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Viewpoint : Security or Suicide? Contradictions abound in new Bush doctrine.
Viewpoint : Happy 20th, Mom! Sorry you and your domestic partner have no rights.
Letters: EW readers sound off.

 



Security or Suicide?
Contradictions abound in new Bush doctrine.

The core of Bush's security strategy, as outlined in "The National Security Strategy of the United States," is to remain the dominant power on the face of the Earth forever, and to do so by striking down any nation that would attempt to catch up.

The Bush administration claims for the U.S. an exclusive right to pre-emptively strike other nations whenever it feels threatened, to do so without providing conclusive evidence of imminent threat, and to do so regardless of what the international community may have to say about it.

But isn't a domineering foreign policy a large part of what led terrorists to strike at American symbols of economic and military dominance? Doesn't military domination, and an enormous gulf between rich and poor, fuel feelings of injustice and a desire for revenge?

The Bush administration claims, so far without providing evidence, that Iraq is a threat because it has weapons of mass destruction and is attempting to acquire the materials needed to construct a nuclear weapon.

Yet Bush himself has authorized a massive increase in funding for "biodefense research." The problem is: In order to create a working vaccine, one must first become familiar with the pathogen and how it may be weaponized. Defensive research thus implies offensive research. Part of the money will go to the construction of new biosafety level-4 labs, which study pathogens for which there are no known treatments or cures. According to Eileen Choffnes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, this threatens to kick off a bioweapons arms race. Choffnes proposes that in order to avoid an arms race, such research should be the responsibility of an international body.

In the current Nuclear Posture Review, the Bush administration stated their intention of developing new nukes and potentially using them in a first strike. This even though the U.S., as a signatory nation to the Nonproliferation Treaty, has agreed to eliminate our nuclear arsenal.

The Bush administration also portrays Saddam Hussein as a threat because he has violated U.N. security resolutions. Yet Bush has himself consistently shown little respect for international conferences and agreements. He recently stated that if the U.N. fails to support him on the Iraq issue, he will consider the U.N. "irrelevant."

The Bush administration would itself be in violation of international law, specifically articles 41 and 42 of the U.N. Charter, if it were to attack Iraq without specific authorization by the U.N. Security Council. The only other scenario in which a U.S. attack on Iraq would be legal would be if it were self-defense in response to an armed attack by Iraq.

How can we make sense of what appears to be the behavior of a power-mad dictator? Bush's behavior is consistent with the "realist" school of international relations. Self-proclaimed realists maintain that, in the absence of enforceable international law, nations are inevitably engaged in a dominance struggle.

John Mearsheimer, in his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, acknowledges that this situation is tragic. But he sees no viable alternative. If all states are peaceful except one, and that one is ambitious for power and conquest, then all other nations must build up their militaries in order to ensure their survival.

Albert Einstein similarly maintained that as long as countries consider war a possibility, they will be forced to train and indoctrinate their citizens, creating a readiness to kill.

Einstein's solution was clear: "Institutions must be established which will guarantee that any disputes which may arise between individual nations will be solved on a basis of law and under international jurisdiction. A supranational organization must make it impossible for any country to wage war by being able to employ military forces which that nation alone controls."

The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century, developed in 1999 at the Hague Peace Conference, favors the development of regional and global defense organizations that would eventually replace national militaries.

There are serious problems in the world: poverty, famine, terrorism, war, environmental degradation. Ultimately, the nations of the world will not succeed in working together to overcome such problems until we as individuals create a peace culture.

When in our daily lives enough of us learn to listen, to accept others, to work together to ensure that each person's needs and interests are met, and to resolve our conflicts peacefully, we will intuitively sense that it is possible for nations to do the same. We will outgrow famine and war and open up the creative potential of humanity.


David Duemler is a Eugene resident and secretary of Eugene PeaceWorks.

 

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Happy 20th, Mom!
Sorry you and your domestic partner have no rights.

I belong to a list serve for adult children of gay and lesbian parents, humorously named Queerspawn. The week The New York Times began running same-sex commitment notices along with their wedding announcements, the members of Queerspawn were abuzz. "Marriage is archaic!" one man declared. "I wouldn't wish it on my dads!" "Why would my mothers want to lump themselves with those narrow-minded yuppies in the society pages?" another man wrote.

Several of us had a different point of view.

"It's about time!" one woman exclaimed, echoing my own feelings. When I was 9 years old, my mother came out as a lesbian. My father sued her for child custody. During the lawsuit, he had an affair with his lawyer's wife, fired the man and married the woman. The judge awarded Dad custody of me and my younger siblings because he apparently demonstrated "a more stable, healthy relationship" than my mother and her girlfriend. A year later, my father cheated on his new wife. He continued to do so for years.

Meanwhile, my mother and her partner have just celebrated their 20th anniversary very, very quietly. They are not out. They would rather die than see their names linked in a commitment announcement in their conservative town newspaper. The idea is terrifying to both of them.

Still, I believe they should have that option.

On Monday, Oct. 14, the Eugene City Council will hear arguments for and against the Domestic Partner Ordinance, an amendment to the Human Rights Code would allow non-married couples to register as domestic partners. The ordinance does not grant marriage rights. Only the state can legalize this. Neither does the ordinance grant health benefits to people involved in long-term relationships. This is determined by individual businesses. What same-sex couples will gain is some legal clout — clout that would have helped my mother when she lost her three children in 1979. The ordinance would allow gay and lesbian couples (and their kids, if they have them) to prove that they are a family. This could have come in mighty handy in Southern California when my sister and I begged our mother to go to court a second time so that we could live with her. (She went and was again refused custody.)

One might think that someone who watched her father have affairs through most of her adolescence would be anti-marriage. But I am far from it. Although marriage had a historically repressive and patriarchal beginning, these days it gives all couples a chance to rejoice in their union. It allows for a celebration, a moment in which to say, "Look! We're a couple in our eyes and in the eyes of the law!" Many children of gays and lesbians would love to see their parents recognized as the loving and committed partners they are. In the U.S., marriage is both an emotionally and legally important option. The domestic partner ordinance moves one step closer to making that option available to all couples whether they choose, as in the case of my mother and her partner, to ignore it or not.

These days, dozens of cities around the nation offer domestic partner registries. Even St. Louis, Mo., which isn't particularly known for its liberal views, acknowledges same-sex couples. Eugene is far behind the times.

I moved here because Eugene seemed to me a place where women could hold hands with women, men could embrace men and no one would give it a second thought. I was shocked to find out last month that the city has no domestic partner registry. Eugene opens its arms to so many different types of people. It's a model of tolerance in other parts of the country, but we need to live up to our reputation for accepting diversity.

It's time for our city to recognize the loving relationships between same-sex partners, not just with a gay-friendly bookstore and an annual Pride celebration, but with the same legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. As I wrote to the members of Queerspawn last week, "Someday, my mom and her partner might move up here. It sure would be nice if Eugene recognized them as a couple."


Melissa Hart of Eugene is the author of the memoir Long Way Home: A daughter's journey back to her lesbian mother (Windstorm Creative, 2000). Her website is www.geocities.com/lissahart

 

 

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A MOTHER'S LOVE
In my preschooler's lifetime, we've bombed Kosovo, pounded Afghanistan and now we're closing in on Iraq. Despite our military's control of the media in these wars, the bombings are not video games as portrayed on TV. People like you and me are maimed and shredded, their flesh burned by our weapons of mass destruction. Cities and towns are destroyed and left with no clean water, medicine or food, wrecked bridges and roads, and no safe haven. Families are literally ripped apart or forced into miserable refugee camps with no way to make a living.

A ground war will, as always, bring rapes of mothers, wives and daughters by soldiers, ours included. How on earth could we support something so horrible (and spend billions and billions doing it), and at the same time idly witness the disintegration of our economy, schools, healthcare system, indeed our whole society. It's not the world I want to leave for my daughter. I love her so much, like every mother loves her child.

Bonnie Souza
Springfield

 

TANGLED WEP
EW's coverage (9/19) of the Crandall/Arambula conceptual sketch for west Eugene and Mark Robinowitz' Viewpoint (9/26) point out the stark choices forkroading southern Willamette Valley quality of life.

There are feasible alternatives to the proposed West Eugene Parkway (WEP). The magic in the Crandall/Arambula report is that our community has been given a framework for which we will forge an alternative that supports our values for community livability. It is not too late to craft a community infrastructure different from the failed approaches of Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta.

Some elements of Crandall/Arambula will help us move toward greater community livability. We need better integrated and improved land use planning. A dedicated transit route in west Eugene, along with transit-oriented development will make neighborhoods more walkable and livable, and create more transportation options. These are critical components of slowing the expensive, reckless sprawl sucking the life out of existing neighborhoods and our downtown core.

The dusty old WEP Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a dinosaur of the '50s and '60s, when planners believed building more bad roads was the answer to roads that weren't working.

ODOT needs to do a new EIS that reflects modern knowledge and quality-of-life values. The new EIS needs to define a purpose and need that will embrace the full range of feasible and prudent alternatives to a WEP white elephant; a WEP scheme that won't work, paves over green space and bankrupts taxpaying, traditional neighborhoods.

Rob Handy
Eugene

REAL TREASURE
Thanks for the feature on Alan Siporin (9/26). When somebody writes the book about Eugene between the early 1970s and the present, Alan will stand out as one of the community's real treasures.

Jeff Stier
Silver Spring, MD

 

NO JOKE
As someone of Native American and Celtic descent, I find it very disturbing that there are people in this community who say they are not racist because they have friends from other cultures, friends with skin color different than their own. Many people with bigoted points of view often use this as a way to excuse racist comments and jokes they make. "Oh, well it's just a joke. I didn't mean anything by it. See, I have friends of that race/culture that I made the joke about. They don't mind. I've heard them say the same things about themselves."

This is how hate is perpetuated, how it hides in society and becomes slowly acceptable. Racism has more forms than just openly racist views and violent actions.

As a community we need to be aware and not perpetuate stereotypes in any form, or tolerate jokes or comments that mock or poke fun at any race, culture, religion, sexual preference, origin, or way of life. When we tolerate these thing we accept them and teach our children to accept them. It is time to break the cycle.

Sonya Marie Black
Springfield

 

WHY THE RIOT?
What a surprise, the off-UO campus riot last week! What caused the riot in their neighborhood to burn up and break down things? How can a big party escalate into street riot? What rage, hate, revenge or pain exploded?

It's like Pink Floyd's The Wall, "We don't need no education," rioting at school? Did they need a reason to vent anger? Causes may be: hip, killer computer games, Bush war-threats, normal competing to win, hateful rap music, triggering repressed and forgotten child abuse? Maybe fear of cops and booze-triggered release of inner conflicts raging at others' property and authority? It reminds us of shocking school murders, where deep emotional causes are ignored! Just blaming them as "stupid rich or poor frustrated spoiled brat students" blames the victims of ageism, abuse, normal neglect and fears of nature, rejection and poverty!

Will we research and learn real deep causes of rebellion and rioting? Do we care what hidden emotions are exploding? It's easy to complain of riots costs, crime and anarchists! But threats to punish rioters don't understand emotional causes and positive solutions. Rioters are hyper-anxious, mad and don't feel empathy, connectedness and responsibility to family, neighborhood and laws from elders. Most transient students have little trust, respect and shared power in their community. Will the officials use the riot to justify more rules and cops to prevent/stop riots, costing taxpayers more, like the "war on terrorism"? Rioters feel powerless there, like a child's tantrum, having few natural free choices to create, control and play now in their community!

Micheal Sunanda
Eugene

 

NO GHANDI
This letter is meant to address Richard Alevizos' apparently genuine confusion (9/26) as to why anyone would "pit themselves" against him in his run for governor. Richard, more than anything else, your writing communicates an excess of self-importance that's fantastically unappealing and entirely unproductive. Preaching about peace, love and understanding while complaining about all of the people who are too blind and hypocritical to support you will get you nowhere. You have met the enemy, Richard, and he is you.

By the way, Ghandi didn't write whining, self-congratulatory articles explaining why people should support him. Obviously you're no Ghandi. If that fact's not yet clear enough for you, consider that Ghandi maintained his faith in humanity in the face of the British colonial system. You, on the other hand, are ready to give up on the possibility of change simply because your political ambitions have been disappointed.

Tim Shaw
Eugene

 

GROWTH MISCONDUCT
Capitalism is based on the freedom of individuals to make money in a free market. More people making money and consuming means more jobs and money for others who can then consume more. The goal of capitalism is to have more people consuming more resources. Capitalism seeks endless growth and has no self-regulation to stop its own growth.

Can we have more people consuming more resources forever? If not, what will stop our growth-based economy? If we don't stop our growth, what will happen when we outgrow the resources available to us on Earth? What would be indicators that we are growing too big for our own good? Some people believe technology will fix whatever problems occur from our endless growth. Technology has allowed the human population to soar and for people to live longer. It has given a small percentage of us comforts and privileges unimaginable for most of human history. But because of technology, we cut trees faster than they grow, catch fish more rapidly than they can reproduce, drain rivers dry, burn fossil fuel to the point of having a destructive effect on the earth's atmosphere, produce massive pollution and waste, and cause an enormous spike in the extinction rate of other species.

Technology is both good and bad for us and like capitalism, it needs limits and common sense to address the problems created by it. Our personal desires for "more" can cloud our common sense about acting in the best long-term interests of the human race and other life on the planet.

Please help stop our ultimately destructive growth by speaking out against it. The sooner we learn to stop growing, the better off we'll be!

Patrick Bronson
Eugene

RELOCATE DEMOCRACY
The president and his cronies are at it again. Despite the recent defeat of the potentially catastrophic "logging rider" in the Senate, Bush and his buddies are going to attempt to expand Categorical Exclusions (CE's) to include timber sales in the name of "Healthy Forests." CE's are usually reserved for much smaller projects such as installing toilets at campgrounds and making extra parking spaces at a viewpoint etc. By defining large timber sales under the CE label, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will be able to "fast-track" logging operations and shut out the public from land management decisions.

With all the flag waving and claims of being "One Nation Indivisible," especially by the administration itself, it is interesting to look at the abolishment of democracy in this particular instance. Not only are these actions to expand the considerations for CE's not talked about in mainstream media; but the action itself is also an insult to the democracy as a whole. By taking the public out of the decision-making process in our forests, the President is attempting to sidestep democracy in order to repay the debts he acquired during his campaign fundraising.

These are our forests. The question is no longer, "What is a healthy forest?" or, "What is a fire-prone forest?" The pressing question has become, "Is this what democracy looks like?" The answer is simple: When the public is excluded from managing their lands for the sake of private capital gain, and the public does not receive adequate information from news sources, democracy is missing and needs to be relocated.

Ray Cole
Eugene

 

BUCKING THE TREND
Through substantial funding of conservative think tanks, extreme conservatives have become experts in manipulating the election process. They win by setting the agenda, speaking with one voice through the media and identifying single issues that split voting blocks. The rush to go to war with Iraq is the latest example of their strategies.

While corporate scandals and the poor economy were grabbing the headlines, there was suddenly an urgent need to go to war with Iraq. Now the Democrats are in a no-win situation: If they oppose the war, they are labeled unpatriotic and lose swing voters whom they need to win elections. The swing voters are often susceptible to flag waving arguments. If these Democrats don't oppose the war, they lose the support of progressives who strongly oppose the call to war. In addition, all the other issues — such as cuts to Medicare, gutting of environmental regulations, and investigations into Bush and Cheney's use of insider knowledge to make their fortunes — get pushed off the front pages.

Gore has finally come out to show some leadership on the Iraq issue, and other Democratic leaders are seeing how he fares. Talk radio and other media are already organizing to criticize Gore's efforts. Of course, he should be used to that by now.

If one really wants change, strong support is needed for those such as Gore and DeFazio, who buck the trend and show leadership. Another way to encourage change is to give Democrats real control of the Senate by electing Bill Bradbury.

Frank Vignola
Eugene

 

STORM TROOPER
Given that President (appointed, not elected) Bush was AWOL during Vietnam, a perfect name for his hissy fit war with Saddam Hussein would be: Deserter Storm.

Douglas Hintz
Eugene


LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows. Please limit length to 250 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number. E-mail to editor@eugeneweekly.com, fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.

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