If wars were things of the past
We in America celebrated Memorial Day a few weeks ago. It is a day to barbecue, shop for good sales and remember the men who served our country. Yes, we should remember all the soldiers in all the wars we have fought, but more than that we should remember the poor unfortunates who have gotten in the way of our wars, innocent people who have been marginalized because they are so far away from this land of ours, this beacon of freedom. It might be hard for some people to look at our part in useless acts of violence but they are there if one takes the time to uncover them.
The term collateral damage sounds kind of harmless, right? It is easy to ignore that this means innocent people were killed who just happened to be in the proximity when that drone dropped a bomb trying to kill — take your pick — any one of a number of our enemies trying to take away our freedom. I’m sorry, but a group of men in some Third World country using weapons that probably came from us in the first place doesn’t seem to me like it constitutes much of a national security threat. What does, though, is our over-aggressive military doing everything it can to wipe out the “war on terror” against goat herders and clerics. It would sure make me hate France, for example, if they decided to come over here and wipe out born-again Christians because they’re overzealous fanatics. (Just an example; I’m against neither here.)
It is too early to know the true figures and casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars but here are some sobering statistics of past casualties just to give us some perspective: in World War II we lost 295,000 servicemen; France had 340,000 military deaths and 470,000 civilian deaths; Great Britain had 326,000 military casualties and 62,000 civilian; Russia had 13.6 million total casualties — more than 13 million people died there! The Vietnam War caused 5.56 million Vietnamese deaths; we lost 211,471 soldiers. America has had a total of more than 2.75 million casualties since the Revolutionary War, that total, many fewer than what the Vietnamese lost in one war with us.
We are in a unique position as a world power, our distance gives us an edge, and we have never had, nor do I hope we ever will have, a military invasion. We have certainly been the invaders, all in the name of freedom and democracy. The cynic in me rather believes it’s more in the name of the big three — money, power and control. It is up to us as Americans to decide what’s worth fighting for, to use our intelligence to come up with peaceful solutions to problems and not sign up to wage war on some innocent country at the first wave of a flag and the words “We don’t want THEM to take away our freedom.” Wouldn’t it be lovely if Memorial Day stood for just exactly that — a memorial of wars PAST because war was a thing of the past? I could get used to that!
Continue to keep an eye on Oxnard
Once again you have provided a down-to-earth explanation of the facts in the search warrants (Oxnard’s tangled webs unravel in tumult, News, 6/7). Your reporting provides the Oxnard citizens the facts about what their local officials are doing with our tax dollars.
You and the VC Reporter provide the required supporting column of democracy by taking on the powerful Oxnard city officials. That there are so many facts in your reporting scares me, upsets me, and makes me realize the need for Oxnard citizens to act for change if we want to have a government we can trust and be proud of.
I believe that there are many more good citizens in Oxnard than are represented by those few who are listed in the search warrants you have reported on.
Please continue to provide us with the facts that we need to know.
Past award-winning finance director
Too much scientific jargon
To: Michael Collins
Re: A radioactive nightmare, June 7 VCReporter
Comments: great technical article.
53 times normal, cesium-137, plutonium-239? With half-life of 24,400 years, 40,000 trillion becquerels?
What does the above mean to me? — Not much! Will it cause my skin to flake? Lose my eyes in five years? My blood to clot excessively and cause death? Color my lungs? Affect my nervous system? Plug up my lymph nodes? What diseases will this cause?
I need an article to cause me to send it to Sacramento or legislators in Washington, D.C., to ask for action. Spit out the effect as above, along with damaged foods eaten.
Do a [Nikita] Kruschev — pound the table with your shoe!
A scientific dissertation only gets you zero.
From the web:
A political travesty
I believe that this will be the most defining issue this country has faced since WWII. SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) handed our election process over to only those with vast wealth, and took away the power of “one man, one vote.” (“Inc. is not flesh and blood,” Editorial, 6/14) Even that pithy saying is fundamentally flawed. Without equality in the voting booth, why even bother with elections? Without accountability and transparency in the ads which will flood our lives this fall, ads which will be vague, threatening and full of lies, why bother even having a Federal Elections Commission? It is just a sham right now. Dred Scott was wrong and Citizens United is wrong. It is the most dangerous ruling this unbalanced and unethical court has ever made. Roberts and Alito should both be censured for lying to Congress during their testimony when they both said that they would respectfully follow precedent, when, as they were saying it, they knew they were lying. Under oath. When will this Bush/Cheney-driven coup d’état be stopped? Can it be stopped? Will the voice of the people ever again be heard? Certainly not at the ballot box. That has the appearance of a pair of loaded dice.
A pox on both houses of Congress and SCOTUS. You have all taken the low road of cowardice and failed to stand up and be counted as servants of the people. It is sad and scary and shameful.
Re: A radioactive nightmare, feature, 6/7)
Keeping radiation detectors handy
Many thanks to Michael Collins for hanging onto this story, and other similar stories, like a starving pit bull. The best journalism is demonstrated by his deep and knowledgeable research, his double-sourcing the facts, his analysis of those facts, and his talent at turning science issues into readable articles. Kudos to Collins and the VCR.
So, should I bring my Cold War-era radiation detector with me to the sushi bar?
A Chicken Little scenario
Such polite commentary, and even some humor, but what you have just stated, MC, if we can accept the bulk of your assessments, is that life as we know it is now in rapid decay.
The shovel that is headed directly for the faces of life forms that live on the West Coast seems like a mirage at this point, but the inevitable collision is only a few short months away. If the level of radioactivity is as bad as you suggest, nothing should escape contamination within those few hundred inland miles.
People, animals, trees and insects. Why wait for the onset of cancers and a slow painful death?
I guess I’ll just drive my car off a cliff into the ocean, meeting death head-on. Unless you have another suggestion, of course.
Keep up the good work
Congratulations to Ventura County Reporter for publishing the important review by Michael Collins on how the ongoing disaster at Fukushima is impacting the West Coast of North America. Kudos to Michael Collins, who goes far beyond simply reporting the story. This is investigative reporting at its finest.
Every newspaper in the country should be following this story and warning Americans. Sadly, government and the nuclear industry have deep power over the media. Glad to know that Michael Collins and Ventura County Reporter are truly independent and willing to report the biggest news story on this planet.