EMAIL PAGE NINE
COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left.
Heretofore, we were under the impression that Portside is the Internet's voice of the Left. But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY. Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.
* * *
BY EMMYLOU HARRIS
* * *
WILL THE PRESIDENT BAN LAND MINES?
'Will Land Mines Be Banned?'
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 17:26:26 -0500
this president ban land mines?
AM A GREAT fan of the television series The West Wing. Besides being
entertaining, it thoughtfully presents both sides of serious and controversial
issues, sometimes uncannily current ones, which is the case in this week's
show contains a subplot pertaining to US policy on banning land mines, which is
now under review by the Bush administration. It happens to be an issue that I
have been actively involved in through the prodigious efforts of Bobby Muller
and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation since 1997.
most Americans, I was unaware of the proliferation of land mines around the
globe and unaware of the devastation caused by these hideous weapons. There are
an estimated 60 million to 85 million land mines in more than 60 countries
around the world. Most of these countries are poor, and they struggle to support
their citizens on agrarian economies, which are crippled when the land is
littered with mines.
horrific statistics speak for themselves: Land mines claim a new victim every 22
minutes. They are designed to maim rather than kill their victims, and their
victims are almost always innocent civilians " a woman gathering firewood or a
child tending a herd. And because land mines remain in the ground years after
conflict has officially ended, they continue to hold the land and the people
hostage. Refugee populations cannot be safely returned to fields that can no
longer be safely farmed.
is no peace for countries littered with the evil of land mines. The humanitarian
side of the issue will, I'm sure, be addressed by President Bartlet's staff. But
they might also take into consideration that land mines in today's warfare are
not only obsolete but, in the opinion of many experienced and highly respected
military minds, militarily irresponsible. They limit mobility and kill or maim
indiscriminately. Our own US forces are already suffering casualties from land
mines in Afghanistan.
1997 the campaign to ban land mines was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, largely
in recognition of its efforts leading up to the Ottawa Treaty banning land
mines, which has been signed by 142 nations (including our NATO allies). Most
Americans assume that the United States has already officially given its support
to this worldwide effort, especially since we led the way by being the first
nation to enact a one-year ban on the export of land mines in 1992 and have
since contributed millions of dollars to humanitarian demining programs around
we have not signed the Ottawa Treaty, making it more acceptable for countries
like Iraq, China, Russia, India, and Pakistan to refuse a seat at this most
historic and unprecedented table.
for an hour tonight, the policy debate around land mines will be dramatized for
the American people, at least in a fictional context.And I will be watching with
interest to see what President Bartlet will do. When the hour has ended, the
tragedy of land mines " this plague of terrorism in slow motion - will still
loom heavy in a very real world, and the question will still remain: Will
President Bush do the right thing and ban land mines now?
Emmylou Harris is a Grammy Award-winning
singer-songwriter. In 1998, she launched Concerts for a Landmine Free World to
raise money for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation's work with land mine
" Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company. ##
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