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The Ignored Lessons of the Fort Hood Tragedy - Keeping It Real - By Larry Pinkney - Editorial Board


Wars are the most physically and emotionally devastating catastrophes made by humans on this planet; but contrary to conventional wisdom wars are not inevitable. They are deliberate, require two or more parties, and more often than not are absolutely avoidable.

Irrespective to the alleged motive or motives behind the terrible shooting tragedy of a few days ago in November, 2009, at the massive Fort Hood U.S. military base in Texas, there are poignant lessons that could and should be learned.

Be clear about this: War is nothing short of organized terrorism whether it is declared, sanctioned, and carried out by nation-states, by individuals, or non nation-state sanctioned organizations. Wars are not only physically disruptive but are intrinsically destructive to the well being and psychological fabric of human beings no matter what justifications are used to rationalize them. The horrific consequences of war reach far beyond the many physical battle grounds or so-called combat theaters around the globe. Moreover, these consequences directly affect both military and civilian populations alike. In this, the 21st century, there is no such thing as a safe civilian population, just as military personnel at home and abroad are clearly and invariably in harm�s way. Geographical and national boundaries are utterly meaningless where wars are involved, and those who might claim otherwise are simply wrong. The most effective way to stop wars is to not wage them in the first place.

In The Boston Globe of April, 2006, I wrote, �Perhaps people will stop repeating the human-made catastrophes of the past when we cease being ahistorical and truly learn from history�s lessons.� What does this mean? It means that we humans are not actually �locked in� to waging wars. Rather, we are locked in to the dangerous and archaic mentality of waging wars. We are locked in only for as long as we allow ourselves to be. And this must change now!

Our hearts must surely go out to the families of those slain and wounded at Fort Hood, Texas, just as we must instinctively, as human beings, also feel deeply for the civilian girls, boys, women, and men victims of the ongoing carnage in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere on this planet. But feelings are not enough. We must put a stop to this madness!

There will be some who will argue that we should not capitulate to our own humanity and common sense in this regard. Nevertheless, if we allow this madness to continue we are actually capitulating to the unending and self defeating cycle of wars and ultimate global annihilation. We would be perpetuating societal, national, and global madness. We the people can stop this, for the sake of ourselves and our planet.

Notwithstanding the high sounding, misleading, and self-serving rhetoric on the part of the politicians of both the Democratic and Republican Parties (i.e. the Republicrats), these terrible wars are being shouldered by the many for the de facto benefit of the greedy few (with every day people here and abroad as the cannon fodder). Moreover, genuine democracy is not spread by force or subterfuge at the tip of a proverbial spear or sword, no matter what the politicians and corporate media ceaselessly pontificate.

The devastation and human tragedy at Fort Hood is a symptom, not the cause. We can and must exercise the courage and fortitude to address and change the underlying causes. Then and only then will the symptoms fade and ultimately disappear.

Our strongest and best national resource, and the most effective form of so-called �national security,� is to be found in we ourselves---the people. And right now the people are grievously hurting. This too, must stop! It will only be stopped by we ourselves.

Our young women and men, and indeed people in this nation of all ages and colors need and deserve so very much better. We need decent jobs, decent housing, the opportunity for unencumbered education, a strong national infrastructure, an honest, fair, and unbiased judicial system, and of course genuine single payer universal health care that serves the needs of all the people. Nothing short of this is acceptable.

The government with all its fancy yet pitiful rhetoric does not and will not serve the needs of the people. Only we the people can genuinely emotionally heal, nurture, and politically serve one another. The only �change we can believe in,� is to be found in we ourselves. This will not come about by magic. It will be brought about by the daily hard work and political organizing on the part of all of us collectively.

Let us have the courage to learn from the painful lessons of the past and the present, and let us gird ourselves with the necessary determination to break free from this cycle of madness and �stop repeating human-made catastrophes.�

Onward! Each one teach one. There is so much work before us! Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.


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November 12 , 2009
Issue 350

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield
Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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