Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I Wish I Were a Humorist

When your worst fears turn out to be true, there are only two things to do. One is to say goodbye to the cruel world, and the other is to laugh.

I really want to be able to laugh. I want to be able to hope. I want to be able to reach the crest of the hill just once in my life, where I can stand and look back at the long climb, feeling the sheer exhaustion of it all, but knowing that I have, at worst, level ground for a while.

The egregious disparity between the exit polls (legitimate technology for ascertaining whether or not an election in a 3rd world country can be regarded as valid) and the published 'actual' results leave very little doubt that the fix was in. Why else would the Bushes, so posed in their residence around 8PM Tuesday evening, appear so smirkingly jovial on national TV?

Maybe it is my upbringing. Mom was largely responsible for endowing me with a severe negative reaction to being 'taken.' I'm trying very hard to see the silver lining in this immense black cloud that hovers over the home of the brave and the land of the free today.

Yes, there had to be massive voter fraud. But it could not have been accomplished without willing accomplices -- among them, the actual 50 million or so Americans who actually did vote for Dubya. What is wrong with you people!!

I read somewhere today amid my bleary-eyed browsing that at least we (those who never voted for the chimp that is) no longer own any result from this government. The deaths of 100,000 plus people is on your hands, not ours. The destruction of our environment will be inscribed on your epitaph, not ours. The collapse of our financial structure will be attributed to you, not us. The heartlessness that is killing our social system and our educational system will be tallied up on your bill, not ours.

I really wanted my next entry to be about the awesome experience I had going on the road to work for change. Maybe next time. Til then, I'm going to just try to understand the depths of greed and ideology that would let a fellow American fuck with my vote. How can you sleep at night? Don't the flames of Hell lick at your very soul? You are indeed damned.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Today's Excuse

Numbers are strange things, they can be used in a lot of ways. But the bottom line is numbers by themselves don't lie, and numbers do add up.

According to recent reports, attacks against US 'Coalition' forces are up 25% in Iraq. Violence of every kind is up, from roadside IEDs to kidnappings to rockets launched even into the 'Green Zone.'

Since April 9, 2003, the day Saddam's metal statue was toppled in Firdis Square, any attempt at a real plan to bring and maintain peace, repair infrastructure, restore electricity, serve up clean water, and lend a hand to the Iraqis' restoration of order to their torn country seems to have been overridden by some in our administration.

Let me repeat that. The kinds of things that would have truly helped a post-invasion Iraq were scuttled and replaced by things that have created an ever-growing disaster.

I can only hope it has not gone past the point of no return.

But back to the numbers and the excuses... I remember we were told that the Iraqi insurgents (well, they called them terrorists) hated freedom so they were going to up their attacks. And sure enough, the attacks increased. Then we were told they would fight the return of 'sovereignty' (what a laugh) and things would get worse before they would get better. And so they did. And now we are told that the enemy (notice, Iraq is now our enemy) will do anything to prevent 'democratic' elections (again, what a joke), and will increase their attacks. And so they are. And again, we are being told things will get worse before it will get better.

Two and a half years of things getting worse is a long time, for our soldiers and for the peoples of Iraq. After the phony election in January, I imagine there will be another reason to explain the ever-widening insurgency.

Does it never occur to our neo-con neanderthals that there is a legitimate reason for the attacks? (Aside from the ones they themselves are perpetrating, of course... but that is another blog for another day.) We came, we saw, we overthrew. Now, why don't we get the hell out? Why don't we offer real help? Why don't we tell Iraq we will not stay, they have to take care of themselves? We did what they couldn't do: we removed a corrupt man from office, one we had installed ourselves. Now it is up to them. We broke it, but we can't begin to fix it while we are feasting off the carcass that lays rotting in the desert.

There are other reasons we can no longer fix it.

We lost our moral authority when we broke the basic rules of civilization and attacked a country that had not attacked us, and in fact didn't even have the means to attack us, to arrest one man. We lost our aura of righteousness when we ordered the dogs unmuzzled and the lightsticks anally inserted and the fake electrical wires attached to extremities. And we lost the support of the rest of the civilized world when we told them to shut up if they didn't go along with what we were doing.

So today's excuse is just like yesterday's, and we keep on doing things that make it worse, like bombing Fallujah and Samarra and the area around Tikrit and north and south and east and west of there. Since when does bombing a people make them friends? We say we want to win hearts and minds. What we are doing is akin to performing brain surgery with a sledgehammer. There, that'll fix it.

I can't believe Bush and Company are so stupid that they don't see this. Therefore, there is only one conclusion: they do see, and this is exactly what they want. More war, more resistance, more reason to ethnically cleanse those troublesome Sunnis and Shias. More excuses to keep our troops there under false pretenses, while we build massive embassies and bases and pipelines and gorge ourselves on the profits of war. Did you know that we have written into their law that their farmers cannot keep their own grain to use as seed for the next planting? Know why? So giant agri-business has yet another ready-made market for their genetically-altered products. Makes me want to scream.

When I joined the Air Force, I never imagined we would be sent across the world to make an enemy so we had to stay there and fight and die for Monsanto, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Where to Begin?

No W!!

I watched, via the net, Al Gore's address to Georgetown University that he gave on October 18, 2004. CSPAN has it, if you want to watch. All the memories from 4 years ago flooded over me. At the time I was strongly in support of Gore and engaged in spirited debate with others on the forums that CNN hosted at the time. You had to be careful what you said or the moderator would suddenly kill your login. That happened to me a couple of times... but what I remember most is the final retort from the right, when we beat them back with how pathetic a choice Bush would be for President. They said, "Look, for you worst case scenario is he is in office for four years. How much harm could he do in four years?"

I think many of us know the answer to that now.

The US, once revered and respected and regarded as a symbol of freedom and tolerance and liberty around the world, is now reviled and mistrusted and regarded with fear and loathing.

Who would have thought it only took 4 years to do that?

The economy was booming, and projections were for trillions of dollars of surplus. The looming baby boomer Social Security disaster had been averted. Kids could go to college, it was a job-seeker's market, the onerous federal debt was being paid down.

Who would have thought this bounty could be undone from top to bottom in only 4 years?

Then there's the environment, education, health care, the state of our military, the trust or lack thereof in our government, international treaties, loss of liberty, the media control...

Bottom line is, four years has been more than enough to screw with America as we knew it. Four years has been more than enough to set us back at least 20 years. I am appalled at what Bushco has managed in 4 short years. There are some things that cannot be taken back. Preventive war, once struck, is not something you can erase with a presidential directive. The albatross all of us have been hung with can never be unhung.

That being said, this election year I won't just be sitting at my computer sharing my views in a community of others. I will be heading for a "swing state" to put my old boots on the ground to GOTV for Kerry. My knees aren't good anymore, and I haven't done any training to get ready for exertion. But I will do what I can, in word and in deed, to overturn the Selected resident of the White House.

I know how bad the last four years were. I simply cannot imagine four more.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

I read a brief article in my Web browsings titled, "Everything Didn't Change on 9/11." The author was at least hopeful that our Constitution still exists, the flag still flies, and the hearts of Americans are still by and large magnanimous, caring, and freedom-seeking.

Sadly there are some not-so-hopeful things that remain unchanged -- corporate greed (how delicious that by law, corporations are faceless and monolithic), income disparity, and endangered species among them.

You'd have to be Iraqi to see another rerun from pre-911. US-appointed Iyad Allawi, according to today's Sunday morning talking heads, wants to "take out Fallujah" before our election. Our military is supposedly more than ready to help him. I am reminded of the post-Desert Storm months when GHW Bush encouraged the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam, and Saddam grew in evilness by putting down that rebellion, creating mass graves we now seek.

It seems to me the Iraqi people haven't changed. They see Allawi, for plenty of reasons, as just another ruthless dictator appointed and supported by the US. Instead of the Republican Guard, he has the American military at his disposal to slaughter these dissidents.

The words in the Who's song apply equally well to the people of Iraq and the people of the United States. It may take a revolution here before the powers-that-be recognize that 9/11 didn't change everything.

"There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."—George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

Friday, October 15, 2004

Getting Revenge on the Dead

I've seen this quote a few times now, included in reports about the recent penetration of the Oz-like "Green Zone" and the twin suicide bombings:

The National Security Adviser, Qassem Dawoud, said: "This cowardly act will not go unpunished. We shall strike them ... we shall smash them."

First, dying for what you believe in is hardly a cowardly act, is it? I mean, we give our highest honors for bravery and courage to our troops who put themselves in harm's way, and more oft than not Medals of Honor are distributed posthumously.

Second, how in the hell do you punish someone who is already dead? Yeah, yeah, I know Qassem means they want to go after the support system for those who try and take others with them as they commit this act.

But who has stopped to think how against human nature it is to kill oneself? What does it take? People who are so desperate, so void of hope, or so mentally depressed that they see their own death as a positive measure -- or maybe even a final pain-killing measure -- would strap explosives onto themselves and then detonate them. The human being, marvel of creation, could not have survived this long if suicide was easy.

I remember the story about Thich Quang Duc, in Saigon in 1963, dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself alight. And I remember thinking, "There is no greater sacrifice than this..." There was much to be said about whether or not Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation was right. But you have to admit, at least back then, it meant something.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

And So Here We Are, At a Nexus

I participated in a survey online a week ago, and one of the questions was, "How would you feel if __________ is elected?"

Options of course were Kerry or Bush. The radio-buttoned list included terms like "hopeful" and "depressed" and "angry" and "joyful."

To be perfectly frank, I will be severely depressed if Bush manages to score the big one on November 2.

At the same time, I will be trying my best to be optimistic if Kerry wins. Recent statements made by him and by Edwards give me great pause, especially in regards to their attitude towards Israel. How can any thinking, feeling human being witness the massacre of the Palestinians (children! for God's sake, children!) without feeling something seriously wrong is going on there? And then the dynamic Democratic duo's hostile statements towards Iran?

On another note, I have recently been reading about Peak Oil. That term means the time in the life of an oil field (or even, more generally, in the life of the world's -finite- oil supply) when the ability to get oil out of the ground has reached its peak. In short, good times have stopped rolling. And nobody is talking about what this really means for the US, or the world's, economy. Nothing happens without oil. No transportation, electricity, manufacturing, no nothing. What happens when a commodity grows rare? Prices escalate. Mother earth only has so much black milk in her breast, and we've milked her for too long. We are about to be batted away from the everflowing crude, sent out on our own.

Dunno 'bout you, but I'm really glad I learned in my 20's and 30's about how to garden, raise beef cattle and chicken, grind wheat and run a greenhouse. I feel very sorry for everyone living in a city about now.

Oh, one more thing. The "Green Zone" in Baghdad has apparently been hit twice today by suicide bombers. Somehow they smuggled explosives in and two backpack-toting men blew themselves up in nearby public shopping areas, killing a few and wounding some more. Some idiot official in Iraq's capital city made an asinine statement to the effect, "These cowards! We will make them pay!" Duh. It is cowardice to carry a bomb and blow away one's own life for something they believe in? Duh. How will you hunt them down when they are already dead, man?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Abu Ghraib

The recent images, the ones that someone knew were wrong, of humiliation and torture and gloating, are burned in my mind, much like the utterly fantastic fireworks of shock and awe. I've been cringing for almost two years. I am truly ashamed to be American today. I've had a sick twisting stomach feel since it became clear, to me at least, that the dickhead in the Whitehouse was dead set on sending our military might on a desert exercise. That was around October 2002, it became clear they were going to do it, no matter what we said, no matter what the inspectors said.

So now, we have caused mass graves in Fallujah's stadiums. We have slaughtered in a variety of ways a ten thousand count of innocent Iraqis. We scooped up and still hold over 6 thousand in the prisons of the former dictator. They are subhuman to us, dogs to kick, flies to pull wings off of, two-dimensional beings we may number but never name. Who cares anymore about things like the Geneva Convention? Don't like the way we do things? Tough shit. What are you going to do about it?

Bring 'em on. We can take it. The troops, they are my guys and girls, my sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. They wanted an education, to go to college and make something of themselves, so they sold themselves to the military machine. And they are getting an education but not one that enlightens or enriches, not one that rewards with understanding, compassion, self-knowledge and transformation. No. They are coming home broken, corrupted and fouled, angry and lost. They'll hide, a lot of them, out of shame and fear and dreams that won't leave them alone. Others will find the taste of blood and danger the most intoxicating, most real addiction and they'll sign up for more. Some will break down completely and end their lives. May as well, the big sleep is the only peace. Their babies will be DU-deformed anyway.

And nobody stands up to say, "I take responsibility."

The buck keeps floating around like a balloon. Bush bats it to Cheney who bumps it over to Rumsfeld who scowls at it and tosses it toward the Pentagon. The Generals are getting really pissed about that by now.

Who will stand up and take responsibility? Maybe I should. Enough hand-wringing. Enough expressions of disgust. I did that to you, Iraqi man. I made you naked and covered your head and snickered as I made you spank your monkey. I piled you in that pile and pissed on you, kicked you in the ribs til you thought they were broken, made you think you'd be electrocuted. I kept you on your knees for so long that the skin broke and you lost track of the pain. I tossed you out in the yard, handcuffed and headbagged, naked in the rain like so much garbage.

I did it to you and so it was also done to me.

I'm so sorry.