Saturday, November 27, 2004

Amazing, amazing.

This article shows the unbelieveable tolerance of the parents of this US soldier.

The soldier was wounded in the battle for Fallujah, Iraq. He was riding in a Humvee when a sniper’s bullet hit him in the left temple and exited his right temple. He survived a two-hour ride in the Humvee from Fallujah to the Army hospital in Baghdad. He was in surgery for five hours.

Doctors told his parents he was the luckiest and healthiest, but everything is not rosy.
Doctors told them that where he got hit, would change his personality opposite to what it was.
His mother said that is good for he did get mad and was irritated easily.
He is now able to move both sides of his body. He has not walked yet, but doctors predict that he will.
He could possibly always need help and not be independent, but his mother does not believe that.
His mother is turning to her faith for him to have a complete recovery and asking all to pray for the same for her son.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Talk about calling up the infirm for active duty

I just read that Nick Nolte died, having suffered battle injuries in Iraq.

An elucidaton

In yesterday's "Thanksgiving" post, I made a comparison between Cambodia and the direction the US is headed in. I need to explain.

Certainly, the agonies of Cambodia, then and now, are far deeper than ours. Pol Pot's rule, for example, was tryannical compared even to Saddam Hussein's; and the aftermath is still felt in that country, as is that of our massive bombing during the Vietnam war. I intended to use Cambodia as an example of tyranny unchecked, not as a direct factual comparison to the US presently.

Here's why I'm so sad about the US, both historically and now. The geography of the nation is the world's finest. Beautiful, isolated from foreign foes, rich beyond anywhere else in natural resources and farmland and climate. It was for centuries guarded by natives who were neither numerous nor rapacious enough to ruin it, and so when the Europeans "discovered" it they found almost no opposition to their conquest and exploitation.

The most courageous and vital of Europeans settled the nation, just at a time in western history when democratic ideals were flowering; and in response they drew up their liberating documents to reflect those ideals. At that moment in history, the nation had its finest hours (tainted of course by slavery and conquest of the natives.)

It's been all downhill from there. We've engaged in endless wars and conquests. In 1812, in the 1860's, in the 1890's, in 1917, in 1941, in 1950, in 1965, in 1991, in 2003. Some of the wars have been forced upon us, but these last two--and in particular the latest invasion of Iraq--was a straightforward war of agression, in violation of the UN Charter (a document we drafted) and of international law.

We are now an occupying force in Iraq, murdering its civilians, imposing our version of government on its citizens, imprisoning thousands, devastating its cities. We are wrecking the planet with our profligate waste of resources, tearing at the environment, depleting its resources, spreading our ruinous "pop culture" across the globe, leaving the peoples of the poor nations to starve while we carry away their few riches: oil, timber, minerals, to feed our frenzy of consumption. We are led by maniacal liars, cheats and frauds, whose sole purpose is to perpetuate their power, and we re-elect them in elections that are meaningless, based on fluffy ads disseminated by power-seeking corporations.

From a country flush with energy and ideals, blessed with limitless resources, we have become a cynical, power-mad nation, corrupt and dangerous to Earth. We are the evil empire. Maybe not like Cambodia, but certainly more frightening.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thugs and terrorists

On CNN yesterday, the talking-head newscaster told of the resistance that the US was facing in Fallujah and elsewhere. He called the resisters "thugs and terrorists" even though, in the stories he was reporting there were no killings of civilians, no beheadings, just a pitched battle between US military forces and the armed people who were shooting at them.

CNN has no business spouting the Bush party line, that any Iraqi, or anybody, who fights the US occupation is a thug or terrorist. If a foreign nation invaded the US, I--and most of the Red State citizenry--would fight like crazy, using rocks, shotguns, anything. Would we therefore be thugs and terrorists? Maybe we would be so labeled by the occupiers, but to me we'd be heroes.


This morning, a glorious, vibrant sunny morning in Santa Barbara, I was reflecting on giving thanks. It crossed my mind that our nation was in dire straits due to the recent election of Bush/Cheney, and that most, if not all of the complaints I'd blogged about over the last months were unattended and likely to be exacerbated during Bush's next term. What, I wondered, was there to give thanks about given that condition of the nation?

And then, as I was getting ready for a bike ride, a neighbor happened by. He was wearing a black T-shirt with a logo on the back. "Danger--Land Mines!" it said, beneath the image of a skull. I asked him about the shirt and he told me he'd bought it in Cambodia, where that sign was posted on every pathway through the jungle and where every third child he'd seen in the month that he visited Cambodia was missing a limb, usually a leg.

And so I give thanks. Compared to Cambodia, the United States, even with Bush in office, isn't so bad.

But it's close.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Silly me

I thought that Bush's call for January elections in Iraq, and lately his insistence that the date not be moved back on account of the violence, was because of his firm commitment to a democratic rule in the country. But no, he (probably Rove and Wolfowitz or somebody) has a more devious purpose. The sooner the Bushies can claim the election to be a done deal, the sooner they can claim that the US occupation is truly legitimate because it's at the behest of an elected government. And make no mistake, the US will be invited to stay and enforce "peace," because of the genius of the Bush plan. An "election" in January 2005 will just be another rubber-stamp, confirming in power those who favor the US presence because, like the interim government, the assembly will contain largely representatives of the status quo--Shias and Kurds--who've fared relatively well since the invasion.

There's this prospect in the long term, however. The arab nationalism that's for decades been at the root of unrest throughout the Middle East (even we support it, in theory, calling it "self-determination") will eventually call for the ouster of the American presence, at which time, Look out. The region will explode in violence, as factions battle for control of Iraq and, likely, other nations. And the strongest factions, and most highly motivated, will be those who resisted the occupation in the first place.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Two more cents

I've heretofore laid out a sketch of my reasons why Bush won the election, my conclusion being that he won for about fifty coalescing reasons, some inherent in his incumbency and the existing state of the nation and the world, and some manufactured by Rove, by the Democrats, by Kerry himself. But the abiding problem, the 800-pound gorilla, that swayed much of the Red State public to support Bush in spite of his amazing record of bungling and failure, was the media. The network and cable-TV reporters were demonstrably terrible in telling the American public what was really going on in Iraq, in the "war on terror," in the economy--everywhere.

They were cowed and/or corrupt in 2004 and the reason I'm writing this post is this. They're at it again, now falling into line in their reporting of politics in the US and abroad. No analysis, no definitive evaluation of anything. Just headlines, mostly spouting military and administration talking-points, night after night. All media owned by huge corporations who either support Bush or benefit from his positions. And this isn't going to change between now and the next election. We're in for years of this barrage of managed information, and we may never be able to take back the truth except by revolution. I mean, REVOLUTION, in which the monster companies that dominate the sources of information that the American public receives are overtaken and are allowed to disseminate something other than the Republican party line.

Update: I'm not alone in my assessment of the cowed media, especially television reportage of the war in Iraq. Check out this authoritative piece.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


This long article in the New York Times details the Kerry get-out-the-vote effort in Ohio, and concludes that although it was magnificent, and did indeed result in a higher number of Democratic voters than ever before--and more Kerry votes than they had planned--Ohio was lost because the Republicans launched a powerful operation too and, to the horror of the Democrats, "there are more Republicans in Ohio than Democrats," reversing an ancient political fact.