2006-06-16 / Columnists

The Progressive

I Was Thinking
By John Paul Culotta

For the past few weeks, our nation has been disturbed by reports that the Pentagon is investigating reports that our military forces have been targeting civilians in Iraq without justified cause. It would appear such attacks were reprisal attacks. War, as we all know, is hell. Often events occur that cause regret. When the United Nations was debating what action to take regarding Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, the French foreign minister and now current Prime Minister Villepin, warned the United States that war often has consequences that cannot be foreseen at the commencement. I was just thinking that maybe our nation should begin to seek nonmilitary solutions to international differences.

In Kentucky, families of miners that were killed in a recent mine disaster are upset. Investigative agencies are holding their hearings regarding the disaster behind closed doors. I was just thinking that the safety of workers is too important an issue and the entire nation should become aware of how corporations and our government conduct their investigations.

It has been reported that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has had fewer charges filed against private employers for the past three years. Every year there are fewer charges. I was just thinking: is this because many workers who encounter employment discrimination now proceed to litigation or do not trust government agencies to perform their assigned functions?

In 1948, Italy held a crucial election. America, in order to prevent Italian communists from gaining office, financed the Christian Democrats. In 2006 our recent interference of the Bush administration in Italian politics has caused strains in our relationship with our NATO ally. It appears we were supporting the former Prime Minister's coalition because of his assistance in Iraq. Italian participation in the occupation of Iraq was extremely unpopular in that country. Italy was not involved in the attack of Iraq. Many young Italian soldiers lost their lives in Iraq. One was killed in a friendly fire attack by American troops. It appears to many Italians that the Pentagon is suppressing details regarding that incident. Most Italians have favorable views of our nation. Many Italians have close family members in the United States. All Italians, including the communists, remember the United States as a beacon of progress and liberty during the darkest days of World War II.

On April 25 each year, Italy celebrates the liberation of the nation from Nazi-Fascist oppression. All political parties credit our nation with the liberation. Many of Mr. Bush's friends including the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and foreign minister Gianfranco Fini have been apologists of Mussolini and fascism.

Our president invited the billionaire Prime Minister Berlusconi to the White House. Berlusconi was invited to give a speech before a joint session of Congress while the electoral campaign was in progress. This speech was televised in Italy and Italians witnessed a cheering Congress salute a Prime Minister who encapsulates crony corruption, privilege, and subterfuge to many Italians. He characterized Italy's involvement in Iraq as a peace mission. Italian troops were not involved in the invasion of Iraq-only the occupation. This is why it was advertised as a peace mission. Many of Mr. Berlusconi supporters also acknowledge his failings. His supporters have various reasons for supporting Berlusconi that are particular to the framework of Italian politics and business.

After Romano Prodi's left wing coalition won the close and bitterly contested election Bush delayed his recognition of the newly elected government. He delayed the recognition after it was obvious who had won.

The newly elected Italian government has announced Italy will soon be withdrawing its troops from Iraq. I was just thinking it is not appropriate for our government officials to interfere in the politics of a friendly democratic nation.

A former employee is suing Cornell University because he was terminated for feeding feral cats on the university grounds. It is ironic that a prestigious university noted for its veterinary school would terminate an employee for feeding animals.

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