The Price Of Complacency……

How would you feel if your child looked liked this?

Is he an alien? Perhaps, from another planet?

Well, in a sense – to many Americans – he may be. He’s Vietnamese. Why do he and thousands like him, look that way – and worse?

Because America committed yet another of its complacent war crimes thirty years ago by spraying around 80 million liters of a Dioxin-containing chemical, known colloquially as “Agent Orange”, over much of Vietnam, to defoliate the jungle and expose the Viet-cong they were fighting.

By every definition of the phrase, it was a war crime. But no-one ever pays for America’s war crimes. No-one is brought to justice for the appalling acts of barbarity – from Hiroshima to Abu Ghraib – that have stained that much-vaunted “banner of freedom”, the Star and Stripes, and turned it into a banner of shame, held in contempt by those in the rest of the world who still value personal rights and human dignity.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, the people of that country have suffered from the effects of Agent Orange, and will go on suffering. Those yet to be born face the most gruesome of disfigurements, physical and mental, many mercifully dying before they reach their teenage years.

The photograph above was taken in 2005. Yesterday, the BBC revealed the results of an investigation into the ongoing effects of Agent Orange. A video can be viewed online, but only for a short time. For reasons known only to itself, the BBC demands a hefty fee for those outside the UK to watch its archived material. This video is still available free of charge at the time of writing. It is available by accessing THIS PAGE, scrolling to mid-way and clicking on the link, “More Video/Audio News”, scroll down to bottom right, click on “WORLD”, then scroll to: “The Continuing Legacy of Agent Orange”.

Every American alive today should be forced to watch it, to see how their governments have behaved over the years, and how today they still refuse to accept responsibility.

A few weeks ago, the encumbent American president visited Vietnam, and in an unbelievably arrogant interview, inferred the country’s present prosperity was in some way linked to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

One can only wonder if seeing the results of such involvement, as shown in this BBC video, might perhaps change his mind.

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I Have To Share This……

Eleven days ago our TV, Broadband, and phone service went dead after an ice storm took out the supply cable that runs between two poles at the side of the house.

I contacted the cable company by cellphone and was told they would come and fix it. Two days later, I rang again and was told they were scheduled to come out that very day.

Of course, they didn’t.

Next day, I rang again, and was told they were scheduled to come out that very day.

Of course, they didn’t.

Next day, I rang again, and was told they were scheduled to come out that very day.

Of course, they didn’t.

This continued for eight days, until Friday, December 8th, when the lady again apologised for the delay and said they were quite definitely scheduled to be out that day, and they certainly would fix it before the weekend.

Of course, they didn’t.

The next day, I cleaned up both ends of the cable, soldered them together and restored my TV, Broadband, and phone service.

The cable is now lying, draped along my yard path, curving elegantly skywards to the pole at the far end of my yard.

Today, eleven days after the storm, three cable company vehicles arrived outside my house. One was towing a large cable drum.

“Aha!” I thought, “At last, they’ve come to fix my cable.”

The three vehicles all took turns to reverse into my drive and turn around (we live in a ‘dead-end’ road) before stopping in front of the house. One man left his vehicle, walked across the road to a property opposite, then returned a few moments later. After a quick discussion, all three vehicles proceeded to drive away.

That was two hours ago. They have not returned.

Do I care? Not in the least. My TV, Broadband, and phone service are working perfectly. As for the cable draped down the path, it may be a problem come spring when I venture back out of doors. If they haven’t returned by then I’ll probably give them a call. Though they may notice when I don’t pay my bill.

The name of the cable company? Insight Comunications of Illinois.

Avoid them like the plague.

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Is It Wrong To Talk Ill Of The Dead? Not If His Name Is “Pinochet”.

Pinochet is dead. Will anyone mourn? If ever there was a time to hang out bunting and celebrate, it is now. For many, solace will be the thought of Augusto Pinochet burning in Hell for eternity. He will not, for Hell is a myth. But if ever anyone deserved it, he did.

In a news report headlined: “White House remembers “difficult” Pinochet era” a White House spokesman said, “Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile represented one of the most difficult periods in that nation’s history……..Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families. We commend the people of Chile for building a society based on freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”

Commendable, considering the United States fully supported Pinochet’s military coup that overthrew a democratically elected government, and then went on to murder over three thousand people, many taken from their homes and never seen again.

Pinochet later went on to steal over $27 million dollars, a matter still being investigated at the time of his death. Cocaine smuggling was another possible sideline of the General, though it has never been proved.

US policy doesn’t change much over the years. Democracy was a convenient weapon to use against a Middle Eastern dictator in 2003, when he thumbed his nose at American foreign policy; it was conveniently forgotten by Richard Nixon in 1973 when Augusto Pinochet wrested political control of Chile, with US backing, from the democratically elected Marxist government. It has been accomodatingly overlooked once again in 2006 when the US, along with its “allies” cut funding to the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine, because it failed to meet US criteria. That decision was taken knowing full well it would cause further untold hardship to the Palestinian people and result in the eventual collapse of the Hamas government.

US foreign policy over the years has been brutal, cold and uncaring. Yet, in many ways it has only reflected the attitudes of many Americans, though certainly not all, who care little what happens in the rest of the world provided their own small part of that world remains safe, secure and unaffected by anything that occurs outside US boundaries.

So long as nations like the United States are content to support murdererous dictators like Augusto Pinochet and scuttle democratic processes when such actions are considered in the “US interest”, the world will continue to be rocked by wars, genocides, and mass murder.

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