Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Vice President Mike Pence meets Iceland's President Gudni Th Johannesson at Hofdi House in Reykjavik on September 4, 2019. (Photo: Jeremie Richard/AFP/Getty Images)

From Military Jets to Snipers, Icelanders—Who Live in World's Most Peaceful Country—Shocked by All the Guns Surrounding Mike Pence

"Americans intended to give every Reykjavik citizen a paralyzing drug during Pence's visit," joked a satirical Icelandic newspaper

Jake Johnson, staff writer

High-powered military jets. Armed guards. Snipers on rooftops. Bomb-sniffing dogs.

Those were just some of the components of the security arsenal that accompanied U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday during his official visit to Iceland, a nation the Global Peace Index has ranked as the most peaceful nation in the world for 11 consecutive years.

As such, Pence's heavily militarized security detail was reportedly met with shock in Iceland. The Associated Press reported that "Pence's arrival in Iceland with military jets and armed personnel set eyes popping."

The size and intensity of Pence's security detail drew mockery from satirical Icelandic newspaper Fréttirnar, which joked that "Americans intended to give every Reykjavik citizen a paralyzing drug during Pence's visit."

Ahead of Pence's arrival in Iceland, AP reported, U.S. Secret Service agents "spent weeks scouting locations" and "three CV-22B Osprey flew over southwestern Iceland, along with two C-130 Hercules and one Lockheed C-5 Galaxy."

Pence, a notoriously anti-LGBTQ politician, was greeted during his drive to meet Iceland President Gudni Johannesson on Wednesday by a row of rainbow gay pride flags that Advania technology company displayed in anticipation of the vice president's visit.

It was not the only time Pence drew public scorn and ridicule during his overseas trip.

Pence traveled to Iceland days after his highly controversial trip to Ireland, during which the vice president drew scrutiny for staying at a Trump-owned hotel at the president's request.

In a column for the Irish Times Tuesday, Miriam Lord said the U.S. vice president's visit was "like pulling out all the stops for a much-anticipated visitor to your home and thinking it has been a great success until somebody discovers he shat on the new carpet in the spare room, the one you bought specially for him."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'We Can't Turn Our Backs': 60+ Lawmakers Demand Biden Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments

"President Biden should cancel student debt, but in the meantime he should extend the payment pause so that borrowers aren't hurt."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·