Posts Tagged ‘war’

the power of “s”

A few weeks ago, I read briefly from Michael Harrington’s Socialism. Early on, he used the word “socialisms.”

I stared at the word for a couple of minutes. For all the times I’ve read, heard, and spoken the word “socialism,” this was my first time encountering it with an “s” at the end.

The “s” highlighted how little I actually know about socialism. It taunted me with the implication that, as Neil Postman might caution, I knew little enough of socialism’s histories to know an “s” could even belong there.

Another book made me think about the power of “s” to provoke deeper reflection. Called Late American Holocausts, it forced me to confront the idea of multiple holocausts. As an American, I’d grown up with the idea there was but one.

Of course, without even having begun reading the book, I could already see precisely why many Americans are taught that there was only The Holocaust … in which Americans were the victors, fighting evil, self-nominated, for the good of the world.

(The script hasn’t changed much, and–despite the tens of millions of people killed by America, its allies, and its arms sale recipients–American leaders still portray America as the lone, brave cowboy out bringing justice to the world. (Bah!))

Where else does an “s” invite deeper inquiry?

After “soldier,” for one. Who are the individual soldiers who sacrificed so much of their selves so that so few could gain vast riches? How do their stories vary? How do their losses ripple out to impact those who love them and must also face the daily consequences of those losses–of safety, of limb, of life? Who are these millions sacrificed by those who will never directly understand the individual costs of war?

And “war”? There’s another one. Though I didn’t see it until a few months ago, to read the word “war” and glide over it is to trivialize it. There is no one, uniform war. Each individual war killS and woundS different personS, placeS, and dreamS in dramatically different wayS.

Little has done so much for my seeing more clearly what is than the pluralizing letter “s,” which challenges me to explore the stories concealed by words used in misleading singular.

Reject a Syrian No-Fly Zone! Please call these senators pronto.

On November 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the inaptly named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2016 “with forty minutes of debate.” If passed by the Senate and subsequently signed into law, this will establish a no-fly zone over Syria. Establishing a no-fly zone is an act of war, which would (1) kill many Syrian civilians and (2) dramatically escalate probability of U.S. war with Syria’s ally, Russia.

If you’re interested in actual peace, such as is obtained not by bombs but by legitimate diplomacy, please call the members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and demand they reject this bill.

My vote? That you awaken

I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton. 

Something big happened between my forming that intention and my voting today:

I read.

I read for a couple hundred hours. I read far and wide, and was horrified by what I discovered.

Clinton’s horrific history of decades of human rights abuses is copiously documented, yet failed to appear in virtually any mainstream reporting. The origin of this silence was made clear by WikiLeaks, six-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and winner of multiple journalistic awards, which revealed that the DNC has been carefully orchestrating Clinton’s installment since early 2014. (Did you know that Obama’s cabinet was basically selected by Citibank? No? Surprise! The U.S. is actually an oligarchy!)

Many happily vote for Clinton today, assuming that the reason they’ve not heard much about Clinton wrongdoings is that she hasn’t done much wrong. It would’ve appeared in the news otherwise, right?

Wrong. Luckily for me, I happened to read Glenn Greenwald’s bestselling With Liberty and Justice for Some, which delved into how mainstream media has long since ceased to be independent of government.

I saw the divide between truth and what was presented as truth, and I was appalled.

The last couple of months, I’ve carried on my shoulders the fact that the U.S. is currently bombing seven predominantly Muslim countries with the quiet blessing of its complacent citizens, and with the long, hearty endorsement of the “Democratic” candidate, Hillary Clinton.

My educated liberal friends laugh at Trump voters as uneducated and horrible, but from my vantage point, it’s they who have failed the world. It’s they who’ve said, “I stand for human rights!” while actively supporting kindly looking officials who obliterate entire families.

So, today, I cast my presidential vote for Bernie Sanders, all the while hoping and praying that Trump manages to steal the election.

Trump is horrifying, to be sure. It’s just that after reading up on Hillary, I now understand him to be far the less horrifying candidate of the two.

Should Hillary be elected, I pray to God that my friends will open their eyes.

But I fear, oh how I fear, they will shrug, sigh, and say, “Phew!”

(Hey, it’s not my kids who’ll be killed by our bombs.)

The could-have-been soul-kin of Anne Frank

I thought of Anne Frank while walking in the rain this morning.

I thought of how she might have lived, had the U.S. approved her entry into the country.

I thought of the final marches made by countless peoples Nazis deemed subhuman. Did each of those marchers know how few steps they had to walk in their lives? Or did they hold out some frail hope as they marched toward gas chambers that the worst was behind them?

I ached, but something in my heart told me I wasn’t only aching because of the past.

I turned toward the present, and my blood ran cold.

Over the weekend, I read further in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine.

I learned that the image of Iraq I’d had painted for me by U.S. media when the U.S. invaded Iraq  was wrong. Far from being a backward country in need of re-creation, it had a rich cultural, artistic, and intellectual history. Its literacy rate exceeded that of many U.S. states.

Then the U.S. invaded and destroyed Iraq, obliterating its universities, museums, and faith centers in addition to ending–through torture and killing–countless lives.

I’d had no idea what–or whom–my country destroyed, nor how completely it did so to open new markets.

After World War II, many ordinary Germans claimed they had no idea what was happening to the people forcibly removed from their communities. Even those with concentration camps in their backyards professed shock upon discovering the atrocities perpetrated–and suffered–by people who’d once walked among them.

To focus very narrowly upon a single city or community might make disappearances merely curious.

Pulling back and taking a wider view, we can see from temporal and physical distance that people disappeared from many communities.

Focusing on any one, it is easy to say it’s not such a big deal some people disappeared.

It would, of course, be wrong, for what happened in any individual community didn’t spring from such community. What happened in each was symptomatic of a much greater ill, which can only be seen from further back.

(The earth seems flat while standing upon it. You must view it from space to see that it is curved.)

I wrote recently about the U.S.’s indispensible role destroying Yemeni lives by bombing Yemen and by cutting it off from desperately needed humanitarian supplies.

Those not killed by bombs are killed by slow starvation.

When I wrote, I was troubled and perplexed by my country’s brutal acts, as well as by my fellow Americans’ apparent lack of concern with the same.

U.S. attacks on Yemen and, once again, Iraq might not seem that disturbing taken as two completely separate sets of actions.

Viewing it that way is viewing it too narrowly, for the U.S. has recently bombed and otherwise attacked three other predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Syria. (In the latter case, U.S. leaders roar for a no-fly zone they quietly acknowledge will kill countless civilians.)

Taking a slighty wider view, the pattern becomes even more sinister: The U.S. is also bombing two Muslim countries in northern Africa. Somalia is under U.S. attack, as is Libya, which was a true democracy until the U.S.’s Clinton-led  intervention a few years ago.

Having destabilized not only Iraq but many of its Muslim neighbors, my country destroys their paths to food, exit, and safety. It totals homes and livelihoods and then dooms entire regions by denying their people safe harbor here.

By Oxford’s definition of genocide, “the deliberate killing of large groups of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation (synonyms: mass murder),” U.S. actions have a name.

Ask some members of certain American contingencies and they’ll tell you we’re bombing Muslim countries because violent Muslims have provoked us to it.

In addition to being a horrifyingly broad overgeneralization, this acontextual view ignores how U.S. attacks have fanned the flames of extremism. In one recent Robert Kennedy piece, he explains how  U.S. Department of Defense “data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement abroad and terrorist attacks against the U.S.”

Indeed, Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen told a police negotiator, “You have to tell the U.S. government to stop bombing. They are killing too many children. They are killing too many women, okay.”

In a broadly bipartisan affair, my country has killed and continues to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim families. To my heart, there is no difference between these families, Sikh families, Christian families, Jewish families, atheist families, or any other loving family.

I cannot stop my government from killing, but I can speak up that none around me may ever truthfully say, “I had no idea that was happening!”

To not know is one thing; to willfully not know, quite another.

As we go about our merry not-knowing, there is no telling how many soul-kin of Anne Frank we are destroying each and every day.

This 10/24/16 post transferred from L2SP 5/16/17


Love hard, y’all

I’m writing a post for my other blog, but it involves addressing a lot of complicated, dark history. Completing it will take a lot of time and energy I don’t have now.

I do have to say something now.

Y’all, love yourself. Love your neighbor. Don’t withhold that love–not for how someone is voting, for the color of their skin, for their unkind acts, for where they live in the world.

Just love each other. Hard.

This is a political message. It absolutely is. Because, see, our collective fear is being exploited. Right now, this very moment, the United States is preparing to take acts of war against Russia, all on pretense. 

This is not an ahistorical act. This is a profoundly historical act that has to do with power, a power that adheres to neither me nor you.

(If you’d like to understand more about where I’m coming from before I finish writing my next post, please, please begin reading The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and understand that we’re witnessing the next shock being generated right now. Look into the TPP, TiSA, and TTiP to understand who benefits when we citizens consumers lose.)

Love is a revolutionary act. Truly. So please, for the love of god, listen. Love. Reach out, especially to those whom it’s hard for you to hear.

Don’t allow your fear to be exploited for destruction.

Please love each other. Hard. Unequivocally.


a hand hearts

Categories: history, Love, politics, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Saturday Soliloquy: Seeking Sister Peace

Today’s soliloquy isn’t really a soliloquy, and I’m not even posting it on Saturday. Still, I did want to say something.

A couple of years ago, I wrote that “all injustice is bound together, perpetrated by like callousness and lack of compassion.” This is so much truer than I came close to understanding then.

But then, I don’t write these things simply to distress and dismay. I write these things to encourage you to seek truth beyond your comfort zone, the better to begin broadening vulnerable people’s comfort zones.

Right now, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.–among others–bomb parts of Syria under the guise of bringing peace to the country. The Syrian government and its most prominent ally, Russia, fight different contingencies within the country, leading Saudi and Syrian coalitions ever closer to outright warfare with each other.

Many in the U.S. have called for a no-fly zone over Syria. This may sound like a peaceful thing. I would like you to know, via analogy inspired by my two young sons, that it is anything but.

And when the U.S. government tells you it’s in Syria out of humanitarian goodness, I hope you’ll ask yourself, “Really? Why then, are we partnering with Saudi Arabia, which represses women and beheads more people than ISIS? Whose textbooks teach ‘hatred toward people, including Muslims, who do not subscribe to the Wahhabi sect of Islam’?

“Why do we sell Saudi Arabia billions of dollars of weaponsincluding cluster bombs–it uses to target civilians in Yemen, to which the Red Cross must now donate morgues? Why do we devastate ordinary Syrians by our sanctions?”

“Why does our president use fifteen-year-old authorizations for use of military force to bomb seven countries, excluding the one with–arguably–the clearest ties to the 9/11 attacks inspiring the AUMFs?”

After you have spent some time with these questions, I hope you will then contact your senators and representatives and ask them to seek not war but his much less profitable sister, peace.

You don’t have to say a lot. Each of “Stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia,” “Get out of Syria,” and “Use diplomacy, not weapons, for change,” for example, say plenty.

If enough Americans speak, our elected officials will listen … to protect their own jobs, if for no other reason.

Saturday Soliloquy: 26

I killed
26 people
on Wednesday

I didn’t
pull the trigger
physically, but I
killed them
all the

For fifteen years,
my people have
used one
to justify

some war
I thought
“Not my

spread from
one country to
another to yet
another, I thought,
“I guess that’s just
how it is”


For fifteen years,
I never thought to question
my leaders: “How are
me and mine served by our
bombing one then two
then seven countries?
How am I served
by our killing
people and
their homes,
lives, and
in ways
that could
only fan
of hate?

explain it to me
like I’m a five-year-old”

My silent assent
enabled them, and they
have milked it for
all they

My president
has sold $115 billion
in weapons to Saudi Arabia
alone*; it, in turn, has used
those weapons to kill
civilians, over and
over and over

(so many killed,
the Red Cross
is donating

By looking
the other way,
I said, “Yes,
I approve”

And those
I’d helped elect,
they just kept
for money
run for
their lives
from our weapons

when I saw pictures
of children starving in
Yemen because of our–
no, my–weapons, I wept,
for I am starving them

And when
I saw that 71 senators
permitted another billion-dollar
weapon sale to Saudi Arabia
the very same day those
26 innocents were killed
by our business partner,
I wanted to scream

Today, I will kill
even more people,
but take some scant
solace in knowing
I will not be complicit
any longer

I will shout at
those I’ve elected
that I will not support
murder, not vote for it,
not stand for it,
will rise up
against it


I can’t stop
any trigger from
being pulled today
or tomorrow, or the day
after, I. will. speak. in hopes
that my fellow Americans
hear that politicians who
fear losing their seats
will listen well to
an overwhelming
chorus of voices
saying, “You
no longer
my quiet
to murder
(26, 260, 2,600,
or 26,000)
for your or

* By all rights,
we should have
been fighting against
Saudi Arabia; instead,
we have bombed the house
while leaving
the bathroom

** Go to hell stricken
parts of Yemen,
General Dynamics.
May your munitions
fail and end up striking
you where you sleep

Note also
that President Obama
yesterday vetoed a bill that would
enable 9/11’s victims to sue Saudi Arabia;
it’s too important a business partner
big a munitions buyer to
risk losing it over silly
things like
the law or

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