Friday, September 29, 2006


The nickname most often used by those who have known him all their lives and who went to school with him is Tinkerbell. As a Congressman for my district in Florida, he has been part of the Republican Party’s continuing insistence that the major problem with America today is pornography and civil rights for gay people and he's tried to pass legislation that made it a felony to draw a naked picture of a child. He is very upset that there are nudist colonies in Florida.

It’s come under public scrutiny this week that Mark Foley has been sending “creepy” e-mails to a 16 year old congressional page. There’s nothing illegal about it or the hypocrisy involved and I’m quite sure that the Congressman isn’t going to sponsor legislation making it so and I’m also fairly certain that the Party that still thinks Pornography is more important than maintaining the rule of law, than democracy, than an independent judiciary, than illegal warfare, illegal surveillance, Habeas Corpus or the bill of rights will continue to protect him under their vast umbrella of lies.

Foley, who has already begin his slime campaign against Democratic challenger Tim Mahoney, using fabricated facts and coy denial of his own record. will probably win anyway although as of 3:00 PM Eastern, the talk is that he will resign but still assert his innocence. Absent a blue dress with a stain on it, all any Republican has to do is use the word liberal or chant taxtaxtaxtax for a moment and the brainwashed manikins will robotically cast their votes, mumbling about Jane Fonda or Ted or Theresa or Hillary.

America doesn’t give a damn and doesn’t know anything and doesn’t want to. No amount of proof that Bush ignored Clinton’s plan to go after al Qaeda matters. No amount of proof that Bush ignored all warnings and demanded to hear only about Iraq; no amount of evidence that Bush was warned again and again that the UN and France was right and Saddam had no significant weapons or the ability to make them means anything. In fact on the same day Bush effectively was promoted to the pantheon of gods by being given the power of life and death over anyone he chooses without hearing a peep out of the courts or Congress, my mailbox filled up with sneering, giggling parodies of the next Democratic Convention – filled with Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy and the Dixie Chicks burning flags and wanting to impeach Bush for “protecting the country.”

It’s not just that we are a stupid, superstitious and bigoted nation or an ignorant and cowardly nation; we are a criminally demented nation, unsuited for Democracy and a danger to civilization.

Never has my atheist heart yearned more for a God who would sit in judgment on America and give me hope that some day, George W. Bush and his minions would be rendered unto some dark and secret place to undergo “Coercive” procedures for ever and ever, world without end.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Rose

The name of the Rose was Iva Toguri D'Aquino, or so the story goes. Mrs. D’Aquino died Wednesday in Chicago where she had lived a quiet life since she was pardoned of the crime of treason she had been convicted of by a very emotional and largely patrio-paranoid America in 1949.

The evidence that she was the radio voice known to us as the propagandist Tokyo Rose was not conclusive, but public need for someone to punish was great enough that a case against her was patched together and she was convicted. Strangely, had she been willing to renounce her American citizenship, she might have gone free, but she did not.

None the less, by 1977 the railroading of Tokyo Rose seemed more like a lynching and Gerald Ford, the last decent Republican to occupy the White House, pardoned her.

A sad little story, but it’s enlightening to see how we have changed as a country; as a culture and as a civilization. The facts were hard to come by in her case. She had been stranded in Japan where she had been visiting an ailing family member when the war broke out and not speaking Japanese, she was lucky to get a job at a radio station. The nature of her employment was never completely established, but we did not make her stand naked in a meat locker for days, we did not beat her or waterboard her, or send her to Uzbeckistan to have cattle prods inserted in her orifices. She did not disappear into George Bush’s Gulag never to be seen again.

She was allowed to confront her accusers, she was allowed to know the charges against her, she was allowed council. The transcripts of her trial were available so that in subsequent years, they could be re-examined. There were perhaps transgressions, and excesses, but there was due process and the rule of law.

In the 1940’s it seemed obvious who the good guys were. It’s not that way any more.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Devil and Rupert Murdoch

Keith Olbermann is a frequent and honest critic of the Bush administration’s actions and inactions; one of all too few in the “Mainstream Media” and that of course makes him a scapegoat and a target for the snickering, sneering septic slimebags of the right wing media.  Take for instance, the New York Post, owned by the sinister Rupert Murdoch.

It isn’t long ago that at least 5 people were killed by pulmonary anthrax sent through the mail, but it’s not terrorism or even worthy of note when white powders are received by critics of the ruling junta, because when Keith Olbermann  got some unknown powder along with a note saying it was payback for criticizing the Führer and called 911, it was to the Post, a case of  the MSNBC loudmouth flipping out” a case of  silly childish panic unworthy of sympathy.  It’s just hilarious that he got a checkup at the hospital and the Post just had to finish the bit of rancid, reeking yellow journalism, entitled Powder Puff Spooks Keith with speculation as to whether the hospital gave the little boy a lollipop.

Is any attempt to appear like a legitimate newspaper foreign to the Post? Where are the words to describe this mockery of truth, justice and what remains of American journalistic integrity?  I don’t have them.  I can’t describe my contempt for and loathing of the trolls and troglodytes that publish the Post and all the other evil carrion vultures of the Right that circle the moribund republic for whose bones and rotting flesh they hunger.

For offenses far milder we fought a revolution and founded a nation. Against enemies no worse we launched wars.  What can one think of the 300 million voluntary serfs who sit by silently while our country dies from the inside out?

Is it too late to save America?  As long as the headlines, the Blogs, the magazines and the mouths of the newsreaders are full of such sewage as excreted by Murdoch’s legion of demons and as long as we ignore it or chuckle at it or let it go past us politely, we are not only doomed, but unworthy of liberty.  Where is the courage to protest?  

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Who ya gonna call?

I think that only a liar could make a case that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and the rest of the White House gang’s capos aren’t liars. They’re simply so bad at remembering yesterday’s lie that they trip over it, time after time, but of course it doesn’t matter. Liars thrive in a climate of belief. But there are times that require a lie so big and a liar so cyberneticly dispassionate that only one liar is up to the task. That’s when they send in Condoleezza. The same snake eyed, poker faced Condoleezza who can look you in the eye and say that Saddam not having had WMD was precisely the reason we had to invade. Only Condy “the Cobra” Rice can assert that Clinton left no plans, no warnings about Osama bin Laden while asserting that the plans he left weren’t complete.

Never mind that Bush immediately tabled all discussion of Osama upon entering office and in fact held no meetings, it doesn’t matter. Never mind that Clinton launched some 60 or more missiles at Osama only narrowly missing him because of a last minute change in his itinerary, never mind that the Republicans did everything they could to cripple that effort, cripple the presidency and deny that there was in fact a threat from Islamic terrorists because it doesn’t matter. We are trained to dismiss the most credible testimony when the magic word “Liberal” is spoken and we are trained to think “Strong protector” whenever the President ignores a warning and goes on vacation.

So yes, Ollie North really did warn us against Osama even though he didn’t, Al Gore tried to stop him even though he didn’t, Clinton didn’t go after Osama even though he did and Bush didn’t ignore all warnings, discard information and stop further planning even though he did.

I hope that Bush is right, that this whole thing will be seen as a comma in history, because a comma means that the sentence continues. I’m not so sure that the USA will continue. I’m not so sure we aren’t already in free fall and I’m not at all sure that there will be a United States with the will or ability to put George W. Bush and his forty thieves behind bars where thieves and murderers belong.

Follow up

Not that it matters - not that the truth will ever matter again in the "post 9/11" world, but today's Raw Story lists the proof of Condoleezza's perfidy. In the first week after being sworn in, Bush received a document from Clinton advisers
"Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects." which outlines the strategy for pressuring Pakistan into cooperatiing in the Clinton plan to go after Osama in Afghanistan. The details have of course been classified to protect the guilty, but there it is in all its damning black and white. She lied, she smiled at us and lied. She know it was a lie and whe knew that anyone with an intact memory and half a brain knew she lied. Others told the truth and were shouted down, smeared, slandered and silenced.

Not that it matters. Bush's parrot could say anything and the flock will agree, sneering and snickering while our nation and our birthright swirl down the toilet.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A separate truth

We can’t handle the truth; at least that’s what the Newsweek Branch of the Republican National Committee seems to think. It’s OK if Europeans read in the International edition that we’ve totally bungled Afghanistan which is again home to a more wealthy and better equipped Taliban and a safer place for al Qaeda. Americans are better off reading about photography and pop culture in the American Edition. Newsweek has decided not to run the Afghanistan horror story where Americans are likely to read it.

I have no way of knowing whether this decision had to do with the observation that America is tired of facing facts and so might not by the magazine or whether, as I suspect, the press in America is as free as the Corporate arm of the GOP will allow it to be. Perhaps both explanations are true. We don’t seem to want to think about how Bush passed up the chance to kill Osama and destroy his movement in favor of pursuing his quixotic fantasy in Iraq and we don’t want to know how bad the news is. By nearly all accounts the news is very bad and likely to get a lot worse. All the more reason, I guess to wave flags, make up stories about Clinton, cry tears of self pity for the city we otherwise love to hate; all the more reason to back the people who totally and completely bungled the only chance we had to stop Osama, to enlist the support of Moderate Islam in standing up to the radicals. All the more reason to hide our heads in the sand of fabricated history and fatuous lies and so help complete the task of destroying our liberal and secular republic and perpetuating an endless skirmish with an ever more wealthy, popular and relentless enemy.

Today we are losing Afghanistan, tomorrow the world.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It is written

Scrutamini scripturas. These two words have undone the world.”

-John Selden-

I am told of an ancient Hindu malediction on those who interpret scripture to their own advantage.  Perhaps there is an equivalent in Islam and Christianity and Judaism, but I’m unaware of it. There should be, even though the practice of picking and choosing and procrustean tailoring of religious texts to produce a desired outcome seems universal.

The blowing up of innocents preparing for a holy season isn’t something one associates with holiness, although some people that regularly become viciously hysterical at any hint of disrespect for their traditions have no problem finding justification in that tradition for any mayhem that suits their unholy and murderous inclinations.

So it is that those who love Allah the merciful and compassionate can blow up 28 people who love Allah the merciful and compassionate as they go about preparing for the dawn of Ramadan and yet be driven into rabid frenzy at the suggestion that anyone ever thought that their religious tradition had a history of violence.

Hindus and Christians, Jews and Muslims have from time to time been able to justify brutality through selective quotation and rationalization as easily as an Old West gunslinger might claim self defense after shooting someone three times in the back and indeed, mankind’s ability to claim victimhood to justify aggression has outpaced his instincts toward civilization.

If I believed that there was some supernatural entity with expectations for mankind, I would feel as sorry for God as I am for the human race.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The road to 1984

The President who has made such a large straw man of what he likes to call “Activist Judges” or judges who use ethics, morality, common sense, precedent and perhaps a bit of pragmatism to interpret the law, is of course the President who feels the need to attach “signing statements” that he feels enable him to enforce, ignore or apply selectively anything the founding fathers wrote into the Constitution or that Congress has written into law.

Along with the briefly vertebrate John McCain, America seems to feel comfortable with the compromise reached Thursday and with having moved closer to a government of men and further from a government of laws, at least as concerns the monarchical moods of George Bush and perhaps America will feel comfortable with the latest exercise in Judicial Activism that would, according to national security adviser Stephen Hadley, provide enough "clarity" to allow the CIA's interrogation program to go forward. I fear that “clarity” means “License” to the mind of Bush.

Without mention of the historical uniqueness of the notion that the Geneva Conventions are inimical to the American way of war and without mentioning the apparent failure so far to produce anything in the way of any advantage in countering militant Islam around the world, Bush yet insists that secret trials, secret prisons and years of unremitting torment used on people suspected of knowing something is the "most potent tool we have” in order to "get their secrets."

But this is a man who believes in magic, in superstition, in legend and most ridiculously in the special holiness of people who torture, maim and kill innocent people in the name of Jesus Christ and cultural supremacy. Is it funny that the enemies who came closest to defeating us in the last century and to defeating freedom as we used to define it, felt the same way?

The black elephant

Remember the “Black Exploitation” films of the 70’s? If those things made you groan, this thing will make you furious. Of course if you’re a Republican and see minorities as child-like, superstitious and mostly ignorant, you may think it’s a brilliant way to bring them into the fold, or should I say the plantation?

It’s tempting to rant about Republicans and race and the unrestrained ugliness of Republican political campaigns, but listen for yourself.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Does he or doesn't he?

According to the New York Times, The Bush administration claims that it ceased C.I.A. interrogations pursuant to the Supreme Court’s June ruling that Bush’s use of military tribunals for “Terror” suspects was illegal.

According to the Financial Times however, former CIA officials and others involved in the secret prison torture enterprise say that the practice ceased in part because CIA interrogators refused to continue the interrogations and run the secret facilities.

It’s usually safe to assume that the more damning story is closer to the truth when dealing with administration claims and of course it’s good to think that the CIA stopped short of “following orders” it knew were illegal but one has to wonder why Bush threatened to stop the interrogations last week if his demands were not met. “Time is running out” he said.

So in terms of torture, does he or doesn’t he and just what kind of torture is Bush talking about?

Attempts to define and put limits on torture are not new. According to some, the phrase “ the third degree” comes from the 18th century Austrian princess Marie Theresa who wanted to put limits on what degrees of pain a prisoner could be subjected to, the third being the point beyond which authorities could not go, but Bush’s quest is different as limits have already been settled on and written into law; limits which Bush would like to improve upon.

The 9/11 events which have been used as a lock pick to undo many decades of moral limits placed on such things is still his tool of choice. Osama, says Bush has received classified information that has come out in the courts which may well be true considering the ridiculous lengths his administration has traveled in classifying things that have been common knowledge for half a century. It’s still a very weak argument in light of history and all of his rhetoric about freedom.

Bush has been more tenacious of his torture practices than of nearly anything else and I think it’s safe to assume that events will be manufactured to justify it and mask the lack of any real results after so many years of so much beating and choking and torment. Get ready for the surprise.

An ugly mind

Karl Rove’s promise of an “October Surprise” is no surprise.  People have been talking about it for over a year and speculation runs from the head of Osama on a plate to an announcement that elections will be suspended.  Most probable, in my opinion, is that anything announced at the last minute will be a complete fabrication that will not be disproved until November 8th.  According to NewsMax, Rove has been promising Republican “insiders” something big was going to happen

What would Goebbels do?  Perhaps he would announce a nefarious plot by the Democrats, perhaps some brokered peace deal that will stand for a week or two.  I’m guessing it will involve some information alleged to have been extracted by torture that will allow Bush to stop a fictitious plot in its non-existent tracks, but what ever stunt he comes up with or even if the promise of a surprise is only a bluff  It’s going to be a lie, it’s going to justify the war in Iraq as being a bulwark against “Terrorists” and its going to involve slander, libel, character assassination and other egregious calumnies just like everything that ever came out of the evil mind of Rove.


“Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt.”

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from his uneasy dreams, he found himself in his bed, changed into some monstrous vermin.

So begins the famous novella Metamorphoses or Die Verwandlung by Franz Kafka. The frustration of living in a world where lies are the truth and the truth lies and one thing can become another in the service of one lie or another and all under the heel of some intractable authority, can make one identify with the world of Kafka. The transformation, the metamorphoses of Abu Nidal into Osama bin Laden is one tiny example.

Like everyone, I get an endless stream of forwarded e-mail and when it contains pictures of the burning World Trade Center or words about God and Country, I normally hit the delete button because I know there’s a lie coming. Somehow this morning, even though I know better, I opened one that has been circulation for years – perhaps you’ve seen it. It’s the one that has Ollie North “in front of God and Country” warning the nation about Osama bin Laden and claiming that an assassination team be formed to take him out. North, says the screed, took money for a security system to protect him from the most dangerous terrorist on earth – Osama. Senator Al Gore scoffed at the whole idea.

Of course those of us who are not Republicans, liars, or delusional (but I repeat myself) realize that Abu Nidal, the man who was in fact the most dangerous terrorist on earth in 1987 was cited over and over and over again as Oliver North’s terrorist, Osama was busy fighting our enemies the Soviets and that Al Gore wasn’t on the committee and wasn’t there. “I just now heard the replay on the news,” lies the anonymous sender.

It doesn’t matter, the vermin Abu Nidal metamorphoses into Osama and al Gore appears in magic form and the whole thing circulates endlessly among people who don’t remember, don’t care, can’t be bothered to look it up and vote Republican.

If anyone failed to do anything about Abu Nidal, it was the Reagan administration. Abu Nidal, the man from Fatah, was assassinated in Baghdad in 2002, most likely by Saddam Hussein who opposed him. If anyone laughed at the prospect of Osama bin Laden being the enemy of the US, it was the Republicans. If anyone ignored the warnings, hobbled further investigations and subverted all resources to make war on Iraq, it was George W. Bush But around and around it goes, from the mailbox of one believer to another and when one bothers to supply the truth, as I have often done, one meets with a fiery “Liberalextremistcommiecrazyhoppyflagburneridiot” and one gives up.

I give up. Fighting to save America from the Republicans is like treating terminal cancer with leeches. Depriving America of the lies it’s addicted to is like trying to get a thousand dollar a day junky to go cold turkey. Nothing is true, nobody knows anything and it’s all over.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A man and a brother

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

-Matthew 25: 40-

Conservative Christians of the George Bush type are good at weaseling out of such fundamental bits of Christian moral imperative, even though George’s excuse that there’s a war on has to be seen in light of the fact that there was a war on when Jesus said the above and a war on when he was identified as an insurgent, tortured and killed.  Of course the weasel word here is “brethren” and although we are told often enough in those steepled edifices that all men are brothers, when push comes to shove, Christians have too often defined brethren only as Christian brethren.  

Is not Maher Arar a man and a brother?  Not enough of one for our George with his “higher father” to consider as such.  Besides there’s a war on and that means morality and decency are off.  Maher Arar was spirited off to one of George the Christian’s secret dungeons to be tortured for 10 months.  Let me say it again so that you can imagine being drowned to unconsciousness for 10 months and made to writhe in pain, sleeplessness, heat and cold for 10 months in some hell hole without contact with anyone but your interrogators.  10 Months.  

What was his crime? Nothing at all. He was simply accused and that’s enough.  It’s a lot less than others have had to suffer from the boot heel of George the Christian. For is there not a war on? Are we not in terrible danger from an enemy with no moral scruples?

Let the lily livered, moralist, liberal, do-gooder, bleeding heart, democrat, godless, baby-killer, tyrant appeaser, coward, traitor, leftist, commie bastards go wah, wah, wah all they want.  There’s a war on and we’re Christians.

Stupid, stupid, stupid part 3

You’d hardly think that something dropped into a tub of manure would bounce, but in the strange world of American politics, that’s just what happens.  If we can believe the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, despite the ever gushing geyser of negative information about Bush’s mishandling of nearly everything, despite proof that his mistakes were so often deliberate, that so many of his actions criminal, that his plan is to perpetuate war and allow our real enemies to proliferate unmolested, the cowering, timorous beastie that is America now supports Bush more than it did and believes in his war more than it did.

Nothing has helped the administration tie Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks more than proof and confession that there was no link. Nothing gives him more of the image of a hero than the abject failure of all his efforts; nothing helps his appearance of honesty more than the exposure of an endless stream of lies and criminal mischief.

Perhaps it’s as the Greeks believed: that whom the gods wish to cast down, they first raise up.  It’s going to be a long and hard fall.

Monday, September 18, 2006

November’s Headlines!

Day by day

US Naval blockade of Iranian oil ports in place.

Oil hits $237/barrel!

Joint Chiefs declare at least 2 million men needed for invasion of Iran.

Bush disbands Joint Chiefs, Rumsfeld takes direct command of armed forces.

Bush suspends mid term elections – cites imminent nuclear danger from Ireland.

Dublin feels shock and awe! IRAl Qaeda terrorist cells in Belfast bombed.

Tony Blair: “What the F*ck?”

Bush to restore draft for everyone between 18 and 64

Rick Santorum comes out of the closet wearing pink.

Iran and Ireland are the same thing, says Condoleeza

US a Rogue Nation says UN

UN is hiding WMD, says Bush, blockades building in NYC

US forces occupy UN building, fly US flag

US forces taking over major newspapers, media outlets. Olbermann and Dobbs executed, hundreds feared dead.

America needs unity in time of war says secretary of information O’Reilly.

Patriotic Americans back making Bush President for Life – “He’s God’s choice!” says secretary of faith Falwell

Anti-American Democrat traitors hunted down like dogs – crowds cheer.

Constitution confirms that Jesus is lord - Dems were lying!

Democrats hiding WMD’s - hate us for our freedom!

America is unanimous – Liberals must be deported for security reasons. Camps to be built in Utah.

Field Marshall Rumsfeld declares annexation of Canada complete

Army of Christ marches south to Mexico! Manifest destiny says von Rumsfeld

We did not nuke European capitols, says Emperor Bush – it was God’s hand.

God smites Russian and Asian capitols. Shows wrath at evildoers worldwide

Oil fields in Mid East now ours says Emperor - Iran and Iraq and Kuwait citizens all decided to go elsewhere.

Jews joyously convert to Christianity - Bush new King of Jerusalem

Only Republicans to be Raptured, says Messiah

Kingdom of God at hand!

Not just whistlin' Dixie

“GOP Senator says with better intelligence South would have won US Civil War.”  

So shouts the Raw Story headline.  According to the report “Democratic sources expressed outrage that he compared the Civil War to the Bush administration’s war on terror.”  Perhaps we’re so used to the daily deluge of outrageous statements and egregious actions that we just assume the worst, but perhaps the man is right.

According to Roll Call,  Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) made an analogy between the so called “war on terror” and the Civil War during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on trials, interrogation and detention of foreign terrorism suspects.  Exactly what he said is unclear. Roll call quotes him as saying “We need better intelligence. If we had better intelligence in the Civil War we’d be quoting Jefferson Davis, not Lincoln.”  Chambliss spokeswoman Lindsay Mabry says it really was: "If Gen. JEB Stuart had had better intelligence, we’d all be meeting in Richmond right now."

But of course it’s true even though intelligence of that quality was quite  impossible at the time. If the Confederacy had had spy satellites, camera drones, electronic surveillance and all the other accoutrements of modern technology, they would surely have won even without having to torture Yankees picked up on the streets at random as “enemy Combatants.”  

Beyond that bit of futile speculation, a direct comparison of the War between the States and the occupation of Iraq is meaningless.  With respect to the Neocon Crusade, the true failure of intelligence was the failure to have intelligent leaders and intelligent followers of those leaders as well as intelligent people to provide checks and balances against the rash, greedy, misguided and stupidly executed actions of those leaders.

The first failure of intelligence was to allow George W. Bush to occupy public office.  All that has followed, follows on that failure.

Silence of the lambs

One strange thing about the strangest animal ever to roam our planet is the fact that people who are part of and identify with a religion that is currently producing a bumper crop of murderous madmen are so sensitive about criticism of the symbols or traditions of a religion that is currently producing a bumper crop of murderous madmen. If one even mentions the fact that the central text of a text based religion is sufficiently open to interpretation as to allow it to be used as justification for unconscionable mayhem, some one of the faithful is quite likely to kill your children, blow up your cities or shoot some innocent who happens to be employed for the benefit of your own people. Millions more will remain silent, millions will cheer, millions will tell you how evil the Jews are and millions more yet will complain that anyone pays attention when, after all, they are the real victims.

Perhaps the fact that American culture is so concerned with not insulting anyone or their beliefs, no matter how twisted either may be, plays into the hands of the monster and perhaps it’s fear of the madness of the monster itself, but why are we so shy? There may be need to point out that some Muslims openly oppose the Jihadists because there obviously aren’t enough to make a difference, but I think there is a strong reason to point out that the people in the best position to oppose the unprincipled slaughter are not only doing little or nothing, but are in fact perpetuating the evil. The Royals, the rulers, the warrior Mullahs and the madmen who use people like weapons are now the voice and the strong arm of the faith. The Prophet and his book; the mercy and compassion of his God are the victims.

I’m quite aware that like the Torah, the Koran is read so as to oppose violence, but I’m also aware that it can be read otherwise and those who use it can make themselves into the persecuted so as to allow them to be persecutors and worse. Although it’s customary to heap most of the blame for the oppression and squalor and backwardness on America, the worst persecutors and the pious murders of the Faithful are of the Faithful.

But if the Pope is seen to oppose holy war, some Islamist in a country choking to death on pious persecution feels like a holy man when he shoots a nun in the back and murders her bodyguard. I’m waiting to hear the outrage against it, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m waiting for a holy Jihad against such things, but if someone draws a sketch of a bearded man with a bomb, the holy warriors who have spent their lives smearing other religions will blow up a building. Death to those who mention that we are screaming death to those!

Who is there to end this era of militant Islamic exceptionalism, expansionism and paranoid aggression? Certainly not George Bush and his bombs, certainly not the odd professor or journalist or expatriot who publishes the odd article or gives the occasional speech. Certainly not the man in the street who praises murder with faint damnation and takes offense at being identified with the violent animals he identifies with.

There are well over a billion Muslims in the world and there are well over a billion who would not harm any innocent person. I’m waiting for them to notice that no book, no tradition, no prophet and no god and certainly no war is holier than life itself. I’m waiting for them to stand up, to start the struggle to demand some holiness from the holy men, but frankly I think I’m more likely to be murdered in my bed for writing this then to live to see an Islamic reformation.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Did Dubai buy children?

I saw a link to a BBC article last night in The Reaction and if it’s true that the Ruler of Dubai, a country that has been touted as pro-Western and a friend to the US has enslaved, starved and mistreated thousands of children kidnapped from the Sudan, Bangladesh and southeast Asia to be used in the sport of camel racing things there may not be as idyllic as one might think from the amazing architecture and massive wealth of that flower in the desert.

A suit against Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, his brother Hamdam and 500 others has been filed here in Florida where the Sheik owns property. Of course an accusation is an accusation, but I am sure that the Bush administration will come forth to tell us that as they are not US citizens, they should have no rights to a trial and should be locked up in solitary forever and ever and should certainly be tortured. Precedent is precedent after all.

Dissention at last

“I just think John McCain is wrong on this. If we capture bin Laden tomorrow and we have to hold his head under water to find out when the next attack is going to happen, we ought to be able to do it” says chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York. Of course the rhetorical technique is transparent. We aren’t preparing to interrogate Osama, we can’t really say that anything that has happened in years can be tied to his personal involvement and we aren’t likely to take him alive. We caught the first 9/11 bombers, we stopped a massive Millennium plot to hijack airplanes without resorting to pulling out fingernails and putting men in cages for years and the only President to have failed to stop an attack on our soil by foreigners since 1941 has been George W. Bush.

<>This isn’t about Osama anyway, it’s about people picked up off the streets of Kabul or Mosul who may or may not know anything. It’s about being stupid enough to believe that anything you extract by torture is reliable enough to be useful and that people who look forward to dying are going to spill the beans if you dunk their heads in the toilet.

I don’t particularly like John McCain, but I agree with him and the finally willing to speak up Colin Powel, that such treatment of prisoners is counterproductive, that it further diminishes the standing or our country, casts doubt on our worthiness to prevail and that it exposes our troops and even civilians to atrocious treatment.

Like the unnamed Biblical Pharaoh, Bush is not going to let go of the notion that he can make us safer by treating prisoners of war like criminals. That’s of course just what happened to McCain and others like him who were captured by the Viet Cong. Like that Pharaoh, Bush is unlikely to be persuaded by toads, lice or locusts and is still hoping that he can get by on the observation that we have not been invaded since 9/11 even though the most plausible plots were stopped by foreign countries without our help and without our spying and without our torture.

It’s not some divine action that has hardened his brain, it’s the knowledge that if we are attacked next Wednesday, he can claim it was because of his torture and spying on Americans. If we are not, he can claim it’s because of him. Either way he wins, either way we lose.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The FCC doesn't want you to hear the news

Michael Powell; he’s the former head of the Federal Communications Commission and the son of former Secretary of State General Colin Powell. I’m fond of calling him mellonhead both for reasons made obvious by the photo. Of course I wouldn’t insult the man that way but for the fact that his ties to big business tainted his chairmanship to a degree that hasn’t been seen since the 1930’s.

An emerging technology called BPL, or Broadband over Power Lines has been one of his pet projects. Although the laying of fiber-optic cable has been so overdone that some say there is more cable than anyone can use, he insists that the idea of using power lines to transmit internet service is so necessary, that protecting licensed users of the radio spectrum is not important. Powell was so enamored of this technology that he was seen by many as more of an industry lobbyist than a representative of an agency charged with protecting the public interest. Years of complaints and demands that the FCC enforce its own rules went ignored by Powells commission.

But far more than that, Powell seemed also to represent those who wanted to completely undo the historical prohibitions against near monopolies in the media. Attempting to prove that having the radio and TV stations in the hands of a few huge media conglomerates was not a detriment to the public interest, Powell commissioned a study in 2004 to prove the point. The Associated Press reported this afternoon that upon seeing the results, Powell ordered that "every last piece" of the study be destroyed. We don’t have to guess that the study showed that locally owned stations produced more thorough news coverage and we have recently seen how Disney owned ABC recently spent $40 million dollars clouding the public perception of what has gone wrong with our attempt to stop al Qaeda. We didn't hear much from anyone willing to expose the distortions, except the bloggers.

I was relieved when Powell stepped down as were many other licensed users of the spectrum, but Kevin Martin, the new chairman has made it clear that he intends to side with Big Media interests in the current rewrite of FCC ownership rules. Monopolies serve no one but monopolists and consolidated media ownership leads to censorship, corporate control of information and the end of a free press.

If you worry about Big Brother and fake news, take the time to put your comments on file with the FCC before November 21. Otherwise policy that hardly anyone is in favor of will be rammed down our throats by the Republicans once again.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Americans first

Got some breakfast cereal that looks like dog food? I know, let’s give it to Mikey! We remember the cute commercial from the last century, but what about some high-tech microwave beam weapon that knocks large numbers of people down writhing on the ground in pain and nausea?

We have such a weapon says Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Wynne and we should hesitate before using it on the battlefield because we don’t want to get sued by some Taliban jihadist who might be unduly harmed by it. Instead, Wynne says we should use it on unruly mobs here in the US.

I’m not making this up, I’m reading it on as reported by AP this morning. Now just what mobs of American citizens does Wynn expect and when does he expect them to be out on the streets with pitchforks? What are they planning?

What with his electronic spying and shadowy wars without end and uncatchable bearded enemies and cameras in the sky and sci-fi death beams, Big Brother is looking less and less brotherly every day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Stupid is as Bush does

George Bush may be one of the few people still stupid enough to believe that the evil in the world comes from evil leaders and that hatred and violence goes away when these leaders are defeated. Lacking all qualities of leadership himself, he attributes mass movements to the will of one tyrant or another rather than to vastly larger forces. Of course he needs to believe that since he’s sold our children’s future to pay for a war that was supposed to illustrate his simplistic idea. It didn’t. Saddam is long out of office and the violence and anti-American hatred escalates daily.

In a televised address yesterday Bush insisted that “the safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad.” Apparently some Americans are still stupid enough to believe that.

“If we do not defeat these enemies now,” Mr. Bush said, “we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.”

According to The Times, the bellicose Mr. Bush spent roughly one-fifth of his 17-minute address making the case that the nation’s safety hinged on success in Iraq, even as he implicitly acknowledged there was no link between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11 strikes.

He ranted on however, as though Saddam had such weapons and as though Saddam had attacked us rather than the amorphous, stateless and ubiquitous clusters of angry men. He filibusters on as if the religious passions of well over a billion people will change if we blow up a city or knock over a government or arrest a secular leader, inimical to Jihad.

Haven’t we had enough of the analogies to a war than ended 60 years ago – we are not fighting a country that is about to invade us or that can conquer us militarily. We are threatened by universal hatred and religious mania that does not need an army or generals or a nation.

Had we not invaded Iraq we would have retained the support of more moderate Islamic countries after 9/11, without which we have far less of a chance for peace and without our backbreaking involvement in Iraq, we would most likely have rid ourselves of Osama and made him face the scorn of Muslims everywhere.

Iraq was not a decision forced on Bush by circumstances, it was the result of an obsession that drove him to ignore Osama and ignore all the intelligence and the warnings Bush inherited from the Clinton administration. It was George whose administration held not one meeting on Terrorism before 9/11 and it's George now sitting on the white horse trying to look like a general when he should be riding out of town on a rail.

The wages of justice is death

Tim Roche died last week at the age of 38.  Before he moved forward in his career, Tim was a staff writer for a local newspaper here in Florida and became the first reporter in the state to go to jail for refusing to reveal a source.

The on-line edition of the newspaper in question allows readers to post comments and given the reactionary, religious and ignorant nature of certain Florida counties it can be depressing to read them.

Mr. Roche was jailed for contempt of court in1990 when he refused to identify the person who let him see a confidential child-custody order he used to write a story about a little girl about to be returned to the family that had killed her sister through neglect.  Prosecutors had been unable to decide which parent was guilty, according to newspaper accounts and so dropped the case and sealed the records.  Roche’s expose had the result of stopping this impending tragedy and allowing the girl to grow up with good and loving foster parents.  Because of Tim Roche’s courage and sense of honor, she is alive, well, grateful and happy today.

But only in the Bible belt will you read comments claiming that Tim died young because he had broken the law and the wages of sin is cerebral hemorrhage.

Roche had appealed the case to no avail.  The Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear his case and as there were no activist Judges willing to inject a sense of justice into the matter, he went to jail for a short time. In this state that can mean, among other things, that he could never vote again.  

To some people who call themselves conservative and Christian he got his reward for breaking the law.  To others like me and in particular to the girl whose life he likely saved he is a hero. Apparently there exists a new and bizarre form of cracker Christianity that feels Jesus got his just desserts for having broken Roman law and for these people, despite my own ethical and moral convictions, I wish the most protracted, painful and ignominious end.

Monday, September 11, 2006

ABC gets a D

I’ve watched about all I can watch of The Path to 9/11. I had been wondering when the purpose behind it would become more obvious than it was yesterday and when it was interrupted for a pep talk by the worst president in our history, the wondering stopped.

ABC spent $40,000,000 on this clumsy piece of propaganda and has aired it without apparent commercial sponsorship. Big corporations don’t usually give away hours of air time for free. There’s a quo for this quid and the network that will not give equal time to someone to counter their opinions will give free time to the Republican National Committee to sell the President’s failures as success. It’s free political advertising and if it isn’t illegal we might just as well forget about any notions of a free press.

Tonight’s episode continues to pretend that the reason we were hit by Osama was political correctness and the Bill of Rights and although it did make reference to Bush’s canceling all discussions of terrorism, ABC has allowed Bush to play muezzin, chanting his 9/11 Saddam – 9/11 Saddam- 911 Saddam – 9/11 Saddam call to deception from the minarets of TV broadcasting towers all over the country. Although the "Docudrama" may criticize his administration it none the less praises with faint damnation.

That’s what it’s all about and that’s why they don’t bother to get the most elementary facts straight and why they do bother to put fictional conversations and circumstances in front of us. That’s why Disney and their running dogs at ABC gave a 40 million dollar gift to George Bush.

As a post in State of the Day said today: “I am so sick and tired of the mixed messages meant to confuse. It's not the war on terror that has a nation divided, it's the f**king war in Iraq. Define your war, Mr. President. Define your intentions. Tell the American people how you used one as an excuse for the other and how that was the only connection that ever existed between the two.”

I’m not holding my breath.

Stupid is as stupid doesn't

There may be more than one cause of the growing chaos in Iraq but none of the possibilities is called "lack of resolve". The lack of a realistic plan for post-Saddam Iraq may seem hard to explain. It had little to do with any need for haste since there was no need for the war; a fact that has been well enough established to satisfy most anyone but the most jingoistic Bush supporters. The lack of planning stems either from the stupidity of Don Rumsfeld, who perhaps thought that a peaceful, orderly and western liberal democracy would spontaneously emerge, or from the nefarious plan of Don Rumsfeld and the Bush administration, who needed the chaos as part of a war for war's sake, oil's sake, or the sake of power itself. The scenario I find most compelling is the latter, but either way we have quagmire as deep and sticky as was envisioned by cooler, smarter, and more honest heads.The latest in the long list of retiring generals blowing whistles is Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps. At the time of the 9/11 attacks he had been selected as the chief of logistics war plans and as such could be expected to have an interest in war plans and logistics, but, according to Scheid, Rumsfeld threatened to fire the next person who even talked about the need for a post-war plan. Rumsfeld did make good on that threat by firing Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, for suggesting that a plan should include several hundred thousand troops. Regardless of Rumsfeld's motivations or Rumsfelds secret plans or machinations, this decision, this insistence that we would get in and get out without needing an occupation has been the biggest military blunder since the Vietnam War. Does it really matter if Rumsfeld's decisions were stupid or nefarious? Either way, we lose. Either way, he is a danger."The secretary of defense continued to push on us," said Scheid to the Hampton Roads Daily Press, "that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave. We won't stay." We stayed. We may yet stay for years or decades or we may be forced out and have to face the consequences of what our administration has done. Of course, we can press for his resignation, we can vote in enough Democrats this November to impeach George W. Bush, but we still have a very long road ahead of us if we want to survive as a free country in a world that isn't at our throat.

Sackcloth and ashes - the Path to 9/11

Make my heart as a millstone,
Set my face as a flint

Cheat and be cheated and die: who knows?

We are ashes and dust


If you read the papers today, it’s a day of sackcloth and ashes, self-pity and maudlin grief. I wonder how much of that is really a reflection of America’s thoughts. More that 150,000 people have died in cars and SUV’s since September of 2001. We still drive like incompetent fools. Doesn’t America think it’s time to do something about Islamic terrorism rather than to rend our clothes in lament for New York and rather than bankrupt the country for a quixotic dream of a Western utopia in Iraq?

The Path to 9/11; ABC’s propagandistic opus which began last night was a bit less of a single minded attack on Bill Clinton than I had expected, yet propaganda it was and as such, misrepresented many facts while larding the recipe with completely invented dialogs harping on the danger of the Bill of Rights and any squeamish Liberal aversions to brutal torture.

The scene where Bill Clinton himself calls off an early attack on Osama’s desert hangout was apparently redacted although the portrayal of exactly who did cancel it seemed ambiguous. Was it Sandy Berger or was it CIA Director George J. Tenet? It was in fact the latter although the heavy handed passion play managed to rub sufficient soil on Clinton with background pictures of TV appearances and more fictitious conversations from fictionalized characters.

That the program was fiction and not a documentary was presented to us on screen twice during the two hours, although any motivation behind giving us a fictional account of an important piece of history that is yet to be fully understood by the public was left to conjecture.

ABC did seem to feel that it was necessary to give Richard Clark a minute or two to explain that it was indeed Tenet who nixed a certain attack and that Osama’s hideout was not, as shown in the schlockumentary, an unprotected adobe village out of some John Wayne movie but heavily fortified and replete with tanks and artillery. ABC had just told us that it was fear of shooting Muslim children that has caused the Clinton administration to balk. ( as though that were weakness) It was also pointed out, much to my surprise, that the Republicans had chastised Clinton when he did fire missiles at the compound and at a plant thought to be producing chemical weapons in Sudan: the famous Monica Missiles.

Of course it remaines to be seen whether ABC’s toned-down bit of tendentious historical fiction will mention that upon his ascending to the throne, George W. Bush essentially shut down any effort to study, investigate or discuss Osama bin Laden, telling the anti-terrorism staff he didn’t want to hear about Osama; he wanted to hear about Saddam. Tenet, portrayed as something of a bungler was of course, given the Medal of Freedom by George W. “mission accomplished” Bush.

If Clinton did too little and did it too late and if Clinton was thwarted by the Monica Madness in pursuing and punishing al Qaeda, Bush did nothing and stopped anyone else from doing anything. Will the blame the fictional account places on both presidents be apportioned as it should be: heavily on the cocky shoulders of the "Decider?" Lets see what the Empire of the Mouse has to say about it tonight.

To be continued.


This web site purporting to contain deleted scenes from The Path to 9/11 is interesting. Of course they seem to attribute the deletions to pressure from leftists, Democrats and other less than manly groups and to ignore that some scenes were deleted because they were simply unhistorical - it never happened that way.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gentlemen, start your engines.

The bullshit never stops nor does the Orwellian antinomy, so when a Republican wants to drag us into the cesspit of lies, distortions, ignorance, tyranny and war, he calls it Progress.  Progress for America, a group that evidently identifies progress with promoting lies, is revving up the manure spreader with a new TV campaign designed to link the 9/11 attacks with George W. Bush’s misbegotten and foundering war in Iraq.  Never mind that no investigation has turned up any link whatsoever, that the CIA says there wasn’t any, that a Senate Intelligence Committee reports that Saddam declared al Zarqawi an outlaw and tried to arrest him: never mind that the administration itself has admitted that there was no connection – these people want you to believe it.

“These people want to kill us.” Shouts the advertisement and by These People, they mean every militant Islamic group.  Of course Saddam Hussein was not only never a part of those people, he was opposed to them.  These people want you to believe otherwise.

“Now, we have narrowly escaped "another 9/11," using proven surveillance that some would stop”  continues the ad, ignoring the fact that none of Bush’s transgressions of our constitution and none of George W. Bush’s actions or inactions contributed to the British effort to stop the plotters.  The British did not even tell us about it until shortly before the arrests, said FranTownsend a White House advisor, to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on August 10th. Bush himself said the following day: “I want to thank the government of Tony Blair and officials in the United Kingdom for their good work in busting this plot.”  The British were tipped off by a Muslim who was obviously not one of “these people.” Bush and his warrantless wiretaps had nothing to do with it.

“The War on Terror is a war for our country's freedom, security and survival.” Is the conclusion of the false syllogism because whether or not that statement is true, the war in Iraq has nothing to do with and never had anything to do with the conquest and occupation of Iraq and the public’s growing awareness of  that fact cannot be explained by calling them cowards.

“They would cut and run in the Middle East, leaving Al-Qaeda to attack us again” says the voice of these people, which again stresses the non-existent  and disproven link and with oily precision slides from Iraq to the “Middle East”  No one is suggesting that we ignore the Middle East or indeed ignore Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden as George Bush and his lying lackeys have done.

If anyone still believes the media are controlled by “Liberals” or by people who “hate America”  they are probably beyond the reach of reason and will probably continue to suck up the propaganda the media pours out; telling us that 9/11 was Bill Clinton’s fault and that George W. Bush’s imperial ambitions are all about our freedom. According to, the ad’s sponsor is a group formed in 2001 for the express purpose of backing the "Bush agenda," and it spent $38 million in 2004 promoting the President's re-election.  These are the people who hate our freedom, are stealing our freedom and selling it to the highest bidder.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Take the low road

One not familiar with things as they are today might think that military people would predominate in the group of those pushing for harsher treatment of prisoners of war, but the truth is, as the truth so often is these days, quite different from what people believe.

Having rejected the moral low road last Wednesday by rejecting many types of torture for (let’s call them what they are) Muslim prisoners, the Pentagon may be overridden by the criminals (let’s call them what they are) of the Bush administration, who despite George W. Bush’s clear and precise denial, long to be the Torquemada of the twenty first century. Not only does the proposal reinterpret the Geneva Conventions to allow the CIA to torture their victims, it would place any further attempts to take the red hot tongs out of the hands of the Holy Office beyond the reach of the courts. Take that, activist judges!

The argument that “This is a new kind of war” is an absolute lie, as is so much that emanates from the new Axis of Evil in Washington. Beyond the fact that confessions under torture are more likely to be useless or misleading, there has been no success that we know of in using it to good result.

According to the Times, A senior intelligence official said that the new legislation, if enacted, would make it clear that the techniques used by the C.I.A. on senior Qaeda members who had been held abroad in secret sites would not be prohibited and that interrogators who engaged in those practices, both in the past and in the future, would not face prosecution. The Adolph Mengeles of America need not fear and it’s not evil when we do it.

As much as the neanderthals like to speak of victory, there can be no victory in such an enterprise, only survival and even survival is in question if we mean survival as a nation with any right to talk about moral standards and leadership. While many of his supporters see George W. Bush as God’s own president and will thus support his atrocities as part of God’s great indecipherable plan, those free of this tribalist insanity are beginning to see quite the opposite in our leadership, who lie, murder, torture and steal to further their great and obvious plan and part of that plan is to make themselves immune to judgment by the courts. The judgment of the world and the judgment of whatever gods may be are quite another thing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Florida Primary - Oh my God!

Imagine waking up on a Wednesday morning and reading that PeeWee Herman is now the heavyweight champion of the world or that Mark Karr was appointed Secretary of Education or Sammy “the Bull” Gravano is the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. But of course truth is stranger than fiction; much stranger.

Katherine Harris; her name has become a metonym for insanity, a metaphor for demented confidence. Katherine Harris thinks God chooses leaders; either forgetting or not knowing ( or not caring) that the cornerstone of the American Revolution was a rejection of that idea. Katherine Harris thinks only Christians (by her definition) should hold public office. She insists that this country was not founded to be a “nation of secular laws” because lies like that appeal to the ignorant, bigoted, superstitious rabble that vote Republican.

Katherine Harris; delusional, demented, dishonest and disloyal to American principles was the best the Party could come up with and naturally, the Republican voters of Florida chose her to be their candidate to run against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

Of course voter turnout was poor, as can be expected in a time when the country’s future is in the balance and poor turnout works well for Republicans.
Let’s hope some Democrats manage to remember Election day come November.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The lies never stop

Islamofascism, Bush has come to call it, and that's not one of his malapropisms. It's a multi-level attempt to tie his quixotic mission to something real and historical and to distract from the growing awareness that his one-party government, so expert in manipulating the passions of the public with propaganda and so good at intimidating the public with secret investigations, bears a growing resemblance to the Fascisti of the 1930s and 40s. The Bush propaganda machine is so powerful not only because modern communications makes it easier, but because, as is the practice of Republicans and Fascists alike, the boundaries between government and private propaganda is blurred. If caught, if exposed, the private sector liars can be jettisoned without damage to the party, which can then go off on a new tack faster than anything that ever won the America's Cup.

The towers of the World Trade Center no longer dominate the Manhattan skyline, but the various myths, legends, gospels, hymns, and dirges that we have created to fill the void still dominate national discourse and, like Obi-wan, the Twin Towers are more powerful in death than in life. So important to the case for war is their destruction that the meaning of September 11th must be reformed, restated, and re-invented as the ineluctable causa belli with each emerging detail of Bush's bungling incompetence. And so well has this been done that no direct evidence of Bush's failure to prevent it even despite direct warning can stand against the onslaught of fable. Bush's private propagandists are quite up to the task.

The American Broadcasting Company, according to
Think Progress, plans to disgrace the day by airing a jaw-dropping, mind-twisting piece of putrescent "docudrama" to blame the attack on Bill Clinton. ABC, which along with the other networks drowned out that the former president’s efforts to attack Osama bin Laden with the incessant screech of "Monicamonicamonica," now would have it otherwise, just as the man who went on vacation when warned of an imminent attack would have it otherwise -- and so otherwise it shall be.

"The film really zeros in on the shortcomings of the Clinton administration in doing anything about militant Islamofascism or terrorism during its administration," says Rush Limbaugh. Can any amount of Oxycontin dull the conscience of this man? Can any amount of Docufiction disguise the degree to which Bush dismantled Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts? Can anyone forget the mockery Rush directed at Clinton for firing "Monica missiles" at Osama. We shall see.

I'm sure the outrage caused by advance announcement of this "docudrama" will be significant. The director of the film, David Cunningham, is already backtracking about its accuracy, saying "
this is not a documentary." Indeed, it's not. Posing as objective history, it's a drama, a pastiche of fact and fiction, a passion play used to prove a point that the facts themselves deny. It’s propaganda. It’s a lie.

Cross posted in The Reaction

Monday, September 04, 2006

Prisoners, hostages and victims

Those black POW/MIA flags still fly from poles here and there; stickers are still stuck to bumpers, although it’s hard to believe anyone still has hope that anyone missing from the Viet Nam War will ever be found alive. There’s a far greater chance that the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah last July are still alive and according to Rev. Jesse Jackson, Hezbollah officials and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora have told him they are.

Israel, like the United States is a country that supports its troops and indeed Hezbollah supports its guerillas and assassins even though that often consists of reimbursing the families of suicide bombers. They are demanding that the captured Israeli regulars can be returned only as part of a prisoner exchange. I can imagine the American reaction if some of our troops had been kidnapped by a foreign entity that insisted that we return, for example, someone like Mohammed Atta in exchange and particularly if that entity regularly tortured and murdered hostages taken at random.

The three men Hezbollah wants exchanged the most; seem to be Samir Kantar, Nasim Nisr and Yehia Skaff. At least two of the three have been in prison since the 1970’s for having being involved in killing scores of Israeli civilians, not as collateral damage, but as chosen victims. One can only speculate what their fate might have been had they been caught in the US for having murdered US citizens as a political statement. None the less, they are alive and the possibility remains that Jackson will be instrumental in facilitating an exchange.

He has been meeting with Syrian and Lebanese officials as well as with the Israeli government and one can hope that he is as successful in this effort as he has been so often in the past. An exchange would allow Hezbollah to continue to claim victory from the rubble of their defeat and would allow Israel to claim some kind of victory as well. His record in such things makes me hopeful.

It is after all, most important to claim victory when no victory was won or was perhaps possible to win because this is not a war of conquest. For both sides, survival is seen as victory, whether the situation survived was meaningful or worthwhile or barbaric and ignominious.

No doubt the Fox News Fascists will be sneering and snickering and sliming the Reverend Jackson as they so often do and as they slander anyone who values peace, but who else is doing what he is doing and why aren’t they?