Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Seven years following the commencement of the long-awaited Chilcot inquiry, the findings have finally been published this week. The Guardian newspaper has referred to the findings as "crushing." Russian media have taken this one step further by calling the report "damning." Despite the media's clear inability to find any positive spin on the report, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair continues to stick to his decision to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein in 2003, creating a vacuum of power which plunged Iraq into chaos.
When I saw this ESPN story about Paulette Leaphart, I thought, "She's incredible. Heroic." Leaphart, a breast cancer survivor, social worker and mother, recently walked topless for over 1,000 miles to show her double-mastectomy scars to lawmakers in Washington, DC, and put a face to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who still struggle to pay for health care, and did it -- out of necessity, with her eight-year-old daughter in tow. I wanted people to know about her.
The Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee reported on immoral conduct committed by US military and CIA personnel while detaining and interrogating terrorist suspects during the administration of President George W. Bush. The torture described in those reports must never be allowed to happen again. Although there are many perpetrators who are known to have authorized, ordered or performed acts of torture, they have escaped prosecution by relying on the vague definition of torture written into our current law.
"It was freedom to destroy freedom." Jesse Williams' provocative and heart-wrenching speech at the BET Awards on June 26 made me recall the words of W.E.B. Du Bois. History is dangerously repeating itself, mirroring many of the events around the world during the first half of the 20th century, including the rise of fascism, Jim Crow and apartheid. We've seen displays of xenophobia in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, like young men in Manchester who verbally assaulted a man on the bus with racist language.
We longtime US intelligence officers again wish to convey our concerns and cautions directly to you prior to a critically important NATO summit -- the meeting that begins on July 8 in Warsaw. We were gratified to learn that our referenced memorandum reached you and your advisers before the NATO summit in Wales, and that others too learned of our initiative via the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which published a full report on our memorandum on Sept. 4, the day that summit began.
The US has entered the Orwellian era of permanent war -- until we decide that it's over. Why, after nearly 15 years, do we still have 10,000 US troops fighting, killing and dying in Afghanistan? Why, after more than 13 years, have we nearly exited and then escalated back into Iraq with 3,500 US troops fighting, killing and dying? We are gaining absolutely nothing from this armed occupation of two countries for so long -- instead we are losing lives, spending billions and creating endless ill will amongst yet another generation in the Middle East and Central Asia.
With a rainbow pin on his lapel, signifying -- on that day at least -- the most recent gun massacre in the United States, Congressman John Lewis made an impassioned cri de coeur before members of Congress and the people of this country: the time for silence is over. "Sometimes," he said, "you have to do something out of the ordinary." And that's just what they did: he and other members of his party put their bodies in the way of the daily operations of the Congress, by using a nonviolent tactic known as a sit-in -- when you occupy a space in order to dramatize an unmet need.
While moving around within agricultural regions to support herself and her mother in Mexico, Olivia started a family. As a young mother of four children, three daughters and a son with autism, all US citizens, Olivia once again escaped domestic violence. This vicious cycle of violence followed Olivia, and she wondered if this is what love looks and feels like. She did not know how to ask her abusive partners to stop.
Some Americans have decided that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is a "moderate" who might have a restraining effect on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. This might be because Ryan's language is less combative and contentious than Trump's. But this is dangerously misleading, for the Speaker's apparent moderation is an illusion. The truth is that regardless of his choice of words, what Ryan stands for is as disastrously radical as the positions of Trump and the rest of the right-wing Republicans.
Everything on our small planet affects everything else. This interdependence is more a harsh reality than a New Age bromide. A diminishing few may still deny human agency in climate instability, but they can hardly pretend that diseases or wind-driven pollution are stoppable by national borders. Even Donald Trump would not be able to build a wall that stopped the Zika virus, or micro-particulates wafting from the coal plants in China, or the cross-Pacific drift of radioactive water from Fukushima.