Af Ron Ridenour-
Artiklen er nr 7 i en serie på 7 på KPnetBlogs
Jeg trådte ulovligt ind på det kongelige slots græsplæne i det centrale København under flagdags ceremonien 5. september 2013, der hyldede de danske frivillige soldaters hjemkomst fra krigen i Afghanistan. Min skiltetekst og min stemme lød: Stop krigen! Lejesoldater og kriminelle krigsforbrydere!
En vred civilbetjent greb fast i mig og lagde med et jerngreb sin hånd over min mund. Den kraftige mand fik hurtigt selskab af en soldat og en politimand, der trak mig væk. Jeg nægtede at love at afholde mig fra at demonstrere igen senere og blev holdt fængslet i 6 timer, så den socialdemokratiske statsminister Helle Thorning Schmidt uhindret kunne hylde sine krigere. Jeg blev senere idømt en bøde på adskillige hundrede dollars for “ulovlig indtrængen” og for at “nægte at adlyde ordre”.
Denmark: Return of the Vikings
Scandinavia on the Skids: The Failure of Social Democracy
(Part 7 of a 7 part series on Scandinavia’s “Socialism”)
by Ron Ridenour
Illegally I stepped upon the Royal Family’s castle grass in central Copenhagen during the flagday ceremony (September 5, 2013) honoring Danish voluntary soldiers’ return from their war in Afghanistan. My sign read and my voice shouted: Stop the War! War Criminal Mercenaries!
An angry civilian rushed up behind me and placed an iron grip over my mouth. The large man was quickly accompanied by a soldier and police who dragged me away. I refused to agree to not demonstrate again and was jailed for six hours so that Social Democrat Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt could honor her warriors unbothered. I was later fined several hundred dollars for “disorderly conduct” and “refusal to obey orders”.
The daily “lunch” newspaper BT ran a photograph of the civilian man’s hands “iron grip”, and a short article. Its reporter, Oliver Otte Okstroem interviewed me after jail.
“The media tells us that Danes are the happiest people in the world at the same time they murder people in other countries without provocation. That is deplorable, sad and immoral,” reporter Okstroem cited me.
Why Viking Warriors are revered
Shortly after arriving in Denmark, in the summer of 1980, Grethe took me to see an outdoor Viking theater, complete with poetry and sword fighting. I learned that their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages and is still practiced mainly in its original form in Iceland. The Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Vikings ruled Scandinavia for three centuries, 8th-11th. In the 8th century, Scandinavians began to build long warships and sail on raiding expeditions thus initiating the Viking Age.
Vikings are revered for their skills as sea voyagers, explorer-conquerors, traders, craftsmen and farmers. Vikings were also poets, artists and lawmakers. Their general assembly was called the Ting, which laid the basis for the modern parliament “Folketing”.
Viking culture embodied three classes: the economic power elite; farmers and craftsmen, who were also armed warriors; and slaves without rights—many were conquered people, many Christians.
Women were freer than in most cultures of the times. They ran the farms while their men went off to plunder first in the British Isles, then further on to Scotland, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland (the first Europeans to land in North America), France, Spain, Sicily, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. They mostly traded in the Middle East rather than conquering. They sailed further on to the Ukraine, the Baltics and Russia. In fact, the term Russia comes from the Swedish “Rus”, meaning Viking.
Vikings killed English Monks in their abbeys, drown them in the sea or enslaved them. Descendants of the Viking chieftain Rollo conquered England during the 1066 Norman Conquest. In 911, Vikings from Denmark-Norway came to northern France, Normandy (meaning “men of the north” in Scandinavian). Rollo made an alliance with the French King Charles the Simple. He became the duke of Normandy in return for converting to Christianity and defending north France against other Viking warriors. Among his descendants was the Duke of Normandy (1030), later known as William the Conqueror or William the Bastard. He led troops from Normandy and Breton to England, in 1066, and became the new king of a more united England.
Although the chronicles of medieval England portrayed them as rapacious “wolves among sheep”, the Vikings became the ruling aristocracy of Anglo-Saxon England, and the rulers of the British Empire. Today, Vikings are well viewed in the eyes of average Brits and Scandinavians. Their contemporary rulers have inherited the Viking thirst for warring, and the working people have incorporated their productive and artistic skills.
Denmark has a Viking museum, university studies, several Viking camps, theaters, reconstruction documentaries, souvenirs and clothing. Viking summer camps and entertainment events also exist in the US, euphoric for the “fierce and ruthless pirates”. http://www.ingebretsens.com/culture/history/the-vikings-and-the-viking-era
The Russians are Coming
In the spring of 2016, the Danish government and parliament were preparing to buy 27 F-35 jet bombers; send more troops to Afghanistan for “Operation Enduring Freedom”; send 460 army personnel, including special fighting units, along with seven F-16s to Syria and Iraq; send hundreds of troops and jets to Poland and Baltic countries on a rotating basis; and participate in the largest NATO war exercise there since the end of the Cold War. Its 31,000 troops played at “what if” Russia attacked these NATO countries, which would be an asinine fiasco with no foreseeable military or political advantage. (See my piece, “Denmark: SOS Save Our Sovereignty”)
Since the new war jets were to cost more than an entire annual military budget, raising fears of even more social welfare cutbacks, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen promised the people that no more taxes would be appropriated for the military. The aircraft would be paid for over some years from the regular “defense” budget.
Opinion polls showed that between 53 and 59% of Danes opposed using their taxes for new war planes. So politicians had to find a good reason. All but one of the nine parties in parliament, aided and abetted by most of the mass media, howled: “The Russians are coming”. They claimed that the Russians were so audacious that they were watching from northern skies and waters what the Scandinavian military might be doing that could threaten them. As usual, the Swedes were seeing Russian submarine ghosts in their waters, albeit they were ephemeral.
Within the month of May, Danish opinion fell from a high of 59% against buying the new jet-bombers to only 37% against.
Then came the July 8-9 NATO meeting. Denmark’s leaders reversed their promise and pledged “solidarity” with the easily frightened Baltic peoples and Poles, and agreed to increase Denmark’s military budget by an unspecified amount, plus sending 200 additional troops to Estonia.
As PM Lars Løekke told those assembled, “We line up when called upon!”
The “Weekendavisen” weekend newspaper wrote (July 15): “NATO countries agreed to send an important political message to Russia”, which is characterized as “more dangerous” today than during the Cold War. So, four battalions (2000-3000 troops) will “protect” NATO countries Poland and the Baltic Three on a permanent basis.
NATO will do more to support and train its allies in Afghanistan after 15 years of meaningless war, and commit greater efforts to fight IS, albeit without cooperating with Russia. Though Russia is doing most of the fighting against terrorist groups in Syria, the West is unhappy since some of the terrorists are their own comrade “democratic” fighters against the Assad regime.
Denmark will be especially used to strengthen defense of the Artic area against “Russian aggression”. Once delivered, the atom-bomb-capacity F-35s will patrol the Artic as well as Poland, the Baltic countries, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Ukraine.
There was some criticism about Denmark only allotting 1.2% of its GDP to its military when the goal for all NATO countries is two percent. Donald Trump and other leading figures in the US are opposed to financing NATO with 70% of its budget. Trump wants Europe “to do more”. But Danish leaders point out that with its 460 troops fighting the Islamic State it is among the top five of the 66-nation coalition providing military might pre capita, and also among the top five in military expenditures per capita. Its steady military presence in Afghanistan is unprecedented for a small state and unique among all of Scandinavia. And it now has 73 weapons firms whereas before 9/11 it only had five.
Additional areas of cooperation between Denmark and other NATO countries will include more military might in much of Africa, more cyber war intelligence, and support for transnational corporation agreements: TTIP, CETA, TISA—all linked with the US’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The key to these deals is that corporations can overrule national government rules and laws that curtail profits regardless of how much this could harm the environment or workers rights.
Furthermore, in the past two years Denmark has nearly ceased all support for peace research projects, cut way back on its contributions to underdeveloped countries diverting them to funding refugee shelters, cut back 50% of its funding to climate change reduction projects, and sliced 30% to UN social projects.
When Danish political and military chieftains returned to their country from the Warsaw NATO summit, the Viking summer games were in full swing.
Transparency Be Damned
Major Frank Grevil, an analyst in the defense ministry’s secret service (FE), had a democratic consciousness. On February 22, 2004, the major leaked FE documents showing that the ministry had found no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), in contrast to what the then PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Fogh) assured the public. Claiming that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, and would presumably use them, was a major excuse to declare war.
Upon becoming a whistle-blower, Grevil resigned from the military. The government charged him with unpatriotically leaking secret documents. A year later during Grevil’s trial, Socialist People’s Party (SF) leader Villy Soevndal sat in court as a supporter. He even signed a petition calling upon others to commit similar acts of civil disobedience. Soevndal was pleased to keep company with US whistle-blower and peace activist Daniel Ellsberg, who had come to Denmark to offer his support. Despite the exposure of lies the nation’s leaders were peddling, which caused the deaths of untold numbers of Iraqis and eight Danish soldiers, it was Grevil who went to prison for four months.
Ironically, peace supporter Soevndal worked his way into the Social Democrat-led war government just six years after the court case. He became secretary of state. One of his main jobs was to enthusiastically support the US-UK-Denmark wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. By then, Fogh had been promoted to NATO’s top warring post as secretary-general. Today, he is foreign affairs consultant to Ukraine’s president and Goldman Sachs consultant in Denmark.
One of the few decent things the S.D.-Soevndal government did was to launch a commission to investigate what occurred during the war against Iraq, what were motives for it and did the Danish military conduct or ignore torture of captured persons. By the time the Liberal party took state power, in the summer of 2015, the commission had gathered 70,000 documents, some of which dealt with these controversial matters.
The new government immediately locked down the commission. Using the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) enacted by S.D., it refused to release any information gathered either to the public or most parliamentarians.
In June 2016, Norway released a government commission report about its involvement in the Afghanistan war. It concluded that Norway’s 13-year engagement had not led to any significant improvements, but it did please the US government and thereby assured a fruitful alliance with the US and NATO. The cost was “only” the loss of ten soldiers and $3 billion.
A month later, the British Chilcot commission was finally forthcoming after seven years. The conservative TV network CNN reported that it was “a devastating indictment of Britain’s decision to invade Iraq”, finding that the war was based on “flawed intelligence and had been launched before diplomatic options were exhausted.” http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/06/europe/uk-iraq-inquiry-chilcot-report/
The 2.6 million-word Iraq Inquiry was released with a statement by probe chairman John Chilcot. The former civil servant said that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein posed “no imminent threat” when the U.S-led invasion was launched in March 2003. The “strategy of containment” could have continued for some time.
“Chilcot said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was warned of the risks of regional instability and the rise of terrorism before the invasion of Iraq, but pressed on regardless”, CNN reported. Chilcot added: “The people of Iraq have suffered greatly.”
This inquiry came to the same conclusion as did the Norway investigation concerning its government’s war in Afghanistan: desire to “protect the UK’s relationship with the United States”.
The Danish government did not want the same procedure to happen so it stopped the Danish inquiry. However, under mounting pressure for some sort of account, a year later it announced that an appointed committee would “describe” events during the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. There would be no digging into motives for the wars, or alleged torture by or complicity with torture on the part of Danish military. Information concerning Fogh’s presumed agreement to back a future war in Iraq when he visited US leaders in Washington a full year before the outbreak of the war was also forbidden.
But whistle-blowing is catching on and some of the 70,000 documents got leaked. “Politiken” obtained some. It wrote, on July 2, that Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen had met with then Vice-Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, on March 27, 2002. Fogh was asked what Denmark would do if the US decided to invade Iraq for some reason or another. He replied: Denmark will “indubitably offer its support.”
Opposition politicians clamored for release of the documents. The parliament has an ombudsman, who took the matter up. He announced, July 13, that the documents will not be released due to protecting relations with foreign governments (US), and cited a clause in the FIA that permits parliament to keep public records “inaccessible to parties with no part in the cases in question.”
That means that the entire public, and almost all members of Parliament, have “no part” in knowing what its government does or why it does it. Denmark has learned from Big Daddy “over there”.
Defense Academy Professor Peter Viggo Jacobsen explained: “Denmark and Norway feel good maintaining their friendship with the Americans; not so well, however, with combating terror…and creating stability and democracy in the [countries in question],” as “Politiken” wrote, June 7, 2016.
Jacobsen had earlier stated that the war didn’t have to do with Afghanistan rather that “We want them to continue to pick up the telephone in Washington…When one says that the Danish efforts have been a success it is because they love us in Washington today.”
From lovers of peace to Viking warriors again
It has become quite a “natural part of our everyday that once again we are on the way to war,” explained Vibeke Schou Tjalve, senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, to “Politiken”, October 1, 2014.
The transition to war-lovers started after two centuries of peace-seeking when the Conservative Prime Minister Poul Schlüter took power from Social Democrat Anker Joergensen. Schlüter called a special election in May 1988, shortly after assuming state power, because parliament had passed a resolution requiring the government to inform visiting warship captains that Denmark’s three-decade anti-atomic weapons policy bans nuclear weapons on its land and waters. Instead, the right-wing government insisted on uncritical support for the US and NATO and opposed the law, which the Social Democrats had backed.
Sven Auken was Anker Joergensen’s replacement as S.D chair. Auken asked Schlüter to send a letter to a US ship captain docked at Copenhagen’s harbor, simply to inform him that the law prohibited nuclear weapons. There was no request to board or inspect the ship. A reply would suffice. President Ronald Reagan informed Denmark, in no uncertain terms, that no such letter would be accepted. The US, along with Britain, temporarily suspended warship visits to Denmark.
The special election was closely watched by foreign governments. Former US military officers, turned critical of nuclear weapons, also played a role. Retired Admiral Eugene Carroll said during a visit to Copenhagen that 80% of US warships carry nuclear weapons, and refused to remove them when sailing into Danish waters.
Nevertheless, the government made surprising gains in the election, and the law was not enforced. From then on, the 8 year-old Danish “footnote policy” opposing nuclear missiles in Europe was effectively ended. An “activist foreign policy” was adopted. US’s Gulf War was Denmark’s first military engagement. On August 2, 1990 Denmark sent its Olfert Fischer corvette to blockade Iraq to relieve US and UK warships.
Denmark’s richest man, A.P. Moeller-Maersk (APMM) is also the world’s biggest ship owner. He was disappointed that his government offered so little to US’s war that he demanded he deal directly with the US military to aid it. Both governments immediately gave him the green light.
APMM sent dozens of ships to transport half-a-million US troops and armaments free of charge. This bought him future war contracts in the many billions.
The one-man navy has his own shipping line, Maersk Line Limited (MLL) in Norfolk, Virginia. His 56 ships there fly the US stars and stripes. Twenty-two of them are used directly by the US for military operations. MLL employs 4000 people who proudly serve US national security interests.
When Lockheed Martin decided to build 1,763 F-35 super jets following the 9/11 attacks, A.P. Moeller-Maersk was right there. He offered the project, Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), his ships and expertise, and this brought the Danish government into the picture, one of eight countries to get a piece of JSF action. Danish weapons firms got contracts to build gun-pods and other parts. Danish taxpayers coughed up at least a half-billion dollars of taxes for JSF. The defense ministry sent Colonel Per Lyse Rasmussen to Washington as a go-between US and Danish weapons firms. APMM Sealands ships were contracted to sail parts from around the world to Lockheed Martin’s factory in Forth Worth, Texas. So, the decision to buy that aircraft instead of any other allegedly in the running had already been made in the early 2000s. (1)
Since the Gulf War, the defense ministry maintains that its mission is no longer one of just defense but to carry out international tasks for “peace, democracy and human rights”. Its next mission was to assist Germany in breaking up Yugoslavia, which succeeded by dividing the socialistic-led state into five separate capitalist states, in the 1990s.
November 8, 1992, 170 soldiers and observers set up headquarters in Bosnia. Denmark was under UN peace-keeping missions and under NATO fighting missions until March 1995.At the end of the 90s, Denmark participated in Kosovo conflicts on the side of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). It was a drug-smuggling band and had recently been on US and European terrorist lists. But when KLA attacked socialist-led Serbian forces, it became an ally. The US Committee for Refugees reported that KLA aimed at “cleansing the ethnic Serbian population”.
It is hard to know how many Danes were wounded or killed, but at least five deaths have been confirmed. Twenty thousand to 27,000 Danes fought in the Balkans. (These figures include return tours). Hundreds of them experienced PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and some committed suicide. In all the wars since 11/9 that Denmark has participated in, 47 veterans have committed suicide, at least 61 were killed (eight in Iraq), and hundreds wounded.
Former soldiers and their families have protested that the government did little to care for their emotional breakdowns. Between 7 and 9 July, 2016, a tragic result of that neglect took place when a 42 year-old Balkan war veteran murdered his parents. He beat them with his fists, hammered and cut them with a hatchet, then drove their bodies around in the back of his car for three days.
“Danes look over the whole globe now,” wrote the Defense Ministry in 2015. “The army contributes in Kosovo, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan,” and since then in Syria and Mali. Denmark sent pilots and six F-16s to Libya. They flew more war missions (600) than most of the 14 Western countries involved, dropping over 1000 bombs and did not meet any resistance. Queen Margrethe II received total media coverage for her remark: “One relies on us and one can”, referring to US of A wars naturally. I considered this cowardly behavior and was so quoted in the BT daily.
Denmark even sent a few soldiers to South Korea for military maneuvers last year alongside 200,000 South Korean troops, 30,000 US soldiers and thousand more from the UK, Australia, Canada, and France—thereby agitating North Koreans.
Since Danish soldiers must volunteer to go abroad to fight wars, and not all of the 20,000 soldiers do so, the military now enlists the Home Guard for foreign adventures. Until recently, the Home Guard existed only for defense.
When it came to George Bush’s war in Iraq, Fogh’s government went overboard by actually declaring war. This was the first time Denmark was officially at war since 1864 when it declared war against Prussia and Austria. Denmark had foolishly hoped to take two duchies at the German border, Holstein and Slesvig. This was a total disaster. The invasion of Iraq is a much greater disaster, a true tragedy for the entire population of 23 million people. The unprovoked war ruined the cradle of civilization.
Although Denmark claimed to withdraw its troops in 2007, it has continued to have a military presence there—“coalition of the willing” instructors for Iraqi allies, and now, once again, it has Special Forces there ready to kill.
Finally comes a question mark to all these war
Peace activism has been tepid for most of the years since 9/11 and the beginning of the “war on terror”. There have been exceptions, notably on February 15, 2003 when millions rallied in 600 cities in 60 countries, the largest protest event in human history. The purpose was to prevent the myopic Bush regime from invading Iraq following the takeover of Afghanistan.
I was among 30-40,000 people in Copenhagen rallying before the seat of power. We were around 50,000 in all of Denmark, the largest demo since the Vietnam War. Some of the largest protests took place in Europe. The action in Rome of around three million was the largest in history, as so listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Sources vary in their estimations of the number of participants involved. According to BBC News between six and eleven million people took part in protests over the weekend of February 15 and 16; other estimates range from eight million to thirty million.
But George Bush turned a deaf ear. He only cared about US oil, construction and weapons industry profit interests. A month after the world’s greatest outcry, he invaded the innocent nation. I think that after that we lost a lot of our energy. People just couldn’t comprehend how so many of us showing our desire for peace could be so ignored.
We have had a few less large demos since but, at least, in Denmark we haven’t had the indignation, determination and persistence that we had in Vietnam War days. No significant civil disobedience, no sabotage, no long marches—just rallies and short walks with a few signs, talks and music. The one exception is the score of dedicated Peace Guards who have passively stood before the Parliament and government building everyday since the invasion of Afghanistan. Sometimes the media covers their anniversaries now numbering 15; otherwise the media boycotts the tiny peace movement. I must conclude that we have had no effect on government policy all these 15 years.
Nevertheless some skepticism about these wars has begun in Denmark in the past few months. Some editors and a few politicians, mostly retired, are questioning their governments ceaseless catering to the interests of Washington, and Danish TV has run two critical documentaries.
Danish documentary filmmaker Mads Ellsoee produced “Children Soldiers’ New Job”, which public TV viewed in April. It opens with President Barack Obama saying: “We will maintain the best military fighting force the world has ever known”.
After Obama’s bravado we see how the US and the UK are using more mercenaries to fight their wars, mainly in Afghanistan. Some were children as young as 11 when forced to fight earlier in their countries.
We hear Uganda President Yowerei Museveni saying during a civil war in 1986: “In Africa, you learn to fight at four.” Museveni is still president, having suppressed numerous rebellions, civil wars and coup attempts. He is currently warring against the Congo. The West has feted him as “part of the new generation of African leaders.”
In the early years of the war against Iraq the US used professional adult mercenaries from such ill-reputed companies as “Blackwater”, which became more legitimate after changing its name to “Academy”. (Former Brazilian President Lula even used some of them). The British-run Aegis is a key mercenary company shown in the film, also Dyncorp, Beowulf, Garda and others. The numbers of paramilitary “firms” increased until it became too expensive to employ them. So, the war-makers began recruiting cheap labor from the third world.
Mercenary fans of former Chilean Dictator Pinochet cost $1000 a month, about the same as right-wingers from Peru and Colombia. Uganda mercenaries go for $600, but the cheapest are found in Sierra Leone for $250. After African mercenaries had been forced to fight as children during internecine wars, UK and US paramilitary firms came to recruit them for their government wars. By then, they were young men.
In the film, we hear several of them speak about why it was “necessary” to fight for money because they knew nothing else and there was no other work. Many of them hated it, some even cried about it. But life is cheap in Africa under neo-colonialization.
The film had such an impact on army captain Mads Silberg that he has been interviewed in newspapers, and he wrote a chronicle in “Politiken” (April 22). He strongly condemns states for using mercenaries and especially children or former children forced into armed struggle. Silberg’s arguments are professional and patriotic. He says that regular soldiers go to war to win, and do so with “pride of country”. Mercenaries go to war for money and not to win. If one wins then the war is over and so is the money.
Danish public television DR 1 made its own documentary in Afghanistan, “Skoler i Skudlinjen (Schools in the Firing Line), shown June 20. It exposes as false or exaggerated what Danish politicians claim as a key “success” in Afghanistan: more and better schools for more children and especially for girls.
Politicians say they have built or supported 270 schools at a cost of about $200 million. They say that under the government they support, upwards to 10 million children—out of a 30 million population—attend school and three million are girls. The film shows otherwise.
Many of the “Danish” schools are destroyed, others are uninhabitable, some were not built but the money went elsewhere, and others are under Taliban control with their teachers. Danish-supported schools that are in use have 50-60 students per teacher and 10-15 books. Money for books, for blackboards and general supplies are routinely stolen or never delivered.
The country is classified by the United Nations as the most corrupt in the world. It also grows most of the world’s heroin—something that did not exist when the Taliban was in power. The Taliban also allows some girls in schools but they teach their extreme version of Muslim culture and religion, rejecting Western teaching.
Denmark’s current Secretary of State Kristian Jensen admits that some Danish money ends in the wrong hands—that can mean government officials, local war lords, or Taliban hands. The Danish embassy does not control the flow of money nor do personnel inspect the schools, because “it is too dangerous” to go out there. Nevertheless, a Danish TV crew managed to visit schools. The journalists also interviewed a Danish general, who says that corruption is so rampant that he estimates only 5% of Danish “development funds” are used as designed.
Afghanistan government officials routinely falsify the numbers of schools and students, in order to receive foreign aid, estimated at between 65 and 90% of its entire expenditures.
Afghanistan is Denmark’s greatest recipient of development funding, “Politiken” wrote, December 30, 2014. Besides funding schools, Denmark has spent over $3 billion in 2002-14, and more since then. Most of it funding pays for military ventures, including: about 1000 war jet missions, tanks, machineguns, grenades, canons, surveillance drones (bought from Israel and the US), plus over 10,000 soldier tours of combat, home guards and police. Denmark has helped kill about 30,000 Afghans and rendered two-thirds of the population mentally sick, according to Afghanistan’s health ministry. Forty-three Danish soldiers have been killed and 200 wounded.
According to DR film sources, Taliban is stronger today than when it was overthrown in 2001-2.
In the July 22 issue of the “Weekendavisen” four former secretaries of state commented on the state of the world given the hot summer of: brexit, a failed coup in Turkey, terror come to several European cities, the massive influx of refugees fleeing the West’s wars followed by fanatic Islamists’ terror and European-Trump right-wing populism.
Former Secretaries of State Uffe Ellemann Jensen (liberal 1982-93), Niels Helveg Petersen (radical liberal 1993-2000), Mogens Lykketoft (social democrat 2000-01), and Holger K. Nielsen (people’s socialist 2013-14) all agreed that the war against Iraq was a failure, some said it was “a catastrophe”. They also agreed that much of Danish foreign affair problems are self-applied, and that foreign policy ought not be so “activist”.
This echoes what the Liberal government’s “foreign and security policy examiner” Peter Taksoee-Jensen concluded in his May 2016 report. He was commissioned to examine what policy ought to be applied given that Russia has taken back the Crimea, and terrorism is spreading. He emphasized that Denmark’s policies should first of all serve Danish interests, implying that it should not first and foremost be what the United States asks of it.
That is a dramatic new twist since Poul Schluter’s governments (1982-93) when Uffe Elleman Jensen was secretary of state. Elleman Jensen told “Weekendavisen” that Denmark has used too much “war rhetoric”, and the war in Libyan was “hopeless”.
The conservative “Weekendavisen” and the more liberal “Politiken” apparently agree that the war against Iraq was an error, not that it was immoral. “Weekendavisen’s” editorial of July 8 concerning the war against Iraq pointed out that the Chilcot report shows that Brits had all too little to say whenever the US decided they should go to war. It also admitted that the terrorist Islamic State is led by former officers of the regular Iraqi army under Hussein’s government, a direct result of the West’s aggressive failed war. Furthermore, the editorial lamented that Iraq had then been a “well ordered” state, albeit “odious,” and that Iraq had been a “well ordered state” for many thousands of generations. But since Hussein’s fall, “the mafia has taken over”. It seems that the editors miss Saddam Hussein, although I’m sure they would protest my conclusion.
“Politiken’s”, international editor Michael Jarlner, whom I have known to be a keen fan of the United States, wrote (May 14): “Denmark has become a warring nation”, and with its “activist foreign policy” it automatically sees only a “military solution” to great problems.
Given this critique of Western wars, it seems to me that United States drone-President Barack Obama would not be as popular as he apparently is in Denmark. According to a YouGov inquiry last year, the greatest numbers of Danes chose him as the most admired man in the world, above their own Crown Prince Frederik.
“Metro” newspaper interviewed lifestyle expert Mads Christensen about this. He was taken aback by the results. “I view Obama as a fiasco.” “I think [the poll] shows a basic lack of critical sense and comprehension about what actually goes on beyond one’s own nose,” Christensen concluded.
Let Us Recognize Our Past To Change Our Present To Liberate Our Future
Let us return to my second piece in this series, “Roots to Social Democracy/Capitalism, Socialism” to find my conclusion. I hope it has become apparent that social democracy has failed to “reform” capitalism. Yes, it did give capitalism such a humane façade, and under pressure it did accept some work place and social improvements for most workers, at least in the Western world. But it did not change the greedy needs of the profiteering monster!
Social democracy did not prevent capitalism’s wars for unending expansion (that is, imperialism). It did not end hunger and starvation, or unnecessary diseases given modern medicines. It did not end slavery. It did not prevent the conditions that lead to millions fleeing their land of birth. It did not bring us equality and brother/sisterhood. It did not free us from alienation. It did not bring us love.
Capitalists have decided they no longer need to “afford” the few benefits they had allowed “their” workers. They are taking them away from us so that they get to keep unlimited, untaxed profits without fussing with national state powers.
We must, therewith, create “a humane economic system based on cooperation and sharing,” to cite myself. Capitalism must be eliminated and replaced with a fully participatory struggle to build socialism where no one is rich as we know them today, and no one is poor, where no one’s voice is worthier than another.
I conclude with words from the final doomsday scene of “Melancholia”, a 2011 film directed by the world-famous Danish film-maker Lars Von Trier. I understand these words spoken by the character Justine as prophetic for what the very rich and powerful, and the indifferent, are doing to humanity and the Planet:
“Life is only on Earth; and not for Long. The earth is evil. We don’t need to grieve for it…Life on earth is evil.”
On the other hand, as our friend Leonard Cohen sings: “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
1. A.P. Moeller-Maersk died in 2012 but his daughter keeps his warring flagships intact.
Sources for this information and what follows comes from my 2015 booklet, “Danmark er i Krig: Goer Oproer” (Denmark is at war: rebel). http://www.tidtilfred.nu/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Danmark-er-i-krig-final-sh-v5.pdf . It was written for the peace group, “Tid til Fred: aktiv mod krig” (Time for Peace: active against war). Other sources are Defense Ministry reports and home pages from 2014-5, Defense Academy, government statements, Center for Suicide Research, and various newspapers. Everything is in Danish.
Ron Ridenour is the author of six books on Cuba, (“Backfire: The CIA’s Biggest Burn”) plus “Yankee Sandinistas”, “Sounds of Venezuela”, “Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”. He has lived and worked in Latin America including in Cuba 1988-96 (Cuba’s Editorial José Martí and Prensa Latina), Denmark, Iceland, Japan, India. www.ronridenour.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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