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.


You are mighty.

“Why do you care so much what happens to some people in Yemen?” I’ve been asked several times.

The first few times I was asked, I had a hard time keeping my cool. “Why do you need someone else to explain the value of human life?!” I wanted to roar back … and did, a couple of times, accomplishing exactly nothing.

I then started trying to explain, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Injustice isn’t the problem, but a symptom of a systemic corrosion that can’t be confined.

I’ve finally landed on a way to explain this corrosion in a way I think it’ll reach people’s hearts, but it’ll take me some time to write. Today, then, I want to focus on a hopeful corollary:


Last week, I wrote a short post asking Americans to call senators responsible for approving or rejecting an already House-authorized war with Russia. In comments, I summarized what I’d said when I called. I suggested a template for anyone who wanted to call but wasn’t sure what to say.

“I’m a California voter with grave concerns about the misnamed Syrian Civilian ‘Protection’ Act. I urge you to ensure it does not pass. Not with my tax dollars.”

When calling, you might want to use something like the latter, swapping “Californian” with “American.”

Why does it matter what happens to some people in Syria? Apart from the moral dimensions to answering that, there’s a very practical reason.

War is bankrupting the United States. Already, the U.S. government has spent $5 trillion on wars that devastate innocent people worldwide while transferring any and all American wealth from the populace to its arms dealers. Syrians and Americans alike are starving because war is good for the already very wealthy. Read more…

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.

President Obama, a highly skilled magician

I recently wrote of U.S. President Obama’s tactical niceness that he’s “the magician making you look into his eyes while his hands do crafty things.”

Here’s a sampling of some of the magic he’s worked during his eight-year term as president, dramatically, scarily expanding executive power which he’ll soon transfer to President Trump:

President Obama has proven a highly skilled magician, working against global citizens while speaking and smiling so disarmingly few voters’ eyes ever strayed from his face.

I am not a Trump supporter.
Once a lifelong Democrat, I’m now without party preference.
I want to hold all parties accountable for what they do in office.
If anyone, Republican or Democrat, commits actions in Americans’ names,
by Americans’ votes, they must be accountable to Americans.

This 11/15/16 post transferred from L2SP 9/18/17.
Please see here for why I’m reposting this.

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: , ,
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