No War! Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration
Night Shade Message Boards » War » No War! « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 08:48 am:   

NO WAR!


One would think, with the start of a new century and the lessons learned in the past, that the US would by this time have found some leadership whose response to difficulties abroad could be more complex than the assertion of military might. Our elected officials have failed us miserably, though, leading us pell-mell into another conflict that will wreak havoc on the stability of the world, cost the deaths of thousands of innocent lives, the deaths of our sons and daughters, plunge the world economy into ruin and create a justified anti-American sentiment around the globe. The electorate has no one to blame but themselves. We sat idly by while a presidential election was hijacked. Now we sit idly by, with scant proof of a need for war, accepting the flim-flam of an administration, with more than passing ties to the US oil industry, whose goals are completely unclear. It has been said many times that war should be the last resort, but here we are ready to make a pre-emptive strike against a country who might threaten us at some undefined point in the future. How can the rest of the world feel anything but ill at ease if American policy has switched now to military action against possible future threats? Which nation in the world could not be viewed as a possible threat at some undefined point in the future? And why Iraq, which poses no major threat at the current time? North Korea is far more a pressing issue than Iraq, as they have nuclear weapons and the missles to deliver them, but there we will use détente. This signals to every country on the globe that the only way to survive is to manufacture a nuclear arsenal. That is the only bargaining chip worth anything in a world run rough shod over by the present US policy. The president’s lack of interest in joining with the rest of the UN to try to solve the problem of Iraq is not surprising. The Republican party has been long known to believe that the UN represents nothing more than an impediment to US interests. So, with this latest conflict, they will have their war, get their oil, and sunder the importance of the UN. Where are our congressmen and senators on this issue? Every time the administration wants to keep the rising tide against a war in check, it throws up another terror alert. We’ve grown used to the yellow ones, so now we are on to orange. Every month it seems we lose more personal rights through legislation spurred by a manufactured paranoia. The greatest outrage of the entire sad chapter of American history is that those who would oppose the war are kept in check by others who would call their beliefs Un-American. Notice the loss of individual freedoms comes under the auspices of The Patriot Act. How’s that for cynical? Patriotism has always been the last refuge of scoundrels, and here it is again. For these reasons, I oppose a war against Iraq. The answers to these dilemmas of foreign policy are not easy, but we have in the US a country of great minds and great resources. Do you mean to tell me there is no other solution to the present problem other than dropping bombs? When will the US wake up to the fact that we belong to a global community and that asserting our will through aggression is a poison that will slowly destroy us?

Best Wishes,


Jeffrey Ford
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:35 am:   

This is like deja vu for me. In 1994, they told us to pack our gear, we were going to Iraq. In 1995 they told us to pack our gear, we were going to Korea, and they told us that the estimated casualties for our unit hovered around 94%. That, by the way, is not really what you want hear when you're the shlub being sent out with a rifle. Thankfully we didn't end up going, but I feel for the poor bastards who are sitting where I was ten years ago. Jeff said it better than I can, but this whole thing is stupid.

Jason
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:42 am:   

Jason: Many of my students are in the military and have already left for the gulf. These are very bright, capable and honorable people, and I hate to see them put into harms way for a conflict so ill defined that will do us no good in the long run. To have someone like yourself who has been in the military agree with me on this issue means a great deal since you bring a perspective to the issue that I can't. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:03 am:   

Thanks for that statement, Jeff. It puts it as succinctly and directly as I've yet seen. I agree 100%.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:11 am:   

JeffV: Thanks for adding your voice.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

Thanks for posting this.

It's good for us out here to know that there's hope for America, after all.

Funny how Europe is much more united in this than it seems from what it's leaders are doing - all of us peoples are against the war, from those in the "old Europe" to those in the "new Europe" (in Spain, opposition to the war goes up to 90%, in Portugal to 70%, in Italy something around the same figures, etc.), even to the "closest ally" - one million people in the streets of London is a helluva sight, and pretty much unthinkable until recently...

I'm curious about Canada, though... what are ya canucks thinking about this mess, eh?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Alan DeNiro
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 12:23 pm:   

Great post, Jeff. Do you like Get Your War On? There's a new one up:

http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war19.html

Best,
Alan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 12:53 pm:   

Unfortunately, even here in Europe, most of the leaders are not listening to the people. Italy is a great example. Between 1 and 3 million people marched in Rome against this war (and remember, Italy is about the size of California) - Unfortunately, the president is a some sort of neo-fascist . . . And of course none of these guys are willing to put their own diamond-studded lives on the line . . .

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 12:59 pm:   

Yeah, Brendan, same here. The people says one thing, the morons in the government say another.

Let's just hope they receive what they deserve in the next elections...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:03 pm:   

Jorge: Hi, thanks for dropping by to comment.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:05 pm:   

Brendan: Good point! That's one of the major frustrations about this. We have these leaders, who supposedly represent us, but in the end they only represent their own self-interests. Thanks for your comments.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:09 pm:   

Alan: Never before saw the site, but I got a good crack out of it when I just checked it. Thanks for commenting. I also wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your "Unified Field" essay at Fantastic Metropolis. Great piece of writing.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 02:16 pm:   

Alan:

That link is awesome! Thanks.

Jeff V.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 07:50 pm:   

Just chipping in. I'm American, I'm opposed to the war, and I'm having one helluva time in my US Government and Politics class, being attacked by the whole class. I wish I were half as smart or eloquent as I like to pretend I am.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 08:34 pm:   

Mastadge: Where do you go to school? I can't find one damn person on the side of the administration to even get a decent argument going. I know some of these people must have voted for Bush, but they're running for the hills these days. Not to worry, as Emerson says, "To be great is to be misunderstood."

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 09:07 pm:   

Hartwick College

And to tell the truth, there's really only one person in the class that's really solidly behind Bush. The rest of them, though, are generally trying to convince me that a "preemptive war" against the "Iraqi terrorists" who are "planning to attack us" is the way to go. And no one really seems sure what our "national interests" are, nor what they have to do with "Homeland Security." And every time I bring up oil, or suggest that dropping explosives on civilians might not only not *stop* terrorism and anti-American sentiment but in fact promote it, I get shouted down.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:30 pm:   

Mastadge: It sounds like you are blessed with a situation that could be truly educational. The first thing you should do is reevaluate your own argument. Make sure you understand in a specific way how your points will be perceived and what kind of substantiating detail you have to back them up. If there is a lot of high emotion and shouting going on, you have to get more strategic in your method of argumentation, otherwise you will be overwhelmed. Here's a few things to try. Always remain calm (easier said than done, believe me, I'm usually not great at this). Listen carefully to what they say. Key in first on the rhetoric that is used. Not just the intent, but the actual words they are using to convey their ideas are important.
Ask them to be specific where you think their terminology is vague. Ask pointed questions about one particular issue at a time, in order to get past generalizations. Don't take on the entire issue at once, but break it down to a smaller concern and attack that first. Every time an opponent in an argument explains something, they reveal more points of weakness. This is where your "factual" knowledge will come in handy. If you have more substantiating detail at your disposal, you can address specifics more cogently than your opponent. Remember, every argument holds the seeds to its own destruction. I've already found the major weak spot in my rant above, and I'm sure there are more. Try to be as analytical as possible and I bet it will lead you to better results. And, of course, respect those you are arguing against for having an opinion and for being willing to engage you in discussion (not really my strong suit either). See how it works. Come back and tell me I'm full of shit if you get trounced again.

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 12:02 am:   

The real key is that people are being lied to. There is absolutely NO link to terrorists from Iraq; and attacking them thus would be like shooting your neighbor in the head because you think that one day he might punch you . . . By the way, even though I live in Switzerland I am an American. ANd I can say with all honesty, since Bush took office, anti-American feelings have grown ten-fold. Two years ago everyone liked Americans. After 9-11 they felt sorry for them. Now they are both frightened and disgusted by them (us). Terrible stuff.

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 04:25 am:   

"There is absolutely NO link to terrorists from Iraq; and attacking them thus would be like shooting your neighbor in the head because you think that one day he might punch you "

That's the same thing I wrote in a current events assignment for that class. Almost. I said beat him into a coma with a baseball bat rather than shoot in the head, but I added on a bit about stealing his shoes once he's down.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 06:39 am:   

Brendan: Yeah, Bush is a dismal failure. I could feel the whole country slip into the crapper when he took office. The minute he took the oath, the economy started to head for a nose dive. No confidence. It was a bullshit election and we've got a court appointed president. The fact that people around the world would judge all Americans by the idiotic nature of our president goes to show you that we have not cornered the market here on the failure to approach issues with a complexity of thought.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 09:34 am:   

True Jeff. But most people, when it comes to other countries, just see what is put in front of them on TV and the papers. And most of what people see from America (aside from Leonardo de Caprio skipping through pools of blood) is the face of George II. - When he got elected (or at least had his coup d'état) of course most Europeans said that it did not make a difference to them who the pres of the US was. No-one says that now.

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 10:24 am:   

Brendan: Too true.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 10:29 am:   

I learned today in class that "Korea definitely has nuclear weapons, but Iraq may definitely have them, too." I had fun with that one. One week into the semester and I'm already having an absolute blast in this class.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

LeslieWhat
Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 01:50 pm:   

My sister-in-law recently flew to North Carolina to pick up her one-year-old grandson from the base. It seems that both the baby's parents are being shipped overseas for an unspecified amount of time.

My shock that our American Way is one in which an infant is removed from his parents so that they can both be sent to fight in a looming war is mitigated by knowing that People Magazine plans to interview my sister-in-law.

It seems she's now a human interest story. I'm so glad there's human interest in one of the hidden costs of war. If I had any cockles left, I'm sure they'd be feeling kinda warm about now.

I cannot imagine what it's like for the parents to have said goodbye -- and for the little boy, who had only seen his grandmother a few times before going to live with her.

Bush is not my leader.

L.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2003 - 03:39 pm:   

Leslie: Great to see you here! Thanks for commenting. Hope you are doing well.

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 05:03 pm:   

How can someone who barely squeaked into office (and not even under his own steam) believe he has any kind of mandate for ANY of his policies? That's what dismays me as much as anything else.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 05:53 pm:   

I was recently in Egypt and Jordan. It was interesting to talk to a few of the people there. Some of these were people who lived in mud-brick huts, but they'd often have a small TV, and they watched the news avidly. They certainly made a distinction between the US government and the US people (and the Australian ditto, come to that). They weren't exactly fans of Bush, but they said they liked the American people they'd met.
I just wish more people could or would go to the Middle East and meet the people who do the same jobs they do. Or guys like Abed, who we met in Egypt. He wanted to go to Yorkshire so he could learn to do the accent. Or Fayez in Jordan, possibly the most urbane human being I've ever met. The young man with green eyes in Amman who gave me free cakes. The little boy in Cairo who helped us when we were lost in the old city in the middle of the night. Nana our guide, who was worried about her weight.
They're real people over there, and sometimes I think that too many people in the west, including those presently in government, don't really get that.
Our prime minister has sent troops over, against the loudly expressed wishes of the people. He criticised those of us who took part in protest marches, blithering that we were making a peaceful solution less likely. I'm ashamed and, frankly, I'm frightened about what's going to happen - for the Iraquis and for all of us.
I just had to get that off my chest.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:51 am:   

Actually, I can understand Bush, but I cannot understand Blair.

Bush is someone whose ideology (or it would perhaps be more accurate to speak of the ideology of who owns Bush) makes all his actions predictable and coherent. In heart, he is a fascist, reluctantly conformed with the american caricature of democracy, but expressing all his fascism in international relations by mistrusting and sabotaging the only legitimate and somewhat democratic places of international power, particularly the UN, and imposing his will by the force of weapons, as all other fascists did before him.

From the same area come the portuguese, spanish and italian leaderships, who support american aggression against other EU members and against the will of the respective peoples, overwhelmingly against it. These guys are in political areas compromised and sympathetic with the respective fascisms of the past. Berlusconi has well-known links with the Mussolini nostalgics, the party of Aznar includes former ministers of Franco, and many of the current portuguese leaders refer to the Salazar dictatorship as a "paternalistic regime".

But Blair was supposed to be on the left, for christssakes. His party is called "Labour". Whaddahell is he doing in this bunch?!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 04:08 am:   

"But Blair was supposed to be on the left, for christssakes."

So were Stalin, Ceausescu and Milosevic. Just look at what happened . . .

Best,
Luís
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:34 am:   

Ellen: I agree. That election was the shadiest. I should post that speech that you sent me from Senator Robert Byrd. He's not always my favorite politician, but i think he really nailed the issues in that one.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:37 am:   

K. J.: I envy you all of your journeys. I try to get the same experience by reading writers in translations from other cultures, but I know it is a pale excuse for actually being there and meeting the flesh and blood individuals. Also, thanks for the information concerning Australia's role in all of this. I was unaware of what the overall feelings were about it in your country. Glad to see you on the board here.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:42 am:   

Jorge: I share your disillusionment with Blair. That guy blows whichever way the winds of American politics do. In other words, he blows.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

Luis: Good point!!!

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:53 am:   

Jeff. Do post that speech. It's brillian. Or at least point a url to it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:43 am:   

Why would one think that we have learned from the past, that the US would have found leadership whose response to difficulties abroad is more complex than the assertion of military might, Jeff? When has a powerful nation ever learned a lesson? When have their leaders ever acted other than insane? Who is there out there in the pool of potential leaders that would have acted markedly different from Bush? Once one of these "qualified" assholes rises to the office of President, they act much the same and fail to understand that in certain cases inaction is the best policy. You'll get no quarrel from me on most of what you've said in your post. There's no doubt that Bush is a monstrously simian creature surrounded by grasping, evil men... just as was Clinton, Bush Sr., and every other American president in memory. Some of them had a better public face, but all of them were cold sons-of-bitches, which is the quality essential to accumulating power,

If Gore had been president, I believe we'd be in the same boat. American foreign policy has been, basically, the wielding of a club ever since Teddy Roosevelt sent the Navy to the Phillipines. American presidents opt for bombs because their foreign policy has never developed the least subtlety or long-range view. I doubt it ever will. The only thing that amazes me about the situation is that it takes something like this to arouse a general political consicence in the American people. War is simply the most visible symptom of our foreign policy, and I would wager that the non-military exercise of our foreign policies have caused--by dint of machination, oppression, and the propping up of vile leaders in other countries during the last hundred years or so--far more catastrophic damage to Third and Fourth World nations than have our military adventures. People who become active politically at the advent of a war...well, that's fine. But frankly, speaking as someone who has been in sympathy with the left wing for my entire life, I find as much fault with the left as with the right wing. Where do these people who protest war go during peacetime? That is when it's easiest to achieve significant change in foreign policy, That's when some positive change can actually be effected, and it's been my experience that during those times, the political conscience of the American public goes, more-or-less, to sleep, that it becomes as banal and ineffective a voice as that of the right-wing sheep. To protest this war is admirable, to react strongly to the imminent loss of life is moral and good, but this war, the real war, goes on 24-7, 365 days a year every year, and the sudden swelling of the ranks of the righteous always makes me sad, because I know that come the peace they'll go away and that's when they're really needed...and that's when they don't stand up. It would seem that it is the potential loss of American life that arouses anti-war passions, and not the plight of other nations. We are a complacent populace until threatened. For my part, I don't believe protest truly takes effect until bodies start coming home and what Nixon termed "the Silent Majority" wakes to the fact that their children are being killed. That time is obviously fast approaching. Our government has pre-ordered 75,000 body bags.

This is a general statement, not directed at you personally, and is based on a cynicism acquired from years of peacetime political activity. I've been involved with a number of projects, most relating to oppressed segments of the population in Latin America, for the past two decades, and the indifference with which these causes have been met by almost every group, writers, artists, insurance salesmen, whatever, has left me with a poor opinion of the quality of the American political soul. An example. When I was in EL Salvador during the early 80s, I attempted to rouse some passion against our policies there among the literary establishment, both in science fiction circles and otherwise, and was greeted mostly with an attitude that might be summed up by, "Oh, dear! He's off on that again." El Salvador, a mere three-hour plane ride from our borders, was as close to hell as I have ever witnessed, and our actions there were demonic in their effect. Nobody gave a damn. There were brief flurries of protest, but when the media failed to sponsor the cause, the passion of the protesters died. I believe our country demands more of us than these intermittent and facile passions. I believe that if we do not forge ourselves into a political force that outlasts a season of war, we are doomed to repeat the failures of the past.

Over the years I have been conversant with a great many soldiers, both on and off the field of battle. Some of these soldiers were children without shoes and carried old hunting rifles; others were blessed with sturdy boots and the latest firepower. I admired them all, feared for them, and loved many in the way people love when blood and smoke are in the air. Most of them did not entirely understand their purpose, the purpose of the men who had sent them into harm's way. Yet they went forward, step by step, into the teeth of the beast. All their deaths, all their deeds, all their stories will be no more than a waste of life and beauty until the day the American people wake to the fact that politics is not a seasonal sport for which one roots on occasion; it is rather a powerful stream that must be dealt with, manipulated, and channeled in every season, however peaceful. Because we have not woken to this, we have the leaders we deserve.

More and more I find myself feeling hopeless as regards the world. I see no tendency on the part of our citizenry to look beyond their borders except in times of duress, and this being the case, I I am increasingly tempted to conclude that the poet Gary Snyder was spot on when he said:

wide world great trouble
peace war religion will not help.

Best wishes,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

KJ Bishop
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:50 am:   

Jeff: yes, I doubted that Australia would have been mentioned very much. We're such a tiny country (politically). To spend a few billion dollars and send a couple of thousand troops is a big deal for us.
I should have clarified: a majority here - though not a large majority - will support a war if the UN backs it. Very few will support it sans the UN. Then there's a decently large number that want no war at all. Apart from the moral concerns, there's also the fact that we're right next door to the world's largest Islamic country, Indonesia. Our relationship with Indonesia is very important for us, and it's a delicate one at the best of times. We're worried that a war in the Middle East will set off the Islamic radicals, like the Jemaah Islamiyah, in south-east Asia.
Our PM is grotesquely devoted to Bush. He seems to be getting off on the whole thing, and Bush is making him feel like a big man. Meanwhile, a senior US diplomat criticised members of the opposition party for speaking out against Bush and the war.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 10:28 am:   

Lucius: I appreciate your point of view, and it's not that I am blind to it, but I feel I can't not express my opinion. You are aware, of course, that your stance is a form of righteousness that trumps the righteous. "The world weariness of it all" was never a head that did much for me. In saying that, I don't doubt that everything you are expressing is valid. I realize that what I have written is nothing new, but I think if more people made it absolutely evident as to where they stood, it would create a climate in which people wouldn't feel fearful of speaking out, which is how I think a lot of people feel now. In any event, thanks for the long post and the ideas. It's good to hear from you on this.
PS: I got a Floater in my in-box today.

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 11:28 am:   

I believe you missed my point, Jeff. That you chose to isolate my last comment seems evidence of this. I'm not at all against people speaking out--I'm for it. I'm simply trying to put the current situation in perspective and say that speaking out now is one thing, speaking out after and before the fact is another. That, the latter, seems to me a more pertinent act in terms of its effectiveness. I was hoping to encourage people to believe that when the war is over, it's not over.

It's interesting that you label my post "righteous." That implies, to me, that you yourself feel righteous to a degree, or that you conceive the situation as being one of right and wrong. I certainly feel nothing of the sort. I simply feel my post was realistic. Political activism should not be, in my view, purely reactionary if it is to be effective. That, in sum, is the essence of what I wrote.. If you choose to perceive that as righteous, so be it. To my mind it is merely practical.

World-weary? I disinclude myself from the image that presents. If I were world-weary I would not have been involved with politics over the past twenty years. Tired of constantly butting up against the same brutally stupid barriers? Cynical in my view of human nature? Somewhat despairing of the possibility that the sleeping giant of the American political conscience will not go to sleep again at the next opportunity? You bet. But not world-weary. Neither righteousness nor world-weariness figures in to effective political activism. Righteousness is abandoned early on -- in order to operate contrary to American foreign policy in places that have no interest to the publc, one must make interesting compromises and often deal with bad people and circumstances that are far from righteous. To this I would add that the world I've dealt with politically is never a cause for righteousness. Right and wrong are ideal hues that don't really exist. The mentality of "Four legs good, two legs bad" doesn't get it for me. Political truth is slippery. You have to deal with whoever's across the table from you, be they bipedal or otherwise. And you have to accept that some of what you do may be harmful to some segment or another of the population. These are verities, obvious truths, but in light of your previous post, I thought they bore repeating.

As stated, my previous post was directed not at you personally, but was a general statement. Sorry if there was an misunderstanding.

Best wishes,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 12:49 pm:   

Lucius: Yeah, there is always a sense of righteousness about speaking out, so I probably do, but I got over it because I wanted to say something. I did misinterpret your post and this time around its very clear. I agree. I think it was the quote from Gary Snyder that threw me off. You're right though that these issues will get a lot of play now and then will fizzle after the war. It is a good point. Sorry for misreading your intent. I think what it is you are saying is that something as high profile as this becomes a fleeting fad for would be do gooders, like some kind of new reality show that people are latching onto.
Onward! Thanks for writing back.

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:01 pm:   

I just have to add something. Yes, everything Lucius (and Jeff) has said is true. But it's also true that the "lesser of two evils" is most definitely "lesser". Under Gore, for example, we wouldn't be blindly destroying our environment, lowering our air standards, etc. It is certainly possible our foreign policy might bear some resemblance to Bush's, but it's simply untrue that you can lump all of these politicians together. Some do less harm than others. And that less harm can affect millions of lives. I simply do not believe that you can say this is so. If I've misinterpreted Lucius' comments, fine. But it's bad to generalize, period.

Jeff V.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:03 pm:   

Jeff,

I think what would be interesting is if, during the course of this current anti-war effort, some effort was made to harness the forces it unleashes to a bigger wagon. In other words, to focus the energies involved onto the larger picture of our country's policies both home and abroad. The left is at the moment in political limbo. Unfashionable, with no vital leader in sight. But it's going to become more fashionable when people start dying, and when that happens it's up to us, I think ("us" being an extremely inclusive term), to manufacture some organizational engine that will run on after the war and help give the left a voice that the media will be unable to belittle, a voice that will be respected in bar rooms as well as coffee houses.

Something to study on, I believe.

Hope "Floater" doesn't make you gag.

Best wishes,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:03 pm:   

Clarification: "I simply do not believe that you can say this is not so", referring to the sentence directly before it.

Jeff V.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:12 pm:   

Lucius: Also, I lack your experience with real world situations in which I am not operating outside my own home sphere and this can easily make one lose the sense that political situations are more gray than black and white. Actually this is one of the aspects of your fiction that I like. You present a lot of these situations and the answers are rarely if ever the good guys have the white hats the bad guys the black. Here, in middle America, even if you are against the president, you still have a tendency to think politically in the same good/bad way as the administration. Lack of complexity, in other words, which was what I was ranting about in my post. Oi.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Luís
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:12 pm:   

Mr Shepard: I agree. Protesting against war is admirable, of course, but it can also be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. In recent years, I've become increasingly disturbed by the general apathy of the population . . . People unfortunately seem to think that because they elected (or not) a leader to solve their problems, they're excused of any further responsibility over the country (and the world in general). Like they don't need to keep an eye on the bastards at all times . . .

Best, Luís
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

That should be "in which I am operating" in the first line of that previous post.

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 01:57 pm:   

Re: everything above...

In my not so humble opinion, whoever seeks power is not to be trusted, period. If I am an anarchist for saying this, so be it, I'm an anarchist. But if to seek power loyally, respecting other peoples' worldviews and lifestyles, expressing your own opinions and not cheating anyone is one thing, to seek power as Dubya did, leaning on his daddy's experience and wealth and on god only knows what else, or as our current portuguese leaders did, lying systematically during electoral campaign, is another totally different thing. I can feel a certain cautious respect for the first, I'm unable to feel but a huge contempt for the latter.

Now, the people. The voters. They don't give a shit. They couldn't care less. They only wake up, if they wake up at all, when their leaders start hitting on them. The guy next door lost his job? So what? I still have mine. The nephew of my colleague's brother-in-law was killed in action in a distant shore, protecting the interests of oillords? Screw him. I still have all my nephews alive and kicking.

Furthermore, nobody is ever sure of not being lied to. Have you noticed? Manipulation has reached such levels of sophistication that you can no longer be sure of not being lied to. You have to maintain a constant mistrust, a certain level of paranoia just to be able to spot the signs of untrouth. But the vast majority just can't do it, even in those rare occasions when the masks fall and everything gets clearer than vacuum.

And when you're lied to, when you don't have good information, when sons of bitches are powerful enough to hide from everybody their suns-of-bitchness, there's simply no democracy possible. What receives that name becomes a caricature, a ritual with no meaning, a fascism in disguise. So no wander. No wander that wars like this one that's coming go on happening, no wander that economy falls apart, no wander that the people is transformed into an apathic mass of TV-watchers, no wander that morons like Bush get "elected"...

... and no wander that there's no freaking alternative!

For a true alternative means effort, and needs that powerful portions of the system start working actively against it. That won't happen. And with everybody concerned primarilly about putting food on the table, not many people will even begin to make the effort.

Am I saying that there's nothing to do?

No. But I'm skeptical about being able to do much more than seize the opportunity of riding the wave of discontent when it comes. Like now.

More than that? Art might help in awaking a minority, by wrapping dissent in entertainment. I certainly intend to follow that path -- I've finished a few days ago the first draft of a novel that does just that. But one of the very few people that read it so far already told me that I'll probably have a hard time in finding a publisher: I'd need an editor with guts, that person said, to take the risk of publishing something so anti-powers...

Sic transit gloria mundi
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:02 pm:   

Wow. . .I feel like I'm in way over my head here. I haven't been alive for twenty years, let alone involved in politics for that long. I wasn't old enough to vote at our last Presidential election. I've spent most of my life not caring about politics at all, and only since I turned eighteen have I started trying to learn about my nation and its policies, figuring that if I was going to be a voter I might as well be an educated voter (and figuring also that I should try to do some self-education, considering most of the people I've heard speak or teach politics have been pretty self-contradictory (or if consistent, often consistently stupid)). So I feel that I'm way out of my league in this discussion, but I also feel like I'm really learning a lot, not so much in terms of facts, but in terms of different peoples' points-of-view. I'm not sure I really have much to add at this point (although if I do I will), but I'll definitely be watching this board with great interest.

Nathan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:28 pm:   

Jeff V,

I'm afraid I can't quite accept that you're prescient about a Gore administration. I've seen too many presidents run on promises and abandon them upon facing the realities of office. Mister Clinton being the last good example. Do I believe we would be better off under a Gore administration? Maybe. Do I believe we would be much better off? No, I don't. Would even a little difference be good?
Sure. But I think of neither man as worthy of holding power..and to that extent I lump them together. The pool from which politicians are drawn must be replenished with new blood, and that, as I see it, is one of the primary directives of the left, to find new leaders...because the old ones suck.

As to there being a lesser of two evils, yes...of course. I didn''t think it was necessary for me to make note of that subtlety. But judging these things is not always easy. Few of us expected that LBJ would turn into Barry Goldwater. The fact that you have a political favorite does not mean that your candidate is what he seems. The entire thrust of my posts was, in essence, to encourage the creation of a new legitimacy for the left, to utilize the anti-war energies for the creation of a new power base in this country, a podium from which more genuine leaders could speak in a way that communicates to those who do not generally listen.

Yes, this is all a generalization, but then this is a message board, where such is the rule. If you'd like to talk specifics, I'd be happy to oblige.

Luis, yeah....watch the bastards all the time. The media, I think, is the real demon here. Television news analysis has become a kind of WWF routine. They bring on pro and con people to do two-minute long debates for the ADD crowd and the audience laughs at the punch lines. They are no longer watchdogs, but bad actors doing stand-up. The internet, though it's a mess, may some day solve this particular problem,

Best wishes,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 04:40 pm:   

Jeff F,

Hey, man, I would never want to put forward my experience as THE experience. It just is what it is, All it is for me, is when I do my little thing in CA, the problem that most frustrates me is not bribing public officials in foreign lands or dealing with a corrupt bureaucracy (our'n or their'n) or even watching where I go, it's that when I come back home I get a lot of Ho hum people are suffering so what. And this to me signals that the American people are not a callous bunch, but they are insulated from a great deal of painful reality that it would behoove them to take a look at now and again even if it interrupts their soap opera. It might just improve their own lives to take the long view of the war. Thus my particular reaction to all this brewing storm is that I hope people's fervor and energy and willingness to speak out doesn't go away once the smoke clears, and that I'd really like to find a way to make it so something lasting and good happens as a result of the war and the anti-war effort. Everybody's else's opinion is totally cool and I respect the hell out of anybody who speaks out. Not an elitist, not a snob...except, maybe, when it comes to movies.

Take Care,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 05:36 pm:   

Lucius:

I'm glad you're a snob when it comes to movies. Your autopsies are a thing of beauty.

I guess the thing that irritates the heck out of me with regard the the Presidency is when people say it doesn't matter who is in office. It definitely does. For example, say what you will about Clinton with regards to foreign policy--I certainly can't claim to have had the experiences you've had--he did a better job of protecting the environment than Bush. As a direct result of Bush making air standards, water standards, etc., lower, millions of people are going to be at higher risk for cancer, etc. I think you're saying that in terms of the bigger picture this is unimportant--or, at least, that it isn't your emphasis.

Really, 9/11 itself was the key moment where we failed. You're right--people don't tend to give a crap during peace time. With the right leadership after 9/11, we as a nation could have interpreted the event as an opportunity to deal with the world rather than closing ourselves off from it. A lot of good could have come out of a horrific event. Including the sense that there are direct consequences to people in other countries because of our policies or inaction or whatever.

This isn't a disagreement, I don't think. I guess you just think I'm stating the obvious. Or that I'm a bit naive. Well, so be it.

Jeff V.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Lucius Shepard
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 07:53 pm:   

Jeff V,

Clinton protected the economy, but he destroyed welfare, a betrayal of his Democratic roots, and catatastrophically affected tremendous numbers of the disadvantged.

As to your suggestion that I may not consider higher risks of cancer a significant difference between Bush and Gore, something Bush has done that Gore would not...That's not what I'm sayng at all. As I stated last post, I have no reason to have faith that Gore would have done much different. I've seen too many presidents betray the desires of the voters who put them into office. Al Gore showed me nothing in the latter stages of his political life to make me think he was other than a political animal. He waffled, he swayed in this and that political wind. I did not get that he was the kind of man who would hew to his principles under pressure.

I said in my last post and will say it again, a Gore presidency might have been better. Maybe. I said I lumped him and Bush together in that I considered both men unworthy of the office. I never said that higher risks of cancer were acceptable. I said that it was my hope that we might find a new pool of leaders inclusive of men who would actually care about these things and not simply make noises about them.

Hope that's clear,

Best Wishes,

Lucius
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 08:00 pm:   

I'm not defending Clinton--just offering an example.

Admittedly much better to have a new pool of leaders. But short of a revolution, that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Jeff V.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Luís
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:54 pm:   

Mr Shepard: "The media, I think, is the real demon here."

One thing that constantly surprises me (and not in a positive way) is to hear people in America complain that their media are "too liberal".

Jorge is right in saying the American political system is a transvestite of democracy. Americans are stranded with a virtually bi-polar party arrangement, where even the Democrats are more right-wing than the most right-wing party with a seat in the Portuguese parliament!

In the latest elections, RTP (the Portuguese public TV station) received a lot of flak for having a debate with only the leaders of the two biggest parties. Several people protested outside as the debate went on, and the station was later forced to hold a second debate with the five most significant parties.

Best,
Luís
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Cisco
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 10:18 pm:   

Just throwing in my two bits -
I think the future of mankind depends on the development of an international community; by no means a one-world state of any kind, but an unglamorous UN-type community. In essence, where you have conversation substituting for violence, you have a community. But the conversation has to be conducted in good faith, and people have to listen, and take each other seriously. The US has tended, in the past, to put on at least a good-enough charade of attention when other countries talk. Foreign policy has generally been disappointing, but lil' Bush's ham-fisted phoney-baloney diplomacy has been so bad that even the best-intentioned interlocutors out there can't fail to notice that no one is listening to them. This is what tends to make people start looking around for other means to "communicate," if you acquire my drift. This is all fine in the days of carbines and cavalry, but now a Hiroshima-sized atom bomb can fit into a briefcase.

You don't unleash the most powerful army in the world without a damn good reason; and lil' Bush et al started out the argument with lies and speculation and have finished the argument (all of four seconds later, about as long as it takes to turn a silo key) in the same non-position.
All the talk of inspections and MWDs etc has proven a very effective diversion from the fact that S.H. has no army, no air force, no navy. After the first gulf war, Bill Hicks said - "it wasn't really a war ... a war is when TWO armies fight." It will be even less a war this time; it will be Wounded Knee II, plus the Trail of Tears II. There is no way around this fact: modern warfare is murder of civilians. AND they're talking about using nuclear weapons.

Here's my theory. Back in 1980, Ronald Reagan and John Lennon were both shot; someone somewhere made a mistake and the wrong fellow died. This single foul-up sent the earth spiralling into an anti-timeline Spock's Beard universe where up is down, good is bad and bad is AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!
(explosion)
(continuous head-on-the-steering-wheel-car-horn-drone)

yours faithfully,
Michael Cisco
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 10:24 pm:   

Hey All: I step out for dinner and come back and someone has appropriated my WAR. What the fuck! Just kidding. Glad the topic has taken off. Now to catch up on what's going down.

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 08:37 am:   

Personally I am pretty sure Gore would have made a better president. And it does matter, because in the end people live and die because of these sorts of things. And just as importantly, other things, such as trees and animals, also live and die based on politics. Personally I think George II is a stupid man. And there is little more dangerous than the stupid man.

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 02:58 pm:   

Luís, it's not just the american system that is a joke as democracy, particularly at national level (at local level, it works far better, as far as I know). Our system might be a bit better, I agree, but it's a joke in itself.

Where's democracy when ignorance is actively promoted by everybody, from the (current) government to the media? Where's democracy when the people do not have enough information, information accurate enough to vote in conscience? Where's democracy when a parliament is elected through systematic and deliberate and massive lying? How can someone say without loughing that "the people has chosen"? Chosen between what? Two lies? Six lies?...

These parliamentary "democracies" are nothing but bad jokes. All of them.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 03:02 pm:   

You're a big man, Jeff F. If someone had appropriated my war, I would have put a cap in their ass.

JeffV.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 07:32 pm:   

JeffV: Thanks for the sentiment, but I believe the terminology is "I would have 'busted' a cap in their ass." I'm not going to guess what your version of the saying alludes to. One thing's for sure, though, Fifty Cent would have no doubt that we are a couple of Wankstas.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Luís
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 10:30 pm:   

You're right, Jorge, of course. But I'd rather have information to choose between the lesser of six evils than just two.

Maybe voting ballots should have an explicit "Fuck you all" option. I don't think many people know they can turn down all candidates by putting in a blank vote, and that that vote does count (at least it does in Portugal, I don't know about the rest of you). Of course, people would then have to run the country themselves, and that's an idea not everyone is keen on . . .

Best, Luís
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 06:11 am:   

Actually (and unclouding a bit the atmosphere), I worked in one of the elections, back in the 80s, in an electoral post. It was a dull, repetitive work, but I got to see how it all goes, what's the procedure, and also some peculiarities in ballots.

For those who don't know this and have those weird punching ballots, we simply put a cross inside a square, in the ballot. The cross has to identify clearly the direction of the vote, and it must be the only thing written by the voter in the ballot.

But there are guys who vote, very cautiously, in his preferred party, and then... sign the thing.

There are guys who vote for one party... and for another party.

And there are guys who (yes) write in the ballot "Fuck you all". I've seen one such vote in that election.

Sad thing is: all these votes are put in the column of non-valid votes and do not count. So the F-U vote, albeit being a very clear political statement, is nevertheless put together with the votes of people who still don't know how to put a cross in a piece of paper.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 07:39 am:   

I think what my version means is that I don't know crap about gangsters! LOL!

JeffV.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Anne S
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 07:30 pm:   

Another Australian here who is totally opposed to war with Iraq. I agree with KJ Bishop about our disgusting Prime Minister, a veritable arse licker to quote an Opposition Minister who expresses the general view held by Australians on the Hon. John Howard's relations with Bush in a refreshing vernacular.

And thank you Jeff F for your succinct review of the situation in the US.

Anne
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Cisco
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 09:34 pm:   

Just a bit about Blair - obviously, with 1.5 million people (out of a total population of what? Twenty million? Forty?) protesting hard in London, he's plainly not representing the English. I believe he backs the US principally as a way to maintain a special position for England in the EU; he and his backers want to ensure that England is able to hold its own (or something) against the French and Germans, and so they use Britain's lovity-love-love relationship with America to keep themselves in a distinct orbit. This is the only interest that appears to me to be strong enough to account for the tenacity with which he cleaves to "our" foreign policy - and he will pay an egregious price for it. Right now, I'm sure he believes his best bet is to stick with the plan, wait for victory in Iraq, and then, when the Iraqis rush out of their homes to "kiss the hands of their liberators" [there are people here who REALLY BELIEVE THIS, many of them in WASHINGTON] the British will stand to pick up a huge public relations windfall. When the Iraqis do what they in fact will do - ie, defend Baghdad street by street and house by house, dying in horrifying numbers in the desperate defense of their homes - we'll be treated to the edifying spectacle of Blair's scramble to escape political immolation.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jorge
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:53 am:   

Yes, Michael, you are probably right on the spot there.

The talk about "liberating Iraq of a murdering dictator" (and never mind the fact that he was already a murdering dictator when he was a friend of the west) has been reaching nauseating peaks here as well, and there are people who do believe the iraqis are eagerly awating to be bombed to get rid of him.

There seems to be some very paltry european politics involved as well. France and Germany are and have been since the beginning the axis around which the EU has been built. Now, with the ideas of an european constitution emanating from these countries, that basically disempowers the smaller countries in favour of the larger ones, and the periphery in favour of the center, the smaller and peripheral countries are using this as a way to stop that process. The international situation is way too dangerous for such games? They don't care.

Looking at these things geo-strategically, Europe has everything to gain from being friendly with a country that is practically at it's borders and will be even closer in the near future, even if Turkey does not join the club. And a country that has the second largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia, which is, as we all know, an example of democracy and tolerance and respect for the human rights. You don't know that? Why, you... you... you pretzels!...

Saudi Arabia is very friendly with the american oil companies (and with Al Qaeda too), so that's already taken. The next step is to take Iraq as well. After all, think tankers in Washington see a unified Europe as the greatest threat for the US in the XXI century, especially if a bigger EU and Russia would manage an approximation in the lines of what Gorbatchov called the "European Common House".

Of course, the EU would not be a threat to anybody if it was left alone to deal with it's own internal contradictions. The EU would never be a threat as long as the european peoples saw themselves more as french, portuguese, germans, spaniards, etc. than as europeans. What this thing is doing is turning the EU into an actual threat to the US, despite the divergences between the current governments. Governments come and go, and they end being influenced by the feelings of the poeple. And thanks to all this, for the very first time a sense of common identity is swapping the Old Continent, replacing the desperate nationalisms. We, the citizens of the countries ruled by bushists, feel closer to France or Germany than to our own leaders.

So what America is doing with it's attempt to weaken Europe by proxy it to build a sense of identity and solidarity between the various europes. When a whole continent, instead of mistrusting the neighbor as tradition told it to, begins mistrusting America, that continent is really uniting.

If the american people doesn't want this to happen, if you want to continue to have friends and allys in this side of the ocean, you better do something and do it fast. As a side effect, your economy might cease to go down the toilet. And ours too.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 08:22 am:   

Just caught the end of a report on NPR this morning while taking my kids to school. Apparently an article or speech by Ralph Nader concerning a meeting between the Bush administration and US oil producers about the US gaining a presence in the Iraqi oil industry. Supposedly from this meeting a list was floated as to which companies would get what percentage of control -- the leader being, of course, Haliburton, the one that recently employed Cheyney. The administration denies this meeting ever took place. Has anyone seen this? Can someone please point me to where I can find this article, speech, so I can check it out and get my facts straight about this?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 09:58 pm:   

The following links, sent me by my friend Sam, deal with Nader's thoughts about Iraqi oil. There is also an article from The Asian Times on the subject. This stuff is interesting reading in light of why the Bush administration is so adamant about this war.
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=2972
http://www.counterpunch.org/nader02172003.html
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EA04Ak01.html

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:12 pm:   

What YOU can do: Give money!!! $1, $10, $50--
This is from Moveon (cut to the chase) although you can go to the website for more info.:


THE NEXT STEP: LOCAL ADS

Our next big push will be to highlight opposition to war in small towns across America -- neighbors talking to neighbors.
We'd like to run local ads in over 100 communities all over the country. Can you help? Check out the ad and help us run it near you by going to:

http://www.moveon.org/localads?zip=10014

Here's why we've taken this approach: A recent New York Times poll revealed that 42% of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was behind what happened September 11th. It's a shockingly high number, given that even the Bush Administration has never asserted a connection. The false
linkage of Saddam Hussein and 9/11 or al Qaeda is at the base of why many people support this war, even though they're worried about its consequences.

Our advertising campaign will counter this message in over 100 small cities and towns, and explain in the words of America's top military and policy experts why war on Iraq is a bad idea.
As a person who grew up in a small town, I can testify that for many folks, an ad in the local paper is much more powerful than an ad in the New York Times. With your help, we can get over a hundred of these ads running by mid-next week.

We'll need to finalize our buy by this Friday, so anything you can give TODAY would be appreciated. You can take look at the ad and where it's running, and contribute securely online at:

http://www.moveon.org/localads?zip=10014

It's rare to see local ads on national issues like this, and even rarer to see them run in coordination across the country.
At least two ads will be running in every state.

Your gift now can make it happen.



Help to keep the momentum going by supporting local ads today.
In small cities and towns across America, we can make the case for tough inspections, not war.

Sincerely,
--Carrie, Eli, Joan, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The MoveOn Team
February 27th, 2003
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:43 pm:   

Check this bad boy out. A dispatch from Sammy.
http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.html

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Cisco
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:51 pm:   

Jeff -

I think that the specifics regarding the parcelling up of Iraqi oil by private US interests can be found in the latest issue of Mother Jones (or a recent issue, anyhow).

MC
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Iain Rowan
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:00 am:   

I think Michael's comments about Blair are spot on, but there is more.

I think Blair sees this as his Falklands moment, his chance to transcend humdrum political successes and be viewed as a Great Statesman, in the same way that the Falklands War entrenched Thatcher in both her political position and her place in history. Both of them, of course, looking to Churchill. How do you go down as a great leader? By cutting the number of children living in poverty? By improving the standard of education in your country's schools? By creating a healthcare system that best meets people's needs regardless of income?

Nah, you do it by going on the TV during a war and making Serious Speeches in your Serious Voice.

Since Sept 11th, Blair has got to stand next to the US President in lots of important meetings and speak in his Serious Voice with his brow furrowed and generally feel very important. All the non-entities that make up the rest of the government get to appear on UK television programmes and talk in their Serious Voices too and so bask in the reflected glory. The government as a whole can kid itself once again that the Special Relationship between the US and UK governments is really a partnership, and that Britain matters in the world just like back in the Good Old Days. Far more gratifying for politicians than dealing with questions about the structure of privatised public transport systems and the like.

One feature of UK politics in the last decade has been the virtual disappearance of ideology from the political landscape. In the 80s, everyone knew what the Conservatives stood for, and what Labour stood for, and they fought each other on those terms. Now, that's not the case, so conflict is about the only chance for them to attempt to make their mark on history.

And remember, as Tony Blair says, Hussein is an evil man responsible for the deaths of thousands, and so needs to be treated like a pariah. Unlike Xiang Xemin, of course, who is an evil man responsible for the deaths of thousands but who is invited to the UK and escorted to tea with the monarch by some Prime Minister whose name I can't quite remember. Feh.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:13 am:   

Michael: Thanks for the tip on the Mother Jones article. I'll check into it.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Tamar
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 11:17 am:   

Iain - fair assessment. I was always too cynical to believe in Tony, but even I never thought he would turn out so trigger-happy.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 08, 2003 - 06:04 am:   

Check this article out. It's a very good one.
http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 07:22 am:   

There's an article on the front page of today's Washington Post that just scared me more than anything I've read (which is pretty tough to do these days, when I tend to cringe just reading the headlines). Apparently Geo W thinks this war is historical inevitability and that he's on a mission from God. Here's a link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61350-2003Mar8.html
This isn't opinion, just your classic balanced news story, with quotes from Bush's friends and the like.
Nancy
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Robert W
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 09:49 am:   

Here's another interesting article.

http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html

Talks about the people behind current policy.

Robert
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Kristin Livdahl
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 - 06:03 pm:   

I appreciate all the articles people linked to here. It took ages to get caught up from just a couple weeks ago, but the articles and posts were interesting reading. Today on our local NPR station, they had a show on what was going to happen with Iraq after we did go in and overthrow the government. So many discussions that I've heard on the radio and other media sources have made the war seem inevitable form the very beginning. It just seems crazy to me that the Bush administration won't even consider a compromise UN resolution that would give Iraq a month or two more for disarmament. I kept hoping that Bush would see reason and work with the Security Council on a compromise. It was all just wishful thinking on my part. Does everyone else think this war is inevitable?

Kristin
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 11:53 am:   

It just all makes me sick, sick, sick. As an official conservative anarchist (or apathetic anarchist) this whole Shrub administration has just made me want to pack up and head out, except that I fear any future decisions made by the big Texan will reach me wherever I go and make an impact beyond what he can consider to exist.

There are so many intelligent thoughts banging around this thread that I am loathe to add my meanial grams of brain to it. But I'm going to do so anyway (that's how MAD this makes me).

Is he just trying to make Daddy proud? Or show that he can finish what Daddy started? Thereby proving to Daddy that he is the better man? Does he want Barbara to love him more than she does Daddy? Why does it feel so personal, so selfish? Why do I feel that if he really listened to the American public he wouldn't pursue this course of action?

I think this whole administration has had nothing to do with the American people or the American country and is just a big pissing contest (or circle jerk) of familial competition.

Yes, that's generalizing, but I don't care. And I know my questions are rhetorical--and have been addressed in many ways by Lucius, Jeff Ford, and Jeff V (a few writers whom I admire deeply)--so don't waste your worthwhile thoughts trying to answer them. They are just things I would ask if I found myself face to face with the man.

It all smacks of the kid who brought the football and is now taking it home with him because no one wants to play by his rules.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 02:12 pm:   

Yup
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Stepan Chapman
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 09:28 pm:   

What Bush really wants is an oil-rich colony. He wants to return the world to a state of colonialism. Our trade empire is falling apart, post-OPEC, so now the Powers That Be, (for whom King George II is a mere figurehead, in my opinion) are going after an actual colonial empire.

Next the King will appoint himself Emperor, and we can have a dynasty of Caesars.

This whole mess is looking more and more like the Rome of Tiberius and Caligula, isn't it?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mike Simanoff
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 10:00 pm:   

Well, there's only a difference of scale between nation-building and world-building. If we got Terry Brooks involved with this whole Iraq thing, we could be assured of four cardinal-point kingdoms, each populated by discrete races with very definite characteristics who keep to themselves.

This would solve the matter of ethnic conflict and centralized, despotic power very nicely, at least until a huffy druid shows up and alerts the Kurds that the Islamist shadow wraiths have woken from the dead and disturbed an ancient talisman! Still, there would be cool maps.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Klima
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:39 am:   

Mike:

Thank you for starting my day with a laugh.

JK
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mike Simanoff
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 06:30 am:   

John, my pleasure.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeff Topham
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 07:23 am:   

After the last presidential election, I recall someone saying that we shouldn't worry too much about that kind of fiasco happening againÑthat was probably the last one we'd have.

Ha Ha. I think.

JT
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:53 am:   

My opinion as that the Bush administration actually has multiple reasons for wanting to invade Iraq.

1) Keep the Amerian people distracted and frightened all the time. Don't give them a chance to think.

2) Cheney has heavy investments in the military service industry and both Bush and he are tied into a number of corporations that would benefit from any war.

3) Bush wants to revenge himself for the assassination atempt, not so much on his father, but on his dear wife Laura.

4) Rumsfield and Bush are both religious fanatics at heart and want to set the ground for a 'final days' scenario.

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   

Check this shit out. Who gets a piece of the pie.
http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=69

Best,


Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Klima
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 05:31 am:   

I'm not surprised. Didn't Daddy Bush, in part, go into Operation Desert Storm to protect family oil investments?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

JeffV
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 03:40 pm:   

Who the fuck are these people in the U.S. who support war by a 2 to 1 margin? I don't know a single person who supports the idea. I sure don't know anyone who supports the idea without U.N. support.

This president is *insane*. Whether literally or figuratively no longer makes a difference.

JeffV
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 09:50 am:   

Well, who owns the companies that put out these reports?

The media is seriously manipulated. Wolfowitz. Perle. Cheney. Rumsfield. And Bush as the puppet Caesar.

They have been cooking this plot for ages.

Terrible stuff.

Brendan
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Bishop
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 10:33 am:   

Dear All,

Just as a point of principle, I'd like to weigh in on the side of all those inveighing against the mad cowboy in the White House. I've just dispatched an e-mail to him -- O vain gesture -- declaring that as a veteran and one who does in fact love his country, I have never been more heartsick about the behavior of a chief executive than I am right now. That his arrogance, self-righteousness, and chicken-hawk sense of machismo have turned a country that once prided itself on its allegiance to law and justice (even if we often observed those abstracts in the concrete breach) into a bully, an aggressor, and an international isolate. My depression, at least right now, is profound. And Brendan's absolutely correct about the fact that Bush's chief advisors were advocating an invasion of Iraq long before September 11; indeed, long before Bush had assumed the presidency.

I am ashamed of the president and his advisors. And I am heartsick about what we are within hours of doing. . . .

Mike B.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 07:44 pm:   

The drone of helicopters overhead reminded me to see if our government had started a war yet, and indeed, the Washington Post tells me we have. Heartsick is a good word, Michael, and what you said was moving and dead on target.
The Post (which is supporting the war, something I also find incomprehensible) says 71 percent of the American public supports this nonsense. I find that hard to believe, given the amount of outcry I'm hearing. But then I live in Washington, and outside of the idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his cronies, most people in this city oppose this war. (We didn't vote for the man, either.) Am I being overly optimistic in thinking that at least half the country is opposed to this war?
Nancy
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 08:04 pm:   

Another war. We've come a long way. Big fish eat little fish.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 08:34 pm:   

The polls can change significantly if you change the question just a little.

A person may answer "yes" if asked, "Do you support our president in going to war?" and say "no" to, "Do you support going to war?" Do I support our troops? Yes. Do I want them in a war? No. But the two questions can be remarkably similar. Polls will say whatever the people conducting them want them to say, for the most part.

But yes, it is also true that there are a huge number of people in favor of the war.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Josh Lukin
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 09:18 pm:   

They've been spinning the questions and the headlines, Nancy. The Associated Press reports "Majority of Americans Support War" and then states (in the body of the article), "When asked, do you support the U.S. taking action without the support of the United Nations, 36% of Americans say yes; but when told that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11, anthrax, increasing gasoline prices, Palestinian terrorism, and the bestselling status of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, 96% of Americans said that he was a bad man."

Okay, so I lack the gift of satire. But you see my point. Poll numbers that I saw last week were about fifty-fifty against Bush's taking non-U.N. sanctioned action: the fact that 130,000,000 people oppose the war in the face of constant media jingoism speaks well of America.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Jeff Topham
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 06:50 am:   

It seems that we've learned nothing from our last war in Iraq, and that this one will play out on TV much like the last: slick titles introducing what amounts to a series of product demos for American military hardware.

Somehow, CBS News' exquisitely rendered computer animations miss the fact that all this high-tech hardware is being deployed to turn human beings into hamburger.

Support our troops: bring them home.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Klima
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 07:59 am:   

I have to disagree with you Jeff on at your first point: This was will play out BETTER than the last. The way the networks are talking about the way, you'd think they were planning their fall line-ups. It seems to me that the news media has lost the line between news and entertainment. Their main concern seems to be that they can't plan for what will happen so they know what commercials to play, or what segues to use.

[sarcastic aside] Oh, if only there was some human interest angle to this whole thing! Well, what about the story of little Joe who lives in Bagdhad...oh we just turned him into paste? OK, find someone else. What? Who cares? They all look the same...

I haven't seen an unbiased American news report in about ten years (more?). It all plays like some Paul Verhoven movie where the wars are televised and get Nielsen ratings against Friends and the NCAA tournament.

What if you started a war and no one came to watch?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

John Klima
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 08:00 am:   

Grrr, that's: "This war..." not "this was..."
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Barth
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:03 am:   

Watching Dan Rather's boner of glee last night, as he scanned the incoming footage for tracer bullets and ground explosions, was enough to make me swear off of Event Media coverage for the next fortnight. Ugh. Urp. Blech.

As for how Americans *really* feel, watch the hawks turn their dove-tails when the oppressive regime collapses, and Iraq's simmering fundamantalist Islamic movement is liberated. There we'll be with bullseyes on our foreheads, the Great Occupying Satan, and suddenly this invasion won't look like "great footage" anymore.

That said, I have a friend stationed in Saudi Arabia, so I'm hoping for a retiring, cowardly effort from the Iraqi army.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Michael Cisco
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:21 pm:   

We owe to the administration in the White House and to their counterparts abroad a great debt of gratitude for exposing representative government as the fiction that it is. How else can we account for the patent disparity between the will of "ordinary" people, as expressed so universally today, and the actions of these administrations? I would be deeply indebted to anyone who could show me the difference between managing people and simply ruling them. No matter what egregiousness may be unfolding before our eyes, we receive from the rulers the same indifferent reassurances in the same placating, somewhat bored tone of voice, as though those asking the questions were so many tiresome neurotics. Everything is decided, and our right to speak is predicated on a theatrical arrangement such that nothing we say can mean anything - or so we are meant to think. I imagine it must be easy to write speeches for the deaf to deliver to the mute.
The US may now have inadvertantly set the timer for its own self-destruct mechanism. Historically speaking, the empire is a phenomenon with unusually distinct limitations, beginnings and endings. What unfolds before us now might help us to understand why this is the case, at least with regard to endings.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:43 pm:   

Michael: Perfect.

Best,

Jeff
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Rhys
Posted on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 04:50 am:   

Any chance that any of you Americans out there can ask your military to stop killing British troops by mistake?

After the first Gulf War it wasn't supposed to happen again.

Not that I'm ungrateful for the last 50 years of protection from Russia, Cuba and French intellectuals...

(With a big hearty thanks in anticipation!)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

barth
Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 10:45 am:   

FYI - i made a few calls for you, rhys, but the only way your request will fly is if brits henceforth refer to g.w. as "high lord emperor, the shadow of god on earth."

pass the word.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Iron James
Posted on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 03:07 pm:   

I'd have to say I do know far more people for the war than against it. It's the circles you hang around in, I suppose. I do know that in my home state, support is at least two to one in favor of the war, and it has dropped almost not at all.

Personally, I'm incredibly glad Gore did not become president. For all Bush's faults, I think Gore would have been far worse in every way that matters to me, and infinitely worse in many areas. I think the man is one of the biggest fools to ever reach vice-President status, and this includes Dan Quayle.

What I want most is for Washington to leave me alone. Bush has done a poor job of this, but Gore would have certainly done a worse job.

And I'll also say this, the notion that Clinto protected the economy is patent nonsense. What worked with the economy while Clinton was in office had nothing to do with him, and would have been there and worked the same way, even if Donald Duck was in the Ehite House. When these factors started crumbling a couple of years before he left office, he couldn't do a thing to help the economy. No one could have.

Even what he did with the balanced budget was the same smoke and mirrors that republicans have used for years, and his actions guaranteed that sooner or later the budget was going to swell out of control.

I don't think the public is ignorant, I just think they don't have the same desires, the same wishes and wants, that so many activists seem to have. And I also think the vast majority of the public gets pretty much what they want from the system we have in place, and to my mind, this is what democracy means.

It is not a valid complaint to say that most democrats are too conservative, or that right wingers control this or that, any more than it would be a valid to complain if they were all to left wing. Politicians are what they are because of the people who vote for them.

It's a simple fact that the majority of Americans are conservative in nature. Many don't like this, but it's simply the way it is. And considering the alternatives, I believe it's a good thing.

I don't much like the far right wing, and I don't like anything about the far left wing. I suppose I'm a libertarian at heart, which means I want government out of my life as much as possible. Of the two parties, I've found that the democrats are far more intruusive in meddling with my life in nearly every way, right down to the words I should use and the thoughts I should think.

But the Republicans are gettig almost as bad, and I don't like it from them, either.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

anon
Posted on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 04:28 pm:   

The "majority" of people supported the war in Vietnam in 1968. Hindsight, and a lot of disclosure of he events surrounding Vietnam has made it pretty clear that the war was a misguided effort at best. I'd think it fair to say that currently the "Majority" of people think the war in Vietnam was a mistake.

Your anecdotal evidence about weather the "majority" of people support the war in Iraq is irrelevant. Justifications for the war have already proven false. We are already seeing the blowback from this unjustified war. America is far less secure now, BECAUSE of the war.

In a few years, as more information becomes available, and the true costs of the war become apparent, only wing-nuts and rabid partisan zelots will still be "in favor" of the invasion of Iraq.

I Hate to say it, but "the far left" was correct about Vietnam in 1968, and they are correct about Iraq in 2003. Who's been consistently right about these things, and who's been consistently wrong?

Instead of pointing to a million uninformed people, Iron James, perhaps you should figure shit out for yourself. The lack of evidence about weapons of mass destruction, and lack of Iraqi connections to terrorists was readily apparent to all who took the time to look in 2002, when Bush began beating his war drum. You obvious partisan attitudes towards Clinton and Gore blinded you to the failings of the Bush regime. You ate up their shit with a smile.

Your totally misinformed rantings about the budget and deficit show that you are STILL eating their shit with a smile. There was not deficit UNTIL Bush started cutting taxes for the ultra-rich. Where is the conservative principles like a balanced budget? Clinton fought for a balanced budget, while Bush has done everything he can to bust the budget (in hopes of destroying social security and Medicare).

Obviously, a libertarian like yourself probably looks forward to the day when all new deal programs are destroyed and privatized. But when that day comes, your "smaller" federal government will still be handing out bailouts and corporate welfare to the mega rich.

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration