Saturday, November 13, 2004

The other Fallujah

"Rebel city captured," "Fallujah under control," trumpet the headlines of US dailies. And the news channels are worse, filled with talking-head ex-generals, who tout the military acumen of our fighting forces in using airpower, tanks, missles, and ten-fold the troops to bring to its knees a tiny brigade of arabs armed with rifles, rocks and grenades. What war-mongering, bullshit! What ghastly lies! Here's what's going on in Fallujah, according to a Red Crescent member who's trying to get medical attention to the thousands of wounded Iraqis in the city. And even if the report is one-sided, why not report it together witht the one-sided reports from our military?

I am disgusted with our media. They never learn. Or is it that they don't want to? Are they part of the problem? Absolutely.

"It's mourning in America"

Ronald Reagan's election phrase (slightly altered) takes on new poignancy when we are subjected to these effects of the society Bush and his followers are creating in America. A standared war film, a rather good one at that, isn't aired by some broadcasters for fear of FFC fines for "indecency." Goodbye First Amendment, Hello Orwell.

Arianna blames Carville

In this post-election essay, Arianna Huffington blames Kerry's campaign team for the loss. They failed, she contends, to keep the message on the Iraq war and national security and terrorism, instead adopting the nineties mantra that "it's the economy, stupid" and therefore forfeiting the advantage Kerry was given with the ongoing negative developments in the Middle East, including the absence of WMD in Iraq, the constant death of troops and waste of money, and so forth.

While I agree with her analysis, I believe the list of reasons for Kerry's loss is much longer. I've laid them out in a previous blog--from media bias to weak-kneed politicking to baseline fear-mongering by Bush/Cheney to Rove genius--and have come to conclude that the Republicans' sway over national politics in America will obtain for a decade at least. I'm not alone in this assessment, but unlike those who don't like this prospect and argue for mere cosmetic or personnel changes in Democratic politics, I welcome this time, because it will take that long for the second party--perhaps the Democrats, perhaps another party--to define and deliver a truly democratic platform, one that embraces the populist principles that Democrats once proudly proclaimed and advanced.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Politically incorrect--maybe. But accurate

Lately, there's been negative reaction among liberals to the use of the "s" word in describing those who--out of ignorance rather than political or economic self-interest, like Ken Lay--voted for Bush. The "s" word being, of course, "Stupid." Well, excuuuse me. Because you've got to be real stupid to believe that in ten weeks the people of Iraq are going to be able to have a meaningful election of a 275-person assembly that will "democratically" elect their president. How, exactly, are Iraqi voters going to be meaningfully informed who's running for these seats? Indeed, who would dare to run? Can you imagine hopping up onto a soapbox or (more likely) the top of a Humvee to announce your candidacy for the position in Tikrit or West Baghdad? Can you imagine going door-to-door to get out the vote? Can you imagine, even, talking about your candidacy among your neighbors?

What a stupid nation we are to continue to believe that democracy can be imposed on a nation by force of arms and still in rebellion against its occupiers. How sad that our young kids are dying for this monstrous lie. How evil are those who posit it for their own aggrandizement and financial gain. And how stupid are those who elect them.

Mission accomplished

Ah, finally, Bush's form of democracy has prevailed in Iraq. As part of the martial law that the US puppet Alawi has imposed throughout the major cities, his commission on media matters has warned the foreign news media of unspecified sanctions if they don't report the news correctly, including positive mentions of the government and proper labeling of the combatants in the ongoing war. Ashcroft would be proud.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The silence is deafening

The assault on Fallujah, to be followed by assaults on many other towns in Iraq and costing the lives of hundreds of soldiers and civilians, is being reported precisely as was the original invasion by the US media. And this, after all the breast-beating apologies by WaPo and NYT, that they weren't critical enough in their evaluation of the basis for the attack or its impact on Iraqis.

Well, here we go again. We are told about injuries and deaths of our soldiers, percentages of boundaries seized, dates for success. But where's the reporting of the Why and Wherefore, where's the reporting of the impact of the assault on the people and on the overall policy? Where's the reporting on the policy, the evaluation of the right and wrong of it? Where, indeed, is the American press--other than the conduits of military promoters--the press that has already admitted it was misled and mistaken and mismanaged just 18 months ago?

I'll tell you where. Back in their cubicles, safely typing out spoon-fed administration dispatches.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

The insurgency spreads:

As U.S. forces battle to suppress insurgents in the rebel city of Falluja, it appears many fighters may have fled to other cities where they are launching new attacks.

In the past three days, there has been a step up in guerrilla activity in Samarra, Baiji, Baquba, Tikrit, Ramadi, areas of Baghdad and in the holy city of Kerbala to the south.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wounded, captured?

Can anybody explain to me why we receive no reports, from official sources or otherwise, of insurgents being wounded or captured? Are there none? Do we kill them? Do they kill themselves? Are they taken away, never to be heard from again? I recall that in other wars, there were lots of prisoners and many casualties that weren't fatal. What's going on in Iraq?

Cognitive dissonance

Even some of my more sophisticated friends still believe in the myth that the US is presumptively the "good guy" in international relations, including in the war in Iraq--at least as compared to the "terrorists" who blow up innocent civilians, churches, hospitals and so forth just for effect. I know it's hard to believe, but the US is no different in war-making and in "peace" than any other empire. We've ruled the world strictly in accord with our own self-interest, always, and most particularly in our invasion of Iraq. That war is a moral outrage in addition to being in direct violation of international law, as clear a violation as the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.

Now we have laid seige to Fallujah, bombing it and shelling it and taking it by force with overwhelming numbers of troops. In that process, we have bombed hospitals and more than sixty mosques, killing civilians and destroying the electrical and water supplies in order to force the inhabitants to surrender.

Oh, I am told, this is different from "terrorism." In terrorism, the perpetrator singles out civilians and innocents for effect, as a weapon of fear and intimidation, as if the dead civilians care whether they die on purpose or as "collateral damage." To which I say, hogwash. We are the invader in Iraq. We have caused all the killing, that which is done on purpose as well as the accidental destruction. Indeed, we are worse than they are, absolutely so. How hypocritical it is to contend that, having invaded Iraq, we are allowed to complain that the insurgents' choice of weapons isn't as gentlemanly as ours, when we're killing more of them than they are of us and when we started the killing in the first place.

It hurts to recognize it, but we are the bad guys in Iraq, and are worse than terrorists. We are warmongering imperialists, the evil force on the planet, whose weapons are more powerful and have killed more innocents than theirs, by multiples. In law, if one knowingly sets in motion a chain of events that leads to a predictable result, one is liable for that result as fully as if he intended it. We are liable for all the deaths in Iraq, by whatever means they have come to pass, as fully as any terrorist, and with the same moral standing.

And if you don't believe me, believe Riverbend.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Now that I've renewed my passport

I find this post most helpful.

Light in the darkness

This essay by Howard Zinn about optimism even in defeat is worth reading, if for no other reason than comfort. Inspiration, too.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Telltale cartography

Here's a fascinating site demonstrating that the red-state/blue-state dichotomy that the pundits are so willing to adopt as an explanation of the results of the election is not only over-simplified but, as a matter of geographic fact, erroneous.

My two cents

If "the Democrats" (a party I was a member of for thirty-five years until switching to Green 8ight years ago) decide to slide rightward, toward the "values" constituency, they'll not only lose me as a voter but the blacks, too. If the Democrats are to challenge for a meaningful role in American politics, they've got to embrace their base: minorities (skin-color-wise and otherwise), the youth, the poor and middle class, peace- and environment-favoring liberals, economic and social progressives. Clinton's move to the right has ruined the party, making it a weak-willed, weakly defined entity, with no articulateable agenda, no movement, no place to go but come in second.

To counter the Republicans' surge to the right while holding the "values" center, the Democrats need to surge to the left, while holding the rational center. Otherwise, the left is in for "a long hard slog."

Poems by Riverbend

The young lady blogger in Baghdad, whose poignant posts describe the effect of the US invasion and occupation of her nation, has written four odes to Americans--those in the red states and in the blue--upon our election of Bush/Cheney. I feel so sorry for those whose lives we have ruined in the name of liberation. I cannot imagine that in their lifetimes we'll be forgiven.