Apr 062003
Authors: Oliver Cook

With all of this debate going around about whether or not the war against Iraq is being waged for humanitarian ends, I thought I would point out some locales that are in dire need of U.S. military involvement.

At least I thought that I would point out some of the places that make Iraq look like a vacation spot to illustrate that this war is actually about economics and geopolitics.

To begin, I thought I would look at one very troubling series of events that are transpiring as we speak: Genocide and cannibalism are being waged against the Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo. While cannibalism is an ancient tradition that has survived in various regions of the world, it has generally been looked down on by the modern world, which makes it important to view something as obscure as cannibalism through culturally relativistic eyes.

Unfortunately the scale on which cannibalism is being practiced on the pygmies of Congo borders on genocide. The 4-year-old conflict has seen the wholesale slaughter and rape of Congo’s civilian population, with serious reports filtering in around December of last year of large scale cannibalism aimed at our friends the pygmies.

The reports I have read are pretty terrible, but if you want to read about the events, just type in the keywords “Pygmy” “Congo” and “Cannibalism” for those of you who do not know how to use a search engine. Another place that is worse than Iraq and unfit for human habitation is Sierra Leone in West Africa. A terrible civil war has been waged in the country for about a decade between two armed factions that are supplied, supported, and encouraged by international mining interests.

These factions, neither of whom have any real legitimacy, prey on each other and the populace at large, forcing civilians to engage in virtual slave labor for the purpose of extracting diamonds, gold, bauxite and other precious minerals. The minerals are funneled through Liberia where the profits are used to purchase more arms that are then used to continue the seemingly endless struggle.

To make matters worse, the “legitimate” government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah has not provided a single service to its citizens for about 15 years. Wow, slavery, torture and genocide all because some small-minded people feel that a diamond is an expression of love, resulting in the prostitution of oneself in order finance this socially acceptable, though corporately induced, ritual.

My final example of the planets worst places for habitation can be found in tiny Bangladesh. While the spirit of the people is strong, the 120 million people crammed into an area the size of Texas and the lack of any real livelihood make this one of those countries that people neither want to live in or even visit.

While the Gramine Bank helps women and individual households acquire small loans for basic survival, it is not large scale enough to alleviate the suffering of the unemployed, hungry masses. With all of these real humanitarian disasters transpiring around the world, it seems almost insulting that President Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. would, even for a minute, think that we believe that this war is about humanitarian goals.

That’s a load of crap and the powers that be should just be honest with the public. Perhaps next time the United States spends close to $100 billion it will be used to alleviate some of the world’s worst problems, especially ones that were brought on by a consumerist system’s lack of self-control or responsibility.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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