Monday, June 06, 2011

Empire or Republic: From Joplin, Missouri to Kabul, Afghanistan

James Petras, Information Clearing House, June 6, 2011

On May 29, 2011, President Obama visited Joplin, Missouri, the site of a devastating tornado that killed 140 and pronounced it a terrible “tragedy”. But were the deaths the inevitable result of ‘natural events’ beyond the human intervention?

Coincidentally the same week Afghan President Karzai condemned the killing of a family of 14 by a NATO fighter bomber, running the total to several hundred civilians killed so far this year and thousands over the decade.

The relation between the civilian deaths in Joplin and Afghanistan raises fundamental questions about the priorities, character and direction of the US Empire and the future of the American republic.

Geography of Tornados

Every year at least 20 major violent tornadoes – with winds exceeding 200 mph – hit “tornado alley” and beyond, including central Texas, northern Iowa, central Kansas, Nebraska, western Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Each and every year at least sixty are killed and several hundred are maimed and injured. This year, through May 2011, over 519 have been killed, 25% of whom were in mobile homes, almost three times as many as those in standard houses.

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