Give her credit, Ahlam Mohsen, 22, has got some guts, if not a lot of sense.
The anti-war activist and Michigan State University student from
Coldwater smacked U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) in the face with a
Dutch apple pie last week. Now, she faces a felony charge of stalking,
along with misdemeanors for assault and disorderly conduct.
Levin, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was in
Big Rapids last week to meet with citizens at Peppers Cafe and Deli.
While responding to a young man who delivered a long tirade accusing
him of war crimes, the senator was ambushed by Mohsen with the pie.
Levin wasnt pleased with getting pied, but he laughed it off later,
saying hed prefer blueberry next time.
According to the congressional website, Politico, Mohsen made the
following statement: Carl Levin is one of the most respected senators
in Congress. People tend to blame the war on Republicans, but we
wanted to target Levin today to send a message that liberals and
Democrats are just as implicated in the violence as the Republicans.
As of last week, Mohsen was being held in the Mecosta County jail on a
$250,000 bond. In Michigan, a felony conviction carries more than a
year in prison.
Just desserts? Or high time that pies started flying at other senators
Mohsen is a Muslim whos into the whole head scarf thing and has
reportedly harangued Levin in the past. Shes not likely to win many
hearts in places like Big Rapids.
Still, she reflects the frustration of millions of Americans who
wonder why our country always seem to be going down the road to war --
a road that seemingly has no end, not just in Afghanistan, but for
who-knows-what waits beyond.
Whats next? Iran? Venezuela? North Korea? Pakistan? Take your pick.
A new book, Washington Rules: Americas Path to Permanent War, by
Andrew Bacevich questions our role as the worlds policeman.
Bacevich is a Boston University professor and West Point graduate who
served for 23 years in the U.S. Army. An expert in foreign policy, he
says that Americans have been oversold on the dangers of what he calls
goof states like North Korea and Iran.
With the Cold War long over and China established as our major trading
partner, the world is a far more peaceful place than were led to
believe, Bacevich writes. Were also far poorer as a nation because
of the $708 billion budget we ship off to the Defense Department each
year. Those funds could go to education, Medicare or universal health
care, rather than to support military bases in wealthy nations such as
Japan and Germany.
What possible reason could we have for stationing roughly 50,000
troops in both Japan and Germany -- two of the worlds largest and
most successful economies -- when our own cities are crumbling from
It never ends: In his interview with the editors of the Record-Eagle
last week, Sen. Levin said that a U.S. military strike on Iran is an
option thats still on the table, possibly using cruise missiles to
strike at Irans nuclear program. Theres also a growing buzz in the
media in support of a bombing attack on Iran by Israel.
For those who think that this is a great idea, consider that Iran also
has cruise missiles which are poised to strike our own troops in Iraq
and Afghanistan, along with the U.S. Navy if and when our good buddies
in Israel go ballistic. Our troops would be sitting ducks.
Throughout the lifetime of the baby boom generation, our country has
been bound in a nearly seamless transition from one war to the next:
Korea, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, El Salvador,
Panama, Grenada, Bosnia, Serbia, Somalia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq...
Perhaps its time for an Alcoholics Anonymous-style intervention to
help us recognize that were addicted.
Were addicted in large part because were the worlds chief arms
supplier and people in Washington -- including Sen. Levin -- have a
vested interest in insuring that there will never be peace in the
world. As Bacevich notes, theres the stimulus of profit, power and
privilege in Washington that keeps the war machine running smoothly.
In 2009, America sold the world nearly $155 billion in weapons. Our
country has a huge stake in fomenting endless wars to keep the
military-industrial complex in the pink of health.
Yet, in his farewell address in 1796, President George Washington
warned future generations of the dangers of foreign intrigues and to
reject foreign alliances and wars. More than 200 years later,
President Dwight D. Eisenhower echoed the same message, warning of a
military-industrial complex that would plunge America into an eternal
cycle of profit and blood.
What weapons do Americans have who desire peace and a new direction
for our country? One that puts jobs, education, urban renewal and
health care above bombing people in Afghanistan, or the next war on
the horizon? Only a Dutch apple pie.