Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lexington's Martin Luther King Jr. Program

As a non-Christian, I don't often urge people to attend events led by a Christian minister, but the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Lexington this year is an exception. The program begins with a Freedom March in downtown Lexington on Monday, Jan. 16. The Freedom March will begin at 10 a.m., with lineup beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Heritage Hall. Following the march, a Commemorative Program honoring King's legacy will begin at approximately 11 a.m. in Heritage Hall.

This year's keynote speaker will be the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., spiritual and social leader, educator, author, and lecturer. Dr. Wright teaches several theological and history courses, is the the Author of four books, holds a doctor of ministry degree from United Theological Seminary and master's degrees from Howard University and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He was also named one of Ebony magazine's Top 15 Ministers.Wright is pastor of the 10,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where he has made political and social activism a key aspect of his church's mission.

Dr. Wright's committment to political activism and his dedication to the African-American sermonic tradition has made him a highly saught after speaker. While I am not a great fan of religious beliefs, I am impressed by his efforts to bring the taboo issue of AIDS to public attention in the African-American community. He has also been an outspoken critic of the US involvement in Iraq. I am including a 2003 quiz Dr. Wright wrote for his congregation below as an example of the thoughtful and informed way he addresses political issues in the context of his faith:

War on Iraq IQ Test

Take the War on Iraq IQ Test
Do you know enough to justify going to war with Iraq?

1. Q: What percentage of the world's population does the U.S. have?
A: 6% [correction - 4.8% of world's population - 6.2 billion vs. 280 million]

2. Q: What percentage of the world's wealth does the U.S. have?
A: 50% [correction - 22% of global GDP]

3. Q: Which country has the largest oil reserves?
A: Saudi Arabia

4. Q: Which country has the second largest oil reserves?
A: Iraq

5. Q: How much is spent on military budgets a year worldwide?
A: $900+ billion

6. Q: How much of this is spent by the U.S.?
A: 50% [explanation - military expenditures for FY2003 may be $460-470 billion including $378.5 billion for the Pentagon, $15.4 billion for nuclear weapons programs, $3.8 billion for foreign military assistance, $1.4 billion for military-related activities of other agencies, $32 billion for military retirement benefits and health care for current employees, $30 billion for the CIA, plus funding for the Homeland Security Department]

7. Q: What percent of US military spending would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world, according the UN?
A: 10% (that's about $40 billion, the amount of funding initially requested to fund our retaliatory attack on Afghanistan)

8. Q: How many people have died in wars since World War II?
A: 86 million

9. Q: How long has Iraq had chemical and biological weapons?
A: Since the early 1980's.

10. Q: Did Iraq develop these chemical & biological weapons on their own?
A: No, the materials and technology were supplied by the US government, along with Britain and private corporations.

11. Q: Did the US government condemn the Iraqi use of gas warfare against Iran?
A: No

12. Q: How many people did Saddam Hussein kill using gas in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988?
A: 5,000

13. Q: How many western countries condemned this action at the time?
A: 0

14. Q: How many gallons of agent Orange did America use in Vietnam?
A: 17 million.

15. Q: Are there any proven links between Iraq and September 11th terrorist attack?
A: No

16. Q: What is the estimated number of civilian casualties in the Gulf War?
A: 35,000

17. Q: How many casualties did the Iraqi military inflict on the western forces during the Gulf War ?
A: 0

18. Q: How many retreating Iraqi soldiers were buried alive by U. S. tanks with ploughs mounted on the front?
A: 6,000

19. Q: How many tons of depleted uranium were left in Iraq and Kuwait after the Gulf War?
A: 40 tons

20. Q: What according to the UN was the increase in cancer rates in Iraq between 1991 and 1994?
A: 700%

21. Q: How much of Iraq's military capacity did America claim it had destroyed in 1991?
A: 80%

22. Q: Is there any proof that Iraq plans to use its weapons for anything other than deterrence and self-defense?
A: No

23. Q: Does Iraq present more of a threat to world peace now than 10 years ago?
A: No

24. Q: How many civilian deaths has the Pentagon predicted in the event of an attack on Iraq in 2003? A: 10,000

25. Q: What percentage of these will be children? A: Over 50%

26. Q: How many years has the U.S. engaged in air strikes on Iraq? A: 11 years

27. Q: Were the U.S and the UK at war with Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: No

28. Q: How many pounds of explosives were dropped on Iraq between December 1998 and September 1999?
A: 20 million

29. Q: How many years ago was UN Resolution 661 introduced, imposing strict sanctions on Iraq's imports and exports?
A: 12 years

30. Q: What was the child death rate in Iraq in 1989 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 38

31. Q: What was the estimated child death rate in Iraq in 1999 (per 1,000 births)?
A: 131 (that's an increase of 345%)

32. Q: How many Iraqis are estimated to have died by October 1999 as a result of UN sanctions?
A: 1.5 million

33. Q: How many Iraqi children are estimated to have died due to sanctions since 1997?
A: 750,000

34. Q: Did Saddam order the inspectors out of Iraq?
A: No

35. Q: How many inspections were there in November and December 1998?

36. Q: How many of these inspections had problems?

37. Q: Were the weapons inspectors allowed entry to the Ba'ath Party HQ?
A: Yes

38. Q: Who said that by December 1998, Iraq had in fact, been disarmed to a level unprecedented in modern history.
A: Scott Ritter, UNSCOM chief.

39. Q: In 1998 how much of Iraq's post 1991 capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction did the UN weapons inspectors claim to have discovered and dismantled?
A: 90%

40. Q: Is Iraq willing to allow the weapons inspectors back in?
A: Yes

41. Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
A: Over 65

42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
A: 30+

43. Q: How much does the U.S. fund Israel a year?
A:$5 billion

44. Q: How many countries are known to have nuclear weapons?
A: 8

45. Q: How many nuclear warheads has Iraq got?
A: 0

46. Q: How many nuclear warheads has US got?
A: over 10,000

47. Q: Which is the only country to use nuclear weapons?
A: the US

48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
A: Over 400

49. Q: Has Israel every allowed UN weapon inspections?
A: No

50. Q: What percentage of the Palestinian territories are controlled by Israeli settlements?
A: 42%

51. Q: Is Israel illegally occupying Palestinian land?
A: Yes

52. Q: Which country do you think poses the greatest threat to global peace: Iraq or the U.S.?
A: ????

53. Q: Who said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?
A: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Members of Trinity are asked to think about these things and be prayerful as we sift through the "hype" being poured on by the George Bush-controlled media.

Rev Jeremiah A Wright, Jr.


Blogger Wanderer said...

Because I tend to wholly agree on the question of the appropriateness of the war, and agree with much of what was presented, I must address one blatant fallacy, one that is shared by the general public:

There were casualties in the gulf war on the U.S. side. Not as significant as on the other side, but they still existed.

U.S. casualties: 148 battle deaths, 145 nonbattle deaths
U.S. wounded in action: 467

This is dwarfed by the casualties we are now looking at in this engagement. Still, I had to point this out, lest someone might claim that this one obvious error contaminated the overall point.

For a detailed list involving the rest of the coalition casualties you can check:

1:35 PM  

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