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Apr-21-2013 15:09printcomments

Greatest Purveyor of Violence

The allure of combat is a trap, a ploy, an old, dirty game of deception in which the powerful, who do not go to war, promise a mirage to those who do.
--Chris Hedges

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

(MANAMA, Bahrain) - In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered -- the Reverend Martin Luther King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Dr King was right then--45 years ago--and sadly little has changed: America is still the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

The majority of Americans (55%) say the United States should use its military forces to defend South Korea if that nation is attacked by North Korea.

If a national readiness for war isn't an immediate readiness for violence, what is?

Perhaps this horrific story will do: Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl was gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses.

According to -Nick Tursa “there are more than 1,000 US military bases dotting the globe. Why have we spawned all of those military bases around the world? To have our military keep the peace or to facilitate gang rapes, murder and burning corpses?

I've written previously about American drone strikes claimed to kill terrorists, but have hit civilians including women and children. A McClatchy Newspapers review found that:

"At least 265 of up to 482 people who the U.S. intelligence reports estimated the CIA killed during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al Qaida leaders but instead were “assessed” as Afghan, Pakistani and unknown extremists."

The Miami Herald carried a News report on an attack in the North Waziristan village of Dandey Darapakhel which said that among as many as 25 dead were an Arab who was chief of al Qaida’s operations in Pakistan, and eight of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s grandchildren, one of his wives, two nieces and a sister.

Americans learn to love violence at an early age. Cartoons the youngest watch are full of it. Children's favourites, like Tom and Jerry, can't find enough ways to obliterate each other.

A number of studies show that children get older and become glued to TV series or films at the cinema. Violence on TV actually leads to aggressive, violent behaviour, desensitization and fear.

Who suffers most from our love of violence? Those who have been unfortunate enough to get caught in American gun-sights and America's poor. Chris Hedges says it better than anyone I know:

"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honour, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment.

"The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Wal-Mart’s to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."

What do those poor souls learn once they're on the battlefields designated by their masters? What has them ending in body bags or discharges that only get them waiting in line at the VA hospitals where they battle the broken bodies and the ghosts within?

They know what Dr King meant when he spoke of the United States as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.


Throughout his life as an educator, Dr. Paul J. Balles, a retired American university professor and freelance writer, has lived and worked in the Middle East for 40 years - first as an English professor (Universities of Kuwait and Bahrain), and for the past ten years as a writer, editor and editorial consultant.

He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the GULF DAILY NEWS . Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month. He writes a weekly op-ed column for Akbar Al Khaleej (Arabic). He has also edited seven websites, including,

Paul has had more than 350 articles published, focusing on companies, personality profiles, entrpreneurs, women achievers, journalists and the media, the Middle East, American politics, the Internet and the Web, consumer reports, Arabs, diplomats, dining out and travel. Paul's articles on are frank and enlightening. We are very appreciative of the incredible writings Dr. Balles has generated for our readers over the years, and we are very pleased to list him among our most valued contributors.

Indulging the hard subjects that keep the world divided is our specialty at, and with writers like Dr. Paul Balles on our team, we amplify our ability to meet challenges and someday, will see the effects of this exist in context with a more peaceful and generally successful world.



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Anonymous April 22, 2013 10:11 am (Pacific time)

Here is the latest from Paul Craig Roberts.
I urge all of you to read this.

Vic April 22, 2013 7:31 am (Pacific time)

Right on !!!

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