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To Vote, or Not To Vote

By Rosemarie Jackowski

02 August, 2008

To vote, or not to vote, that is the question. Many have already decided to sit this election out. Some came to that decision for philosophical reasons. Some will no longer vote for the 'lesser of the evils', but not all of the candidates are evil. The list of Presidential candidates includes some good ones and some others. There is a variety to chose from. A partial list- Barr, McCain, McKinney, Moore, Nader, and Obama.

There are some things worse than not voting. One of them is casting an uninformed ballot. That is the worse of the worse. It cancels out the vote of a citizen who has been paying attention. A mandatory voters test is not a good idea, but voters should be encouraged to follow their consciences when deciding to vote, or not to vote.

Please, don't vote if you don't know your candidate's position on all of the important issues. Don't vote if you don't have a working knowledge of US foreign policy.

For your convenience, the test below should help answer the question of whether or not you are an informed voter. Many who have taken the test have scored a perfect 10. There are no trick questions. It's really very easy.

Test Your Foreign Policy I. Q.

Answer the following 10 questions and rate your knowledge of United States foreign policy.

1. What historic event occurred at No Gun Ri in 1950?

2. How did the United States acquire its military base in Diego Garcia?

3. Which official United States agency coined the term "blowback" and predicted a 9/11- type attack?

4. How many countries have been bombed by the United States since World War 2?

5. Name the U.S. Marine Corps General who exposed the connection between U.S. military actions and the quest for corporate profits? (Hint) He wrote his expose' in 1935.

6. How many U.S. military bases are located in foreign countries?

7. How many foreign nations have military bases in the U.S.?

8. What is the name and location of the U.S. military base that has gained worldwide attention because its mission is the training of terrorists?

9. What is the name of the U.S. official who gave Saddam Hussein permission to invade Kuwait?

10. When did the U.S. start the war against Iraq?

Rating your F.P.I.Q. Test

A score of 10 correct means you are to be congratulated. You win the "Informed Citizen of the Week" award. Hopefully you will be invited to make guest appearances on Meet the Press and the Colbert Report. More likely, you will be banned from ever speaking in the media. Congratulations, you are an informed voter.

A score of 9 answers correct, you are much better informed than the average citizen.

A score of 8 correct, not bad, but you need a little help.

If you scored 7, it's time to hit the books. Suggested readings would include: A History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Killing Hope by William Blum, Blowback by Chalmers Johnson, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, and The New Rulers of the World by John Pilger. Also see the Robert Fisk war photos of civilian victims in Iraq. These photos have been censored out of most of the U.S. media but can be viewed on the Internet.

If you had only 6 right answers, you need a lot of help. Please don't vote unless you do a lot of studying first.

If you had 5 or less correct, you probably have been getting your information from, FOX, NBC, CBS, or ABC. Every time that you vote, you might be canceling the vote of an informed citizen. You need to reassess your right to participate in a democracy. No democracy can survive if the citizens are not well informed. Stay in bed on election day.

The Answers

1. No Gun Ri is the location of a U.S. massacre of civilians in South Korea. Survivors report that more than 400 unarmed men, women and children were gunned down by the U.S. military.

2. Diego Garcia was acquired in the 1970s. The island was a paradise that had been inhabited for generations. The United States and Great Britain were complicit in crimes against humanity by the expulsion of the native population.

3. "Blowback" is the term coined by the CIA in 1954. It has been well known since 1954 that U.S. foreign policy would result in blowback.

4. Since WW 2, the United Stated has bombed: China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73, Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Panama 1989, Iraq 1991-99, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999. This list has been compiled by historian/author William Blum.

5. General Smedley D. Butler wrote War Is a Racket in 1935. At that time, General Butler was the highest ranking marine in the U.S.M.C.

6. Author Chalmers Johnson states that there are more than 700 U.S. bases in foreign countries.

7. None

8. Fort Benning in Georgia is the location of the School of the Americas. Congress quietly renamed it The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in an attempt to sanitize its image. Around the world it is known as The School of Assassins.

9. Ambassador April Glaspie.

10. March 20, 2003 is the date of the start of the Shock and Awe bombing campaign and is often erroneously given as the date of the start of the war. The war really began with U.S. bombings in 1991.

Rosemarie Jackowski is a peace activist and an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Many of her articles have been published in newspapers and on the Internet. She is the Liberty Union Candidate for Vermont Attorney General. DISSENT@SOVER.NET



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