Combat Pets

Soldier Dogs With Same
Traumas as U.S. Troops

We breed them. We treat them as equals, as gods or slaves. We love and we fear them. And we’ve been eating them for ages.
Since we’ve been around, we’ve done with animals as we damn well pleased. Including being killed in our wars, often instead of us.
Elephants, horses and dogs. Dolphins, sea lions and pigeons. Primates and pigs. Even cats and bats have died in wars or in weapon labs.
Now, like the canary in the mine, dogs are sounding the alarm. Some of those deployed in combat are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It’s a disturbing, if predictable, consequence of their loyalty to the military. And more so than with the troops, these warriors may have been psychologically hurt for life.
Counseling therapy, of course, won’t work with them. In fact, in many cases, treatment is a guess work, at best, and to expect a full Continue reading

War of the Flies

Never Mind Homework Helpers.
Robots Are Being Primed for War

Perhaps the contemporary crop of war strategists grew up watching one too many times Terminator movies. Perhaps it was just unavoidable. Because, at least by its iconography, war is beginning to resemble more and more those cyborg pictures you used to see not long ago a dime a dozen at your local multiplex.
Gone are the Jacksons’ future that was supposed to be, with its friendly rolling maids and servants, doing house chores and helping little Timmy with his homework. A boring and bourgeois future that, frankly, no one will ever miss.
Still, the alternative is not quite as realistic and if your toaster one day becomes a transformer and chases you around the house, well, consider yourself warned. We bet you never read Continue reading

Deranged Rationale

The Economy of Violence
& Designing for Destruction

The agreement signed by the leaderships of Fatah and the Islamic Hamas group may mark a new era for Palestinians living in Gaza Strip. But as Israel decried its signature, invoking Hamas’s history of intolerance against it, such an accord may also precipitate another wave of bombings and destruction.
The many factors affecting that conflict, possibly aggravated by the killing of Osama bin-Laden by U.S. commandos, make virtually impossible to predict what will happen next. No one Continue reading

Can of (Global) Warming

The Green Side of One
of World’s Worst Killers

It took over seven centuries but researchers are finally coming around to identify redeeming qualities in the “work” of feared Mongol General Genghis Khan. Up to now, everyone was convinced that when he got busy creating his vast empire in the 13th and 14th Centuries, invading and pillaging nations, and pretty much annihilating anyone standing on his way, he was doing that just for his thirst for blood.
Oh, how wrong we all were. For yes, he did kill about 40 million of his closest enemies, either because they opposed his plans of world domination or didn’t like his hairstyle, but all he had at heart was the best interests of future generations, we know now. You see, years after his Continue reading

Difficult Conversations – Special Edition

Earthquake, Oil Spill &
Dangerous War Secrets


A Short List of What Have Kept Us Awake in 2010,

and What We May Need to Awake From in the New Year.


1) July 26, December 19. The biggest story of the year, the two-punch WikiLeaks revelations about our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the startlingly dispirited diplomacy used to achieve them, had all the limitations of an attack led by drones: all fire, no eyesight.
What was far more revealing was the swift counter punch by the U.S. and its allies in reaction to them. Within days, a case of free speech was turned into a terrorist witch-hunt of the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, the Interpol was brought in and a personal misdeed in Sweden was quickly rolled in for good measure.
The effort to punish the messenger was enough to temporarily derail the essence of the allegations, force Assange to fight expatriation and jail term threats, and land Pvt Bradley Manning, his supposedly source, into an insalubrious location Continue reading

A-Bomb Like No Other

A Global Vigil for Peace
65 Years After Hiroshima

At 8.15am on August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb exploded above Hiroshima, Japan, killing instantly 140,000 people. About 80 thousand more died in a second explosion in Nagasaki three days later, effectively ending the World War II.
As all the clocks in Hiroshima stopped at that infamous glimpse of hell on earth, so should we today, 65 years after. Let’s take a moment of silence to remember the sacrifice of those souls, along with their descendants and survivors.
Let’s reaffirm our faith on mankind’s ability to learn from its mistakes and renew our vows and commitment to peace on this planet. Let’s once again swear that never again we’ll take that road, no matter how many times we failed to make it good on our word.
Let’s join the fight to retire all nuclear weapons, even if that’d be such a small gesture compared to what so many already went through. War and cruelty rage on everywhere you look but there’s also plenty of kindness and forgiveness left.
The sun, the wind, the human ingenuity shall always provide to us and never threat our own existence once unleashed, the way powers we can’t control may and will if given a chance.
Let’s never forget the monsters that thrive within our hearts. Let’s keep an eye on them but also nurture and shelter whatever else of good is there so we can share our strength with each other.
Dragons may visit and haunt you at night but only the aim at making it right this time will get you out of bed in the morning. Heaven knows those hundreds of thousands stepped into that burning light as if life was as good as it had always been. As it may always be, if it’s up to you and me.

* Universal Day of Peace in New York City.
* UN Secretary’s Message, Visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
* U.S.’s first-time presence at ceremony in Japan.
* New York calendar marking 65th anniversary.

Read My Leaks

Classified Data Exposes
a Senseless Afghan War

A trove of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, leaked to three major global newspapers over the weekend, is renewing questions about the validity of that conflict, while shedding a new light on some of the reasons for its overextended duration and the staggering human toll it’s exacting.

With the six-year secret reports the Wikileaks Website obtained without disclosing how and made available to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, a much darker picture of that war effort began to emerge. Since the three newspapers Continue reading

Better Late…

The World Prepares to
Celebrate End of WWI

Ok, you can breathe freely now.
After 92 years, and almost 40 million lives lost, World War I will be officially over Sunday. Once Germany pays up the last $94 million installment of war reparations imposed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, champagne and cake will be served and thank you notes sent to all involved. Or rather, to their surviving kin.
It could’ve happened much earlier, of course, if it hadn’t been for that nagging Adolf’s objections over the merit of the Allies’ monetary demands. His successful bid to Germany’s Chancellery four years later was built in great part on Continue reading

Out on Bail

WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange
Walks Free, With Conditions

JUST IN: The High Court in London granted bail on Thursday to Julian Assange, the founder of the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, while he fights extradition to Sweden on a warrant connected with alleged sex offenses.

About $370 thousand. That’s how much money was posted by a group of supporters for WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange’s release in London. City of Westminster Magistrates Court Judge Howard Riddle ordered him to come back to court on Jan. 11 and, until then, to reside at Ellingham Hall, a Georgian mansion in Bungay, eastern England.
He must spend every night there, wear electronic tags and stay under curfew from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He’s also to report daily to the police from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Additionally, while waiting for a possible extradition to Sweden for questioning on the rape allegations case moved against him by two women, his passport will be held and he’s not permitted to travel abroad. The Swedish government said it would appeal against Assange’s release, but one of this lawyers said he probably would not be released until Wednesday morning.
Despite technically unrelated to the charges of sexual assault, by which Assange’s faces possible jail time in Sweden, most Continue reading

Why Bring the U.S. Troops Home and Soon

Do You Know

Where Our Troops Are?

What was supposed to be a series, somehow became a static, or rather, a stunted realization: counting the days and weeks makes it all even more painful. So we’ll leave at that, with the few reasons we had in the beginning of 2011 to bring the U.S. troops home once and for all.  In the end, now more than ever, the American people have understood that we need them here, while most are still alive and ready to contribute in our own nation building. At the end of the year, those in Iraq will return. Let’s hope those in Afghanistan and everywhere else on earth are also on their way home. As John Lennon once said, war is over if you want it. And now, the majority really want it. Please feel free to come up with your own reasons why that is so.

1) 1448 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan as of 1/6/11.

2) Our troops are still in badly need for state of the art battle tolls, while American taxpayers have funded at least $3 billion in ill-conceived projects.

3) Suicide bombings became a way of life, even without the support of the general population. Eight innocent civilians died today and if anything, the tragedy just fuels anti-American sentiments.

4) Because Iraq and Afghanistan are the two countries with the most grievances against the U.S.,  and with all that’s happening in Egypt, it won’t be long before fingers will be pointed yet again to us.

5) More than 230,000 American women have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan so far and at least 120 have died doing so. But despite this fact, returning female veterans face unemployment, hunger, homelessness and physical and mental traumas sustained during their service.

6) 11 UN workers have just been killed in Afghanistan, two of them beheaded, and although blame should be place at the doorstep of that nut pastor in Florida, who burned some Korans but less than ten people pay attention to in the U.S. these days, such killings are still a terrible way to lose a child.

7) Taliban is still determine to revenge bin-Laden’s death and strikes over the weekend have killed four and injured at least 29 in ‘stable’ Herat, following the assassination of a police chief and a bombing that hurt a NATO.

8) An airstrike that killed 14 people — all women and children — and wounded six in the volatile southwest Helmand province, last week, despite being a NATO’s mistake, will be surely blamed on the U.S. and paid for with American lives.

9) Use of improvised explosive devices (IED) is causing a surge in double amputees among the troops, with injuries often so close to soldiers’ hips that it is difficult to fit prosthetic legs. Young men who lose their genitals in such explosions became severely depressed and unable to function within the context of relationship.

10) In the end, it may be the war’s price tag the determining factor to end the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. The $113 billion it’s spending this year, plus the $107 billion it aims to spend in 2012, may become the tipping point to turn the tide towards a complete troop withdrawal.