Humanist Perspectives: issue 166, Militarism: What do we do about it?

Militarism: What Do We Do About It?
Issue 166, Autumn 2008

cover of issue 166


Support Our Troops by Henry Beissel
Beissel argues that slogans are designed to blow sand in the eyes of the public, that "Support our Troops" is simply a sly way of luring the public into supporting the War in Afghanistan, and that any rational being who truly supports our troops would want them to be returned home instead of fighting an immoral and unwinnable war that the majority of Canadians do not support.


Militarism in Canada and the World: What Do We Do About It? by Murray Thomson
Thomson demonstrates that "militarism today is bad for the global economy, terrible for the environment, hugely destructive of human rights and of life itself, and a major risk to the future of humanity." He concludes by quoting the appeal by 110 Nobel Prize and 158 Companions and Officers of the Order of Canada: "It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world."

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What Progress for Afghan Women? by Michael Skinner
Skinner went on a 5-week fact-finding mission to Afghanistan and discovered that our politicians "use and abuse feminism to sell Canada's war in Afghanistan," and that the rights of women there have not made much progress despite assurances to the contrary.
The Political Economy of Afghanistan: Unthinkable Thoughts and Unprintable Words by Morgan Duchesney
Duchesney demonstrates that we are fighting in Afghanistan on a three-pronged mission: to establish "a strong U.S. military presence in this geopolitically vital region", to secure the country for "the extraction of its natural resources", and to show "the consequences of actively opposing the will of the U.S. government." Humanitarian efforts, well-intentioned as they are, are largely used for window-dressing.
How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives by Bill Broderick
This is a thoughtful review of Nick Turse's The Complex (NY 2008) which exposes the "economic-military alliance" that now embraces politics, science, technology, education and entertainment. "The Pentagon," Turse tell us, "has long poured U.S. dollars into private coffers ... to create a social environment in which the military in all its functions is seen as acceptable and desirable and in which it can expand and prosper - especially among the young, even unto early childhood." Broderick provides specific instances of this manipulation.
War is an Atrocity by Arnold Toynbee
The distinguished historian Arnold Toynbee argues that "the real atrocity of war is war itself, and it is an atrocity peculiar to mankind."
Morgentaler Tribute by Blodwen Piercy
This tribute extends warm congratulations to Dr. Morgentaler on the occasion of his receiving the Order of Canada. It offers a brief review of his lifelong and selfless struggle to have abortion legalized in Canada.
A Poet's Voice by Ronnie R. Brown
These fine poems are inspired, as the author herself tells us, by "human nature. Using a short narrative form I focus on fragments of life that explore the human condition." Her aim is to promote empathy and compassion.
The Terror of True Belief by Pat Duffy Hutcheon
This is the first chapter, edited by the author herself, of her remarkable book, Lonely Trail: The Life Journey of a Freethinker which Aurora Humanist books is now publishing. It is a moving autobiographical account of the hardships of life on the prairies during the 1929 - 1939 Depression. (see review on pp.37-8)

columns & departments

book Review
Lonely Trail by Blanche Howard>
The reviewer argues that Pat Duffy Hutcheon's "lively, eminently readable and insightful memoir paints a vivid and compelling portrait of a forceful, brilliant and ethical woman who rose above the constraints of poverty and discrimination."

New Directions and Commitments

With this issue Humanist Perspectives has returned to Ottawa under a new editor Henry Beissel. He set out the objectives of the magazine in this statement:

We want a vital journal that confronts the problems of our time rationally and unambiguously, truthfully examines their origins and implications, and points the way towards addressing them. Especially now, when superstition and fanaticism are growing louder and more powerful, a voice of reason is needed at the grass roots to help us negotiate these troubled times creatively. We want to be that voice.