Monday, March 31, 2003

Killing Women And Children?

God I hope not.

I'm shocked about the tragic killing of women and children by our troops in Iraq. I must reflect on this...

Maybe our strategy to save our own needs to change. If we won't withdraw, then maybe full charge with maximum devastation, heroism and our casualties is the only alternative.

It's got be better than killing women and children in order to liberate them. My God! This never would have flown before the war started. Is our honor worth nothing? Our generals must be really squirming. They can't like this.

I hate to say it, because I'm not in favor of this particular war at this particular time, but we may have to "tolerate" more of our own casualties. Our military can't operate without honor people.

We absolutely, under no circumstances, can target women and children! Whether accidental or not.

Such would be a day of infamy like no other.
AC/DC Arnett...Big, Big Ones

I've revised my original stance on Peter Arnett...though I still object to whom and how he said what he said rather than what he actually said.

Arnett has cajones, but what was he thinking? The only explanation is that he is so opposed to the war, and the continuing civilian casualties and destruction of Baghdad, that he figured by saying this on Iraqi TV the Iraqis might not give up, and we might reconsider our approach. I can't imagine it's just a matter of free speech to him.

As an American citizen, which I think he is, he's playing it pretty "fast and loose". Clearly he's not responsible for those guys being in harm's way, though he's certainly not helping, but he sure puts himself in harm's way if his stratagem doesn't work out. Ouch. Bush is probably not going to calm down anytime soon, so the effectiveness of this strategy has to be questioned as well.

Why? More Americans will die if Iraqis fight back harder. Our friends and family.

Mr. Arnett, there are better ways to oppose this war. Unless you passionately believe this war to be a clear and present danger to America and the world, in terms of escalation and armageddon, or to result in the death of freedom, and for these reasons justified these extraordinary measures of putting our loved ones and fellow citizens at the risk of greater danger, by in effect reinforcing the Iraqi resistance and morale, this address to the Iraqi people hits new heights of bad judgement, and effectively guts to the mainstream your controversial piece from the past. Too bad.

And if you do think the world is going to hell in hand basket, I still consider you foolish, and dubious in your strategy. Many of us feel the same way that you do, but since when are you a newsmaker, rather than reporter, and why are you taking your dissent to the Iraqi people? An interesting experiment in freedom perhaps, and if that's the case stand up and defend it.

Instead, and to your credit, you apologized. Luckily, cooler heads will prevail, you won't be thrown to the hammerheads, and those ultimately responsible will have to make their decisions and be held accountable. Not you, though you really put yourself in the firing line. I'm very surprised that you thought a difference this would make. Baghdad is going down, whether anyone likes it or not, and you just gave Fox News that much more ammo to get away with jingoism and propaganda rather than news and clear-eyed journalism. You should have seen the sharks thrashing in your blood last night!

Thanks, but no thanks. You deserved to be fired, and if I were you I'd find a beach in New Zealand and chill for awhile.

And wish the best for our fellow Americans in battle.


Fox News is the real menace to American values and freedom...I'm horrified at their coverage. These people are truly haters, and should be chopped down at the ankles...instead, they did it to Arnett. NBC had to fire Arnett for business reasons.

And it is dreadfully ironic and just plain too bad that the truth can't be told to those who are being liberated. Unfortunately, it's a war, our guys are down there, and talk of liberation is more for us right now and for them in the long-term (for selling the war) then it is about conditions on the ground. We are killing machines over there, with very little distinction, appreciation or even possible discernment of who the enemy is, and you will discover this with a nuanced perusal of the available war reporting.
Out Of Darkness, Perle Has His Say...

...and says it quite well. It's too bad the whole "threatening libel" thing happened, but it's water under the bridge now. He did the right thing, and resigned. I for one am sick of people blatantly questioning this man's integrity and patriotism. Disagree with his views and tactics, as I do in many ways, but cut the personal attacks! It's unseemly. Personally, I think he explains well the "milieu" he operates in, and to pretend that he invented this state of affairs or is somehow responsible for them is dubious.

"Since most people with experience and knowledge relevant to defense and national security policy are likely to earn their livelihood in defense-related enterprises, the possibility of conflict of interest is always present and must be contained by adherence to the two rules, disclosure and recusal. Without those rules, and the protection they afford, few individuals with knowledge or experience would agree to serve on advisory boards, and the benefits of those boards would be lost to policy officials."

Well said. Now obviously I'm not a defense expert, as I've said many times, being primarily concerned with freedom, transparency, informed consent and greater political participation, so here's my take. Perle makes a good case for himself (though not so much so in regard to Hersh, who he doesn't touch on too much), as a way of explanation, of explaining his activities. What I find troubling about his milieu though, and what feeds the fire of suspicion and conspiracy, is the secrecy and lack of transparency in these meetings. Not only do we need disclosure and recusal, which are very much of value, but we also need transparency.

A window. We can look through. Sunshine. All of our conspiracies go away. Who wants to be the fool to believe that these guys are superhuman geniuses with top-secret means of discussing issues, that if released to the enemy would jeopardize all of us? Such thinking is absurd, and beneath civilized free society. More likely than not, they may be helped by some analysis of their perfomance in this area. To put it simply, open it up, there is not a defensible, good reason to preserve secrecy and its resulting "fog", not for national security or any other reason.

Why? There is no national security if people don't trust their government, and no fool would put forward this trust without adequate assurance and accountability. The record of corruption in authority and of the privileged throughout history, not to mention in the short history of our great nation, goes a long way to ensuring this restraint, for justifying this skepticism. It's time for us to put aside these foolish days of the past, and embrace the brave and bright century of freedom ahead.

Let's start by putting the conspiracies, suspicion and darkness to bed, and free the sun, clear cool reason, and the warmth of compassion to energize and inspire America.

Reflect on this.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Colin Powell Is Warning Syria Now Too

Wouldn't we be better off with the global support we had in the War On Terror? There's a disconnect here, between what we're doing now and our mission in the War On Terror, that in retrospect doesn't seem the best course of strategy, or to make any sense. We've lost allies, and are facing growing opposition worldwide. Will we be able to collect new allies, should the war expand, or will we actually start losing them, like Britain? Why do we alone have to sacrifice so much, in lives and dollars?

The spoils and success ahead may be great, and glorious, in securing the blessings of liberty and safety for posterity, but should things go awry, blowback could be a lonely boat to steer back home.

Also, I've given some more thought to war crimes accusations against Tony Blair, from within his own country's parliament, and have expanded my view from somewhat humorous to one of concern and opposition.
Amnesty International...Freedom...Go!

Remember...demand information before consent, participation before consent, information and participation before consent!
Are Oregon Children Going To Dismiss All Adults As Nuts...

...if they end up celebrating a known terrorist on Martin Luther King Day, a state of affairs made possible by proposed legislation there, oddly enough in the same state that took a stand against big government, Diaper State restrictions on liberty in the aftermatch of 9-11 (in refusing to round up Arab-Americans), and all of this due to passionate reaction about a war to free Iraqis? For their freedom...

Geez, where are our priorities? Our freedom? The absurd is hitting record heights...too bad the economy can't speculate on and profit from that.

A plea. Can we just get back to the War On Terror please, and all the good will and allies we had with that? I didn't see any war protests on this scale about the multilateral War On Terror, so clearly the protests now are mainly concerned with the elite, unilateral use of American power for projection of our interests, world be damned. Not to mention the arrogance and hyprocrisy of our save-them-from-themselves, what-Jesus-would-definitely-not-do attitude.

Cowboy Kahlil at ReachM is showcasing the quote of the week as far as I'm concerned...

"The past is prophetic in that it asserts that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. How much longer must we play at deadly war games before we heed the plaintive pleas of the unnumbered dead and maimed of past wars?"

--Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Grubi at American Dissent has got a brand-new, and most excellent new look.

Check it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Aaron Brown Should Be Ashamed...

...for suggesting that American patriots who exercise their freedom are dupes of Saddam Hussein. Such a view is groundless, and stupid. Not to mention (no-)class-action slanderous. If you think this way, I highly recommend you seek a therapist.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Wow...PoliZen found a doozer!

Blair...a war criminal? He'll probably plead he was just following orders...ours.

Seriously though people, remember the "Boy Who Cried Wolf"? Well it's war crimes now, and before too long nobody is going to take them seriously. Like the "Anti-ists", please don't overuse and bankrupt an important concept. Don't throw out war crimes unless a) you really, really mean it and b) you really, really understand what it means legally, and practically in the world of power politics.

Blair may be a shaky leader in terms of democracy and heeding the voice of the people, but he is no war criminal. Neither is our esteemed president, or anyone else in our leadership for that matter. Disagree, but show some respect. Remember the stakes? Homeland terrorism, WMD, Code Red, the imposition of martial law, and the possible end of freedom as we know it. Wrong moves may be made, but remember that the challenges are great. Shock and awe in the face of the crucible we face is shared by more of our leaders than you might imagine.

Just don't forget about the anthrax, and the attack against our elected representatives.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

To The Anti-ists...Cut The Anti-ism Crap!

Over on sister site Project Freedom. Check it out!
Who Needs Enemies When You've Got Allies Like This (Please Don't Tell Me It's The Oil Again!)

It is.

Courtesy of Kos (great job over there bro), very, very, very disturbing revelations about our partner-in-war Uzbekistan. Am I the only guy who's practically never even heard of this country, let alone heard its name pronounced? There had to be something to make us so friendly to such utter strangers in this most momentous time of our history...

Another one of our allies, the Turks, who merely have a disturbing and Orwellian tendency to ban entire languages, are starting to look better already...they've got nothing on these Uzis. Incidentally, guess which language the Turks banned? That of the Kurds, another one of our erstwhile allies. Luckily, the Kurds had some powerful friends backing them up...The European Union.

With friends like us, who needs freedom?
If We Lose 5,000 Guys In Taking Baghdad...

...will that make 9/11 look like small potatos? I sure hope not, and neither does at least one 9/11 Family Group. They just don't want the Iraqi people to suffer and experience immense pain, let alone add to ours. Saddam Hussein is not worth even 100 of our men and women...we and our leadership need to wake up.

We're surrendering to fear, allowing it to guide us, and directly because of the events of 9/11. a lot of people believe it. Even though this is clearly and demonstrably wrong, at least in the light of evidence, and conveniently ignores the mutual hatred between Saddam, a secularist, and Al Qaeda, the fundamentalists. We need a better strategy against fear and terrorism people, one better than giving into it and allowing it to guide us, one that is believable and workable. We need to lose the fear, and open our eyes and minds again.

When will we get to that day when we have sacrificed more American lives to get Saddam Hussein than were lost in 9/11? Hopefully never, and to me, we should not ever even come close.

(thanks to Disinfo for the tip on 9/11 families)

Besides, we still need to find out who tried to take out Congress with anthrax. Or has everyone forgotten about that?

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Continuing On The Theme Of Cynical Manipulation Of Public Opinion

On Waxman! On Hersh! On Post! On Veterans! On Close! On Blitzer? (with Perle at the bottom of this)


Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Even More Bizarre, Fellow Patriots Are Informing Me...

...that the seemingly omnipresent Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are bit players in a truly stranger-than-fiction, alleged cover-up of CIA efforts to dose American citizens with LSD, unwittingly and tragically resulting in the death of scientist Frank Olson, at the time one of America's top biological weapons scientists, former head of the special-operations division of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute at Fort Detrick, and as the Florida Today tells us, a specialist in the aerosol delivery of anthrax!

Who needs fiction when you've got the surreal times we live in?
On The Lighter Side...Though Not Really Funny Because It's Actually Happening

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks the Obliviously Ignorant Office logo is the lamest American adminstration move ever! Oh, except maybe for the not-so-secret Bible Code consultations of the CIA and the Pentagon.

It's old hat for the CIA though, who, when not creating extraterrestrial conspiracies are, as another patriot informs me, training to travel through time and space! That's got to be discomforting to Saddam Hussein! Celebrate a new century of enlightened American leadership everybody! The joke's on you...

And don't get caught napping and forget about Nostradamus and the coming "King of Terror". Everybody knows that Machiavelli is out, and biblical-style prophecy is in. With that in mind, we must stay ever vigilant to see which one of these Muslim leaders starts wearing a purple robe! Then we will have cornered the real enemy...the Antichrist! One patriot assures me that we can rule out Bin Laden because he's too evil to be the Antichrist! No, that title seems to be more suited to Bin Laden's young protege Khattab, also known as the Black Arab...

Monday, March 24, 2003

A Toast To PoliZen And American Dissent

Thanks for linking me in! You guys got some serious mojo!

And Let's Not Forget Cowboy Kahlil...the first to link me in!
When The Rhetoric Hits The Fan

Click over to Project Freedom, my sister blog, for my response to Ms. Noonen, where I assert that the baddest bad thing we can not do is get our own house in order. Also, don't miss Jesse's (thanks Atrios), which is much funnier than mine.
More Public Manipulation Of Available Information...

From the Washington Post: "The White House has for months refused to provide a price tag for war in Iraq, saying too many variables were at play...ensuring that lawmakers' discussion of war spending will take place amid a surge of public support for American troops. That stance forced Congress to vote last week on budget resolutions that included Bush's proposed tax cuts, without war costs factored in."

Not to mention resulting in slashed veterans' benefits. How telling. The price tag, incidentally, will be only $70 or $80 billion or so, not including reconstruction and post-war administration costs, as well as humanitarian costs, which taxpayers also are ultimately responsible for since we are resisting UN post-war involvement. Is there any better frame to work with for our position against cynicism and secrecy, and for the freedom of information, informed consent, and governmental oversight on this web forum than this?
Saving Strategy

Dig in, hold tight, and occupy Iraq right where we stand. Keep a perimeter around Baghdad, and contain the regime until we can smoke them out by restricting supplies and precision special forces raids. Better to lose up to a few hundred by snipers and ambush then upwards of 10,000 in a full-on assault. Better for political careers and legacies too...these are our family members. We've secured the realm, if necessary let's take our time in securing the regime.
A Plea To Remember

Ladies and gentleman, it's come to my attention that the upcoming siege of Baghdad could cost upwards of 10,000 American lives! Not to mention Iraqi civilians and conscripts. Wow. Operation Iraqi Freedom seems about to turn into Operation American Tragedy. Please, please people take notice of the reasons we are in this war, and the means and techniques we've used to get here, and do not forget them after the dust settles. Do not forget them when the war drum starts beating again, and do not forgot them when veterans' benefits are slashed to make room for tax cuts.

A critical moment is occurring now where the meaning of the American Way itself is being fought for and transformed. Speak out, stay vigilant, and do not forget.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

American Honor

Turkey is reportedly rolling into Northern Iraq. For the Kurds, this means disaster. This was eminently predictable, and another case of the Kurds getting sold out.

Should not the Kurds be liberated too, rather than oppressed, intimidated and slaughtered until rendered passive by the Turks? At least against Iraq we were backing them up, and they enjoyed some autonomy, but against Turkey, a strategic geopolitical ally, we're not likely to say too much.

Turkey is a threat to Kurdish freedom, and to American ideals for that matter, as their Orwellian tendency to ban entire (Kurdish) languages from the public realm would clearly demonstrate (if ever reported in our media).

Turkey is not a trustworthy friend of freedom, or America, and for their sake we should not relinquish this last chance to make good to the Kurds. We've betrayed and misled them for far too long, and as far as I'm concerned, our word and honor as a nation rests in the fate of these people.

Will we do the right thing?

Further Thoughts On Waking Up To The American Dream

In response to a warning that John Ashcroft is "looking to control the Internet as we speak", I can only wish our passionate and patriotic Attorney General a dubious "good luck, and good riddance to you after you fail trying"...

You can't control the Internet. Nobody can. It's out of control. Business has already tried to ruin it, and it didn't work. Yea there's plenty of ads and pop-ups, and spam mail, but Ashcroft can't manage his own information let alone the Internet. It's a wet dream for him, and when he wakes up, he'll see the morning light.

The American way is establishing itself here on the Internet, free of undue influence by the state and manipulators who only see liberty as a tool for the truly worthy elite (however this in-group ends up defining themselves). People are forming opinions based upon available information and sharing these widely. This is the American Dream in action. Why do we need big government interfering with the free flow of information on the Internet?

If Ashcroft tries to take this down, just this process of learning, and forming opinions, and sharing them, he'll be the first to know he is a fascist, and a direct descendant of the Gestapo, and anti-American (though I despise this term). Which of course he isn't. The question remains though if you can't cynically manipulate the information, and the media that expound it, do you step aside or do you try to stop it altogether? They won't stop it, Ashcroft is not evil (just a do-gooder unknowingly on the side of wrong), and the natural process of understanding will take its course...

revolution without bloodshed,
revelation without mediation.

High Drama

The key battleground for the human mind is happening on the ground, in the form of demonstrations, and on the Internet, in the multitudes of web logs and media reporters springing up therein. Control is out of control. 200,000 people on the street is undeniable, and unstoppable. Millions of people on the Internet are growing and developing their own opinions, based upon an increasingly broad base of available information, and sharing these with the like and opposition minded. Barring a clampdown of epic proportions, the tide will continue to turn, and freedom of mind and information will be claimed and propagated for present and future peoples.


Saturday, March 22, 2003

U.S. Taxpayers To Sport Tab For Rebuilding Iraq

Better cut back on the happy hours, because your tax dollars are not only going to destroying Iraq, but also to rebuilding it. According to the Administration, we'll also be using oil proceeds from Iraqi oil wells, which we'll apparently be in the position of controlling revenue flows. Interesting...sounds like ownership doesn't it?

If you don't want to register with the Times, here's the relevant quote..."These contracts will be financed by the taxpayer." Simple, huh? I wonder how many war supporters were aware they'd be sporting the tab for Iraq's Marshall Plan? Any American for that matter? I wonder how many intrepid CNN reporters or talk-show hosts will care to pick this up...

The plot thickens

(from Atrios)
CNN Sells Out The American People

It's sad to see the state of CNN today. Look at their headline...Americans demonstrate for, against war. Then read the article. The first part covers the anti-war protest in New York City today, with the obligatory difference pointed out between organizers' and police estimates of the crowd size, which is determined to be 200,000 and 300,000 people. In the first few days of war! This is big, big news, and a further signal that Vietnam, and strategic aggression, is dead as we know it.

Or is it? Remember we've got an equally important pro-war protest going on, right? At least according to the headline. This event, according to the Chicago Tribune "mobilized on the Internet and by conservative radio hosts", surely must have had a huge turnout itself right? With all the publicity, and Internet push. Wrong. CNN fails to even give a headcount for this rally, and the Chicago Tribune coverage tells us why. "By the time their event wrapped up at 2 p.m., though, they appeared to have attracted fewer than half as many people as the anti-war faction's estimated 5,000 protesters Friday evening rally in the plaza."

This is headline news? That a pro-war rally had less than 1/2 the turnout of the anti-war rally in Chicago the night before, and about 1/50th of the rally it shared a headline with? Actually, when you think about it, it is big news, as I've indicated above, just not the way they reported it. I wonder why? This is a historic failure for the so-called "pro-war" camp, and of the media, and shows just how much people who "support" the war are disconnected and not passionate about it, and are just being driven by the war hawks, pollsters, and their media allies.

I challenge Gallup or any other pollster to a new poll. Poll the American people, and ask them which best describes your you vigorously support the war, support the war out of loyalty to party, support the war because we're already in it and that's what you're supposed to do, oppose and support the war because we're already in it and that's what you're supposed to do, oppose the war out of loyalty to party, and vigorously oppose the war. Better yet, ask them if they support or don't support, vigorously or moderately, and then ask them why without giving them the answers. A fill-in. Then, after the fill-in, ask them why again, without giving them the answers.

So for instance let's say you support the war, asked why you say to get Saddam Hussein, asked why you say because he is connected to 911. Something like that. Which makes me wonder if the 911 answer is even an option in the current polls going around that are specifically concerned with support or opposition to the war...

My frustration here with the pollsters is that they're using a known trick of social influence in these polls. Upon being presented the options to answer, by having only a limited number of options people are put into Jeopardy mode, not always answering as they really believe but giving their "best answer", regardless of whether there's a "not sure" option or not.

Alex: "High-tech drones loaded with dangerous and deadly weapons. Alice, your final jeopardy response?" Alice: "What is the United States." Alex: "Umm...I'm sorry Alice, you must select one of the answers on the teleprompter or being fed into your earpiece.." Alice: "Well now Alex, that doesn't sound very American, does it? Hee hee." Alex: "Maybe not Alice, but it is the rules." Alice: "Oh, okay Alex, hee hee hee. I didn't know that. Let's see...who is Saddam Hussein!" Alex: "Yes Alice, you are right, and the winner of the CNN Jeopardy grand prize! A brand-new Hummer! Thank you, and to all a good night."

CNN is a fraud.

War Prayer

As a human being and an American, with feelings of likeness and empathy to my fellow man, woman and citizen, I can only hope, and offer a prayer, that the number who die, and the people who suffer, from the fruits of our works, and the choice of our leaders, is minimized. May I never forget, in the passion of war, that our fellow Americans, the unfortunate Iraqi conscripts, and the oppressed Iraqi civilians, are children of creation, and the family of God. I wish them the best.

And to my boys from Pacific Beach, good and loyal Marines fighting for our most sweet lady of liberty, an extra-special shout out! May God bless and guide your hand, and bring you home.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Anti-War Movement Is Alive And Well...Let's Review

Just to prove I'm not budging on my stance, I'm reprinting a letter I wrote at the height of my frustration, on the eve of this conflict, and subsequently sent to every media outlet, pundit, politician, blogger, writer, thinker and patriot I could find an email for on the Internet. I just wanted to speak my mind, and know that I tried my best to appeal to the reason of my fellows. And as much as I believe in a united front, I believe felt opinions once expressed are always relevant, even after new realities press, and I'm standing behind it. There's never been any question that if we went in we'd roll Iraq...


It's a crucial time in American history. The incompetent, scandalous and crooked are becoming the norm. The latest incident involving the forgery of the Niger nuclear documents is a telling case-in-point. Confronted with this development, a key component of our case for war against Iraq, all we get from our leaders and these documents' former champions is a shrug. Oh well, we passed it along in "good faith". We are not incompetent, or criminal, it just managed to "slip through". Forget about it. And we couldn't have been responsible for it, because our people are competent, talented professionals who surely would have done a better job of forging these documents. And so on...

Only this information is, and was, unforgettably important. We expressed it at the highest levels of our power apparatus, as a justification for a very expensive, in both human lives and material cost, war against Iraq. A war in which we've articulated our possible use of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and chemical, as a "defensive" measure "should it come to that". A war which has divided the world, invited enemies and derision, and which we have initiated. The people of Iraq, and Saddam Hussein himself, have not asked us to go to war with them. Mysteriously, it's not a priority for them.

Even more mysteriously, it's seemingly become our overriding purpose as a nation. You can't go anywhere and not hear about it. On TV, on the radio, in the newspaper, the non-stop onslaught of coverage of this possible war against a weakened tyrant and people is constantly in play. Forced to give an opinion by the pollsters, fastly becoming more tiresome and meddling in popular culture than the tax collector, Americans indicate a preference for action. An illusion. Most people don't know the facts, don't really care one way or the other, and would surely rather quit hearing about it. You'd think the mind-numbing coverage and escalating gas prices would have assured overwhelming support for war by now, just so we can "get on with our lives", but it hasn't. Most mysteriously of all, masses are gathering in the streets, not answering the call of obedience, irrationality and war, but demanding peace, rationality and sanity. The herd! Acting with compassion and reason, demanding information before consent! The elites must be trembling in their slippers...

Meanwhile, our young American men and women are strapping on their combat boots and chem-warfare suits, preparing to engage in a war of which they can't possibly be passionate about. Why do I say this? There's a difference in what you hear, and what you know. And only the most clueless of the clueless would believe we're sacrificing human lives for the cause of the common Iraqi. For his freedom. Or hers. So anyone who's looking for reasons, to engage their reason, to determine the right thing to do, the moral course of action, will find nothing but ideology and fiction, speculation and threats, forgeries and plagiarism emanating from our most competent war orators. The mere presence of a plagiarized, decade-old student thesis, and the aforementioned Niger document forgery, as key references for our case is more telling than anything else. The plagiarized student claiming to have been able to give more updated information if he had been consulted only adds insult to injury.

This war is a fraud. Essential questions have not been answered. Who is going to die, and why? Will our fighting men and women kill with certainty, or with doubts? When does being a patriot mean defending freedom, and when does it mean being a fool? We don't know. So to the perpetrators of this absurdity the American people should issue one last ultimatum. Stand down, or face the shame of a nation.

A patriot,

We're winning the war against war!

The effort to protest the war has not been lost. Protesting the war isn't really about the actual war itself, but about right and wrong, moral acts versus immoral acts. The anti-war voice was heard, and was successful to some extent, in airing the grievances of moral actors against what they perceived as self-righteous aggression. Was there any doubt the war would happen? None for me. Was there any doubt that we would roll over Iraq like Mike Tyson over wannabe tough Fox News talk-show draft-dodging mouthpieces for official truth? Hell no. That's like arguing whether the neo-conservative really asks "What Would Jesus Do".

People should be proud. Right stood up against wrong, and that's a victory in itself. Compassion over self-righteousness won't happen overnight. If you get enough people in the streets however, future wars can be averted. And the bottom-line is that we've officially killed the reemergence of Vietnam. Bush has 30 days of good will to win this war, at most, as it's obvious we're never going back to the drawn-out nonsense of the past. The legacy of the 60's, and the incompetence and criminality of Nixon, live on. The epic victories of Panama, Grenada and finally Iraq haven't revalidated and elevated the primacy of military action. Quite to the contrary, the final nails in the coffin have been pushed in with this truly horrible performance, and have rolled back the previous gains. They got their war, and it's going to be the last. The lies, the deception, the international outrage, aren't going to go away, because everyone expects us to pummel these guys. We've got everything to lose in this war, and nothing to gain, especially since we suspect the reality, and not the rhetoric, of what will happen when it's over.

To sum up, it's not every day that the director of the National Security Council quits, and it's not necessarily because he's a man who has seen the light. He may be a man who has seen the reconstruction of American military action, validity and power being destroyed in a comical mess of incompetence and stupidity, and has seen enough to disassociate himself. In the emerging age of information and the potential of the distributive Internet, the legacy of this run up to war will never be forgotten, and will only spread. Military might does not make right, and right is pretty mighty after all. We're winning! Stay true, keep believing, and you'll see...

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Inaugural Thoughts II

This forum is created solely for the aim of human liberation, and strongly emphasizes the free availability and evidential soundness of information. The ''twin towers'' of compassion and reason are the directing values. Do not confuse this effort with the classic project of "Enlightenment", or any other century projects. Progress here is only measured in gains of freedom and acts of compassion, for all human beings, and is not a value in itself. Life with integrity!
Inaugural Thoughts

Thanks for coming to our blog. We're hear to spread the message of freedom and integrity, most especially in regards to the freedom of information and right to informed consent. Join in!
To All Americans

Freedom is an elusive thing. To have, to hold, and to conceive. Try to define it, you will join a divergent chorus. In spite of this, most of us understand at least a common sense of freedom, of what it means, and this usually seems to be good enough. We tend to agree that an American should be free to live without undue interference, to speak, and to own property. Beyond that, there are dueling interpretations of how far we should go.

You'll notice that I specifically mention this freedom in regards to being "an American". With all due respect to the Declaration of Independence, and the ideals expressed within, Americans have always fought for and believed in "our" freedom, not "theirs", and in those cases where we did liberate other peoples we were ultimately doing so for our own purposes, and not strictly for theirs.

This goes back to our origins. Our founding fathers and fellow revolutionaries were not concerned with the free status of other Brits, or of people in any other country for that matter. Not fundamentally so. Our American story, and freedom, is about America, is American, and has always been that way.

At first, this institution of freedom was extended only to a minority of Americans. White men were the originally endowed. Women were seen as unfit and subservient to men, and blacks, native americans, and basically any non-whites were viewed as less-than-human. In these storied and triumphant times, freedom was new, tenuous and biased, and men were quite obviously victims of their own ignorance.

In psychological terms, a whole lot of repression was going on. How else could the belief in racial and gender superiority be justified in the light of the ideals enshrined in our Declaration of Independence? It couldn't. Today, we see this kind of behavior and thinking for what it is, misguided and ignorant, and if persisted with in the face of a more sane and rational outlook, with competing and superior information and understanding, rightly considered evil.

Which our founders of course were not. Our founders were brave and pioneering men and women, fighting against subservience and oppression, and distinguishing themselves to us and to history despite their misunderstanding and ignorance of the true state of human nature. This misapprehension of the true status of human life, and rights, and who is and what it means to be human, is unfortunate and a human error we have corrected in our times, though it still lingers in remnants, in pockets of ignorance, even among our elected leaders.

A lot our founders did get right though, and our pride as a people begins with them. We enjoy the fruits of our liberty today because of their struggles. Since those times, we've come a long way in bringing the ideal and practice of freedom into more intimate embrace. Every American is included in the franchise of freedom now, with the obvious exception of minors. Our flag waves with honor, even though some may choose to burn it. So be it. America is not and has never been evil, because we have changed and adapted to righteous challenge. In the light of reason, conflict and compassion we have improved and expanded the franchise of freedom to all Americans, and for this we should be very proud.

What we cannot be proud of is the shameful behavior of some of our fellow citizens who have trouble with opinions differing from their own, or who seek to conceal their questionable political activities behind smoke screens and legal argument. These individuals clearly do not appreciate what freedom means. Take for instance our cafeteria contras in Congress who've renamed french fries and french toast to freedom fries and freedom toast. Is this the proper example and protest to make in the name of freedom, our most cherished and founding ideal? From our elected leaders? To proclaim solidarity with the cause of Iraqi freedom by condemning the French for exercising their own freedom to disagree with and question our reasoning and motives? Are the French required to rubber stamp our every move, especially moves so dramatically divergent from international norms and our own history? Are we hypocrites? Bullies? Children? No, no, no, no, no, no, and no. Surely this isn't the vision and expectation of our forefathers.

How do we justify this attitude towards the French, this villification of them? Their leader and figurehead was the first to visit and offer his nations' condolences for our tragic losses on the day of September 11. But their national symbols didn't come crashing down on that day, ours did, so where is their overriding motive? Would we have rushed to war with Iraq if the Louvre had been felled? Honest? Our thirst for revenge is ablaze, so should theirs? By default? Who's forgotten that the greatest gift we've ever received from another nation did not fall that terrible day in September? No, our sweet lady of liberty still stands strong and vigilant. Who could forget that the French have been our friends and brothers since the very beginning of our great nation? Not me. Will our fears and passions for revenge get the better of us, clouding out all we know about ourselves, our friends, and our history?

Not even here in America do citizens believe we should be picking fights around the world for other peoples' freedom. Beyond safeguarding our freedom, homes and families, we're a peace-loving people, though you'd never guess it by looking at the seemingly non-stop skirmishes our leadership has dragged into over the past century. Why would the French differ in this regard, and not more greatly so since the policy and propaganda in this case are not of their own making, and aren't meant to be? Their private companies don't stand to profit from the takeover of Iraq, but actually stand to lose billions, with or without French support. Liberating people around the world is a noble, and still highly debatable, ideal for a freedom-loving people like we are, but it's radical in light of our history and attention spans, and needs to be presented and defended as such.

To the Americans who support the war against Iraq, I have a few questions. Do you do so strictly to "free the Iraqi people", or in acknowledgement of other imperatives? I know it sounds good, and you may have convinced yourself that this is the case, but is it really? Do you understand the ramnifications of this Bush doctrine, the number of wars in the future we must also fight? If we are to be consistent, and finish what we start? Have you projected that? I for one challenge you to look inside yourself and discover what you really believe. How many body bags will it take before we've had enough? How many people will we free? Just enough to conveniently rid ourselves of the "axis of evil"? Or just of Saddam Hussein? What about the rest of the starving and oppressed in the world, and their ruthless and terrorizing leaders? They'll probably have to wait for free trade to save them, the doctrine we've been defending up to this point.

Beyond all the rhetoric, the reality is fear and loyalty are driving us to war with Iraq, with our leaders duly cracking the whip. Despite what you may have heard, our previous approach to the world isn't necessarily broken, as some would have you to believe, at least not for the reasons being given. But boy was our own "efficiency" lacking when it counted. The world didn't irreversibly change because a cast of crusading misfits managed to slip through security and crash a few jumbo jets at a time when Americans were never suspecting such a thing. I'd like to see them try to get away with it now. They'd be torn to pieces. But still there is a lingering fear that we are vulnerable now, even though we've been so for a very, very long time, long before September 11, just unacknowledgly so by most of us enjoying our lives amidst the great economic boom, blissfully unaware of the parallel and sinister rise in terrorist ideology and targeting.

Ever since, our leaders have been feeding this fear and sense of place and loyalty, stoking the fires of our passion and irrationality and in the resulting confusion dusting off and polishing up grandiose visions deemed far too radical to pursue pre-September 11. Give them credit...opportunity knocked, and even before the commercial jets were back in the air, the hawks had taken flight. Meanwhile, rather than reflecting on the hidden costs of our privileged lives of convenience and dominance, and assessing where our paths are leading us and why large majorities of suffering and impoverished people hate us and wish for our destruction, we tune that out and follow the flutes of our seemingly fearless leaders, the true radicals. I admire them for their passion and resolve, and fear them for their tactics, sensitivity and love of secrecy. The bottom line is simple. Across the ocean lie oil fields we have become dependent on for our opulent national lifestyle, and these fields are surrounded by impoverished people who envy and hate us. Will we work to engage them, to influence their thinking and raise their good will, or will we engage in the politically unthinkable, and attack them in an offensive war to preserve our way of life?

Before you dismiss this argument as itself overly radical, ask yourself if you support invading Somalia, Vietnam, Libya and North Korea any time soon to secure "their" freedom? How about Iran? Is consistency and recognition of the actual fortitude this national mission will require to be successful asking for too much? Has there been any real, informed dialogue on any of this? Any forthrightness with the American people? Among the American people? From anyone in the maintream media?

The reality is that if and when we invade a country in the unilateral war against tyranny, as opposed to the global war against terror, we will only do so with popular domestic support for two reasons: our security and our interests, in that order. Liberating other people, especially people with whom we have little to no bond or history, is merely an effect, or pure rhetoric. Honesty tells us that. On the other hand, to save our skins, to secure our homes and families, should it come to that and we be convinced of such an inevitability, we'll invade and liberate any people. Let there be no mistake about that, or of the power, passion and courage we will bring in this most important matter of defense. I warn anyone against taking us lightly in these matters of life and death. We are not, never have been, and never will be a cowardly lot.

The world is a dangerous place. We ought to and will defend our homes, our families, our country, our friends, our neighbors and our freedom, but not anyone else's. Not yet. Not until we are willing to acknowledge all the evil that men do, including our own, here at home, what we've done, what we're doing. The guns, bombs, dictators and devastation we've brought to the four corners of the globe is a reality that's hard to plausibly deny. The corruption, deceit, and crime in our homeland are plainly evident for anyone to see. How many scandals have we found about long after the fact? That would have outraged us and had devastating political and even criminal consequence to those involved had the scandalous affairs come to light in a more timely fashion? How many lone psychos and loose cannons with an agenda or a passion to maim and kill do we have roaming our countrysides, suburbs and highways? Enough I'd say. Enough to say "enough", it's time to get our house in order.

Even the most ardent jingoist can't deny that, either by intent or effect, we've had impacts on the world that have not always been positive, or even well-meaning. Human nature and self-interest being what it is, who would expect less? All the more reason why we as Americans need greater participation in the affairs of our nation, and more oversight into the activities of our elected leaders, not less. We don't need restrictions on liberty, but enhancements in communication and timely information, and less rhetoric and more reasoning behind policies both foreign and domestic. The linkages between politics and economics should also be fair warning against excessive secrecy, as how is one to compete fairly in the market when political insiders with access to classified information and task group strategy sessions can get the early jump?

The bottom line is we need wholesale change in this country, and much more so than just a newly forged missionary zeal to take the fight against terror and tyranny to the world. Weakened dictators like Saddam Hussein are easy to slap around; changing ourselves and shaking off the corruption that infects us is much more difficult. Again, if you think I'm being too radical, too extreme, just take a moment and really think about it. Dry yourself off from the senseless stream of recycled information flowing from the pundits and talk-show hosts in the mainstream media and bask in the sunlight of divergent opinions on the Internet for awhile. Get some color. Then tell me who's extreme.

What you'll find is a lot of praiseworthy deeds we Americans are known for, as well as a competing amount of evidence and testimony that we've made mistakes, sometimes some really big ones, both in the past and in the present. Is your first instinct to automatically tune out this negative information? To ignore or devalue anything that challenges your belief system or your reasoning? To avoid this feeling which is known as cognitive dissonance, swiftly dismissing any non-supportive evidence of your belief system as the work of tricksters, traitors or infidels? It's okay if this is your's a natural instinct. One carefully reinforced in human culture, especially by the halls of power and commerce, who've invested so heavily in this type of research. What's not okay is to give in to it, to let this feeling control your thoughts and pool of available information. Why? The result is repression and ignorance, and we've covered these perils earlier in this appeal. Have we come this far as a country just so we can fall back to where we started?

Everyone makes mistakes, including me, you, and our great nation. Perfection is not an option, or even a desired value, and we needn't worry about it. Self-awareness and integrity, on the other hand, are well within our control, both as individuals and as a nation, and at bottom require taking ownership and accountability for our actions, knowing why we do them, and being aware of their consequent effects. Unfortunately, as the masters of secrecy and plausible deniability, we never own up to anything.

Thus our dilemma. One cannot act with integrity and at the same time duck information that would seem to prove one otherwise. This is called weakness. Strength is facing the conflicting information with open eyes, ears and minds, evaluating, challenging, responding, discrediting, acknowledging and integrating. Engaging. Perhaps more than anything else, reveling in the newfound wellspring of information and global communication we've constructed, and building new alliances and finding novel solutions to age-old problems. Surely this sounds better than plausibile deniability and shock-and-awe warfare, doesn't it? I hope so. Never forget that this is our life, our time, and our place, and we're free to pursue these great adventures and vast challenges ahead with integrity rather than plausible deniability, if we choose to do so. We should. These are heady times, and we are ready people.

So let's get accountable, fix up a spot alongside freedom for integrity on our trophy case, get our own house in order, and then set off to ensure another century of enlightened civilization on this our most precious planet Earth. Better yet, let's raise the bar another notch. Forget about a new American century, since such thinking is far too parochial for the great spirit of our times and for the great depth of our and other peoples' love for freedom. What we're really talking about now is a century of freedom, not just for Americans but for our friends and neighbors abroad, for all peoples, a legacy for all human beings. Only in this pursuit will America fulfill its prophetic promise set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights which no person or state may run asunder. It's not a utopian dream my friends, but a reality, and the mandate given to us at our birth as a nation. We can do this. We can endure these growing pains, just as surely as we can secure the liberation of all human beings, cultures and civilization in a freely willing community of independent nations and peoples, each cooperating to keep the others in check, and each preserving its own special character. We can, and we will. I'll be the first to volunteer my services in this war against ignorance, repression and evil, and don't be in the least surprised, once they hear our song, to find the rest of the world clamoring to join our ranks.

Thank you, and God bless America.

(this added after the blog started, but written before the blog started, and explains what I'm about and why I started the blog)

Saturday, March 01, 2003

March 2003 (added after the fact for archive navigation)