Monday, March 30, 2015


Negotiating peace

As a member of the world community, Im a firm believer that peace is possible. However the threat of nuclear weapons, as long as they exist, will always stand in our way. What many people don't understand is how crucial a role the United States plays in determining whether the world will foster peace, or go to war.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and 46 members of Congress ruthlessly recently declared in a letter to Iranian leaders that a nuclear agreement would not happen. In doing so, these officials have increased the threat to all life on this planet and potentially prolonged the war in the Middle East.

The American people have the right to know that this action completely undermines international law and the democratic process. Peaceful negotiations with Iran will bring us one step closer to eliminating nuclear weapons. As a Global Zero leader and a young person, I’m committed to working for a peaceful world.

 Brittany Kimzey, University of Iowa Human Rights Student Collective

The power of love heals

We have developed the scientific technology to reach outer space, but have yet to discover the empathy to reach each other. We now control the heavens with drones that instill fear in the human heart, but lack the humanness to transform our own hearts. We profess faith in the goodness of “God,” but trust in military power as the real “force for good.”

We pledge allegiance to “liberty and justice for all,” but the bottom line for many is “American exceptionalism.” An exceptionalism that excludes the other in America’s white-controlled hierarchy of access to political, economic, and legal power. We profess the power of love, but practice the love of power.

The war we started in Iraq betrays America’s hypocrisy. Over 12 years ago, then President George W. Bush used the 9/11 attacks against America as a pretext to justify launching an unnecessary, falsely-based preemptive war against non-threatening Iraq. The war resulted in as many as one million dead Iraqi civilians and 4.5 million forced to leave their homes.

Countless children were orphaned and women turned into widows, left to fend for themselves, with many begging on the streets and others becoming prostitutes. All of this horrible carnage was committed by a president who believed in family values and in his belief that “Christ changed my heart.” The carnage cost the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers and tens of thousands that have been wounded in mind, body and spirit.

Journalist Rania Khalek reported that, in 2004, President Bush spoke at a celebration commemorating International Women’s Day. She said that he “focused on the women of Iraq and Afghanistan who he proudly proclaimed were ‘learning the blessings of freedom’ thanks to the United States.”

Khalek then reminded us of the deaths and uprooting and sectarian strife caused by the U.S. invasion, and said, “Women are anything but liberated.” She continued, “Contrary to popular imagination, Iraqi women enjoyed far more freedom under Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist government than women in other Middle Eastern countries.” Their “freedom” included “the right to vote, run for political office, access education and own property.” Today those rights are being denied to them.

The invasion of Iraq was not about spreading “freedom,” but about siphoning oil.

President Bush evidently did not see Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s love of power. Maliki and his Shiite-dominated government proceeded to marginalize and persecute Saddam Hussein’s ousted minority Sunni leaders and the Sunni population.

How many Iraqis have died because of American missiles and bombers? We don’t know because of our government’s secrecy. We have been prevented from looking at the bodies of dead Iraqi children, and into the eyes of their grieving mothers and fathers.

From Iraq to Gaza to Ferguson and beyond, the love of power is wreaking havoc. But we can stop that devastation by demanding that the political, economic, legal, military, and religious powers that be practice the transforming power of love. Love that honors every nation’s sovereignty and every person’s sacred rights. As Americans and persons who believe in the Golden Rule of love, we have our work cut out for us.

In the love of power, we worship idols. In the power of love, we worship humanity. Love of power for self-interest. Power of love for other-interest. Love of power builds fences. Power of love opens doors. Love of power is ideologically-based and requires institutions. And the power of love is holistic and builds community. The love of power sets limits. The power of love is infinite.

 Rev. Darrell Mitchell

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