Preaching peace

Opinion piece by Mark Turner


In May 2015 Pope Francis said “many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war.”

As I pointed out in my last post, war has been profitable…



in Feb 2014, Pope Francis was quoted   “Every day, in the newspapers, we find wars,” he said, “and the deaths seem to be part of a normal day’s tally. We are accustomed to reading these things.” It seems, he added, “as though the spirit of war has taken control of us.”

What at do you think?  Has our perpetual state of war desensitized us to the point that we no longer have a responsibility to even talk about it?  As our U.S. Congress won’t even debate war authorization, shall we, as citizens, just accept an endless state of war?  I advocate peace.


Warriors score!

Opinion post by Mark Turner

Last night, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers to take a 3 game to 2 advantage in the NBA Finals. Both teams know what they have to do to become champions in the best of 7 series.   It made me wonder about our military wars and warriors.  Do we really have any meaningful metric to measure the success of our heroic warriors? What does winning our war even look like?

Then, the Northrop Gumman ad from the Super Bowl airs.  This ad features an awesome new war machine that looks like a UFO from another world.  I found it truly stunning.



The ad ends with the ‘Value of Performance’ slide.  It made me wonder if the only real metric that anyone cares about in our war is the ‘value of performance’.  Here is the 2 year stock chart for Northrop Grumman:


Here is Locheed Martin:


General Dynamics anyone?


Judging from these charts,  it would appear that there is a metric for the success of our war.  Please tell me that there are better ways to measure the success of our war than these stupid charts!



War: Remember when…

Opinion post by Mark Turner


Yes, I am old, but I remember when

  • The U.S. Constitution stipulated that Congress had the power to declare war. Back then, the U.S. Congress would actually debate sending our soldiers off to war. Now, Congress gives the Executive extraordinary powers to wage war.
  • Covert war.  if we didn’t want to talk about our wars, we called them covert wars.  Really!  Google it.  Search for Covert war Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and you will yield results. Now, we just don’t talk about our wars at all.
  • Images of war were broadcast on television.  We saw lots of blood on the evening news. If you were eating dinner, you had to turn it off. It was ugly. War was ugly. Now, demonstrations in major cities are referred to as war zones. Just ask Bill O’Reilley.
  • Peace Dividend. We were promised a peace dividend when the Cold War ended. We were supposed to be able to rebuild our infrastructure with it.  Instead, we continue our war spending like a crack addict out of control.
  • We fought wars with Boots on the Ground.  We have brought home our surging U.S.  boots on the ground, mostly, from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we still have boots on boats, boots in the air, and boots flying drones, but no boots on the ground.

Many more Americans can name the last 3 American Idols, than can point to Afghanistan on a map.  Does it seem like most Americans just don’t care anymore? It does to me. What do you think?


The Perfect Blind Spot

A piece from 2003

Poetry by Richard Weekley

The Perfect Blind Spot

–General Tommy Franks

Hashim Kamel Radi we do not count you.
But you are gone forever. You were 22 and
on a bus, perhaps thinking of a book to read.

Jalal al Yussuf you were just 17
and perhaps were wondering
what to eat for lunch.

Ibrahim al Yussuf you were only 12.
Perhaps you watched your big brother die
before you eyes that day in Zambrania.

We don’t count you either.

Out of sight out of mind
just like the coffins arriving daily at Dover
no one sees.

There’s Invisibility all around us.
Can you FEEL it?

Can you sense Ahmed al Rahal’s last grimace?
or hear Sufian — the Jordanian student’s scream.

We can calculate every millimeter to Mars
and land a rover
but we can’t count you.

For you are an uncountable.

America sends in great teams and spares no expense
to rescue one lingering soul from an 8.1 temblor

but maybe you heard

we can’t count you.

–the mind’s made up

head in sand

the perfect blind spot

we can’t count you

because: seeing is BELIEVING
–we must keep citizens from seeing
to stop believing–


USA – land of liberty and justice for all
unless you’re
Fateha Ghazzi or Nada Abdallah, 8 and 16 on March 24th 2003
you’re not counted
and nearly nobody knows your name

You died by orders from the top
so it’s okay

and your death won’t upset a single U.S. household
or lose a single vote

and you know
we had to be preemptive:
it was us or them

Your leader was mad
and ready to wipe us out on moment’s notice.
Didn’t you hear?
so I hope you understand

we don’t mean to say one thing but do the other
and we’re sorry if liberation feels like occupation

after all we know we’re right or
it wouldn’t be called: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Please Faris and Saif, 11 year old twins,
please consider yourself
freedom’s casualty

we’re not naming names or keeping real score
and please remember it’s best this way

with no b-o-d-y counting.
first posted: POETS AGAINST THE WAR . Com