LAOS - A Sickening Feeling

Isn't it wonderful news that the USA has agreed to spend money on clearing up all the anti-personnel munitions that they dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War ! They are actually going to spend something like a tenth of a percent of the cost of the actual bombs that they dropped (not counting the cost of flying the airplanes to deliver them etc). It has taken a bit of time to get round to it, during which forty-some years quite a few tens of thousands of civilians have been 'accidentally' blown up (or should one say murdered?). The US dropped 260 million bombs on Laos - that is rather a lot - bit of a waste too considering that they lost the war anyway. Of course, Laos was not actually part of the war - this was just collateral damage, as it is called these days. Is there something to learn from all this? I mean, it might have been polite to apologise, maybe? One wonders how long it will be before some other countries get cleaned up.

Sometimes one wonders if there is something basically wrong with humans.

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  • i believe Angels hold the world in its rotation...we humans seem bent on the opposite. Years ago when I learned we had been on Red Alert (17 mins to missile launch) over 365 times in one year, the idea came clear to me: we cannot possibly be alone here. 

  • President Bush lumped N Korea and Iraq together in what he called the 'axis of evil'. He then invaded the one that did not have nuclear weapons and left the other one alone. What conclusion can one draw other than that it pays to have such weapons if possible? America acts as though it thinks it is the policeman of the world - punishing the 'bad boys'. The rest of the world acts as though they see the USA as the bully in the classroom - the worst bad boy of all. This is essentially to do with the ego-conceit that Buddhism talks about. Until countries understand and trust each other better there will be great danger and as the technology 'advances' the danger gets more and more horrific. How such understanding is to be achieved, however, is not so easy to envisage. Politics is the art of deception.

  • It's modern warfare. Governments won't de escalate. And to be honest there isn't a huge lobby asking them to. It's not just good business that they have a vested interest in. It's also about the other side can't have bigger better weapons than us. It's never been any different it's what we do as a species. rightly or wrongly people are scared of thier neighbours and believe that everyone is plotting to take what's there's. So in order to de escalate you need to change the way that we think and act, and as it's been the case since the beginning of time I don't see it changing.
  • This ongoing tension, this building up of arms aimed at one's closest do we de-escalate?

  • It is very good business to sell arms to both sides - as UK does to India and Pakistan, for instance. Of course India and Pakistan are not enemies, but most of their defense preparations are aimed at the other one in this pairing so being able to say to either side - we can sell you what the other side have got (we know because we sold it to them) can be very lucrative, I'm sure.

  • The strategies of war in our time grow transparent when we recognize weapons are the number one export of both the US and Canada. It is good business to wage wars that go on and on. It is good business to not win certain wars. Am I being too cynical? 

  • There is lots wrong with humans. We evolved in tribes. Probably three quarters of our instincts are completely inappropriate for life in the modern technological world we have built. Every unpleasant or selfish instinct that we carry from prehistory is amplified by the technological power we wield today.

    There is much good in is too but I am not convinced it is enough to balance our capacity for wanton destruction.

    Greed, hate, and delusion are now major planetary forces rather than tribal instincts.
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