Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 19, 2006

WB: Down the River

Billmon:

We were all complicit. I was complicit. Because I was afraid -- afraid to sacrifice my comfortable middle class lifestyle, afraid to lose my job and my house, afraid of the IRS, afraid to go to jail.

But not nearly as afraid, of course, as the thousands of Iraqis who have been tortured or murdered, or who, like Riverbend, are forced to live in bloody chaos, day after day. Which is why, reading her post today, I couldn't help but feel deeply, bitterly ashamed -- not just of my country, but of myself.

Down the River

Posted by b on October 19, 2006 at 01:18 AM | Permalink

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August seems to have been a time for hopelessness. I tried to document it here, but it was really undocumentable. What can be said? What can be done?

I'm not sure that we are actually less afraid that the Iraqis. Of course, they face much more obvious fears, of life and limb, but fear doesn't really work on that level. There's no linear progression between how dangerous something is and how afraid we are. Doing Something to stop the war cuts at the heart of what being an American means. We're taught that voting is our civic duty, and our way to make our voice counted, and that's all. To Do Something requires we put that aside, forcibly unlearn our civics, and directly attack our tribe.

This isn't a nerve-racking fear. It's not something we obsess over. It's a fear that manifests by removing certain options, like tax protest.

I am suddenly struck by a thought which goes that, if "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", then we have truly brought freedom to the Iraqi people. Us? well, we can vote.

Posted by: Rowan | Oct 19, 2006 1:34:54 AM | 1

Out, say I, and out now. Entirely and completely out. Whatever good we do by staying can only turn to bad, because we are the ones who are doing it. In this "war" (which is anything but a war as we were raised to understand that word), we have the choice of doing ill with our presence, or letting ill happen in our absence, and the lesser of the two ills is the latter. Less ill for us, and less ill for the Iraqi people.

But of course we'll stay. We'd rather be counted as present, even as evil, than be discounted as absent, even when our absence is the lesser evil. Because we're vain--because we want to be known as a "super power" (no one can do without us!)

We'll need a lot more humiliation before we learn to be humble.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 19, 2006 2:11:29 AM | 2

thanks billmon. beautifully written.

slow-motion genocide


slow - motion genocide


slow - motion genocide


the stench is unbearable, door closes

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 2:28:10 AM | 3

One thing we can do is make sure these fucks face a war crimes tribunal, each and every one of them, be it an international court, or some other.

And I will work till my bones can't, to see that happen.

I refuse to make tortured resolutions against myself in the middle of the night, I had no representation. I will not take on this war guilt. I have been ar wae with myself my whole life, I will not add their sins. I have my own.

It's not your country anymore, and those who own it are vile.

Yes. It's hard to bear. Impossible to bear. Hide? Fight Alamo-style? Emigrate? I have no advice.

But at least this: enough already with being "ashamed." What--on their behalf, like Jesus, because they're incapable of the emotion? Even as they're already blithely rewriting the history of their own position-taking, devoid of responsibility? Still playing Diogenes, looking for the honest conservative with your lantern? For Diogenes, it was a joke. You?

Enough with being "ashamed." No. Don't bear their fucking guilt for them.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 19, 2006 3:13:33 AM | 4

"We were all complicit. I was complicit. Because I was afraid -- afraid to sacrifice..." as well as I. The figure whether 1 or 600,000 sickens me. But we are not in the next life yet so , do we not still have our chance at redemption before we make an accounting to Thoreau. "To regret deeply is to live afresh." Thoreau.

"Solon, coming close to him, said, “This, O son of Hippocrates, is a bad copy of Homer’s Ulysses; you do, to trick your countrymen, what he did to deceive his enemies.” After this, the people were eager to protect Pisistratus, and met in an assembly, where one Ariston making a motion that they should allow Pisistratus fifty clubmen for a guard to his person, Solon opposed it, and said, much to the same purport as what he has left us in his poems—

“You dote upon his words and taking phrase;”


and again,—

“True, you are singly each a crafty soul,
But all together make one empty fool.”


But observing the poor men bent to gratify Pisistratus, and tumultuous, and the rich fearful and getting out of harm’s way, he departed, saying he was wiser than some and stouter than others; wiser than those that did not understand the design, stouter than those that, though they understood it, were afraid to oppose the tyranny. Now, the people, having passed the law, were not nice with Pisistratus about the number of his clubmen, but took no notice of it, though he enlisted and kept as many as he would, until he seized the Acropolis. When that was done, and the city in an uproar, Megacles, with all his family, at once fled; but Solon, though he was now very old, and had none to back him, yet came into the marketplace and made a speech to the citizens, partly blaming their inadvertency and meanness of spirit, and in part urging and exhorting them not thus tamely to lose their liberty; and likewise then spoke that memorable saying, that, before, it was an easier task to stop the rising tyranny, but now the greater and more glorious action to destroy it, when it was begun already, and had gathered strength. But all being afraid to side with him, he returned home, and, taking his arms, he brought them out and laid them in the porch before his door, with these words: “I have done my part to maintain my country and my laws,” and then he busied himself no more. His friends advising him to fly, he refused; but wrote poems, and thus reproached the Athenians in them:—

“If now you suffer, do not blame the Powers,
For they are good, and all the fault was ours.
All the strongholds you put into his hands,
And now his slaves must do what he commands.”
--Plutarch's Lives Volume I (Life of Solon, John Dryden trans.

"My ancestors did from the streets of [Boston]
The [Tyrant] drive when he was called a king.
—“Speak, strike, redress!” Am I entreated
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise,
If the redress will follow, thou receivest" - Julius Caesar

FIAT LUX

Posted by: Fiat Lux | Oct 19, 2006 3:16:51 AM | 5

Rowan, I'm sorry to say that we ARE "actually less afraid" than the Iraqis.

If you have gone a day or a week without a dry place to sleep or enough food then you can't say that.

I welcome and enjoy your postings here, don't get me wrong. But I'm still looking for a way to deal with the outrages myself.

I came across a good analysis of the moral and legal implications of the current Afghanistan and Iraq invasions from the Canadian point of view.

From Tyee.ca

On that basis, it's time to assess where our national tipping point should be. Let's begin by considering the arguments in favour of the mission.

Posted by: jonku | Oct 19, 2006 3:19:03 AM | 6

Billmon I applaud your honesty. I too opposed the war yet did even less than you. Sure spoke out about it in hushed tones with my friends and family. Contributed to politicians who believed it was illegal and not in US interests (of course no one cares about the Iraqi). I too am complicit in abetting a genocide.

Posted by: ab initio | Oct 19, 2006 3:20:07 AM | 7

Very good post, Billmon.

I think that, if we really don't know which way to go, it'd be better to follow the wishes of the majority of Iraqis, which is that the US Army should get the heck out of there soon. Then put the bunch of wannabe fascists on trial - and do a better job than the joke that is Saddam's trial. And eventually to send massive aide to Iraq, including massive financial war reparations. That would at least acknowledge the US responsibility in this bloody chaos.
I don't know if many Iraqis have any idea on how to get out of slow-motion genocide. No idea if a large-scale uprising to kick out the US could reunite a bit Shias and Sunnis - could have worked 2 years ago, but now? Direct cooperation with Iran, would it work? Would preventing a de facto partition work? Would a partition cause less bloodshed in the long run? (though I would prefer if the less-insanely-bloody solution didn't involve major partition, because it would still mean rewarding the crazy neocons)

And what should have been done? I can hardly come with any efficient move that wouldn't involve the FBI paying me a visit pretty soon if I just posted my thoughts here, even if it just meant quoting Jefferson. Not to mention that, giving the wide range of culling that should have been attempted, the "try to do more and pre-empt war of aggression" may well end up in a civil war inside the US.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Oct 19, 2006 3:26:05 AM | 8

annie--

You have picked out the key phrase, because everything in the Iraq War's short history points to where we are going. And it is not going to change under the Democrats, either, because Iraqi oil is still there, and the Powers that Be want it. As for the excuses that will be made, we have already heard them more than once, as Alabama implies.

Rowan--

You speak well. Fear for us is different. And it is entertwined with a problem: What can be effective? It is not like 1970, when Nixon can give his "pitiful, helpless giant speach," and announce the unprovoked assault on a foreign country that has been assiduously seeking to avoid war, and the word goes out--We're going into the streets in 40 minutes!--and thousands turn out. Today, calls that go out weeks in advance produce hundreds, not thousands.

But also, the comparison is not only with the Good Germans, who said they opposed evil but didn't. But also with the Germans who really did oppose, and were swept away. They were a small minority--nearly as small as the number of progressives in the present-day United States--and a minority that the Good Germans did not want to hear about at the time, and forgot about afterward. They died with clean hearts, but they died, as helplessly and invisibly as anyone. A problem.

Posted by: Gaianne | Oct 19, 2006 3:47:33 AM | 9

I reached yesterday the story of Count Ugolino and as usual I cried particularly at the point when he says " if this doesn't make you cry what will" or words to that effect. But this culminating pathetic moment comes at the end of a story that began with people following banners that flied in every direction and with people not fit for heaven and that even hell had them in "dispito" contempt. We, together with the unnamed one have made the " gran rifiuto" the great refusal to be counted, to be for something. The ones that started this horrors actually did not want them. They were secure in the knowledge of their own importance and steeped in the legends of their favorite literature. Everything should have come up roses if the world was a rose garden but the world is a cesspool and I am one of the pigs wallowing in that mud. What can I say but that perhaps like Alberigo's my body is still on earth but my soul is already in hell. What despair, but the worse is that I have become anesthetized to the daily horror, I have become an unperson.

Posted by: jlcg | Oct 19, 2006 5:18:01 AM | 10

indeed jlcg indeed

Posted by: onzaga | Oct 19, 2006 5:43:32 AM | 11

I don't know what to say to US citizens sick about Iraq, but I can't see feeling guilty if you did anything however small. Very sick about Iraq, yes. Guilty, no.

I think the US has changed sufficiently that it is not possible to have much influence -- heck, a single Congressman or Senator could not change things now. Nor a small group of Congresssmen or Senators. Didn't the eloquent Senator Byrd try to stop the Iraq war? Just how do you think your power compares with his?

I expect that the Democrats will win big in November, but really doubt that they will be much different. Would be love to be proved wrong.

What I would like re Iraq, but do not expect, is: Saddam Hussein living in exile somewhere, US forces out of Iraq as most of the Iraqis want, US corporations to have no special privileges in Iraq, and payment of massive reparations.

FYI, there is this very thorough "how to" site - only problem is that Canada may be a tad TOO close to the US. The site has helpful links.

We Move to Canada - American by birth, Canadian by choice


Also, this little terrorism news was on the CBC TV news on Tuesday's "National" and other news sources - ex-CIA asset that the US is trying to get rid of - seven countries including Canada have refused to take the poor fellow. He only blew up a Cuban plane with 73 passengers, and only killed a few other people on a few other occasions.

From Cuba's Escambray online newspaper: New York Times Says Posada Carriles is Dilemma for Bush Administration

Posted by: Owl | Oct 19, 2006 5:48:12 AM | 12

great post billmon.

A withdrawal from Iraq is not going to magically bring peace to Iraq overnight, but it will reduce (hopefully significantly) the endless cycle of killings going on between Shia & Sunni.

The genesis of attacks on the Shia by the Sunni can be traced back to Sunni outrage at the Shia for collaborating and/or cooperating with the USUK invader. And for months, the Shia were restrained from retaliating by Sistani & Sadr.

If USUK would withdraw, the main beef between Sunni & Shia will no longer be. Latent hostilities & revenge incidents will not disappear overnight. However, Sunni & Shia would have much less reason to continue butchering each other.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 19, 2006 5:58:28 AM | 13

My take on this all along is that what goes down in Iraq, will be settled by the Iraqis. We are here, they are there. And there, is not here. Because there, OIF, is THE reality -- the facts on the ground, the daily experience in its full 3 dimensional, real time, non-technicolor, un-narratited, un-advertised, un-cut, and undeniable full bore brunt sequence of events, that they have to face and negotiate on a daily basis. For them there is, unless they are rich, no, repeat, no escape. Their prospects for hope are diminished with a relentless and ruthless incrimentality, where the assumptions of daily life are stripped away one bullet, one airstrike or car-bomb, one carless GI, one missed meal, one forced relocation, or one pointless and self serving edict at a time. So they do what they do.

We on the other hand, suffer none of this. For us, the war is concieved and presented as a narrow thing, a military thing, a business thing, cast as an evolving ideological test of identity and willpower that's acted out in some bloodless mock gamalon shadow play where the regular protagonists and postureres are reserected on a weekly basis with narry a scratch, or even a bruised ego. And this has gone on in the american livingroom for years now, without an ounce of circumspect, let alone retrospect, let alone formitable resistance. It is here, all in the mind, an illusion, and but yet a necessary pecursor -- to the enivetable completion of the circle -- between what the Iraqis are actually going through and what we THINK we are going through. Because everyday, we become more like the Iraqis, BEFORE WE INVADED THEM.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 19, 2006 7:08:59 AM | 14

amen, billmon.

rumsfeld and che-che-cheney should serve out the rest of their naturals sweeping up blood in a downtown baghdad morgue

Posted by: Dismal Science | Oct 19, 2006 7:14:54 AM | 15

I had read Riverbend’s piece last night before reading yours this morning Billmon. My soul felt tortured throughout the night but now it is screaming with the agony of the questions none of us here seem able to answer.

I agree with you Uncle. Guilt is no answer but that feeling has crept into my being over and over again for the past three years. Maybe I need to acknowledge that and hope some direction will come to me form the depths where those feelings arise.

Posted by: Juannie | Oct 19, 2006 7:22:29 AM | 16

Clinton was the man. Containing Saddam was cheap, something on the order of $10B a year. Sure he only killed probably 250,000 Iraqis over 8 years and and the bulk of those children from malnutrition and preventable diseases, but oil still flowed from Iraq and we could have continued at that pace indefinitely. I didn't feel all that much guilt then though I read of a few that did. How could I? Clinton and Albright were Democrats so I had to believe that sanctions were the correct course.

Bush comes in and we're spending $8B a week now to the sum of around $500B for 3 1/2 years and we've set in motion the deaths of 400K to 600k Iraqis. Now I don't know about you, but that's a lot of killing for not much to show for it.

Frankly, killing Iraqis can't be costing us $800K each, so I must content myself that my government is using that money to create a new, better Iraq with all of the amenities that Westerners have come to expect. We Americans have paid a more than fair price to assuage our guilt, and I'm not going to apologize for the fact that Iraqis are much worse off now than under Saddam.

Posted by: tmay | Oct 19, 2006 7:23:45 AM | 17

@all - can we at least stick to numbers of the scientific Hopkins peer reviewed study published in Lancet?

The number is 654 ,965 - not 600,000.

The lowest boundery of the studies result is 392 ,979.
The upper boundary of the studies result is 942, 636.

The upper boundary does have the same probability as the lower boundary.

So it's not 400-600k like tmay says above. It's 400,000 to 900,000.

Add to that that this study was finished in July, some three month ago. As I had calculated in another thread, it is likely that 100,000 to 140,000 people Iraq have "experienced excess death" since then. And this war is definitly not over. The 1,000,000s "excess death" is likely before it is.

The study is available at Lancet after a free registration.

People like tmay or Kevin Drum who has a "gut feeling" of 200-300k death are deminishing the memories of those who died.

Look into the mirror and spell the real numbers please.

Posted by: b | Oct 19, 2006 8:13:06 AM | 18

Would anyone tell me why Saddam had to be "contained"? This whole fucking sanction thing was illegal to begin with. The whole bunch of US preznits since Reagan should be in the dock right there with Saddam, when it comes to murdering the Iraqi people.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Oct 19, 2006 8:33:30 AM | 19

@14
My take on this all along is that what goes down in Iraq, will be settled by the Iraqis.

The Shia of Iraq are now empowered for the first time in modern history. And if the Shia of Lebanon, who have elevated themselves over the last 25 years can hold their ground, the Shia in Iraq most certainly can. And this should count at least as a success point for USUK

the Kurds likewise have their desired autonomy. And thats irreversible. Another success point for USUK.

Beyond the above, theres not much more USUK can achieve. And lets not fool ourselves, if Iraq did not have so much oil, USUK would have left long ago, assuming they would even consider invading in the first place. In order words, if Iraq was Bangladesh, we would not be talking about 650,000 excess/unnecessary deaths.

Hence, the sentiment for "saving Iraq" which has gained so much traction in peoples minds is hypocrisy. It is a sentiment manufactured by the PTB and the media. It is a sentiment directed to appeal to Eurocentric "moral superiority". How so very convenient.

And then theres the "magical thinking" notion that USUK is blessed with some seemingly magical power to fix Iraq. "The natives ca'nt, wo'nt ..., so we must". More moral superiority.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 19, 2006 9:00:57 AM | 20

I've got mixed feelings about Billmon's piece. On the one hand, I share the sense that there ought to have been something more I could have done. On the other...

You see, I was out in the streets, at least briefly. There was a pretty sizable anti-war demonstration before the war, that massed on Boston Common, went down Commonwealth Avenue for a while, looped around onto Boylston Street, and went past the Boston Public Library main branch, ending in a "die in" for those willing to get arrested. Completely peaceful (in part, perhaps, because of the squadrons of tagged legal observers staring down the cops), festooned with signs and banners --- almost festive, in a grim, doomed sort of way.

As to the die-in, I chickened out, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have made a difference. What I did instead was to duck into the Library, where there was a talk on about, if I recall right, remembrance of the holocaust. The chair of the library began by apologizing for the horrible, disruptive mob out front that he had obviously not bothered to examine with his own eyes. On the news --- national, even local, just about nothing. Crowds in the streets --- no acknowledgment, no response; as far as "the media" and the more silent masses were concerned, the whole thing just got muffled out of existence.

The wrong tactic? Apparently so --- but then what was the right one?

Posted by: "Charles Dodgson" | Oct 19, 2006 9:12:12 AM | 21

Do not be frozen by guilt and remorse. Every action, no matter how small or seemingly ineffective, toward our desired outcome is a step out of this horror. Continue to enjoy life, your family, and friends. If you live a balanced life you have nothing to be ashamed of. True warriors fight, and fight well, because they love who and what they defend, not because they are ashamed. Why do you fight on?

Posted by: PollyA | Oct 19, 2006 9:41:07 AM | 22

we all respond so differently to pain, don't we.

Don't bear their fucking guilt for them. it's ok uncle

what anna missed says ... the war to me comes thru this screen in front of me. i synthesis it thru my brain, occasionally fighting and lashing out at info warrior gov scum trolls. i know behind their roles they are human and hear my scorn. they know we are not fooled. perhaps my screaming contempt for them and who they represent has made some very small dent. nothing like the seachange of consciousness someone like billmon can make by spitting out the hypocricies before we own them. there is another screen in another room that brings me crime dramas&makebelievecourtroom/scenarios/scenarios etc. the screens are the same. reality or fantasy? it is i who differentiates. what a luxury to experience a war in this fashion. i have experienced the fear and horror of war thru my screen as fully as i can make love to it. and we all know how real it can be fucking a screen.

non-technicolor, there's a thought.

in some email exchanges w/an old friend the other day i mentioned that i had been thinking about the war a lot. she has a cyst. she is trying to focus on the love in the world. she doesn't want to live in fear.

did someone say something about clinton?
leave the door open, you never know's comin in . the world can be a dangerous place.

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 9:57:53 AM | 23

Thank you, PollyA. You speak wisely and more succinctly than I'm about to do....

There is too much talk here about "guilt". Too much talk about "blood is on my hands", spoken in exactly the same self-critical tone as right-wing parodies of liberal guilt are made to sound. All this talk about how "I could have done more." Well, yes. And even if you had, you could have said then, "I could have done even more." And so on. It's endless. You could have immolated yourself in the town square like the Buddhist priests in that timeless photo, and your point would have been made. To what end? Would that have made you feel better? Is the point simply to "make you feel better"? That sounds pretty damn selfish to me, at least as selfish as the chickenhawks are - the point should be to stop the war. But some things are so vast that it is foolish to feel personal responsibility for them, and this Iraq Debacle is one of those things.

Yes, the Iraq Debacle should make you angry. It should make you upset and furious and motivated for change. That's how caring, humane people should feel in the face of callousness and brutality carried out by others. But "guilty"? No, guilt is just despondency. The Iraq Debacle IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Stop acting like it is.

Besides, who's to say that your expression of outrage at what has happened, and that things you have done, however small, haven't contributed to the ever growing malaise about the situation that ultimately will lead to action that improves things? Who's to say that our distrust displayed much earlier on did serve a part in preventing something even more disastrous than what we've seen? Do you honestly think that as bad as it is now, this is the worst of all possible worlds? I sure don't. And if it isn't, then surely something has helped prevent worse situations from arising, just as much as something has obviously prevented better situations from happening.

You can berate yourself for "not doing more" if you want, but by that reasoning you can also praise yourself for "not doing worse" either. You didn't simply "go along to get along", did you? You didn't vote for pro-war candidates, wave flags at pro-war rallies, and cheer on the Mission Accomplished banner in 2003, right? No, you lived by example, and you made that example by recognizing the foolishness of this national policy. And after all this, even if you insist and feeling guilt about the War, then do something about it now. Stop wringing your hands, because it's not too late to work to make the world a better place for someone else. It's never too late. Just stop pretending that it's "all about you" and feeling responsible for the sun setting in the west every day.

Posted by: Ferruge | Oct 19, 2006 10:21:06 AM | 24

I've been to the war's American waiting room in person about a year ago - by which I mean, I went to Walter Reed Army Hospital in DC (with a relative who was being treated there) and saw the young and youngish men and women with missing limbs - and one guy whose face was ruined - he sat there in the waiting room with his head bowed down and his hand in front of it, although of course it didn't really protect us from the sight, just let us know how he felt about it - his wife was beside him - there still was enough left of his facial musculature to show his pain and shame -

Meanwhile, the tv played the army cable channel with reports of our armed forces brave deeds and accomplishments

it wasn't so very different from what one sees on the regular corporate media, really, at least then

If one tried to do something about this atrocity, before and during - in my case spoke, wrote, donated money, marched - is one really guilty of not having done enough? You do not have an obligation to do those things which cannot be done - and even Riverbend admits she could write with detachment and lack of sentiment about Ivory Coast or Cambodia -

but of course, there are few indeed who could not have tried harder - Jonathan Schwartz points to

I'm repeating something I heard quite a while ago - but maybe it's true in some sense or other - "in the past you (and everyone else) did the best you could at the time - what you do today is still up to you to decide"

And then there's something I read just recently - about how it used to seem that during the Cold War, the US protected the world from the USSR - now it looks like the reverse was true

since I'm just rambling now, I'll stop

Posted by: mistah charley | Oct 19, 2006 10:56:20 AM | 25

messed up the tag above - sorry - it points to someone who DID do enough - but is an ordinary person with family responsibilities and a life that could be lots worse in a position to be that heroic? you could lose a lot (more or less everything) and yet not materially impede the war machine

Posted by: mistah charley | Oct 19, 2006 10:59:18 AM | 26

Ferruge:

Exactly.

Everything you said (so well).

Posted by: EB | Oct 19, 2006 11:10:22 AM | 27

hearing one particular poster here refusing to bear guilt after voting for and enabling the current administration is somewhat unsettling.

I was looking for a reference to Dante's Inferno where he speaks of the fate of those who know better but because of convenience and comfort go along with something evil. I couldn't find it but did find an article">http://www.lewrockwell.com/latulippe/latulippe16.html">article at Lew Rockwell which pretty much sums up what I wanted to say and would have if I was smart and could write.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 19, 2006 11:24:30 AM | 28

Too much talk about "blood is on my hands", spoken in exactly the same self-critical tone as right-wing parodies of liberal guilt are made to sound.

really? could you provide me some souce doc on this. since when do we care 1 iota how righwingers parody liberals?

Just stop pretending that it's "all about you"

could you please cut and paste what you are referencing specifically, the evidence ?

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 11:29:08 AM | 29

billmon wrote: We're not just callous bystanders to genocide, as in Rwanda, but the active ingredient that made it possible.

another myth that we've exposed here previously, as the united states played a key role in what went down in rwanda.

We turned Iraq into a happy hunting ground for Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army.

pshaw. we, accelerating the brits earlier efforts at leveling the playing field, turned iraq into a hunting ground for imperialists, racists, oil men, christian proselytizers, ideologues & free-market fanatics. (after we created AQ)

If Iraq is now a failed state, it's because of our failures.

chomsky's latest book made a compelling argument that, using the very criteria established by the western nations, the united states is itself a failed state. there's still a chance for the people of this nation to force our institutions to live up the rhetoric they have spewed before, during, and since the revolution. but it won't come from above.

Posted by: | Oct 19, 2006 11:39:42 AM | 30

whoops. left out my name.

Posted by: b real | Oct 19, 2006 11:40:35 AM | 31

"And every man ought to say to himself,"Am I really the kind of man who has the right to act in such a way that humanity might guide itself by my actions?" And if he does not say that to himself, he is masking his anguish. There is no question here of the kind of anguish which would lead to quietism, to inaction. It is a matter of a simple sort of anguish that anybody who has had responsibilities is familiar with.

Existentialism Is A Humanism
Jean-Paul Sartre

Posted by: A | Oct 19, 2006 11:48:46 AM | 32

ferruge @24, "stop pretending it's all about you"? that to me is the crux of the problem - we each need to take responsibility rather than retreat into our comfortable lives and hope that someone else does it for us. as b real said in #30: "there's still a chance for the people of this nation to force our institutions to live up the rhetoric they have spewed before, during, and since the revolution. but it won't come from above." it really is up to us and how we live each and every day. we have collectively not fought hard enough to prevent this war, to halt it, or to stop the erosion of our civil liberties. personally, i find that the less i do, the more powerless i feel. when i extrapolate that onto a citizenry, is it no wonder that the torture act was passed by those who we elected to represent us and posse comitatus was removed without barely a fuss?

Posted by: conchita | Oct 19, 2006 11:55:34 AM | 33

Thundersnow


A year from now we'll be telling stories about this storm the way some of us are still telling stories about the Blizzard of '77. It is terribly sad about the trees-but they are, finally, trees, not people. Forty years ago, some Buffalo's major streets went bare when the Dutch Elm blight ravaged the Northeast. All those barren streets were replanted. It took a while, but the green shade came back. This time too, it will take a while, and then the green shade will come back.

I find it difficult not to think of my friends in New Orleans, the enormity of what they went through, what many of them are still going through. New Orleans was a natural event, like this one, but it was compounded by official incompetence, disinterest and malfeasance. A lot of people died.

It is difficult not to think of people at the World Trade Center, at Oklahoma City, in Iraq and Lebanon and all those other places where nature had nothing to do with it at all, where the disasters rained down merely because someone felt like doing it, had the technology to do it, and chose to do it.

We're lucky, here in Buffalo, and we know it.

The past is immutable. Anguish at having done the wrong thing in the past is a waste of emotion. The present is fluid, the future unknown.

Work to end the war in Iraq and to stop the war in Iran and wherever else the neocons and their successors start throwing bombs. This is not going to be a one week, one month, one year, one decade proposition. It is going to go on for as long as my minds eye can see.

Don't think about how little or how much we have or have not done to prevent these atrocities. The only measure that counts is that we have not prevented them.

We are lucky that we still live in a democracy with relative freedom and the power to change our present situation. If you doubt that, see Riverbend's article again. If we are losing our democracy it is because we are allowing it to be lost. The buck stops on my desk and on yours.

We need to do more. Forget yesterday. Live today. Think about tomorrow.

That's the advice I give myself when I'm feeling blue.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Oct 19, 2006 12:04:39 PM | 34

another myth that we've exposed here previously, as the united states played a key role in what went down in rwanda.

I missed that thread. There are serious lies surrounding what really happened in Rwanda.

As we learn more about other lies surrounding:
Kosovo, Iraq I, Iraq II, Iran-Iraq, 9/11, Gulf War Syndrome, globalization, Mugabe, Depleted Uranium, exporting democracy, drug laws, Darfur, Cafta/Nafta, trickle-down economics, minimum wage, Venezuela, torture ...

hopefully we will be better prepaared.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 19, 2006 12:12:07 PM | 35

From the Day late Billions short dept:

Indeed.com Daily Job Alert

What:
Where: Iraq
The first 1 of 1 new jobs are displayed below.
See matching results on Indeed.com since: yesterday - past week - all results

Arabic Iraqi Advisors
Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions - Location Is Iraq
Salary $170K to $180K Arabic Iraqi Advisors We are seeking US citizens who where born in Iraq to assist and advise military staff and commanders in planning...
From HotJobs - October 18, 10:58 AM

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 19, 2006 12:16:46 PM | 36

“True, you are singly each a crafty soul,
But all together make one empty fool.”

brilliant catch, there.

the contradicted narrative of blame and responsibility for "us" seems to go like this: the people of iraq and the region are culpable as well for the crazed violence. searching in religion the will to struggle is admirable so long as the goal of struggle is secularized and achieved in the interest of society. without a consciousness of minimum universal needs fulfilled by struggle, there will only be chaos, murder, and failure. true, the u.s. and europe repelled arab secular nationalism, and the result of this cynicism is islamism. these are the fruits of foreign policy "realism." the u.s. and europe are ineluctably wedded to this failure and have no other choice but to play an active role in achieving security and peace at the expense of islamic extremism.

we should "leave"? how is it possible to "leave"?

it's a bit of a bind, no?

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 12:23:14 PM | 37

there's no fucking way the u.s. can "leave." no way.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 12:28:47 PM | 38

This war is being waged in our names, therefore we (Americans) are all complicit. We DO have responsibility for what our government is doing. And we DO have many more options at our disposal than just voting to make our voices heard. When scores are being slaughtered every day in our names, it is incumbent upon us to do all within our power to make our opposition heard.

Imagine that each one of us, today, brainstormed a list of just 2 or 3 things, or even 1 thing, we could do within our own "circles of influence" to reach out and make our voices heard. Then imagine that just one of those people that we reached out to decided to do the same within his or her circle of influence. And so on. Do you not think that you could make a difference? Right now, at this point in time, just weeks before an election, I believe that this would make a difference, even if you assume that Democrats are just the same as Republicans. The tide is turning in this country against the war, and it is turning fast.

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. -Robert F. Kennedy

What will you do to make a difference today, and every day from now on? This is what we must ask ourselves. Those of us who live in the US and frequent this site are already doing something very, very important: We are keeping ourselves aware of what our government is doing in our names, and we are learning more every day. That is already more than probably 95% of Americans. So we should credit ourselves for that. But now we need to do more.

Here are some ideas that I have. I can:

- Email Billmon's post to 20 people I know.
- Attend a talk by a local candidate from either party and pose tough questions about the war. Make it known that this is an issue for the voters.
- Speak to everyone I run into about the Military Commissions Law and urge them to get informed.
- Think about ways to protest at appearances of Congresspeople who have signed the Military Commissions Law.
- Find out how to organize a demonstration against the war in my town, and then hold one, with all participants dressed in black, at a time when the greatest number of cars pass by.
- Make large posters with the numbers of Iraqi and American dead on them and hang them on bridges where commuters driving to work will see them.
- Write a letter to a newspaper every day. This is not much more effort than composing an email. If we each did this each day it WOULD make a difference.
- Organize a food drive for Iraqi children at my child's school.
- Research and learn about creative protest ideas that would draw media attention (For example, staging some kind of mock arrest of a local resident or politician in the town square to make the point that the Military Commissions Act means that any of us at any time can be detained without cause)
- Learn how to use UTube, and work on developing some footage from Iraqi or other Arab TV networks to bring the graphic images of what our military is doing onto everyone's screens (the sort of footage that Al-Jazeera routinely shows and we Americans never ever see).
- Link up with others from this site who live in my area (Massachusetts) and have a brainstorming meeting to think of more ideas.

These are the ideas I can come up with off the top of my head. What are yours? What will you do today to create just a ripple, that can set off other ripples, and ultimately form an unstoppable tsunami wave?

Posted by: Bea | Oct 19, 2006 12:31:44 PM | 39

thank you b real, and conchita for your explanations, i must have interpreted the ferruge's useage of those terms.


on a related topic, when i first read the post the line about mahdi and Al Q stood out for me, because it's been repeated so often in the press lately, one of the iraqi bloggers who used to work as a journalist in baghdad pointed out how quick and organized the shift from Sunni insurgents to the Shiite Mehdi army in the news and feature stories.

as if the green light was given by someone, newspapers started to follow the Mehdi army. In almost any news story written over the last year, you will find the Mehdi army blamed or at least mentioned in suspicion of the possibility for involvement in killing Iraqis. Amazing. Even when storied talked about something entirely far from where the Mehdi army operates, the story would say something like: on the other hand, the Mehdi army, a Shiite militia linked t firebrand anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, operates death squads just across the river. OR SOMETIMES SOMETNING MORE FUNNY.

anyway, they never mention the badr brigades! sadrs army are a lot of uneducated , unemployed thugs, where as the badr troops are immersed in the MOI, educated, funded, the military wing of sciri! way more complicit in the deathsquads. but hey, no press. so i started googling a little and sure enough. the media, or the PTB, or whoever, is framing the sunni /shiite conflict as primarily AQ/madr. check out this quote from maliki

Previously, when we attacked some of the Sunni death squads and militias, we were being accused of being biased toward Shiites against Sunnis. Or when we confronted the Mahdi Army, we were accused of being biased toward the Sunnis against the Shiites. But now it's becoming clear, after we confronted the Mahdi Army in Diwaniyah, Karbala, Basra and Nasiriyah, no one can say we are biased on this issue.

This is a very important step we have managed to achieve. Now no one can say we are biased when we hit a Sunni militia. So the road is being paved and the forces are being prepared to resolve this issue of militias within the time frame we discussed.

doesn't that sound weird? it is as if after the backlash of slaughtering the baathists, those salvadoran deathsquads, they needed to 'balance' the coverage of the carnage!

meanwhile, the most powerful militia in iraq (who show no sign of disbanding) we are not only turning a blind eye towards, but collaborating with, totally off the radar.

anyway, thanks for jogging my memory on this reflection of mine .

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 12:36:41 PM | 40

But we were told that they were murdering innocent Iraqis by the thousands, hanging innocents on meat hooks, raping babies (or was that Iraq 1?), that Saddam's son was raping men's brides on the wedding night and murdering failed soccer players. We were told that Saddam was minutes away from giving nukes to crazed terrorists. Looking back on Bush's record, perhaps we should have known that he was a habitual liar and user of people, but when all those other agencies vouched for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, when Condi and Colin swore to it, when the 4th Estate lined up for war, and when Tony Blair raised his hand and swore to it . . . well, I'm pleading naive and stupid more than guilty Probably not enough to get a decent condo in heaven, but maybe they'll let me in just to clean the angels' golden toilets.

Posted by: | Oct 19, 2006 12:39:32 PM | 41

wow, so much happened here in the few short moments while i was writng me last post. bea, yes. lately i have been making my own little waves. neighborhood meetings and such.

i have a cousin in NC. there local paper tells them nothing. she is often way behind the curve. she returned from a backpacking trip in montana, to a hotel rm there and recieved an email about the military commission act. shot me off an email "what is this?" after i wrote back, she expresses to me, the 3 weeks they were in the mountains, meeting people from all over the world, no one likes george. the canadians, the other americans, people are talking , ordinary peope, they are getting informed. i went to a 9/11 meeting at a local church expecting to see some old hippies. not the case, not at all. and it was a full crowd. everyone was on board.

they passedout copies of greenwalds new movie, iraq for sale. i watched it last night and there was something alluded to i had previously not thought of or been aware of. those contractors who got burned up and hung from a bridge in fallujah that stirred up the gungho. that was an abberation, them being unprotected on that road. i think the way the military operates, not necessarily all the troops, but certainly the twisting manipulated MO, these stories need to be told. most people have no idea the oil deal is coming up in december, and that after that, it doesn't matter what happens as far as cheneyco is concerned, and thats why we stopped w/the 'democracy' meme.

and it seemed to happen over night. the gov trolls that i encountered on these sites, all run in packs. they say the same sorts of things on the same day. it seemed every single one of them became unconcerned w/democracy, just... like...that.. they all drone on about sunni/ shiite iraqi on iraqi, no US blame no badr brigade, no private industry contractors...

there is so much co ordination and control.. and people are starting to believe and understand this and talk about it. even my sweet little conservative cousin from NC out on the backtrails of montana. at the 9/11 meeting people were saying they were feeling a critical mass moment coming.

i'm rambling, work to do

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 1:00:25 PM | 42

sorry, i realize i didn't finish that thought. what if the PTB wanted to attack fallujah but needed some pretense? what if they sent some guys out there w/inadequet back up , into a heated area, that was ready and waiting? no gunner. no maps, last , in the middle of hostile territory?

i wouldn't put it past them.

ray mcgovern said we have to stick our neck out. we have to start talking to eachother.

Posted by: annie | Oct 19, 2006 1:08:23 PM | 43

"The United States is not suffering from some collective personality disorder called compassion fatigue. We are suffering from the most well-funded thought-control experiment in history, more sophisticated and deadly by many orders of magnitude than anything contrived by Kim Jong Il - the latest bete noir of American public discourse, and we are suffering from the complicity of journalistic hacks like Judith Miller and the anodyne intellectual narcotics of policy think tanks.

It is our empathy that is under attack, because if it is aroused to a point where Iraqis or Afghans or even our own imperial soldiers become real people (and not a yellow-ribbon magnet), the jig is up.

So here is a simple reminder. This war is wanton cruelty in our name; there is no rationalization that can mitigate or excuse it; "we" will not win it and somehow transmogrify a swine into a swan ... and it is not over."

Reflecting on Rumsfeld by Stan Goff, Truthdig
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101806B.shtml
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I disagree with Billmon's thesis. The simple fact that so many are remorseful over their mere citizenship is more than ample testament to the folly of this war. Every weary heart is a "No!" to this war that can't be paved over.

We're not asked to be successful and certainly not Thoreaus. We're asked to be faithful. That's the astringent to the political will sustaining these wars. Without a thriving moral dimension no amount of material can sustain a war.

Cheer up. And stay guilt ridden, miserable and ashamed till this fiasco is over. It might help to read up on the role of friction in war. It's the next stage.

Ahoy, Condi. Do the lawyered up! Citizen.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout | Oct 19, 2006 1:08:44 PM | 44

Liberals............ whining, moaning and feeling generally sorry for the state of the world and being unable to lift a limb to help all from oppressors.

Ferruge above makes very valid points.

I would credit the following in stopping the USA/ISR/UK takeover of the ME as follows:

1. The Other Side of the Iron Curtain. (on the ground that is, Hez, Iraqi resistance etc)

2. The Blogosphere.

Just do what u do best Mr Montgomery, remember you have more than the USA who reads u.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Oct 19, 2006 2:29:30 PM | 45

there's no fucking way the u.s. can "leave." no way.

why don't you put your body where your oversized mouth is, slothrup, and go over there and help teach those backward islamofascists how to be good non-god fearing marxists, like you, out to save the world. or are you a chickenhawk like cheney?

Posted by: | Oct 19, 2006 3:29:51 PM | 46

the u.s. and europe are ineluctably wedded to this failure and have no other choice but to play an active role in achieving security and peace at the expense of islamic extremism

And this honestly what you believe we're doing there?

Achieving peace and security?

With an illegal occupation perpetrated through rape, torture, plunder and mass murder?

Posted by: ran | Oct 19, 2006 3:44:45 PM | 47

Billmon,
I made similar "limited" sacrifices against the war, but I don't feel that I should have done more, simply because there is nothing that I can point to that I think would have made a difference. In fact, everything we did seemed to inflame the pro-war sentiments of the majority of the population. They did not like us or respect us, so if we protested, we were just traitors and hippies, all the more reason to go along with the company line.
I moved out of the country for a couple of years, and I actually think that was the only thing that I did that gave pro-war people even a bit of pause.

Posted by: steve ex-expat | Oct 19, 2006 3:53:41 PM | 48

This war, from the very outset, has never been about "them", but all about "us"--our politics and our oil supply. And if costs 600K+ lives and 600B+ dollars, well, who's counting, right?

Posted by: puffin | Oct 19, 2006 4:09:59 PM | 49

Incredible piece Billmon, thank you.

The sins of inaction lie against us as a people. The only question now is how much longer do we continue to be good Germans - where is the tipping point? At what point do we become ready to abandon our comfortable lives and dedicate ourselves to stopping this slaughter and seeing those responsible for it brought to justice. The Italians were not all good Germans, after all - perhaps some of their sins were taken when they hung Mussolini's corpse from the hook.

Posted by: Mathieson | Oct 19, 2006 4:28:41 PM | 50

i am reading a terrifying meditation on - them & us - & engagement all that that entails in - russel banks book - the darling

this war will be settled by the iraquis as it was settled by the vietnamese before them

in the belly of the beast - affinities, communities, great risk & courage & yes perhaps violence because history has been quite clear on this matter - the cheney bush junta will not give away their power, on the contrary - they will fight to the death of everybody else's sons & daughters to maintain it

the empire is finished - it just doesnt know it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 5:38:19 PM | 51

The pin-heads running this war know full well that as long as the war carries no in the real world, concrete implications and consequences, resistance to it will remain also in the abstract, and at best a tepid reactionism. The more vociferous, SDS/Weathermen/SLF resistance to the vietnam war came from those likely to be impacted from the war personally, the youth who faced induction. For them the war was not just a talking point, and so demanded more than talk in response. And for whatever good was or was'nt accomplished by those actions, they remain in the collective consciousness of the nation as an aberration, at best, and amoral and misguided extremism at worst. In any case those who participated in that have been hung out to dry by the american experience. So in this war the only consequences (on our side of the equation) being felt directly are by those who have volunteered to fight in it. Resistance to the war is thereby contained, along with the advocates of it, to the ideological -- without indice to either coercion or innocent sufferage. This is reinforced by the pervasive "all about us" context the war is hermetically sealed by the media, big business, and the political class. So givin all THAT, its particularly interesting that any movement against the war should happen at all. But that is not the case, there has in fact, been a massive tide against it, and support for it has become a political albatross -- especially when the likes of Jonah Goldberg drags his sorry ass to the conclusion that "it was a mistake". Even if he never found the arguments, against the war, from the left "compelling" -- it has had an effect on just about everybody else. And, how did that happen?

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 19, 2006 5:44:05 PM | 52

this war will be settled by the iraquis

there is no such thing as "an iraqi." that's the problem.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 6:45:54 PM | 53

on this, my friend slothrop, i think you have missed the point

& anna missed

this tyranny will destroy itself, but yes it needs a kick, perhaps a violent one

& i am old fashioned enough to think that the women with the exception of bernadine dohn were the treasure & conscience of the anti war movement - it was they who brought the war home - in more ways than one

& i think a history that cannot make sense of a john brown or understand the darker impulses of a thoreau are not ready to judge or even interpret what happened onloy 40years ago

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 7:00:38 PM | 54

ran

I don't support the manner of america's occupation, launched as it was by ignorant venality. I merely point out what is the obvious outcome of u.s. influence in the region over the past century. the u.s. and europe in particular are morally implicated in assuring peace, at the cost of a certain decline in u.s. domination, to be sure. it's not possible for the u.s. to disengage and "go home." no way. the result would be control of resources and nuclear weapons by stateless warlords.

this is where we're at.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 7:06:53 PM | 55

slothrop

you do not really believe that, do you - i hope you are being ironic - actually i feel more threatened by the polish twins now running warsaw

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 7:19:42 PM | 56

the empire that gave us extraordinary rendition will eviscerate itself - but in the grande tradition of yukio mishima - it will not be performed with elegance

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 7:24:46 PM | 57

But assuring peace is of course the precise opposite of what they're doing. Peace doesn't come via cluster bombs and uranium tipped shells and murderous occupations.

Warlord's controlling resources and nukes? Are you just mouthing Shrubco talking points or do you really believe them?

Posted by: ran | Oct 19, 2006 7:35:05 PM | 58

slothrop,
"control of resources by stateless warlords"
this is neither novel nor as deadly as the stateful resources being thrown around in Iraq now. Why do you object?

"control of nuclear weapons by stateless warlords"
What nuclear weapons are in Iraq? What are you saying?

Do you think the Brits should have stayed in India?
I am shocked to hear you critique the U.S. Occupation as an ethical force. What ever makes you think our agents are making the place more stable?

Posted by: citizen | Oct 19, 2006 7:45:22 PM | 59

rgiap

from the beginning here i have argued no nationalist or panarab/panislam "insurgency" is likely. i wish it were so, but nothing like your version of the conflict exists, or will. and now, this mistake of analysis is offered by you and others here as a solution to the region's problems of stability. and when i point out this obvious contradiction, you say, as some dullards here never to be your equal have also said: "i don't understand." understand what? that approving the certain catastropohe of chaos in which the region is divided among sunni revanchists, shiite millenarianists, kurdish mafia, et al., is "better" than the dubious "empire"? what?!

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 7:48:15 PM | 60

citizen

i'm sorry my views are also received by someone as smart as yourself as my approval of u.,s. power. so, the problem of comprehension is my fault.

by moral implication, i mean a constructive "engagement" in the region admitting the decline of u.s. as an arguable hegemon. to be sure, isolationism by the u.s. is unthinkable at this point. the u.s. needs to assure all parties and the world it will reject permanent military occupation and economic raiding and move swiftly to resolve the palestinian issue. it must also make peace w/ iran & syria in exchange for security cooperation in iraq. for starters.

there are many opportunities, i think.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 7:56:51 PM | 61

resident fascist slothrup:

the result would be control of resources and nuclear weapons by stateless warlords.

aren't you projecting -- like cheney does. who voted to drop two nuclear bombs on japan? who will control the next usa'n drop by the stateless (corporate) warlords who control things? marx wasn't scared of the wrath of the dispossessed -- but you are. perhaps it is just racism -- that you fear brown people possessing the weapon of white people -- that they will not possess wisdom or restraint, despite all evidence of iran's restraint.

look in the mirror dorian gray slothrup. look in the god-less damn mirror, you faux-marxist fascist.

Posted by: | Oct 19, 2006 8:03:27 PM | 62

I think we disgree about the usability of the word "the u.s." as something that names an agent in the world.

The u.s. is not an agent, but a legend disappearing into a fiction, and it seems to be built like an old war machine that has had all its steering mechanisms cut and replaced by new ones. And we pull at the old levers and wheels to make the beast respond, but it is being steered from somewhere else, somewhere that has precious little interest in rejecting economic and other raiding.

As I said, we disagree.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 8:08:31 PM | 63

That's weird. I must have typed "slothrop" into the name box.

#63 was me.
citizen

Posted by: citizen | Oct 19, 2006 8:10:21 PM | 64

no, citizen. i don't think we disagree. as you know, i have argued here consistently against the view the u.s. is "empire" and i very much agree u.s. power is a protection racket for global capital (one of the reasons my "marxism" is despised here among the "leftists"). the collapse of u.s. credibility is hopeful, as it now must, in order to survive, morally engage the region's disposessed. and a part of that necessary engagement will be security.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 8:20:14 PM | 65

about #62

why the proliferation of idiots here at moa lately?

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 8:21:55 PM | 66

What can I say?

Fortitude to you all. We cannot stop changing, and the world is always throwing choices at us, choices of how to change for the worse or better. Lately it is asking so many of us to change for the worse.

But we always choose. To think we do not is a lie.

Posted by: | Oct 19, 2006 8:23:11 PM | 67

argh. #67 was me too.

Posted by: citizen | Oct 19, 2006 8:25:03 PM | 68

honestly, i have not felt as optimistic about the possibility of change as i feel now. let's hope rightwing desperation doesn't end in the pushing of all the red buttons.

undeniably we are witnessing and immnense crisis of legitimacy for global neoliberalism. exciting!

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 8:27:17 PM | 69

slothrop

i ask humnly - for you to read any book on the school of americas or even better the naual that was used by them for some decades

i'm much more frightened by white men with power who do violence, terrible ciolence from afar & do it in a quotidian manner inculcating culture(s) & future(s) with the bloodstained memories of useless & horrifying strategies

the madness that is at the heart of their 'method' & that includes the use of death squads & agent provocateurs & black operations is here with us today a half century after the demonic dulles brothers

what is criminal, deeply criminal - is that that 'method' normalised such terrible conduct as torture that it is no surprise that this week it has been formalised & that the citizens of the empire are able to live with such horrors does us all shame - not only americans

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 8:48:08 PM | 70

Of course we can leave. We left the Chinese mainland in 1948, and we left Viet Nam in 1974. In fact we left "eventually," because the forces in opposition beat us in the field--as they are doing, and will continue to do, in Iraq. And so not only can we leave, we indeed will leave. Eventually--after far more massacres of our own making.

Very simple, this matter of "our own making". Hussein, however monstrous one may regard him, kept Iraq intact, and forestalled the kind of civil war that was bound to occur after we kicked him out of office and disenfranchised his entire governing infrastructure. We did this thing, and now comes the unpleasant sticker shock incurred by such a perverse and stupid exercise of mindless vanity.

And though we will leave Iraq, and leave it in ruins as we do so, we will never leave the general terrain of the Near and Middle East. For one thing, our 51st State, namely Israel, will refuse to secede from the Union, and so we will continue to support it and its wicked ways far beyond the foreseeable future. I call this support a "presence," and I call it "continuous".

But whatever the further adventures Israel will force us to embark upon, those adventures will have to be pursued by way of a detour around Iraq, and this will indeed be a very appalling detour. The iraqis, if they can ever recover, will do so without the contribution of a single American party, mercenary, elymosinary, or the usual blend of both. And though Europeans may have a role to play in this reconstruction, there will be other, non-European players of greater consequence. Or so it seems to me--as is evidenced, I must repeat, by the examples of China and Viet Nam (and there must be other instances of which I'm unaware).

Posted by: alabama | Oct 19, 2006 9:05:43 PM | 71

the u.s. needs to assure all parties and the world it will reject permanent military occupation and economic raiding and move swiftly to resolve the palestinian issue.

What makes you think any of this will happen in the forseeable future, or even in our lifetimes?

Posted by: ran | Oct 19, 2006 9:06:04 PM | 72

rgiap

the horrors shame me and my country. as usual, i must disagree w/ you about intrinsic qualities of "white," "u.s." these are signs, not essences. of the method of analysis, i find superiority in the one you yourself call "dialectical": the contradictions of capitalist power persistently accrue murderous failure to its operation, and inevitably it is exposed as a debasingly hopeless rhetoric and not a nature reconstituting its endless perfection. it's here, now, the curtain is raised briefly on this naked fraud, and now time to kill it. the extant techniques of power can be used to avert genocide-a catastrophe that is certain now if the u.s. "goes home." regrettably, there's no other choice.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 9:15:33 PM | 73

alabama

i think the changed circumstances of u s power in latin america highlight exactly how a people can live unfettered to the empire

we palpably feel a people's freedom being articulated almost everywhere there - & in some - some very real confrontations with lived memory

they show how a people can construct froms of hope even after their country has been used as a public abbatoirs

perhaps again, it is too early to tell but it is the sole source of hope in this corrupted & corrupting world

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 19, 2006 9:35:44 PM | 74

there's little comparison possible between this war and vietnam.

Posted by: slothrop | Oct 19, 2006 9:49:38 PM | 75

Slothrop, I don't have to make a comparison, I merely have to trace a continuity, a trend, a repetition compulsion. I could speak, indeed, of America's unbroken sequence of military actions and projects, dating from the lend-lease program to the operations in Iraq, and demonstrate that the intensity of our military investments fluctuates like a persisting and undulant fever. One of its repeated features is the habit of Americans to evacuate those fields in which they are driven out by opponents stronger than they. These are episodes, and rather minor episodes, in the broader narrative of our dependency on a militarized economy--having to increase its expenditures on men and materiel so as to fend off that most dreaded event of all--the Great Depression and its sequellae.

An economist could analyze this problem far more rigously than I.

Posted by: alabama | Oct 20, 2006 1:31:51 AM | 76

The occupation of Iraq must end. American troops must be brought home. There are so many dimensions to the destruction that was set into motion by this administration, by its political culture and its collaborators. There are multiple ways in which the occupier's power will be deposed. But others contradict this outcome, and we are offered some phantom, some grotesque vision more terrible than the concrete undoing we confront at the moment, as the relentless bogeyman destined to stalk us all if American forces disengage and leave Iraq.

The argument that Iraq will suffer a crueler fate if we cease to occupy the country is unfounded; and as an argument, it masks a fear of quite a different kind. This is not about Iraq falling into bloody oblivion after our forces leave. It is not about the deeply felt concern that is so ubiquitously expressed for the Iraqis, or for particular and outstanding individuals, like Riverbend. On the contrary, it is all about the karmic implications for America's sorry ass.

We have already suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq, the likes of which we haven't suffered since Vietnam. The stock market is skyrocketing, the price of gas is coming down, and the blood of an occupied country is gushing out of an open wound.

Lewis H. Lapham in a Notebook entry in Harper's Magazine (Sept '06) entitled Lionheart reminds readers of the pious conviction of Richard the Lionheart, that God had promised him great wealth if he undertook his Crusade in the Holy Land.

And King Richard became so incensed over the paucity of plunder, as time went by, that in his paranoia, he was convinced that his Muslim enemies must have been swallowing precious stones and gold, so as to deny the King his rightful boon. Richard had the bellies of some 30,000 Muslims cut open to see if his treasure might be hidden there. Lapham then turns his analysis to these shores and this time.

"In a country that recognizes no objective more worthwhile than the one incorporated in the expression "to make a killing", I don't know why so many people withold their applause. Were it not for the vapid hypocrisy that muddles the national political debate with idle moralizing----about the withdrawal of American troops or the disappearance of Iraqi children--the Republican politicians auditioning hairstyles for their November election campaigns could afford to tell the truth, to remind the voters that our greatness as a nation stems from what Upton Sinclair knew to be "those pecuniary standards of culture which estimate the excellence of a man by the amount of other people's happiness he can possess and destroy." Unfortunately, we live in a society that no longer remembers Sinclair's name, forgets that since the days of the ancient Romans it has been on their way to war that men have found the road to wealth."
I know this is not a very comforting bedtime story; but I have been thinking lately about my country's reckoning with disgrace. And to put this house in order, to readmit justice into our national experience, we must withdraw from Iraq.

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 20, 2006 1:56:16 AM | 77

Copeland :

And to put this house in order, to readmit justice into our national experience, we must withdraw from Iraq.

More than that. We withdrew from Viet Nam and here we are now.

We must realize billmon's visualization of the Anglo-American War Crime Tribunals, not just because the War Criminals themselves require justice, but primarily because we ourselves need to tune in everyday to Fox News and listen to the recapitulation of the actions of our state, not perhaps our state but certainly our responsibility, and to adopt some of the humility that the Germans adopted after their "adventure" into depravity.

Gerhard Schoeder just said no to Bush's and Blair's invitation and he was lauded at home in Germany. Whatever you may say about the Germans they did not invade Iraq and murder hundreds of thousands of innocents "because they happened to be feeling that way with no reason".

Is that to much to hope for as a minimal standard for the future?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Oct 20, 2006 3:11:15 AM | 78

Thanks for the post Billmon and others for good comments.

In Europe, it is easy to be against the Iraq war. I suppose that in the US it is not difficult either, as one can -still- justify being against war as a whole. Doing what one can (blogging, demonstrating, and so on) is positive yet never enough, as its effectiveness is moot.

I feel not shame but anger at the system that has rendered me pretty powerless.

It is interesting that Billmon speaks of the fear of losing the privileges of a middle class life - morality has material effects. But how? Certainly Billmon, others and myself don’t judge that supporting a war would in itself maintain well paying jobs and affordable gas? It was clear in 2002 that the Iraq ‘war’ would be a fiasco and that its long term effects would be detrimental, and not only to the Iraqis. Guilt as Uncle Scam said is not fruitful, others (Polly A etc) make the same point.

The fear is the fear of becoming a social outcast. The weird person for whom others have contempt, disdain, and treat with derision, if not worse - in the case of a police state. But the first fear is that of loosing touch with one’s fellows, those who are everywhere about. As the US is a very conventional society, with the core ideology functioning as social glue to paper over the deep divisions, it is very hard to step out or away (easier in Europe or Asia). Superficial criticism, even violent polemics, or over the top nasty cartoons (free speech!) are permitted, but they can’t cut to the heart. The result is a set of core beliefs, slogans and principles that can never be questioned, with a free-for-all medley outside of that. That core is stipulated by the governing class, the corporations; the end result is a double control. Absolute control of policy, particularly foreign policy, by the PTB, and loose control of dissidents, by giving them rope and ..hope.

That is what one has to break away from. Those who do often have little to lose; and are thus easily branded as ‘peculiar’ as they will often be young, poor, socially suspect, etc. etc. One calculates - I do - can I say that in public? Can I go that far? That is the barrier that must be swept away.

Sidebar: The fractioning of US politics and society as a whole (which is quite deliberately engineered) serves as multiple gates. 9/11 truthers have but one issue; Greens want to protect Alaska and whales; Fundies appear to want more control through the churches, and some new white power, some better redistribution to ‘reds’ via ‘blues’; Soccer Moms want pedophiles locked up. This cacophony is a sign of a lost society. (Similar in other parts of the West, such as France.)

How to do it is the big question.

Little waves, YES. Big waves would be better.


Posted by: Noirette | Oct 20, 2006 9:51:32 AM | 79

Principle & conviction ...

In full: Short resignation letter
BBC News, UK

Labour MP Clare Short has quit as a Labour MP and is to remain in Parliament as an independent. She resigned in a letter to the ...

Posted by: Outraged | Oct 20, 2006 10:25:01 AM | 80

Now, billmon, don't go wobbly on us. Shame is certainly natural here. But it shouldn't get in the way of even more appropriate emotions -- like vindictiveness and contempt.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Oct 20, 2006 1:00:51 PM | 81

Billmon is absolutely correct when he says "We may have put our words and our wallets on the line, but not our bodies."

And that's just it. We've moved far beyond the time, if there ever was a time, when peaceful protest can make a difference. Whatever became of the much hyped "World can't wait" massive uprising? Oh yeah, you had a "few hundred" show up with the usual accoutrements of costumes and tired old chants. And the next day to no one's surprise things continue on as before.

The problem is that we aren't willing to literally fight for what is right and good. We are not willing to lay our own lives down. When our country was stolen in 2000, what did we do? Nada. In any other country, citizens would have taken to the streets and taken up arms.
No we didn't do enough. Because we weren't willing to put our bodies on the line, because we weren't willing to fight and die for what's right, our country is hopelessly lost.

And what will folks do when the election is stolen yet again in a month's time? Most likely two things: Jack and Shit.


Posted by: Evil Bus Driver | Oct 20, 2006 2:10:53 PM | 82

slothrop wrote: there's little comparison possible between this war and vietnam

stan goff had no problemo finding plenty to write about vietnam in his latest essay @ truthdig (via informationclearinghouse
Perception Management

i'm reading gareth porter's perils of dominance: imbalance of power and the road to war in vietnam currently & his hypothesis in this heavily documented study is that the asymetry of power globally after the korean war armistice, and the u.s. recognition of the strategic opportunities this afforded them, was a leading reason for the u.s. & their proxy puppet ignoring the geneva accords & doing whatever the u.s. wanted w/o little fear of repurcussion. unchallenged dominant superpower, both militarily & economically, getting itself embroiled in a deadly tragedy from which it has little hope of achieving anything positive for the bulk of people in either country. from this level of narration, a comparison of the two situations sounds apt. only a third of the way into the book though...

Posted by: b real | Oct 20, 2006 2:38:23 PM | 83

what i understand today is what i understood in 1970 in vietnam - that u s imperiaism & its armed forces need to be defeated, decisively

whether, u s imperialism is the armed fist or international capital - then it is clear that that arm must be cut off

it has to be cut off so that it is never tempted to other 'adventures' - it is clear that each day now that they are being defeated - they are giving lessons to those who are oppressed because the mechanisms are in their way, transparent

it is certain, that the real vulnerability of the empire lies in its refusal of sovereignty to others & profound inequalities at home

decisive lessons are being learnt by those whom necessity teaches whether they are in iraq or in latin america

in america, in england, australia & parts of europe - they systematic emasculation of any power by the masses - has led those masses - to participate in a nightmare

tho it is scandalous to say that they are without sense or reason - 12 million people marched on the cities of the modern metropolis, they were confronted with an implacable empire & its minions with the whole arsenal of 'democracy' - at the service of those who have too much already, these masses were also confronted in nearly every case with & jurisprudence that tore out the heart of basic freedoms, yes tore its heart out, so the jailing of lawyer in new york is no surprise, that people are picked up at airports & are sent to syria, that a planet of fear is being built & it is true it is being built with the complicity of others. fear as generalised as that whi takes place in the modern cities - predicates against any action because it can jurisprudentially be called - 'terrorism' - & while there is aposter here who post anonymously or under a hundred different names - what we are doing, even here- will in time face the full brunt of that jurisprudence

it is naiveté, exceptionalism or idealism that would suggest otherwise

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 20, 2006 2:42:31 PM | 84

Tony Judt: Bush’s Useful Idiots

It is particularly ironic that the ‘Clinton generation’ of American liberal intellectuals take special pride in their ‘tough-mindedness’, in their success in casting aside the illusions and myths of the old left, for these same ‘tough’ new liberals reproduce some of that old left’s worst characteristics. They may see themselves as having migrated to the opposite shore; but they display precisely the same mixture of dogmatic faith and cultural provincialism, not to mention the exuberant enthusiasm for violent political transformation at other people’s expense, that marked their fellow-travelling predecessors across the Cold War ideological divide. The use value of such persons to ambitious, radical regimes is an old story. Indeed, intellectual camp followers of this kind were first identified by Lenin himself, who coined the term that still describes them best. Today, America’s liberal armchair warriors are the ‘useful idiots’ of the War on Terror.

In fairness, America’s bellicose intellectuals are not alone. In Europe, Adam Michnik, the hero of the Polish intellectual resistance to Communism, has become an outspoken admirer of the embarrassingly Islamophobic Oriana Fallaci; Václav Havel has joined the DC-based Committee on the Present Danger (a recycled Cold War-era organisation dedicated to rooting out Communists, now pledged to fighting ‘the threat posed by global radical Islamist and fascist terrorist movements’); André Glucksmann in Paris contributes agitated essays to Le Figaro (most recently on 8 August) lambasting ‘universal Jihad’, Iranian ‘lust for power’ and radical Islam’s strategy of ‘green subversion’. All three enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq.

In the European case this trend is an unfortunate by-product of the intellectual revolution of the 1980s, especially in the former Communist East, when ‘human rights’ displaced conventional political allegiances as the basis for collective action. The gains wrought by this transformation in the rhetoric of oppositional politics were considerable. But a price was paid all the same. A commitment to the abstract universalism of ‘rights’ – and uncompromising ethical stands taken against malign regimes in their name – can lead all too readily to the habit of casting every political choice in binary moral terms. In this light Bush’s War against Terror, Evil and Islamo-fascism appears seductive and even familiar: self-deluding foreigners readily mistake the US president’s myopic rigidity for their own moral rectitude.

But back home, America’s liberal intellectuals are fast becoming a service class, their opinions determined by their allegiance and calibrated to justify a political end. In itself this is hardly a new departure: we are all familiar with intellectuals who speak only on behalf of their country, class, religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, and who shape their opinions according to what they take to be the interest of their affinity of birth or predilection. But the distinctive feature of the liberal intellectual in past times was precisely the striving for universality; not the unworldly or disingenuous denial of sectional interest but the sustained effort to transcend that interest.


recommended

Posted by: b | Oct 20, 2006 3:28:35 PM | 85

recently heard chomsky speak and he suggested the wars incomparable because of the stakes. vietnam was a war of liberation fought during coldwar division of influences by relatively homogeneous insurgency. it was also a war the u.s. could quit given the reality of containment of soviet influence in s.e. asia. iraq is much different, both in the composition of insurgency and the quality of result should the u.s. be driven away. losing, chomsky said, is inconceivable to the policy elite for a range of reasons obviously diverging from mostly the war of ideology fought in vietnam. and indeed, oine can just as well say, the latter was a war won by the u.s., after all.

really, i don't see many useful comparisons.


Posted by: slothrop | Oct 20, 2006 4:47:52 PM | 86

Slothrop is right, cut to the chase, this is a resource war.

Fat Fucking Bastards that we are in Europe, we have got to realise we are not the middle-men, fat fucking chance.............

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Oct 20, 2006 5:54:03 PM | 87

Slothrop,

I am amazed that you offer that the Vietnamese didn't kick our broad American asses. This reminds me of the hilarious dialogue at the end of the film, A Fish Called Wanda

"America never lost a war".
"You did."
"Oh yeah, which war then?"
"Vietnam."
"It was a tie."
"No it wasn't, you lost."
"No we didn't."
"They kicked your aaaa..ss."

The old republican ideologues who remember the 60s bitterly, would even now like to blot out or recast the history of the Berrigans, the Free Speech movement, Student Mobe, the assassinations of political figures and the burning ghettoes. We had the radio then; and radio was a big deal, culturally and politically. You could hear protest songs. Now we have Clear Channel, where all you hear is a great sucking noise.


John Francis Lee,

You correctly point out that "we withdrew from Vietnam, and here we are now." There is so much to be done politically, after we disengage from Iraq. I agree.

rgiap,

I could say something macho, like "they'll have to pry the Constitution from my cold, dead hands". But the joke is a little dark. I went through a period of dire straights in my youth, feeling like a fugitive/outcast in my own country, as kids my age were making difficult choices about the draft, measuring their commitment to non-violence, as they tried to stay in school to survive, as they tried going underground if they had to.

We had to protest, march. In order to oppose the war completely, we had to go a little crazy, claw our way outside the box, peel off pieces of identity to which the ego clings. I'm neither heroic nor foolish (or at least I believe so) if I blog under my real name. In the last Garrison Keillor movie, one of the characters, who wanders around a troupe of actors in a radio play, (the Angel of Death, I believe) says that "the death of an old man is not a tragedy". She was talking about death by natural causes though, in the particular case.

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 20, 2006 8:00:01 PM | 88

Beyond a certain point, the political protests of the 60's were counterproductive. After Tet, people who hadn't been paying much attention bothered to look at a map and noticed that Viet Nam was off in a corner of Asia with no valuable resources. They concluded that it wasn't worth the lives, money and general hassle. Nixon promised to get us out without losing face, and Humphrey couldn't.

OTOH, they didn't like the way protest got mixed up with the demographics of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. And they were profoundly disturbed by the revolutionary overtones. Foreigners were amazed that Nixon resigned without any talk of a coup. That wouldn't have happened in many countries. But the citizenry of the time were committed to an orderly political process to an extent that made the stereotypical German burgher look like a bomb-throwing anarchist. They wanted to get out of Nam in a way that didn't make us look like losers or admit that we were selling out the Vietnamese who supported us. And Nixon gave them that.

I'm not belittling the moral conflicts that many people went through, just pointing out that the effect of demonstrations was a net advantage for the bad guys. I suspect that similar demonstrations today wouldn't have much effect either way. The public are more complacent. Henry David Thoreau wouldn't get 3 minutes on a local news channel.

Posted by: Roger Bigod | Oct 20, 2006 8:51:35 PM | 89

both uncle ho & general giap were clear on thos point - the anti war movement was a crucial factor in the ending of yet another unjust war

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 20, 2006 9:41:20 PM | 90

to take one example with which i was personally involved with - medical aid to the vietnamese was of critical importance at a number of stages in their war of liberation

the individual in lyon, lagos, long beach aided practically

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 20, 2006 9:54:58 PM | 91

I fully support R'Giaps contention and in reference to Ho Chi Minh and Gen. Giap, both sides key players assuredly understood the strategic & geopolitical criticalities ... and now, the explicit parallels, from the 'other' side ...

Kissinger's "Salted Peanuts"
and the Iraq War

The National Security Archive Posts Original
Document Cited in Bob Woodward's State of Denial

Washington D.C., October 2, 2006 - For understandable reasons, the George W. Bush administration has shunned comparisons between the war in Iraq and the Vietnam War. But in his latest book, State of Denial, Bob Woodward writes that Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state--and a secret (and frequent) consultant to the current president--has made the parallel explicit to the White House.

According to Woodward, Kissinger recently gave a Bush aide a copy of a memo he wrote in 1969 arguing against troop withdrawals from Southeast Asia, an issue as salient four decades ago as it is now.

Kissinger's September 10, 1969, advice to President Nixon famously characterized withdrawals from Vietnam as "salted peanuts" to which the American people would become addicted...


Posted by: Outraged | Oct 20, 2006 10:15:21 PM | 92

Ahem, here's the link re #92 ...

Posted by: Outraged | Oct 20, 2006 10:18:22 PM | 93

Ah, but Iraq is different, it's a civil war ... bullshit !

All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers [and all women are sisters].
~François Fénelon


The concept of priveledged combatants as opposed to unpriveledged or unlawful combatants ...

Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "A Declaration of Rights"


Hell, it's not like any of it matters, the grey soulless old white men are just expending our human trash whilst incidentally killing the worlds human trash whilst makin' a profit for thier backers whilst ensuring a continuing supply of the most addictive drug known, power.

The draft [and therefore war] is white people sending black people [and white trash] to fight yellow people [and brown people] to protect the country they stole from red people.
~Gerome Gragni and James Rado, 1967


Why we are where we are ...

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passions, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
~André Gide, Journals, 13 September 1938

and/or

Men were made for war. Without it they wandered greyly about, getting under the feet of the women, who were trying to organize the really important things of life.
~Alice Thomas Ellis


Why it is so inredibly difficult to convince those who have not seen the elephant, why it should not be so ...

Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier [or worse, an innocent] dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.
~Otto Von Bismark


Lastly, why all other arguments in the affirmative are still, false ...

If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say "no" to war. For one does not create a human society on mounds of corpses.
~Louis Lecoin


War is fear cloaked in courage.
~William Westmoreland


Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood.
~Gandhi, Non-violence in Peace and War, 1948

Posted by: Outraged | Oct 20, 2006 11:05:24 PM | 94

the effect of demonstrations was a net advantage for the bad guys.

i disagree. the war dragged on so long, the protests didn't even start until 3 or so years into the war, then they didn't go away. simultaniously the culture went thru radical changes. i'm not sure that would have occurred w/such intensity had the war not been a factor. granted, we were ready for a change but the war pushed otherwise mainstream people into coonsidering alternatives. an example being the characters portrayed by fonda and voight in born on the 4th of july.

because the alternative was the subculture, we became an option. now there is this meme of dirty hippie. i know that wasn't the majority of the underground. hippie maybe.. a similarity that occurs to me is building now. an awareness of the corruptness, secret prisons, freedom of speech, spying, these aren't just concerns for the far left. when someone experiences a trifecta initiated on fear or paranoia and shifts in their life, not necessarily in baby steps, sometimes choosing to throw it all away, go for the full monte, similar to gambling.. there is this sense well, i'm free now, or i'm taking a leap, i may as well jump off.

this new generation, one's that had expectations , once they realize the futility, it it happens en mass which is what happened over a few years in the 60's early 70's it is not just as a result of the protests but the realization that the culture war is moving against you.this is what nixon must have felt, the ground swell. the 100th monkey. w/a society so large and diverse, onc the people start to move in a pack mentality, which is what started to happen after 70/71, this exceptance that the war was bs, and WTF wer we there for and did anyone really care about... where the hell is vietnam anyway.

propaganda only works if you have an audience, and they have lost their audience. this is just the beginning. 3+ years. if bush nolds out, that will turn to 6, 7,8, we may have another 60's. i don't think the protests are going to be the same form necessarily. this is the information age. something big will push back. anyway, i think the protests made a big difference but the propaganda, especially the 'your non support is hurting our troops' bs, is the same megaphone that spoke about people spitting on tropps. the same people that promote the 'dirty hippie' idea. of course they want us to think the moratoriums

Posted by: annie | Oct 20, 2006 11:27:01 PM | 95

wonder why it cut off my ending? humph... i will try to watch the keys and minimize the typos...

of course they want us to think the moratoriums were worthless, but i don't agree.
i think they had a mobilizing effect, they were a thorn in nixons side, they wouldn't go away, and more and more people were waking up.

i forget the reat of what i wrote...

Posted by: annie | Oct 20, 2006 11:36:46 PM | 96

Outraged: Word.

"Man has no right to kill his brother"

Posted by: jonku | Oct 21, 2006 1:04:58 AM | 97

The current admin has applied the "lessons learnt" from Vietnam to very good effect in keeping the opposition weak & down. Thats why theres no draft. Also they have used every tool in the box to intimidate the Dems into compliance.

but there may be chinks in the armor, for real.

The Repubs are becoming a victim of their own succcess. Their beat-down of opposition at home has strongly enabled their agenda. On the other hand, it has also enabled the public's abilitiy to develop a more steady focus on the war itself and less on divisive issues, unlike the case during Vietnam.

Also, the political leadership of LBJ and Nixon were quite impacted by the increasing bog-down and wear-down of Vietnam. GWB may not be quite as engaged, but his political leadership is no less vunerable.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 21, 2006 1:37:32 AM | 98

I'm with annie. People are changing their minds. They are still going along, but more and more they see the naked emperor. I can't say how long it will take before this pack of usurpers loses power, but these particular leaders do not really matter as much as the sheer loss of faith in the "virtue" of our leadership that Bush is so effectively demolishing.

When the faithful who think of themselves as jaded (slothrop, I'm looking at you) abandon casual support because it sickens and shames them, then we will be looking at change.

I'm not saying they won't destroy a lot more as they go down, just that they destroy themselves too.

Posted by: citizen | Oct 21, 2006 3:27:46 AM | 99

our job is to save each other. I happen to think songs and stories are part of that. Guess I'll go look at the whispering oak.

Posted by: citizen | Oct 21, 2006 3:28:52 AM | 100

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