansea. ‘We in the U.K. are on the same latitude as Alaska. The reason we can live here is the Gulf Stream.’”
“Global warming is tipping other regions of the world into drought in different ways. Higher temperatures bake moisture out of soil faster, causing dry regions that live at the margins to cross the line into full-blown crisis. Meanwhile, El Niño events–the warm pooling of Pacific waters that periodically drives worldwide climate patterns and has been occurring more frequently in global-warming years–further inhibit precipitation in dry areas of Africa and East Asia. According to a recent study by NCAR, the percentage of Earth’s surface suffering drought has more than doubled since the 1970s.”
Dissapearing flora and fauna:
“Hot, dry land can be murder on flora and fauna, and both are taking a bad hit. Wildfires in such regions as Indonesia, the western U.S. and even inland Alaska have been increasing as timberlands and forest floors grow more parched. The blazes create a feedback loop of their own, pouring more carbon into the atmosphere and reducing the number of trees, which inhale CO2 and release oxygen.”
Hurricanes and cyclones:
“It is fitting, perhaps, that as the species causing all the problems, we’re suffering the destruction of our habitat too, and we have experienced that loss in terrible ways. Ocean waters have warmed by a full degree Fahrenheit since 1970, and warmer water is like rocket fuel for typhoons and hurricanes. Two studies last year found that in the past 35 years the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has doubled while the wind speed and duration of all hurricanes has jumped 50%. Since atmospheric heat is not choosy about the water it warms, tropical storms could start turning up in some decidedly nontropical places. ‘There’s a school of thought that sea surface temperatures are warming up toward Canada,’ says Greg Holland, senior scientist for NCAR in Boulder. ‘If so, you’re likely to get tropical cyclones there, but we honestly don’t know.’”
They end on a cautiously upbeat note:
“’There are a whole series of things that demonstrate that people want to act and want their government to act,’ says Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense. Krupp and others believe that we should probably accept that it’s too late to prevent CO2 concentrations from climbing to 450 p.p.m. (or 70 p.p.m. higher than where they are now). From there, however, we should be able to stabilize them and start to dial them back down.
That goal should be attainable. Curbing global warming may be an order of magnitude harder than, say, eradicating smallpox or putting a man on the moon. But is it moral not to try? We did not so much march toward the environmental precipice as drunkenly reel there, snapping at the scientific scolds who told us we had a problem.”
The article is important, not for its content, but for the fact that its in a mainstream publication and that it doesn’t use the “some say, others doubt” approach so typical of the corporate press.
March 27th, 2006