Friday 14th of June 2024

A President Against War

 This piece is an edited and reordered version of Nine New's David Brent's account of an interview with the President of Costa Rica, a country with no army and, according to Brent, " one of the highest levels of literacy and healthcare in the world.  There is much more to read here- I edited only to emphasise certain points, endeavouring nott to change the piece's sentiment.

Australia and the world could soon be hearing a lot more from Oscar Arias because he says he'll intensify his fight against nations increasing their defence budgets when he is inaugurated as his country's president next week.

"This is about doing what is right. While we have countries continuing to spend on wars, it will be impossible to eradicate poverty," he says.

In an interview, he explains that to the country he'll soon be caretaker of again, people are more important than arms. "All the money that would have gone to maintaining an army, which we have not had since 1949, is spent on education and health. When we talk about national security in our country, we talk about public health. That is the essence of security."

Oscar Arias says it's also important to look at the big picture because the 'war on terrorism' should be put in the context of human security. "War is not just an evil act of destruction, it is a missed opportunity for humanitarian investment. It is a crime against every child who calls out for good rather than for guns. Military spending represents the single most significant perversion of global priorities known today, claiming more than 780 billion dollars. If we channelled just five percent of that figure over the next 10 years into anti-poverty programs, all of the world's population would enjoy basic social services. Another five percent, or 40 billion dollars, over 10 years would provide all the people on this planet with an income above the poverty line for their country."

He is now 65 and only a bit greyer than when he won the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a plan which brought an end to wars raging throughout Central America, including civil war in Nicaragua. At the time he was president of Costa Rica and won peace through dialogue, not weapons.

Fourteen countries have now followed Costa Rica's example and demilitarised through constitutional amendments. Twenty-eight nations now have no armies. When presented with our defence and education figures, Oscar Arias isn't impressed.

a slow poison .....

‘Imagine growing up in a family where every day, father
raped daughter, mother tortured son, brother abused brother, sister stole from
sister and the whole family murdered neighbors, friends and passing strangers.
Imagine the underlying assumptions about life that you would adopt without
question in such an atmosphere, how normal the most hideous depravity would
seem. If some outsider chanced to ask you about your family's latest
activities, you would spew out perversions as calmly and unthinkingly as a man
giving directions to the post office. 

This state of unwitting
confession to monstrous crime has been the default mode of the U.S.
establishment for many years now. Government officials routinely detail
policies that in a healthy atmosphere would shake the nation to its core, stand
out like a gaping wound, a rank betrayal of every hope, ideal and sacrifice of
generations past. Yet in the degraded sensibility of these times, such
confessions go unnoticed, their evil unrecognized – or even lauded as savvy
ploys or noble endeavors. Inured to moral horror by half a century of outrages
committed by the "National Security" complex, the establishment,
along with the media and vast swathes of the population, can no longer discern
the poison in the air they breathe. It just seems normal.’ 

Hideous Kinky

Latest from Chris Floyd...

From the Moscow Times

Global Eye

Blood Pact

By Chris Floyd
Published: May 5, 2006

The U.S. conquest of Iraq is an emotional matter. Passions flare at white heat on both sides of the issue. This is understandable. It is indeed very difficult to remain dispassionate while watching a mass murder take place. Opponents of the conquest are naturally driven into chaotic furies of outrage and despair, while supporters are necessarily pushed to rhetorical and political extremes in their frantic attempts to countenance such an appalling crime. It is not a situation conducive to rational analysis.

Nevertheless, it is instructive to step back from the barricades now and again to remind ourselves of the reality so often obscured by the blood-red mist of emotion clouding our eyes. The chief reality, of course, is that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is primarily about oil and the preservation of the American way of life. It is based on the premise that the latter is a question of supreme importance, a moral value overriding all others. That "the American way of life" is itself riddled with gross inequalities is beside the point here, for these inequalities greatly benefit all those who have the power to make or influence policies in "the national interest."

read more of Chris Floyd at the Moscow Times