Once Upon A Clinton Time; Bill Opposed Iraq War From The Beginning



GMA – Bill Clinton Says He Was Against the Iraq War?

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

We heard his message.  The die was cast and many would perish.  The safety and security of citizens  within the United States was threatened.  A defiant Saddam Hussein and arms in Iraq were the issues of import.  Iraqi despot Hussein would not comply with demands to disarm.  The Commander-In-Chief proclaimed Americans were patient; however, we could wait no longer.  

The President decided it was time to take mattes into his own hands.  He addressed a world audience and proclaimed.

Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish . . .

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve [United Nations weapons inspectors] UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors . . . So Iraq has abused its final chance . . .

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm’s way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq’s military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties . . .

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction . . .

Because we’re acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future . . .

In the century we’re leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that.

These are the words of Bill Clinton.  The date was December 16, 1998.  At the time, the Republicans were skeptical.  On impeachment  eve as the sound of proceedings resonated within the Halls of Congress and the White House.  Many thought the intent to attack Iraq served to divert attention on matters at hand.  The subject of the upcoming censure was William Jefferson Clinton. At the time, White House officials insisted the President Clinton was not attempting to distract the Congress or the country.  The portent of impeachment did not influence the President’s decision to attack Iraq.  U.S. planes were in the air as the drone of detractors voiced cynicism about the timing of this announcement.  Certainly, the question of when this nation might best assail another loomed large within the Beltway.

Just as members of Congress criticized the Commander-In-Chief in 1998, years later the former commandant railed against the man who followed him into the Oval Office.  Clinton questioned why the George W. Bush White House wished to bomb Iraq when they did. Witness the words of Bill Clinton six years after his own pronouncement.  

Clinton Backs Bush on Iraq War But Questions Invasion’s Timing

By John F. Harris?

Washington Post

Sunday, June 20, 2004; Page A04

Former president Bill Clinton said he agreed with President Bush’s decision to confront Iraq about its potential weapons programs, but thought the administration erred in starting a war in 2003 rather than allowing United Nations weapons inspectors longer to carry out their work.

“In terms of the launching of the war, I believe we made an error in not allowing the United Nations to complete the inspections process,” Clinton told CBS News’s Dan Rather in a “60 Minutes” interview to air tonight.

Clinton made similar comments in an interview with Time magazine, in which he said he “supported the Iraq thing” but questioned its timing. Portions of both interviews — part of the publicity campaign in advance of this week’s release of Clinton’s memoirs — were distributed in advance by the news organizations.

Clinton croons, ‘Time is my side; yes it is.’  It is best to move in the moment that helps maximize an individual’s personal message.  In this case the person is former President Bill Clinton.  When hearings were arranged and the President was to be held in contempt, the time is ripe.  Bill was ready.  

In 2004, as Bill promoted his newly released book, it was, once again, time to recapture the attention of Americans. Once more, the opportune moment was now.  However, regardless of the instant or the message, the essence is muddled.  Which statement are we to believe and which Clinton speaks the truth, or when.  Bill did change his focus and alter his feelings, and Hillary does.   Granted we all grow in “time;” however, the current concern is not for the change.  It is the re-write of history that we must call into question.

In October 2002, the former first Lady, as Senator, expressed her support for the then President George w. Bush.  She cautiously calculated the options and concluded, we, as a nation, must give Mister Bush the power to act.

In 1998, Saddam Hussein pressured the United Nations to lift the sanctions by threatening to stop all cooperation with the inspectors. In an attempt to resolve the situation, the UN, unwisely in my view, agreed to put limits on inspections of designated “sovereign sites” including the so-called presidential palaces, which in reality were huge compounds well suited to hold weapons labs, stocks, and records which Saddam Hussein was required by UN resolution to turn over. When Saddam blocked the inspection process, the inspectors left. As a result, President Clinton, with the British and others, ordered an intensive four-day air assault, Operation Desert Fox, on known and suspected weapons of mass destruction sites and other military targets.

In 1998, the United States also changed its underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change and began to examine options to effect such a change, including support for Iraqi opposition leaders within the country and abroad . . .

It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make — any vote that may lead to war should be hard — but I cast it with conviction . . .

And perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this President, or any future President, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war.

Secondly, I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the President’s efforts to wage America’s war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them . . .

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him – use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein – this is your last chance – disarm or be disarmed.

Although, she currently claims she did not think President Bush would unilaterally attack Iraq.  She thought Bush would be more prudent.   Senator Clinton cast her vote based on the information she had at the time.

What Hillary won’t say about Iraq

As transcripts show, Sen. Clinton’s views on the war have slowly changed since 2002, but she still can’t say her own vote to authorize force was a mistake.

By Tim Grieve

Feb. 14, 2007

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire over the past weekend, a voter asked Hillary Clinton if she could say — “once and for all, without nuance” — that her October 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq had been a “mistake.”

Clinton couldn’t do it.

“Well,” she said, “I have said, and I will repeat it, that knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it … I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged.”

Let’s go through that again. Clinton said that, knowing what she knows now, she wouldn’t have voted to authorize the use of force. She said that George W. Bush made mistakes. But Clinton didn’t say that she was wrong or that she made a mistake back in 2002.

Upon reflection, days, weeks, months later, some persons do not change. They consider certain types of progress a disadvantage.  Resolute resolve, for persons such as Senator Clinton shows strength.   With time, the telling differs, not the definition of right.

In time, people project, forget, and realize others will not recall.  Thus, today, weeks before another Clinton milestone, Bill and Hillary Clinton, again consider the timing and their history.  Perhaps before the Presidential hopeful is put to the ultimate test, it is time to generate a new tale.

The Iowa caucus is close at hand.  The New Hampshire primaries occur within weeks.  As the polls show her numbers are slipping, Hillary Clinton has reason to believe her coronation is not eminent.  Bill also must acknowledge he may not be able to perform with preeminent power.  Each does not wish to jeopardize their chance to reside and reign in the White House once again.

The Clinton’s, a term often adopted by supporters, are falling in the polls.  The Iraq war is a popular issue amongst the public.  Hence, Bill and Hillary are called upon to address this crisis.   Neither wished to explain the New York Senator’s speech on the house floor in October 2002; nor do they wish to apologize.  Thus, the dilemma, dichotomy, and duplicity in the Clinton camp consume the campaign.  

As the pressure mounts and the public makes clear they want an end to the war in Iraq, an unapologetic Hillary took a stand against the combat.  Although, Senator Clinton voted to fund the combat from before the beginning, in September she considered another option.

Clinton: I won’t fund Iraq war without withdrawal plan

Washington (CNN) — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said Sunday she won’t vote for any more money to support the four-year-old war in Iraq without a plan to start bringing U.S. troops home.

“I’ve reached the conclusion that the best way to support our troops is begin bringing them home,” the New York senator and former first lady told CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer.”

“I don’t believe we should continue to vote for funding that has an open-ended commitment, that has no pressure on the Iraqi government to make the tough political decisions they have to make, or which really gives any urgency to the Bush administration’s diplomatic efforts.”

However, days later, Hillary Clinton turned or returned to her more hawkish stance.  In a MSNBC Democratic Debate held at Dartmouth College the Senator was asked why she not might commit to end the war in Iraq immediately after taking office.  Once more, timing was the theme.

Hillary Clinton: Goal to remove all troops from Iraq by 2013, but no pledge

Q: In 2006, Democrats were elected to the majority in the House and Senate, and many believed that was a signal to end the war. You have said that will not pledge to have all troops out by the end of your first term, 2013. Why not?

A: It is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But it is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting. We do not know, walking into the White House in January 2009, what we’re going to find. What is the state of planning for withdrawal? That’s why last spring I began pressing the Pentagon to be very clear about whether or not they were planning to bring our troops out. And what I found was that they weren’t doing the kind of planning that is necessary, and we’ve been pushing them very hard to do so.

You know, though, about the Democrats taking control of the Congress, I think the Democrats have pushed extremely hard to change this president’s course in Iraq. The Democrats keep voting for what we believe would be a better course.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 26, 2007

The better course may be to stay whilst we proclaim we are and were against the mission from the first.  At least that seems to be Bill Clinton’s plan.  Late in November 2007. Bill Clinton states he objected to the Iraq War from the beginning, although there is much to dispute this claim.

Bill Clinton’s Claim of Opposing Iraq War From Outset Disputed

By Glenn Kessler and Anne Kornblut

Washington Post

Thursday, November 29, 2007; Page A08

A former senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed Bill Clinton’s statement this week that he “opposed Iraq from the beginning,” saying that the former president was privately briefed by top White House officials about war planning in 2003 and that he told them he supported the invasion.

Clinton’s comments in Iowa on Tuesday went far beyond more nuanced remarks he made about the conflict in 2003. But the disclosure of his presence in briefings by Rice — and his private expressions of support — may add to the headaches that the former president has given his wife’s campaign in recent weeks.

Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was “shocked” and “astonished” by Clinton’s remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams “coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that ‘we have Clinton’s support.'”

It seems history is a matter of time.  In the moment we are certain, committed, and clear.  Yet, as days pass the story, his, hers, and ours changes.  Perchance the Clinton’s and their Cabinet have reason to reflect and rewrite their legacy.  Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright certainly has.  You may recall her infamous declaration . . .

“We Think the Price Is Worth It”

By Rahul Mahajan

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

–60 Minutes (5/12/96) . . .

It’s worth noting that on 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl–a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions.

Indeed, there was more said in this interview, all of it worrisome.  Madame Secretary reflected aloud as she considered . . .

Whose fault is it? Iraq has long blamed the U.N. sanctions regime, and the U.S. State Department has long blamed Saddam Hussein. In a 1996 interview with 60 Minutes, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted there was a “human tragedy” occurring in Iraq. But Albright accused Hussein of building 48 presidential palaces since the Gulf War, at a cost of $1.5 billion. Albright also said that Iraq wanted to import goods such as “Italian marble, videos, perfume, leather jackets,” and not food and medicine.

“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it,” Albright said. “It is a moral question, but the moral question is even a larger one. Don’t we owe to the American people and to the American military and to the other countries in the region that this man not be a threat?” Albright added that her “first responsibility is to make sure that United States forces do not have to go and refight the Gulf War.”

Perhaps, in those sixty minutes Madame Secretary had too much time to speak and not enough to ponder.  Years later, as the former Secretary mulled over  her moments in the sun, she realized she had regrets.  Albright was sorry she expressed herself as she had.   In her memoirs, the Clinton Secretary of State offered her newfound rumination. Madeline Albright wrote of her responsibility and self-reproach.  She blames herself, or is it Saddam Hussein she faults.  It is difficult to tell.

I must have been crazy; I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it. Saddam Hussein could have prevented any child from suffering simply by meeting his obligations…. As soon as I had spoken, I wished for the power to freeze time and take back those words. My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy and wrong. Nothing matters more than the lives of innocent people. I had fallen into the trap and said something I simply did not mean. That was no one’s fault but my own. (p. 275)

There is one thing for sure, those in the Clinton Camp, Cabinet, campaign, or clan can certainly turn a phrase, turn time back the hands of time, and tell tales.  Perhaps, they hope we the people will forget in an instant, or be mesmerized by their charm, charisma, character, or disposition, no matter how dubious.  

The old adage states the ability to choose the best moment to say or do what enthralls means more than the message.  Obviously, the Clintons count on that.  Beguiled and bewildered Americans may cast a ballot for the Clinton’s who understand what to say and more importantly when to say it.  

Perchance, Madeline Albright, who supports the second, third, or fourth Clinton term,  offered a conclusion that works well at any time.  When we contemplate war, be it with Iraq, Iran, or the combat that ensues during an election we must understand the principles [that guide the Clintons.]

I believe a just war is possible. According to the just war tradition, resort to force is morally acceptable if undertaken by a competent authority with moral intentions in a rightful cause. The effort must have a reasonable chance of success, with the expectation that it will result in no greater harm than the injury that produced it.

There is a time and a season for everything.  If war as an option enthralls you, perhaps, this is Clinton time.

Clinton’s Cometh and Triumph In Time. . .

  • Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike.  Cable News Network. December 16, 1998
  • Republicans skeptical of Iraq attack on eve of impeachment vote.  Cable News Network. December 16, 1998
  • Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton? on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of ?United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.
  • Bill Clinton’s Claim of Opposing Iraq War From Outset Disputed. By Glenn Kessler and Anne Kornblut.  Washington Post. Thursday, November 29, 2007; Page A08
  • pdf Bill Clinton’s Claim of Opposing Iraq War From Outset Disputed. By Glenn Kessler and Anne Kornblut.  Washington Post. Thursday, November 29, 2007; Page A08
  • Clinton: I won’t fund Iraq war without withdrawal plan. Cable News Network. September 23, 2007
  • Sept. 26 Democratic debate transcript.  MSNBC News. September 26, 2007
  • What Hillary won’t say about Iraq.  Salon. February 14, 2007
  • “We Think the Price Is Worth It.” Media uncurious about Iraq policy’s effects- there or here.  By Rahul Mahajan.  Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. December 2001
  • Madam Secretary: A Memoir. by Mirsky, Jonathan. The Spectator. November 1, 2003
  • Albright “Apologizes.” By Sheldon Richman, November 7, 2003
  • Impeachment Off The Table; On Center Stage



    Article I: Initiation & Continuation of Illegal War (Part 4)

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    John Conyers put impeachment on the table.  Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said to place such a ‘distraction’ on the table is tantamount to treason.  Newly appointed, anointed Pelosi let it be known, there was business to be done and Democrats would do the deeds she deemed necessary.  These did not include prosecution of the President or his Vice.  Hence, Conyers removed censure from the agenda  He had other concerns.  His own appointment as Chair to the Judiciary Committee hinged on whether he honored the wishes of the recently selected Speaker.  

    Thus, Congressman Conyers declared . . .

    No Rush to Impeachment

    By John Conyers Jr.

    Washington Post

    Thursday, May 18, 2006; A23

    As Republicans have become increasingly nervous about whether they will be able to maintain control of the House in the midterm elections, they have resorted to the straw-man strategy of identifying a parade of horrors to come if Democrats gain the majority. Among these is the assertion that I, as the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

    I will not do that. I readily admit that I have been quite vigorous, if not relentless, in questioning the administration. The allegations I have raised are grave, serious, well known, and based on reliable media reports and the accounts of former administration officials.

    But none of these allegations can be proved or disproved until the administration answers questions. For example, to know whether intelligence was mistaken or manipulated in the run-up to the Iraq war, we need to know what information was made available to — and actually read by — decision makers and how views contradicting the case for war were treated.

    We need to know the extent to which high-ranking officials approved of the use of torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment inflicted upon detainees. We need to know whether the leaking of the name of a covert CIA operative was deliberate or accidental, as well as the identity of those responsible.

    The administration’s stonewalling, and the lack of oversight by Congress, have left us to guess whether we are dealing with isolated wrongdoing, or mistakes, or something worse. In my view, the American people deserve answers, not guesses. I have proposed that we obtain these answers in a responsible and bipartisan manner.

    John Conyers professed we need answers.  He forgets there was no evidence of wrongdoing against Richard Milhous Nixon until an impeachment investigation was underway.  Most mused those in opposition to the Vietnam war wanted the President out.  However, as Elizabeth Holtzman, a member of the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon proceedings writes much is the same and more differs.  Subversion is similar.  Evidence is now more abundant.  Our own neglect may be our downfall.  Perhaps, past disregard for Democratic principles allowed for the eventuality of what we see today.  If we forego our responsibility to democracy again, what might occur in the future?  Let us assess what we know.

    Subverting Our Democracy

    A President can commit no more serious crime against our democracy than lying to Congress and the American people to get them to support a military action or war. It is not just that it is cowardly and abhorrent to trick others into giving their lives for a nonexistent threat, or even that making false statements might, in some circumstances, be a crime.

    It is that the decision to go to war is the gravest decision a nation can make, and in a democracy the people and their elected representatives, when there is no imminent attack on the United States to repel, have the right to make it. Given that the consequences can be death for hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of people–as well as the diversion of vast sums of money to the war effort–the fraud cannot be tolerated. That both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were guilty of misleading the nation into military action and neither was impeached for it makes it more, not less, important to hold Bush accountable.

    Once it was clear that no weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, President Bush tried to blame “bad intelligence” for the decision to go to war, apparently to show that the WMD claim was not a deliberate deception. But bad intelligence had little or nothing to do with the main arguments used to win popular support for the invasion of Iraq.

    First, there was no serious intelligence–good or bad–to support the Administration’s suggestion that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were in cahoots. Nonetheless, the Administration repeatedly tried to claim the connection to show that the invasion was a justified response to 9/11 (like the declaration of war against Japan for Pearl Harbor). The claim was a sheer fabrication.

    Second, there was no reliable intelligence to support the Administration’s claim that Saddam was about to acquire nuclear weapons capability. The specter of the “mushroom cloud,” which frightened many Americans into believing that the invasion of Iraq was necessary for our self-defense, was made up out of whole cloth. As for the biological and chemical weapons, even if, as reported, the CIA director told the President that these existed in Iraq, the Administration still had plenty of information suggesting the contrary.

    The deliberateness of the deception has also been confirmed by a British source: the Downing Street memo, the official record of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s July 2002 meeting with his top Cabinet officials. At the meeting the chief of British intelligence, who had just returned from the United States, reported that “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.

    But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” In other words, the Bush Administration was reported to be in the process of cooking up fake intelligence and facts to justify going to war in Iraq.

    During the Nixon impeachment proceedings, I drafted the resolution of impeachment to hold President Nixon accountable for concealing from Congress the bombing of Cambodia he initiated. But the committee did not approve it, probably because it might appear political–in other words, stemming from opposition to the war instead of to the President’s abuse of his warmaking powers.

    As Commander-In-Chief, President George W. Bush has used his influence and then some. He initiated, investigated, incited, inflicted, and inflated, all in an attempt to do as he desired.  Americans sat idly by, as did Congress.  Little has changed other than we know more about the manipulations.  Today, the table turns, tilts, or is hidden from view, and the Speaker continues to hedge.  

    Thankfully, The Culture Project and Presidential hopeful, Congressman Dennis Kucinich move forward.  The potential President Kucinich works tirelessly to ensure that censure is more than an option ignored.  Kucinich brings the issue to the floor of the House in the form of a priveledged Resolution.  The Culture Project takes the matter to center stage.

    Naomi Wolf, Jackson Browne, Lewis Lapham, Phoebe Snow, Michael Ratner, Bruce Fein, and Sam Shepard are among the many scholars, artists, and activists that ask Americans to authentically consider A Question of Impeachment.  

    This series is meant to inform and inspire great minds, those that have been fast asleep for too long.  

    The masses once actively participated in government.  Long ago, the media investigated and spoke to sources outside the White House.  Now, each hibernates, and the Administration obstructs justice.  The Constitution was torn to shreds.  Habeas corpus is no more.  Executive Powers are infinite; although, apparently, according to the Vice President there is no Executive Branch under Bush. As Americans sit silently, absorbed in apathy . . .

    [The] Culture Project brings crucial and timely concerns to the fore once again with a new, unique series that gathers some of the most brilliant and visionary minds of our time to explore and debate the case for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    You may wish to review the full impeachment schedule, or tune in for just a few discussions.  The forum begins and ends in the month of December.  Might we, the people work as quickly in support of the Constitution or will we continue to ignore the provisions that ensure no President has, uses, and abuses absolute power?

    Sunday, December 2 ?12:00 p.m.  A screening of special cuts of New Home Movies from the Lower 9th Ward, Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme’s new documentary drawn from the stories of residents of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    Monday, December 3 ?7:00 p.m. Article III: Criminal Negligence and Hurricane Katrina. Participants include attorney Bruce Fein, journalist Lewis Lapham, actor and activist Alec Baldwin, New Orleans public housing organizer Sam Jackson, Judith Browne-Dianis, from the Advancement Project, and Tiffany Gardner from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. Performers include Bobby Cannavale, Callie Thorne, Tracie Thoms, Denis O’Hare, Jodie Markell, Bradley White, Nana Mensah, and Chris McKinney.

    Sunday, December 9 ?7:30 p.m.  Vanessa, Lynn, Corin, and Jemma Redgrave make a very special appearance to read Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak, a collection of poems written by detainees held in the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Marc Falkoff, attorney and editor of Poems from Guantanamo, will also be with us.

    Monday, December 10 ?7:00 p.m.  Article IV: Warrantless Surveillance. Participants include former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, attorney Joshua Dratel, attorney Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Aziz Huq of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, and journalist Richard Valeriani. Performers include Kristen Johnston, Michael Mastro, Nana Mensah, Gerry Bamman, Chris McKinney, and Sarah-Doe Osborne.

    Sunday, December 16? CLOSING DAY 2:00 p.m. Article V: Expansion of Executive Power. Participants include Harper’s contributor and human rights attorney Scott Horton, author David Lindorff, and attorney Marjorie Cohn. Performers include Josh Hamilton, Tracie Thoms, Ned Eisenberg, Grace Zandarski, and Tom Bower.

    7:30 p.m. Closing celebration includes performance and commentary from John Nichols, author of The Genius of Impeachment, Jackson Browne, Jorie Graham, Naomi Wolf, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, Peter Matthiessen, Kathleen Chalfant, Aasif Mandvi, and others.

    Perchance, after each performance you, dear reader will reflect and realize, the time is now.  You may be encouraged to dream what some think absurd.  I invite you to explore.  Before you venture out on Election Day certain January 2009 is your last hope.  Please consider there are possibilities more profound and perhaps, if we are to preserve the Constitution, necessary.

    Sources and Censure . . .

  • The 110th Congress: A New Direction for America. Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • The Culture Project.
  • No Rush to Impeachment, By John Conyers Jr. Washington Post. Thursday, May 18, 2006; Page A23
  • pdf No Rush to Impeachment, By John Conyers Jr. Washington Post. Thursday, May 18, 2006; Page A23
  • Kucinich Introduces Impeachment Articles Against Cheney. Washington Post. April 24, 2007
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich Privileged Resolution. November 6, 2007
  • The Impeachment of George W. Bush, By Elizabeth Holtzman.  The Nation. January 30, 2006
  • Immigration In America. The Past; Grass Is Always Greener

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    During this Thanksgiving Holy Day observance, we, the citizens of this nation say grace for all that G-d, and country, have given us.  We celebrate the harvest.  Our countrymen venerate the Native Americans that kindly shard their food and grain-filled lands with our European ancestors.  We revel in what we reap.  With thanks to our ancestors, the mavericks of the past, we, the children of immigrants, grew gloriously.  Yet, while white Americans, descendants of the foreign born, rejoice, the darker complected grieve.  

    For many citizens more native to the terra firma, than the pale skinned emigrants the traditional Thanksgiving memorial is a National Day of Mourning.

    To some, the “First Thanksgiving” presents a distorted picture of the history of relations between the European colonists, their descendants, and the Native People. The total emphasis is placed on the respect that existed between the Wampanoags led by the sachem Massasoit and the first generation of Pilgrims in Plymouth, while the long history of subsequent violence and discrimination suffered by Native People across America is nowhere represented.

    Aggression and repression are American legacies.  However, menacing misrepresentations of this nation’s past are touted.  In this country we speak of a “melting pot” and call ourselves the “United’ States of America.  Americans read, hear, and believe what we see as the beauty our fore-bearers.  We embrace the documented accounts learned in Elementary School.  Caucasian countrymen wholeheartedly endorse the legends passed down from mother to daughter, father to son.  We, the citizens glean the gems grandparents bestowed upon us.  

    The yarns are as gold, woven into a tapestry that is his story, hers, and now ours.  In our youth, we clung to the narratives Nana and Zayde told.  These were and are still treasures.  For most who reside in the United States, the folklore of our kin is our truth.  

    We in this prosperous nation trust, before “they” the current crop of new arrivals came, Americans were content.  Life was good.  Most individuals, comfy and cozy in their reality forget, generations ago “we” Americans, were “them,” the unwanted, unwelcome, uninvited, undesirable émigrés.  

    Our Moms, Dads, Grandpapas, Grandmamas and Greats were labeled shiftless, lazy loafers.  Your mother, my father, was the wrong color.  They were the olive, yellow, red, pink, or pinko problems.  Those with large noses, slanted eyes, or loud boisterous voices gestured profusely.  Migrants to America were too quiet, too manipulative, and certainly engaged in criminal practices.  Centuries ago, according to the persons who defined themselves as American, migrants, then [as now,] brought on all the ills of society.  These uncouth clans without refinement, or culture, were completely uncivilized.  

    Our ancestors were not as the Black slaves shipped to the New World solely to serve the needs of the elite without hope or reason to believe they could or would become wealthy.  These newer non-natives had the audacity to think this land was theirs.  Here they believed they could thrive.  The European and East Asian immigrants invaded and attempted to make the American Dream their own.  The English poor, Irish, the German, Greeks, Italians, Russians, Rumanians, Hungarians, Turks, Czechs, French families, and even Chinese came to this pristine territory, only to soil the countryside.

    Those that first arrived on the shores of this North American continent soon wondered, what did any one that was not like them contribute to society.  Other than being crass, the émigrés in the earlier century certainly served no real purpose.  Individuals who thought themselves native to this region said, sure immigrants helped build the nation.  However, they took more than they gave.

    Granted. the goodly migrants, desperate to find solace in the New World were willing to accept wages so low that they could not possibly survive.  Nonetheless, in the minds of the earliest elite “Americans” the migrants were nothing more than the scum of the Earth.  These [insert the racist, bigoted, xenophobic label of your choice] needed to go back where they came from.  Although “Americans” benefited from the greener grass of what they called home, they did not want the same for those that came after them.

    Old fears over new faces

    By Michael Powell ?

    The Washington Post

    September 21, 2006

    New York – They were portrayed as a disreputable lot, the immigrant hordes of this great city.

    The Germans refused for decades to give up their native tongue and raucous beer gardens. The Irish of Hell’s Kitchen brawled and clung to political sinecures. The Jews crowded into the Lower East Side, speaking Yiddish, fomenting socialism and resisting forced assimilation. And by their sheer numbers, the immigrants depressed wages in the city. As for the multitudes of Italians, who settled Mulberry Street, East Harlem and Canarsie? In 1970, seven decades after their arrival, Italians lagged behind every immigrant group in educational achievement.

    Inhabitants of the civilized country called the United States disgustedly remark, ‘immigrants must know “English’ is spoken here; yet, they never bother to learn “the” language.  “They” take jobs from eager Americans.  Migrants form gangs.  “They” are the criminal element in every urban center.  Few adjust or adapt.  Émigrés do not assimilate; nor do they try to.  Migrants associate only with their own kind.  Refugees send money to the relatives in their home country.  Thus, these non-natives further destroy the economy.  Economic refugees do not live as we do.  

    They do not eat, as Americans know is best.  The smell of foreign foods fills the air and oh, the stench.  “Exiles” have no ethics.  “They” are not as “we” are.  Yet, it is “Us,” the “Americans” that provide for their needs.  Emigrants do not care for themselves as our vaunted ancestors did.  

    Persons proud to be American blame those desirous of the status for a past long gone.  As citizens of this country give thanks for all they have, they bemoan all they lost.

    Much that was said of migrants a century ago is stated today, over, and over, and over again.  As we walk through our day we discuss the woes imposed by immigration.  Individuals that arrogantly call themselves Americans remember. ‘When great-grandma and great-grandpa were but lads and lasses they toiled.  Our courageous fore-bearers endured numerous trials and trepidations.  Loved ones became successful despite any challenges.’  “Americans” believe those we cherish were courageous, unlike the brave souls that cross borders in search of greener grass, golden streets, and a chance to achieve, today.’

    Throughout the “melting pot” known as the USA we hear “My family came to this country by boat.  Once here our parents pounded the pavement for work.  They took odd jobs.  They scrimped and saved.  Children studied diligently.  Education was everything.  Now, we are doctors, lawyers, corporate moguls, multi-millionaires, and even billionaires.  Relatives of mine made it.”  

    Hence, Americans ask with a distinct note of scorn, “Why can’t these people do as we did?”  Actually, few are authentically interested in the differences or the similarities.  Those that title themselves Americans do not genuinely inquire.  Solid citizens see and hear what they expect and believe to be true.  What is most important to the native born is their personal want; the new émigrés must leave immediately.  Empathy for those outside our purebred American bloodline is rarely expressed.

    As toddlers we learned to appreciate all that our ancestors went through to make this country great.  In our teens we were told that without the sweat and tears of Opa and Oma our lives would not have been so good.  This nation was built on the backs of our ancestors.  Decades ago our predecessors could not afford the luxuries we have today.  They had no telephones, televisions; nor was the technology advanced enough to encompass telecommunications. Much that we take for granted in the twenty first century was conceived through the efforts of our forefathers.  For these, late in the month of November, and everyday, we give thanks.

    The bitter arguments of the past echo loudly these days. Most concerns voiced today – that too many immigrants seek economic advantage and fail to understand democracy, that they refuse to learn English, overcrowd homes and overwhelm public services – were heard a century ago. And there was a nub of truth to some complaints, not least that the vast influx of immigrants drove down working-class wages.

    Yet historians and demographers are clear: New York and the United States owe much of their economic resilience to replenishing waves of immigrants. Descendants of those Italians, Jews, Irish and Germans have assimilated.

    Now another wave washes over. Fully 38 percent of New York’s 8 million residents are foreign-born, nearly the same percentage as a century ago.

    “It would be easy to say the short-run costs of immigration outweighed the benefits,” said Joe Salvo, a director at New York’s City Planning Department. “But the benefits are longer term. We wouldn’t be the superpower we are if we hadn’t let them in.”

    If we had not let the immigrants in we would not be the nation we are today.  Few would have reason to give thanks for the prosperity that envelops the masses.  Had it not been for émigrés, Thanksgiving might be a Day of Mourning for more than the Native Americans.  Perchance, if the citizens of this nation wish  to fabricate a festivity they might celebrate immigrants and the America those from foreign lands help to create.  However, sadly, that is not what we do.

    In this country, we devote infinite airtime to xenophobic broadcasters that tell us to build walls, deport our labor force, or jail anyone suspected of being without legal papers.  Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, to name a few, promote plenty of bigotry.  Interestingly, no one requires these crass celebrities to show their papers.  Might their kin have entered before documentation was required or have we merely forgotten that there was a time when . . .

    It is fitting to forget or to romanticize the hard times.  In retrospect individuals often interpret history as idyllic.  Arrogant Americans embrace embellishments.  Those that reside in the Western Hemisphere like to think of themselves as rugged individualists, mavericks with a mighty will.  Older Americans recall a time when our antecedents had no automobiles.  Motor vehicles were costly.  Great grandmothers and great grandfathers walked to school in snow, sleet, rain, and hail storms.  Our ancestor worked when they were very young.  Every member of the family had to help secure income for the whole.  Those that preceded us pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.  “My family earned their just rewards.”  The implication being, newer immigrants do not.  They merely live off the current social welfare system.

    The early system,

    Advocates of stricter enforcement argue that those who came a century ago were different because they arrived legally. Movies and novels depict agents at New York’s Ellis Island – that keyhole through which 16 million immigrants passed from 1892 to 1922 – examining immigrants and their papers with an eye toward shipping back laggards.

    Yet, as we study further we understand the definition of a slacker, a shirker, a straggler, or an undesirable was fixed.  Few needed actual papers.  Most were allowed to pass into this nation and become Americans because they appeared stalwart, or at least they were not too strange, too dark, or their eyes were properly placed on their faces.  Money was also a means for eligibility.

    Immigration legislation since 1790

    The Naturalization Act of 1790 established rules for naturalized citizenship, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The law provided the first U.S. rules for granting national citizenship. Citizenship was allowed only to free whites.

    The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first race-based immigration act. It excluded Chinese laborers from the United States for 10 years and barred Chinese from citizenship. The act was repealed in 1943.

    For sixty-one years, Americans proudly enforced another action that ensured separate and unequal.  Discrimination was sanctioned in the land of the free and home of the brave.  Throughout our existence Americans endorsed intolerance.  Frequently, European and Asian in eras past, packed their bags and headed for the land of opportunity.  Once on the shores of the United States immigrants frequently found the borders were closed to them.  Restrictions greeted those determined to come to a country where the streets were paved in gold.  In 1939, in an attempt to flee from the Third Reich, Jewish refugees boarded the transatlantic German ship, the Saint Louis.  Near one thousand filed  for visas and did all that they could to ensure safe passage.  However, quotas forbade their entrance into the United States.

    American public opinion, although ostensibly sympathetic to the plight of refugees and critical of Hitler’s policies, still favored immigration restrictions. The Great Depression had left millions of Americans unemployed and fearful of economic competition for the scarce few jobs available. It also fueled anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and isolationism. A Fortune Magazine poll at the time indicated that 83 percent of Americans opposed relaxing restrictions on immigration.

    Few politicians were willing to challenge the mood of the nation. At about the same time that the St. Louis passengers were seeking a haven, the Wagner-Rogers bill, which would have permitted the admission of 20,000 Jewish children from Germany outside the existing quota, was allowed to die in committee. On the Wagner-Rogers bill and the admittance of the St. Louis passengers, President Roosevelt remained silent. Following the U.S. government’s refusal to permit the passengers to disembark, the St. Louis sailed back to Europe on June 6, 1939. Jewish organizations (particularly the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) negotiated with European governments to allow the passengers to be admitted to Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Many of the passengers in continental Europe later found themselves under Nazi rule.

    Restrictions imposed before the Nazi [German National Socialist Party] began their reign of terror, could not, and would not be rescinded more than a decade later, regardless of the fact that people were being annihilated seemingly because of their race, religion, color or creed.  The law is the law.  Americans felt it more important to uphold rigid regulations that restricted entrance into the land of the free than it was to provide sanctuary for those destined to die.  In America, there are standards to keep out the riff-raff.

    The Immigration Act of 1924 established a national-origins quota system and was aimed at restricting southern and eastern European immigration. Also known as the National Origins Act, Johnson-Reed Act or the Immigration Quota Act of 1924.

    The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the McCarran- Walter Act) established the basic law of U.S. citizenship and immigration. Immigration was restricted by nationality but not by race.

    Finally, little more than five decades ago, embarrassed Americans began to realize their racist ways and decided to change.  Newer legislation was passed.  Although requirements were loosened, prejudice remained the rule in America.  Only workers deft in a field considered honorable were [and are] welcome.   Marriage or means might grant a ticket into this wealthy and “wonderful” nation.

    The Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 (also known as the Hart-Celler Act or the INS Act of 1965) abolished national-origin quotas and gave preference to those whose skills were needed and close relatives of U.S. citizens.

    The obsolescence of a law and obfuscation allowed more migrants to stay.  However, stipulations remained.  Those that escaped dire circumstance in countries abroad were frequently shunned when they arrived on American shores.

    The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who had been in the United States before 1982 but made it a crime to hire an illegal immigrant.

    The Immigration Act of 1990 established annual limits for certain categories of immigrants and eased immigration for skilled foreign workers.

    Sources: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, University of Massachusetts, Center for Immigration

    However, although there is ample evidence to the contrary our countrymen continue to glorify their ancestors’ existences as they diminish the efforts and challenges of those new to this country.  Political pundits and speechwriters posture; citizens believe.  We all recall the grandeur of the Reagan years.  It was the era of the elite, and attitudes of decades gone by became more prominent.

    Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for President Reagan, wrote about her Irish forebears in a Wall Street Journal column: “They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come.  . . . They had to get through Ellis Island  . . . get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge.”

    Fiction and fantasy is far more appealing than the brutal facts.  The reality is we love our relatives.  We trust what those we treasure tell us, even if it is exaggerated.  While certain characteristics of those we value may trouble us, there is an inexorable bond that cannot be denied.  We love those we know intimately, even if we do not like them.  Oh, if we only bothered to envision the recent immigrant as family, or among our kin. If we cherished to our core that no matter the country of origin, émigrés and we the American people share a familial name, human, then we might understand.  Currently, few recognize that we are all related.  

    Thus, we admire only those we recognize as our antecedents.  Our familiarity with our bloodline solidifies the appreciation for their saga, their struggle and their successes.   Their story is ours.  We have firsthand knowledge.  We know what we know; hence, we never consider . . .

    [T]hese accounts are flawed, historians say. Until 1918, the United States did not require passports; the term “illegal immigrant” had no meaning. New arrivals were required only to prove their identity and find a relative or friend who could vouch for them.

    Customs agents kept an eye out for lunatics and the infirm (and after 1905, for anarchists). Ninety-eight percent of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island were admitted to the United States, and 78 percent spent less than eight hours on the island. (The U.S.-Mexico border then was unguarded and freely crossed in either direction.)

    “Shipping companies did the health inspections in Europe because they didn’t want to be stuck taking someone back,” said Nancy Foner, a sociology professor at Hunter College and author of “From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration.”

    “Eventually they introduced a literacy test, but it was in the immigrant’s own language, not English.”

    At the peak of that earlier wave, 75 percent of immigrants landed in New York. Some, such as Germans fleeing failed revolutions, sought democracy. Others, such as the Jews fleeing Russian pogroms, sought safety.

    But perhaps half of Italian immigrants returned to Italy, often with cash to buy a farm or own a business. Greeks, too, returned in large numbers.

    “People complain about Mexicans coming for economic reasons, but they don’t realize how many earlier immigrants just sojourned here,” said Richard Wright, a geography professor at Dartmouth College. “The rates of return are staggering.”

    When Congress enacted immigration quotas in the 1920s, it left the door ajar for northern Europeans and Mexicans, even then sought by U.S. businesses as cheap labor.

    European immigrants found plenty of backlash.  Nativist sentiments ran strong, and white Protestant reformers championed English-language instruction and temperance, the latter reflecting the Establishment’s disdain for hard-drinking immigrants.

    When we were very young we heard our Nana was strong.  Papa braved the signs of prejudice placed in his path.  Our Mom and Dad immersed themselves into the culture.  They wanted to assimilate.  The individuals nearest and dearest to use learned quickly.  Speaking English and being American was important to them.  Learning the language and pursuit of citizenship is equally important to those that wish to stay here in America today.

    In fact, contrary to what “English Only” advocates assume, the vast majority of today’s Asian and Latino immigrants are acquiring English proficiency and assimilating as fast as did earlier generations of Italian, Russian and German immigrants.  For example, research studies show that over 95 percent of first generation Mexican Americans are English proficient, and that more than 50 percent of second generation Mexican Americans have lost their native tongue entirely.  In addition, census data reveal that nearly 90 percent of Latinos five years old or older speak English in their households.  And 98 percent of Latinos surveyed said they felt it is “essential” that their children learn to read and write English “perfectly.”

    Much to the dismay of “Americans,” or easily dismissed by smug “natives” immigrants have a deep desire to understand and utter meaningful phrases in English.  Migrants en masse work to expand English language skills. In recent years the aspiration is more profound.  Perchance, the reason is the newer economic refugees find themselves in diverse communities.  According to a Pew Charitable Trust Study this cohort of people newly transplanted are less likely to live in ethnic enclaves.

    Dispersal and Concentration: Patterns of Latino Residential Settlement

    Pew Charitable Trust

    Contact: Cindy L. Jobbins

    Washington, D.C. – 12/27/2004 – Contrary to conventional wisdom, most Latinos do not live in densely packed, highly homogenous, Spanish-language communities dominated by immigrant cultures. Rather, most live in neighborhoods with non-Hispanic majorities.??

    And many neighborhoods where Latinos make up the majority are surprisingly diverse. Those neighborhoods contain a mix of native-born and foreign-born Latinos, Spanish speakers and English speakers, the poor and the middle class, according to a new report from the Pew Hispanic Center.??

    The study reveals that some 20 million Hispanics-57 percent of the total-live in neighborhoods in which Hispanics make up less than half of the population, according to an analysis of data from the 2000 Census. In the places were these Latinos live, only an average of seven percent of the residents are Hispanic.

    In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century immigrants intermingled and intermarried.  Most insulated them selves from a world that did not accept them, and perhaps was frightening to them.  Situated in homogeneous settlements few of the refugees of old felt a need to acquire English language skills.

    The “new” immigrants, mostly poor, unskilled, non-Protestant laborers between the ages of 15 and 40, clung to their native languages, religions, and cultural traditions to endure the economic and social stresses of industrial capitalism. Between 1877 and 1890, 6.3 million people immigrated to the United States, most from southern and eastern Europe. Much of mainstream society found these “new immigrants” troubling, resulting in a rise in anti-immigrant feeling and activity . . .

    Immigrant families were mostly close-knit nuclear families, and they tended to marry within their own ethnic groups. They depended on immigrant associations for their social safety net, native language newspapers for their news and political views, and community-based churches and schools.

    When the émigrés from abroad needed assistance they often relied on families, friends, or familiars. Neighbors watched out and worked for those in close proximity.  Religious sanctuaries and clergy comforted those that suffered hardships.  Rabbis, priests, pastors, any patriarch would do.

    Political “machines” provided some needed services for these immigrants while also enriching themselves by exploiting the dependency of the cities’ new residents. William “Boss” Tweed and his Tammany Hall in New York was the most infamous of the political machines.

    Migrants were often dependent on others for support.  Just as the immigrants of today, they could not make it on their own.  Émigrés of the past were treated with disdain.  They did the dirty work and lived in filthy hovels.  Refugees were to be seen only when it served those that were born in this nation.  Rarely did the two “classes” have reason to mingle.  “Americans” lived far from inner city ghettos where the foreigners resided.  Urban home life was waning.  Green grass and graceful lawns did not grow in concrete.

    Between 1870 and 1900, cities expanded upward and outward on a base of new technologies including metal-frame skyscrapers, electric elevators, streetcar systems, and outlying green suburbs. Cities were no longer “walking cities.” As the middle class moved out, immigrants and working class people poured in, creating urban slums through overcrowding. The city produced what was an increasingly stratified and fragmented society . . .

    Immigrants from abroad joined rural Americans in search of jobs in the nation’s cities. These newcomers to the city were often forced to live in hastily constructed and overcrowded tenement houses with primitive, if any, sanitation facilities. The “dumbbell tenement” was the most infamous housing of this type.

    The history of immigration is as these early tenement houses, not pretty. As they lived a life of hardship few of the early emigrants expressed the sentiment of the green, green grass of home.  Racism towards those that built this nation was rampant.  Today, those that serve and shape this country experience similar bigotry.  Then and now, immigrant families are separated without a care.  

    Two undersized old people stand before the commissioner. They are Hungarian Jews whose children have preceded them here, and now, being fairly comfortable, have sent for their parents so they can spend the rest of their lives together. The questions, asked through an interpreter, are pertinent and much the same as those already asked by the court which has decided upon their deportation. The commissioner rules that the children be put under a sufficient bond to guarantee that this aged couple shall not become a burden to the public, and consequently they will be admitted.

    A Russian Jew and his son are called next. The father is a pitiable-looking object; his large head rests upon a small, emaciated body; the eyes speak of premature loss of power, and are listless, worn out by the study of the Talmud, the graveyard of Israel’s history. Beside him stands a stalwart son, neatly attired in the uniform of a Russian college student.

    His face is Russian rather than Jewish, intelligent rather than shrewd, materialistic rather than spiritual. “Ask them why they came,” the commissioner says rather abruptly. The answer is: “We had to.” “What was his business in Russia?” “A tailor.” “How much does he earn a week?” “Ten to twelve rubles.” “What did the son do?” “He went to school.” “Who supported him?” “The father.” “What do they expect to do in America?” “Work.” “Have they any relatives?” “Yes, a son and a brother.” “What does he do?” “He is a tailor.” “How much does he earn?” “Twelve dollars a week.” “Has he a family?” “Wife and four children.” “Ask them whether they are willing to be separated; the father to go back and the son to remain here?”

    They look at each other; no emotion yet visible, the question came to suddenly. Then something in the background of their feelings move, and the father, used to self-denial through his life, says quietly, without pathos and yet tragically, “Of course.” And the son says, after casting his eyes to the ground, ashamed to look his father in the face, “Of course.” And, “This one shall be taken and the other left,” for this was their judgment day.

    ~ Edward Steiner

    The individual that can “pass” is often more acceptable in a society where white and academically bright are perceived as wonderful.  You dear reader may recall the earlier references to immigration law.  For centuries, light skinned laborers were considered up to standard.  Permits and papers were awarded to pale persons with skills.  At times, some Caucasians were shunned for reasons of race, religion, and age.  Many were deported before they were able to prove themselves.  The American bureaucrats separated blood relatives without a care.  Even if a person was granted entrance to the country, there was no assurance they would be allowed to associate with those that thought them less than.

    By the 1950s, Germans, Irish and Jews had abandoned immigrant enclaves. Although barriers of prejudice remained – Ivy League schools and white-shoe law firms in New York maintained stringent “Jewish” quotas well into the 1960s – the sons and daughters of these immigrants moved quickly into white-collar professions

    Less than a half a century ago, institutions of higher learning held many at bay.  Although most Americans wish to think themselves colorblind, in June 2007, we witnessed that even today, separate and unequal is sanctioned by the highest court in the land.  Consider the case of Parents Involved in Community Schools versus Seattle School District Number 1 Et Al. As a result of this Supreme Court decision, not only will Black Americans, our enslaved émigrés who have never been given the opportunity to reach socio-economic equity, feel the wrath of racism, so too will dark-skinned immigrants.

    In its June ruling the Supreme Court forbade most existing voluntary local efforts to integrate schools in a decision favored by the Bush administration despite warnings from academics that it would compound educational inequality.

    “It is about as dramatic a reversal in the stance of the federal courts as one could imagine,” said Gary Orfield, a UCLA professor and a co-author of the report.

    “The federal courts are clearly pushing us backward segregation with the encouragement of the Justice Department of President George W. Bush,” he said in an interview.

    The United States risks becoming a nation in which a new majority of non-white young people will attend “separate and inferior” schools, the report said.

    “Resegregation … is continuing to grow in all parts of the country for both African Americans and Latinos and is accelerating the most rapidly in the only region that had been highly desegregated — the South,” it said.

    The trend damages the prospects for non-white students and will likely have a negative effect on the U.S. economy, according to the report by one of the leading U.S. research centers on issues of civil rights and racial inequality.

    Part of the reason for the resegregation is the rapidly expanding number of black and Latino children and a corresponding fall in the number of white children, it said . . .

    School desegregation is a sensitive issue in the United States because of resistance to it from white leaders in the decade after a 1954 Supreme Court decision saying segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

    One of the chief complaints of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s was that black-only public schools were inevitably starved of resources by local government with the result that black children received inferior education.

    Latinos are the fastest growing minority in U.S. schools and for them segregation is often more profound than it was when the phenomenon was first measured 40 years ago, according to the report, “Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation and the need for new Integration Strategies.”

    “Too often Latino students face triple segregation by race, class and language,” it said.

    Once more, we see that in recent years laws invoked and reforms rendered help to solidify segregation.  Today, Brown immigrants are more severely punished than others might be.  Creamy chocolate, coffee colored individuals, cannot and will not be acculturated, in part because the legal system allows for separation.  The lily white, with the cute little button noses, and proper training are again afforded privileges and opportunities, just as they were a century ago.  Migrants [and Afro-Americans] who appear different no matter the year, 1650, 1750, 1850, 1950, or 2007 will, once more, be relegated to the back of the line.  

    [Black persons are in a class of their own.  While not necessarily new to this nation, and for the most part native born, these persons, by virtue of their skin color alone are perpetually separated from the “mainstream” of society.  It seems the darker the complexion, the slower the climb to equality.]  

    Be it in the nineteenth, twentieth, or twenty-first century, those who noses are a bit too flat, whose faces are a trace too full, whose eye color is less transparent are thought to be less worthy of a decent education, job, home, or chance.  They may learn the language, work hard, and diligently.  Nonetheless, in America, an immigrant is inferior and treated as such.   Experiences are far from excellent.  Still, immigrants, try.  They endeavor to achieve and succeed.

    I [was] born in Mexico City, in 1969.  When I was child used to be a good boy and a good student, my parents were proud of me.  My father is a teacher who has taught mathematics for 25 years. He spent all his time studying and fixing his car.  My mother is a retired secretary. We are two brothers and one sister, they live in Mexico and are married, I am the only one who is still single.

    I was studying before come this country, and working for a paper company for two year. Then I thought “I want to go to USA” the life in my country is difficult because there aren’t enough opportunities for getting better lives. I planned to come here for [a] couples [of] year, save money and go back, but every day I have been living with my friend for many years, he and I, we are as brothers. I keep going to school until I reach my goal, if it is possible never stop studying.

    When I was a student my major was mathematics and physics. At first when I immigrate to United States, I had many struggles. One of them was I did not know anybody here, did not have enough money for rent, a place to live, and pay for food, I did not understand and speak English. I began to live on the streets and looked for food in different places where people give free food and clothes for everybody who want to. After two weeks I got a job and my life changed, I started to earn money and rented a place to live. Then I saw that it is important to learn English, and two months later I started school.

    ~ Valdimir

    Years from now, hopefully, Valdimir’s children will sit by his side.  They will hear his tales of toil and success.  His offspring will see that their father thrives. They too will idealize, romanticize what was a painful reality.  The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the now young Valdimir will recount as “Americans’ do now.

    Survival, upon reflection illustrates we are a success.  Trials and tribulation taught our forefathers much. These same struggles will secure certain edification for the newer émigrés..  They endeavor to reach a novel triumph.  I have faith they will.

    Just as our families flourished, no matter the obstructions, so too will the relatives of the twentieth-first century economic refugees.  Let us give them time before we build more physical and psychological walls.  Perchance, the migrants will show us the grass was not greener in the past.  Today, our lawns are lush, our country grows, all with thanks to those that migrate to America.

    The Immigrant Story . . .

  • The National Day of Mourning.  Pilgrim Hall Museum.
  • Old fears over new faces. By Michael Powell.  The Washington Post September 21, 2006
  • Immigration.  Stories of the Past.  Immigration.  The Journey to America.
  • Voyage of the Saint Louis.  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Return To Europe of the Saint Louis. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union Briefing Paper Number 6, English Only.  Lectric Law Library.
  • Dispersal and Concentration: Patterns of Latino Residential Settlement, Contact Cindy L. Jobbins.  The Pew Charitable Trusts. 2004
  • Toward an Urban Society, 1877-1900.  Chapter 19.   Pearson Education.
  • Dumball Tenements.  By Andrew S. Dolkart. Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
  • Parents Involved in Community Schools versus Seattle School district Number 1 Et Al .
  • Report: Segregation in U.S. Schools is Increasing, By Matthew Bigg.  Reuters.  Washington Post. ?Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 8:42 PM
  • pdf Report: Segregation in U.S. Schools is Increasing, By Matthew Bigg.  Reuters.  Washington Post. ?Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 8:42 PM
  • The Center For American Progress Asks, Are You A Progressive?




    America At Its Best: That’s Progressive

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    What does it mean to be a Progressive?  A long time ago, those in America who thought it best to work for the greater good, defined themselves as Liberals.  However, in the late 1980s that term was given a negative connotation.  Liberals lost their way.  Then, they [we] progressed.  The tem Liberal went through a metamorphosis.  Now, those who actively express their concern for society as a whole identify themselves as Progressive.  

    Progressives are part of a Party.  They advocate social, economic, or political reform gradually.  The conventional wisdom is, unlike the Liberal, generous, freethinking, broadminded persons, a Progressive will not pursue change solely for change sake.  A Progressive will plot and plan and perhaps, not move much at all.  Indeed, may Americans now believe those on the Left are identical to those on the right.  The pendulum no longer swings; nor are we left standing at the pinnacle as a Buddhist might muse.  We, no matter our political, social, or economic bent we stand still and stagnate.  One merely needs to look at the newer Congress to realize Americans are unsure what it means to be a Progressive.

    The distortions, degradation of the term, and the traits, have a history.  To Progress we must understand.

    Liberal a bad word?

    In the French sense, it became so

    Michael Munger

    Special to the News & Observer

    I did a Google search on “liberal” and “dirty word.” They occur together more than 220,000 times.

    So is liberalism a politically viable viewpoint in the United States today?

    Origins tell us something. The oldest sense is “liberal arts,” intellectual pursuits without practical purpose, suited for free citizens with free minds. The first uses of “liberal” in English described someone who was generous in bestowing wealth or gifts. Nothing dirty so far, right?

    It was with the twin revolutions at the end of the 18th century in America and France that the word developed two senses, and they were often in tension.

    In Britain and America, to be liberal meant to be tolerant of other points of view, to be free from prejudice. The clearest exponent of this view, still a hero of the libertarian right, was John Stuart Mill.

    The French liberal, however, implied not forbearance but action. For proponents, liberal simply meant an advocate for freedom and democracy, including economic equality. But to many American conservatives, liberal meant a pursuit of lawlessness, a French-inspired disrespect for tradition and a desire for radical leveling of wealth and status.

    By the end of the 19th century in the United States, the meanings of liberal and liberal had been absorbed by a powerful political force: progressivism. Progressives believed in the evolution of human affairs. They advocated women’s suffrage, the temperance movement, anti-trust regulation and the creation of a professional Civil Service.

    But embracing these progressive ideas got liberals into trouble and changed what they stood for.

    The turning point in ideas about government was the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. It changed our character, it ended for many people the sense of optimistic self-sufficiency they had been brought up with and it turned us back from progressivism toward liberalism. Liberalism came to mean that concern for the poor is not just a sentiment, but a motivation for policy. Liberals fought for reforms that built a wall of government resources around those who were least well-off, a dam holding back a tide of poverty, ignorance, starvation and disease.

    Imagine to stave off callowness, hunger, and sickness might be a bad thing. How could that be?

    Currently, Conservatives wish to explain they are compassionate.  They claim Conventionalists can care for people, money, and attend to policy cautiously. Hence, we might extrapolate; tradition and thoughtfulness can co-exist within one Party or a single person.

    More recently, however, liberalism has stopped working. Many of the core beliefs of liberals are still present in American thought and culture, but for a politician to call herself a “liberal” is suicide in most jurisdictions. The reason is that the French sense won the war of meaning, and Americans rejected that view of political life. Doctrinaire ideologues, insisting on a particular conception of equality at the expense of liberty and on a narrow secular interpretation of the rhetorical space of public discourse, hijacked liberalism.

    It was a Pyrrhic victory: In winning control of the Democratic party, they lost the confidence of voters. Liberalism was reduced to an interest group code phrase: “Vote for me, and I’ll give you other people’s money.”

    It doesn’t have to be that way. Thousands of Americans are struggling to return liberal ideas to our public discourse. These views may seem rusty and in need of some oil. But their essential power is unchanged, and their appeal is timeless. A celebration of individual liberties, a tolerance for all points of view, an openness to change and a fundamental belief in the promise of human cooperation live still at the core of American liberalism.

    Today, those on the Left are still forward thinking, open-minded, and tolerant.  However, they may be guarded to their detriment.  Liberals, uncertain of how to describe their beliefs search for a way to communicate what it means to be a modern-day Progressive, one who does not act with reckless disregard, is aware, and observant of consequences.  Liberals, Progressives are attentive and wish to make their intentions known.

    The Center For American Progress invites our assistance.  They request that together, we tell our story and illustrate what America means to us.  Progressives, those that lean Left, and are Liberal must make known what we stand for, not just what we stand against.

    Four videos are presented for your review.  Please view each and vote for the one that you believe best communicates what it means to be a Progressive.  I offer two of these productions for your pleasure.

    The Center for American Progress is a progressive think-tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action.

    We are creating a long-term, progressive vision for America-a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference.

    As progressives, we believe that America should be a country of boundless opportunity-where all people can better themselves through education, hard work, and the freedom to pursue their dreams.  We believe this will only be achieved with an open and effective government that champions the common good over narrow self-interest, harnesses the strength of our diversity, and secures the rights and safety of its people.

    Hmmmm?  What do you think?  For me, the decision was not an easy one.  I thought the compilation placed in the introduction of this treatise was well done.  I also enjoyed another creation.  Please consider another audio-visual opus.  Interesting?

    Progress is American – The Center for American Progress

    This composition connects us with a classic presentation.  That may be its appeal or perhaps the reason you personally do not relate.  I know not.  I share the creators’ statement for your consideration.

    The Center for American Progress, in conjunction with the Glaser Progress Foundation, recently launched a multiyear effort to increase public understanding of what it means to be a progressive given our nation’s history and the challenges we face today.

    Which of these public announcements helps you to understand what it means to be a Progressive?  Perchance the two not shown would be more to your liking.  Please explore, vote, and contribute, if you choose.  Tell those lost in the space of ten, thirty, and sixty-second sound bites what it really means to be Left, Liberal, and in pursuit of shared liberty.

    References, Resources, Progress . . .

  • The Center for American Progress,
  • Liberal a bad word? In the French sense, it became so..  By Michael Munger.  Special to the News & Observer.
  • Four videos
  • One Hopeful Liberal

    copyright © 2007 Jerry Northington.  campaign website or on the campaign blog.

    Liberal is defined as

    favorable to progress or reform, favoring or permitting freedom of action, and free from prejudice or bigotry

    among other definitions.  The word itself arises from the root liber for free.  The sense is the same as that of liberty

    freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice

     

    In today’s society and in particular in politics, “Liberal” has come to be almost a dirty word.  I am proud to consider myself a political and social Liberal.  In my childhood Liberal stood for fairness and equality.  All of humankind was seen as being created equal.  Government’s place in life was to insure a fair and equal playing field in life so all were given the same right to education, employment, housing, and voting.  Those who found themselves in need had a safety net in government services in those days.  Today we hear words like “Progressive” instead of Liberal being used by politicians.  Some national political figures have refused to be identified by any measure of the term, Liberal.

    In life today we find a more conservative mindset taking over our country.  This course means holding to the past instead of looking for change. Holding to the status quo becomes the state of the nation in place of progress and reform.  Beginning many years ago corporations were granted many of the same legal rights as those granted to citizens.  Today we are seeing the fallout of that series of decisions as society becomes more about making money and the bottom line than of being about the fairness and humanity of taking care of one another.

    And yet there remains hope, that eternal feeling which keeps humankind alive and well day by day.  Hope is defined as

    the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn our for the best.

    As Ralph Brauer says in his recent book, The Strange Death of Liberal America, and I agree, there is hope for America today.  We are in deep trouble like the patient in the hospital on a respirator.  The country may need life support, but there are many in the nation who continue to hope and continue to work toward a better tomorrow.

    Hope does spring eternal in humankind. There are pessimists among us who would argue there is no hope, but I would argue they are wrong. There are bright lights in our nation today mostly among small groups of people or among individuals working every day to make the world a better place.  We see the peace vigils on street corners.  The food kitchens get extra volunteers during holiday seasons.  People are out talking to their neighbors and writing letters to editors and posting op-ed pieces along with blog diaries and stories to protest the wrongs in our nation today.  People are making signs to display in public spaces.  So long as we keep active in standing for right and fair hope remains alive and well.  It is only when we fail to speak up and speak out that we lose all sense of hope for the future.

    Action continues to be my personal antidote in these dark days.  Today so long as I continue to speak and to write and to do my part to make a better nation, hope remains in my heart and in my mind.  Today if we all gather together in union we can fight back and retake our nation.  Today if we stand united against the egregious state of our nation we have a chance to insure a better future for all generations.

    Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.  Today is the only day we have to get out and get going.  No matter what was done yesterday we need to keep the pressure up and keep the action going today.  Tomorrow we start again and do the same in terms of increasing action.  Slow but sure the ripples will become the tsunami of change we must have if we are to save the country we know and love.  

    Keep in mind every day,

    progress is our most important product.

    So long as we are making progress toward a better tomorrow we have hope.  So long as we have hope the basic humanness of us all is kept alive for another day.

    Peace and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  May all the blessings of this holiday season descend upon you and yours.

    The Center For American Progress Asks, Are You A Progressive?



    America At Its Best: That’s Progressive

    What does it mean to be a Progressive?  In America, those that thought it best to work for the greater good defined themselves as Liberals.  However, in the late 1980s that term was given a negative connotation.  Liberals lost their way.  Then, they [we] progressed.

    Today, those on the Left are still forward thinking, open-minded, and tolerant.  Yet, how do those of us that define ourselves as such explain what that means practically, in the real world. 

    The Center For American Progress wonders and invites our assistance.  Together, let us tell America what we stand for, not just what we stand against.

    Four videos are presented for your review.  Please view each and vote for the one that you believe best communicates what it means to be a Progressive.  I offer tow of these productions for your pleasure.

    The Center for American Progress is a progressive think-tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action.
    We are creating a long-term, progressive vision for America-a vision that policy makers, thought-leaders and activists can use to shape the national debate and pass laws that make a difference.

    As progressives, we believe that America should be a country of boundless opportunity-where all people can better themselves through education, hard work, and the freedom to pursue their dreams.  We believe this will only be achieved with an open and effective government that champions the common good over narrow self-interest, harnesses the strength of our diversity, and secures the rights and safety of its people. 

    Hmmmm?  What do you think.  For me, the decision was not an easy one.  I thought this compilation was well done.  I also enjoyed another creation.  Please tell me what you think.


    Progress is American – The Center for American Progress

    This composition connects us with another classic presentation.  That may be its appeal or perhaps the reason you personally do not relate.  I know not.  I share the creators’ statement for your consideration.

    The Center for American Progress, in conjunction with the Glaser Progress Foundation, recently launched a multiyear effort to increase public understanding of what it means to be a progressive given our nation’s history and the challenges we face today.

    Which of these public announcements helps you to understand what it means to be a Progressive?  Perchance the two not shown would be more to your liking.  Please explore, vote, contribute if you choose.  Tell those lost in the space of ten, thirty, and sixty second sound bites what it really means to be Left, Liberal, and in pursuit of a shared liberty.

    Informed Choice? Mandated Vaccines in America

    copyright © 2007 Judith Moriarty

    We would all like to naively assume that politicians – the medical profession – pharmaceutical companies etc, have our best interests at heart.  The ordinary citizen cannot relate to a world of corporate greed, absent conscience,  that puts profits above any considerations to the well being of public health (environmental protections).  How much is enough profit – apparently there is no limit?  If you have ever been involved in the vaccine program or are the first to jump in line for that flu shot, (other vaccines) it behooves you to take responsibility in not taking the word of every slick snake -oil- salesman coming down the pike promising you protections from the ills of life.  Men care about their bottom lines, stock portfolios, and opulent lifestyles, not you or your child’s health.  

    Who owns your child?  Apparently the state.  On Nov 17, 2007, Prince George, Maryland’s State’s Attorney Glenn Ivy, and the county’s public health and education officials, brought the power of the State down on parents who had not gotten their children injected with various vaccines.  Ivy said that he was prepared to throw the parents whose children had not gotten their shots in jail.  “We can do this the easy way or the hard way, but it’s got to be done.  I’m willing to move forward with legal action.”  Glenn Ivy

    Question?  How many more vaccines  these are double what they were a few years back) are children going to be forced to get to be able to get a public education?

    I noted on the ‘news’ (brief report) that the parents lined up in front of the court house to comply to this order (or be jailed) were mostly Black.  I wondered if this were a test case – an example for other schools across the country?  No Jesse or Al Sharpton!

    Could this be about money?

    Dawn Richardson at PROVE (www.vaccineinfo.net) decided to find out.  Dawn called the communications department of the Prince George’s County School District to ask them specifically some questions about the amount of money the school district gets paid per child per day.  They didn’t respond.  Thankfully, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has some great information about Prince  George’s  County Public Schools.

    According to this government website, in the 2006-2007 school year, Prince George’s County Public Schools received $11,325 per student per year).  Why is this important information?  The Washington Post reported that 2300 kids were being barred from school.  This adds up to $63 per student per day – a loss of $144,900 per day for the school district.

    Chicken pox vaccine?  It doesn’t work.  A school in Round Rock Texas has more than 40 kids out with chickenpox even though they had all been vaccinated!

    It never ceases to amaze me;  that today’s schools can ban cupcakes, peanuts, and institute zero tolerance polices against normal childhood behavior (supposedly to protect the children) and yet parents are not supplied a listing of vaccine (also for themselves) ingredients of the various  microbes, antibiotics, chemicals/heavy metals and animal by products?  In a compulsory inoculation program, it is the responsibility of the developers, promoters, and enforcers to prove safety and efficacy.  Vaccine Ingredients: Informed Choice

    The same holds true for parents informed that their child needs to be medicated for their hyper activity, supposed depression, and learning disabilities; i.e. Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs.  What long range testing has been done on these drugs, are they additive, do the cure anything, what are the side effects (including suicide), and does this label my child as having a mental health problem on his/her records?  It is also (sadly many parents are apathetic – intimidated) is the responsibility of the parent to research any and all drugs administered to their child – including vaccines and their ingredients.

    Liability: Should you or your child suffer a  disability (death) due to an adverse  reaction to a vaccine how are you protected?  Shouldn’t those mandated under threat of incarceration be made aware of their rights to secure compensation for life long medical bills and care?  Answer – NO.

    Though not widely reported (it was the Christmas season) in December of 2005, Congress passed unprecedented legislation giving immunity to drug companies.  This legislation passed by the House of Representatives in the early morning hours of Dec 19, 2005.  It was muscled into the Department of Defense Appropriations, H.R. 2863, bill by Senator Frist (a physician!), and House Speaker Hastert despite assurances made to Representatives that this provision would not be attached to the Defense spending bill.

    House Approbations Committee ranking Democrat David Obey of Wisconsin, stated, “The conference committee ended its work with the understanding, both verbal and in writing, that there would be no, I repeat, no legislative liability protection language inserted in this bill.  That legislation was unilaterally and arrogantly inserted into the bill after the conference was over.  It was a blatant abuse of power by two of the most powerful men in Congress.”

    The  Senate voted for this newly amended version of the Defense Appropriations Bill in a 48-45 vote.  The Senate then passed the amended bill – including the pharmaceutical immunity provisions in a 93-0 vote.  Little opposition to the immunity provision was voiced prior to the final vote.  Senator Kennedy called the legislation ” a basic blank check for the industry” (for any vaccines – including a pandemic flu vaccine).

    This legislation allows use of Thimerosal in vaccines:

    If the Secretary of Health and Human Services designated that a vaccine is a ‘covered countermeasure” Thimerosal (a mercury containing preservative) can be used in the vaccine, even if a state has enacting legislation banning or limiting the use of Thimerosal.  Any state legislation covering vaccines would be rendered ineffective and Federal law would preempt all state provisions.  This applies to any state provision governing vaccines, not just those provisions pertaining to Thimerosal: Public Readiness and Emergency Readiness Act.

    The legislation provides immunity for All Drugs and Vaccines: The language contained in the legislation applies to any drug, vaccine, or biological product that the Secretary of Health and Human Services deems a “covered countermeasure.”  This list could include any commercial drug like Tylenol and is not limited in any way to drugs or vaccines meant to treat a pandemic like avian flu.  The far-reaching nature of the bill was misrepresented in Congress and in the media, where the legislation was presented as primarily concerned with preparations to combat the avian flu.  Since the HHS Secretary has described everything from obesity to diabetes to heart disease as epidemics, under the term of this legislation many drugs and all vaccines can be covered, whether or not they relate to dangerous pandemics or terrorism.

    Note: This legislation shows the actions of just who is writing legislation – and its not our elected representatives!

    Under this legislation immunity can be granted to drug companies at ANY time:  The immunity language depends on the HHS Secretary declaring that a health condition cause a public health emergency or that some condition could become an emergency at some point in the future.

    This legislation gives drug companies immunity for harm caused by their misconduct: The immunity conferred on drug and vaccine manufactures applies no matter what the drug company did wrong.  Even if a drug company operates a dirty facility in which a bath of vaccine is contaminated, and that vaccine kills thousands of Americans, the drug company is immune from liability.

    This legislation gives drug companies immunity for all acts short of murder: This legislation explicitly protects drug companies who act recklessly or who are grossly negligent.  An injured person’s claim can go forward only in the case where a drug company acted with such willful misconduct as to constitute criminal assault or murders.  Anything less than criminal conduct is protected.  This language provides the highest standard of proof known to civil law and in unprecedented!  Even if a drug company knowingly kills thousands of people, if no official enforcement action is taken, that company is still immune.

    Vaccine Safety is Compromised by this bill:

    The express purpose of this legislation is to encourage rapid production of sufficient does of vaccine to inoculate most of the US population.  The vaccine manufactures used blackmail to push the legislation by stating they would refuse to produce new vaccines, the avian flu vaccine for example, unless the legislation was enacted.  

    This legislation would permit new vaccines to be rushed to market despite risks that would otherwise cause a legally vulnerable manufacture to exercise caution.  There exist substances proposed as vaccine ingredients that have been insufficiently tested and pose potential health risks.  One such substance, a vaccine additive  called  “MF59” is an oil-based substance used to enhance the body’s immune reaction to a vaccine.  Our public health authorities wish to use MF59 in vaccines in order to enhance production capabilities.  In a recent broadcast of NBC’s Face the Nation Julie Gerberding, head of the  Centers for Disease Control, told Tim Russett that “hamburger helper,” public health’s nickname for MF59, would be used to extend the supply of vaccines.  What Dr. Gerberding did not tell the public is that MF59 is reported to have been used in an experimental anthrax vaccine given to members of the military causing a variety of autoimmune illnesses such as lupus and arthritis, and resulting in a number of deaths.

    Those interested in more information on this may read Vaccine A – by reporter Gary Matsumoto.  Source for above: Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning. A-Champ.

    The Obfuscation of The Autism Epidemic: Letter by Pediatrician Dr. Kenneth Stoller (in part)

    “As a scientist I find the current approach to the autism epidemic – “The Emperor’s New Clothes” approach to be deeply disturbing.  For years, the vaccine division at the CDC and others have said the reason for the dramatic increase (in direct proportion to increase in vaccinations JM) in autism is due to “better diagnosing” and “greater awareness.”  They have encouraged those like Paul Shattuck (researcher) to manufacture uncertainty.  Nevertheless, with 80% of autistic Americans under the age of 18, we will see, clothes and all, a dramatic impact on Social Security in the coming years as these children become dependent adults.  There are NO studies that have found the previously undiagnosed or misdiagnosed autistic individuals among older Americans.”

    “We need to address the real reason for the alarming autism rate.  No more secrets or truth-spinning.  This is not a faux epidemiological epidemic, not an infectious epidemic, nor a genetic epidemic ( as there are no genetic epidemics).  That leaves an epidemic linked to some sort of exposure.  The federal government has never tested the type of mercury in vaccines for toxicity.  This is an unconscionable oversight failure at best, at worst it is an example that we have left consensus reality to be created by the liars, thieves, cheats, killers, and the PR junk scientists they employ” Dr. Stoller’s complete letter:  The obfuscation of the iatrogenic Autism epidemic.

    While licensing new vaccines and adding them to the mandatory childhood schedule, the government failed to add up the amount of mercury that a child could receive in one visit and cumulatively over the course of the vaccination regime . . .

    Neuro-development disorders such as autism have symptoms similar to mercury poisoning.  It is well established that mercury is a neuro-toxin and is harmful to babies in-utero and to the developing brains of children.  There is a public advisory from the government about the risks of eating mercury-containing seafood, but there is no public health advisory about the risks of exposure to mercury in vaccines.  Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used in vaccines since the 1930’s.”

    “My name is Lyn Redwood.  I reside in Atlanta Georgia with my husband Tommy and three children.  Hanna, Drew and Will.  My husband and I are both health professional.  My husband is a Physician and I am a Nurse Practitioner.  I also hold a Masters Degree in Community Health Nursing and I’m a member of our County’s Board of Health and local Planning Commission.”

    “My son, Will, weighed in at close to 9lbs at birth.  He was a happy baby who ate and slept well, smiled cooed, walked and talked, all by one year.  Shortly after his first birthday he experienced multiple infections, lost speech, eye contact, developed a very limited diet and suffered intermittent bouts of diarrhea.  He underwent multiple evaluations and was initially diagnosed with a global receptive and expressive speech delay and later with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a form of autism.”

    I would have never made the correlation between my son’s disability and vaccines until July 1999 when I read that a preservative, thimerosal,  utilized in some infant vaccines, actually contained 49.6% mercury!  The report went to say that the FDA had determined that ‘infants who received thimerosal- containing vaccines at several visits may be exposed to more mercury than recommended by Federal Guidelines for total mercury exposure’.  As health care providers, my husband and I constantly receive notices that adverse effects have been reported with a drug or a product safety sheet has been revised.  Why were NO such notices sent out informing us that thimerosal  preservative vaccines were exceeding federal guidelines for mercury exposure in infants?”

    “I reviewed my son’s vaccine record and my worst fears were confirmed.  All his early vaccines had contained thimerosal.  From my research on mercury, I found it to be a human toxicant which is especially damaging to rapidly developing fetal and infant brain.  While acceptable levels for exposure are published by Federal Agencies, mercury is a POISON at any level.  The doses ‘thought’ to be safely allowed on a daily basis by EPA is 0.1mcg per kilogram of body weight per day.  At 2 months of age, my son had received 62.5 mcg of mercury from 3 infant vaccines.  He had received 125 TIMES his allowable exposure on that one day.  These large injected bolus exposures continued at 4, 6, 12 and 18 months to a total mercury exposure of 237.5 mcg.  I also discovered that the INJECTIONS that I received during the first and third trimesters of my pregnancy to prevent RH blood incompatibility also contained MERCURY.”  From Government Reform Committee, testimony, July 18, 2000 .  Lyn Redwood is the Co-founder and President of SafeMinds.

    Note – again and again the only action (after they vote on issues they’ve never read, studied, or researched) we have these senseless, do nothing hearings!

    Dr. Russell Blaylock reports,

    “I was asked to write a paper on some of the newer mechanisms of vaccine damage to the nervous system, but in the interim I came across an incredible document that should blow the lid off the cover up being engineered by the pharmaceutical companies in conjunction with powerful governmental agencies.  It all started when a friend sent me a copy of a letter from Congressman David Weldon M.D, to the director of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding, in which he alludes to a study by Dr. Thomas Verstraeten then representing the CDC, on the connection between infant exposure to thimerosal – containing vaccines and neurodevelopment injury.”

    Congressman Weldon questions the CFC director as to why, Dr. Verstraeten published his results four years later, in the journal of Pediatrics to show just the opposite, that is, that there was no correlation to any neurodevelopmental problems related to thimerosal  exposure to infants.  Dr. Weldon refers to a report, the ‘Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information’.  This conference was held on June 7-8, 2000 at Simpsonwood Retreat Center, Norcross, Georgia, which consisted of 51 assembled scientists and physicians of which five represented vaccine manufactures.  It was discovered by Congressman Weldon M.D., that Dr. Verstraeten had left the CDC shortly after this conference to work for GlaxoSmithKline in Belgium which manufactures vaccines.”

    Dr. Blaylock goes on to explain in his report;  that  . . .

    “when these officials speak of ‘removal of  thimerosal’ they are not removing anything.  They just plan to stop adding it sometime in the future once they use up the existing stocks which entails millions of doses.”  He states, “incredibly the government allows them to do it.  Even more incredibly, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice endorse this insane policy.  In fact they specifically state that children should continue to receive the thimerosal- containing vaccines until new vaccines can be manufactured at the will of the manufactures.”

    Dr. Blaylock explains,

    “The obvious solution is to use only single dose vials, which require no preservatives.  So, why don’t they use them?  Oh, because it would add to the cost of the vaccine.  Of course, we’re only talking about a few dollars per vaccine at most, certainly worth the health of a child’s brain and future.  It was disclosed that thimerosal is in all influenza vaccines, DPT (and most DTaP) vaccines and all HepB vaccines.”

    Dr. Blaylock reports,

    “”Those in this meeting admit that we have a form of mercury that has been used since the 1930s and that NO ONE has bothered to study the effects on biological systems, especially the brains of infants.  NOTE – the mercury in vaccines is ethylmercury not methylmercury (which those discussing its merits had no idea of).  In a society of hundreds of millions of people there are groups of individuals much more sensitive to this toxin than others.  For instance, the elderly, the chronically ill, the nutritionally deficient, small babies, premature babies, those on certain medications just to name a few.  As to the needless vaccinating for Hepatitis B; the only at risk group among children is those children born to drug using mothers infected with Hepatitis B or HIV infected parents.  In fact most studies show that children catching the measles or other childhood disease have been fully immunized.”

    Why the sensitivity?  

    “The ‘vaccinologists’ (a made up term) with their problem of ‘concrete thinking’ cannot seem to appreciate the fact that not everyone is the same.  They fail to see the ‘uncertainties’.  To further emphasize this point lets take a farming family who lives with three miles of a coal burning electrical plants (or incinerator).  Since they also live near the ocean, they eat seafood daily.  The fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used on the crops contain levels of mercury.  The coal burning plant emits high levels of mercury in the air they breathe daily and the seafood they consume has levels of mercury higher than EPA standards.  This means that any babies born to these people will have very high mercury levels.  Once born they are given numerous vaccines containing more mercury.”

    See The Truth behind the Vaccine Coverup  for Dr. Blaylock’s in-depth report!

    The children of chemical alley in the Gulf; are much more susceptible to neurological impairment, than say, a child born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  A child living at grand zero, to an waste burning incinerator, is much more apt to suffer mercury/chemical overload; thus the increase in autism, learning disabilities , birth defects and  other auto immune diseases.  A child living in the same state, removed by miles, and absent any polluting industries, has a better chance of health than his distant neighbor, although any child (adult) injected with mercury (heavy metals) is at risk.

    “A specter is haunting the medical and journalism establishments of the United States: Where are the unvaccinated people with autism?”  Dan Olmsted, “I have not seen autism with the Amish”, said Dr. Frank Noonan, a family practitioner in Lancaster County, Pa., who has treated thousands of Amish for a quarter – century.  “You’ll find all the other stuff but we don’t find autism.  We’re right in the heart of Amish country and seeing none, and that’s just the way it is.”

    “In Chicago, Homefirst Medical Services threats thousands of never – vaccinated children whose parents received exemptions though Illinois’ relatively permissive immunization policy.  Homefirst’s medical director, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, told us he is not aware of any cases of autism in never – vaccinated children; the national ratio is 1 in 166 (lower now) according to the CDC.  We have a fairly large practice.  We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children we’ve taken care of over the years, and I don’t think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines.  We have enough of a sample.  The numbers are too large to not see it.  We would absolutely know.  We’re all family doctors.  If I have a child with autism come in, there’s no communication.  It’s frightening.  You can’t touch them.  It’s not something that anyone would miss.”

    “Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, a Florida family practitioner with ties to families who home school their children, told Age of Autism he has proposed a study. ‘  I said I know I can tap into this community and find you large numbers of unvaccinated home schooled and we can do simple prevalence and incidence studies in them, and my gut reaction is that you’re going to see no autism in this group.”

    See: Dan Olmsted also Age of Autism.

    One would  think  that these  professionals (medical and governmental);   making back room decisions  for the multitudes (including third world children) would err on the side of caution and take the precautionary approach?  If there’s the slightest chance of dooming a child to a world of mercury, induced madness – relegating them to a black hole existence, why would career, political ambitions, or blood money take precedence?  Apparently, it does and obviously, men will sell their souls for a pittance?  Worse yet, these men/women, have seen to it that they are legally (our legislators made this possible) protected from any and all liabilities.  A family is on their own.  With social services almost non- existent in many areas, this spells disaster.

    When autism comes into a home the family structure is altered forever.  My brother was the happy baby, laughing and talking, etc, that Lyn Redwood and her physician husband remember.  My brother Jerry, like their son Will, disappeared one day after a series of shots at 18 months.  My impoverished parents went from doctor to doctor seeking an answer.  How were they to know that it was our family doctor (unknowingly) who had injected him with the vaccine that destroyed his life. My parents (like other parents) were not given any information as to the chemicals etc, in these vaccines.

    My parents were told that he was a slow learner, hearing impaired, etc.  Everything but the truth.  The relatives said he was ‘crazy’.  The neighbors said he was the result of the sin of my parents.  My mother tried to tell us he was a gift from God.  I didn’t buy this (though I remained silent).  I didn’t think God deliberately sent down broken, mentally impaired babies, as gifts!  He was a gift, in the sense, that his presence demanded kindness, gentleness, compassion, and learning to listen to his pain and lostness, in a world without words.

    He deteriorated in health and became very self abusive.  You couldn’t cry in our house as this would set Jerry off into a tangent.  Finally, my parents, with other children to protect from harm, had to institutionalize him at age 12.  I spent my childhood visiting this place; where society locked away the less than perfect, the deformed, and twisted.  My brothers supposed ‘caregivers’ ended up by killing him.  Abuse was rampant in this place (as in all institutions).  They  blamed it the residents who couldn’t speak and deny it.  Long after his death, and the death of my parents, I went to work in this place.  Another long story.  I can tell you,  that NOBODY abused a resident in my presence – nobody!

    Who are the truly deformed and twisted in society?  I think it’s those who pose as healers – as responsible corporate business interests – and jive- talking politicians.  It took all of them, working in concert,  to destroy the lives of thousands of children – maybe hundreds of thousands, worldwide?  There’s your axis of evil.

    JM  

    The Warning; America Accepts Distractions Abound


    ArtofMentalWarfare.com: The Warning.

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    The world is filled with distractions.  Sex is on the streets. Violence filters through videos.  Sensationalism  flitters across silver screens.  Television broadcasters speak of Senators in bathrooms.  Fallen sports stars are caught in criminal acts.  Americans are consumed with consumption.  We eat fast.  We play faster.  We work to attend to the world woes.  Yet, our eyes wander away from cold, hard, combative facts. 

    It is easier to escape than it is to cope with the realities that we create.

    Americans were informed; global warning is caused by and accelerated through human activity.  Still, citizens of the United States want the many possessions that enter our homes and garages.  This is the era of plastic and petroleum.

    Clothing, carpets, even candies can contain an ounce of oil.  What we will not do for deliverance.  One hundred dollars a barrel or two . . . We admit to our dependence; however, we trust harm will not come in our lifetime.

    We buy, buy, buy, and then trash, trash, trash.  Factory smoke billows, even if now the fumes come more from abroad then at home.  Products are placed “on-line,” assembled piece by piece or purchased in cyberspace.  Big box stores sell and Americans acquire.  We are satiated, although still not satisfied. 

    Our prized possession is our car.  Vehicles provide the power we yearn to feel.  An automobile of our own grants us a sense of freedom and autonomy.  Forget the fact that the emissions pollute the air.  Ignore the waste we create when we build in obsolescence.  Our countrymen clamor,  “I crave a machine with horse power.”  Bring the petroleum home.  The boys and girls can stay and fight.

    We understand war kills.  Yet, ultimately, unilaterally, we attack.  Administrators threaten to fight again and again.  More will die.  Americans do not heed the warning.  They continue to recreate.  We amuse ourselves with our bodies, with our toys, with sex, drugs, and violence. 

    The nation is distracted and the planet destroyed.  Thus, is the nature of The Warning.  Caution is left to blow in the wind.

    Thirty-Five Years of Hillary Experience. Do We Want Eight More?


    Bill Clinton: We Need New Experience in Washington

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Each and everyday we hear the drum beat, the drone of a dynamic Presidential hopeful.  Hillary Clinton howls and hollers; “I have thirty-five years of experience.  Numerous beings question that truth.  Those not in Camp Clinton retort.  Perchance, she might claim she has six decades of familiarity, for indeed, Senator Clinton was first planted on this planet some sixty years ago. 

    The esteemed former First Lady wants Americans to believe that her time in the White House was invaluable.  The years she spent in “public service” make her infinitely qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.  At times, it seems the Senator believes she already held this honorable post.  She, with her husband at her side, guided the country.  Bill and Hillary brought prosperity to America.  The two, wish to do so again.  Bill Clinton [affirms] Hillary wants me to restore America’s image.  Citizens are lead to believe, the Clintons can, and will, heal all wounds globally.

    Hillary Clinton persuades US, the American electorate, the job of Commander-In-Chief is a challenging one.  Amateurs need not apply.  Hillary knows.  She has been there and done that.  As the Presidential hopeful spoke to the citizens of Iowa, Clinton clamored . . .

    “There is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for – our next president.  That could be the costliest job training in history,” Clinton said.  “Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families.  And they cannot afford to keep waiting.”

    The Presidential candidate claims to be trustworthy, and above reproach.  Yet, as we assess her record we discover there is much to question, and more to criticize.  The Former First Lady has been an elected official for seven short years.  All of the other candidates on the Democratic Primary Election ballot have held public office for far longer than the ‘New York applicant has.  Yet, Clinton, the women, not playing the gender card, continues to claim she is infinitely more qualified.  She is “experienced” and can easily take the reigns.  Only she can state she lived in the White House and served, to some degree, as President of the United States.

    Opponents on the Right ridicule what Democrats seem reluctant to state.  Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Grand Old Party front-runner according to national polls, offers, “Honestly, in most respects, I don’t know Hillary’s experience.  She’s never run a city, she’s never run a state.  She’s never run a business  . . .  So I’m trying to figure out where the experience is here.” 

    Multi-millionaire, Entrepreneur, and another electable, Mitt Romney, muses “She has never run anything.”  Romney notes; Clinton has not run a corner store, a state, or a city.  He inquires can the presidency be considered an internship.

    Nevertheless, a haughty Hillary Clinton is certain that she can, and will do the job.  In her mind, she has done it.  Apparently, she has convinced others. 

    In an Oct. 3 release announcing the American Federation of Teachers endorsement of her candidacy, she said, “Throughout my 35 years of working on education, I’ve seen the dedication that American teachers demonstrate day in and day out.”

    In September, Clinton issued a release on Hispanic Heritage Month that stated, “Thirty five years ago, I traveled through South Texas, registering Latino voters ?”

    Describing her healthcare plan, Clinton said that “a family is a child’s first school, and I have a long history going back 35 years as a child advocate ?”

    Clinton’s proponents have echoed the figure.  When Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) endorsed Clinton late last month, the congresswoman said in a statement, “Her 35-year record fighting for children and families makes her uniquely qualified to hit the ground running.”

    Similarly, Nevada State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson lauded Clinton’s 35 years of experience when he backed her last month.

    We have all heard of the “Big Lie” theory, repeat a tale often enough and the people will believe.  Characteristically, this reference is made in regards to Adolph Hitler or George W. Bush; however, once more, it seems applicable.

    Asked for comment for this article, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, “The people who are most important – the voters – think Hillary’s 35 years of advocacy, strength and experience is what counts, which is why one poll after another shows her leading by wide margins on the question of who is most experienced.”

    The Clinton campaign suggests that the Senator’s experience dates back to before her marriage to Bill Clinton in 1975.

    Interestingly enough, years into the marriage, when William Jefferson Clinton ran for President, it was said he had little if any experience.  We may recall that when Bill Clinton first appeared on the national scene, he was considered less than qualified for the most powerful post on the planet.  His Republican rival, George H. W. Bush was among many that noted the former Governor of Arkansas was not ready or able.  He was only willing.  Granted, some learn well while in office , most merely repeat their personal history.

    Hillary obfuscates on the issues, obliterates the competition; she is combative when she perceives there is an enemy.  Senator Clinton sees foes under every Bush or Barack and presumes any comment to be part of a  conspiracy. 

    Senator Clinton claims to support the intent of North American Free Trade Agreement, while she is critical of the outcome. 

    When asked of the “Do not ask; do not tell” decision, Clinton falters.  Later, she states, the policy, had its time and place.  Yet, today, desirous of the Gay and Lesbian vote, the former First Lady thinks now the nation is ready for a change.

    On immigration, Hillary is for drivers’ licenses; she thinks these would make our streets safer.  However, when questioned further, Clinton is flustered, again.  Certainly, the Boys are ganging up on her.  [might they be part of the Right Wing Conspiracy of years gone by?]  Then, with time to consider she needs every vote the First Lady is once more firm.  Hillary Clinton offers a definitive “No” when asked if she thinks it would be wise to issue a legal form of identification for immigrants.

    This is the voice of experience.  Hillary Rodham Clinton knows to her core what it takes to get elected.

    Today American must ask them selves; ”Is this the type of experience we crave.”  Do we wish to recycle a family, a familiar fuddle of truth, a fantasy that led us to believe one Clinton felt our pain.’ 

    As Hillary avows much of what America experienced under Clinton One did not work well, she assures us she will do better.  We must have faith.  Senator Clinton understands situation, our circumstances, and us.  She always has.  She fought for us in the 1990s and she will again, if we grant her the ultimate power.  The Former First Lady reminds us each day . . .

    “We need a president who understands the magnitude and complexity of the challenges we face and has the strength and experience to address them from day one.

    As President of the United States the Former First Lady intends to force those that cannot afford Health Care to buy into her program.  As a peaceful Progressive, Hillary Clinton plans to send more troops to Afghanistan.  Senator Clinton states, she may bring the troops home in her second term, depending.  Yes, “your girl” is practiced, polished, and professional.  In the past, Hillary Clinton ‘influenced’ policy, possibly.  The question is, does she have the seasoning needed to responsive to the people, to be an effective President, or will her habits hinder her efforts.  Might Hillary in the Oval Office be the best choice for America, or will she be merely a Clinton successful in her personal quest for power.

    The Clinton Experience . . .

  • Clinton and Obama spar over experience, By Kay Henderson.  Reuters. November 20, 2007
  • Bill Clinton: Hillary wants me to restore image of US, By Oliver Burkeman.  The Guardian.  Friday October 5, 2007
  • Clinton Says Economy Needs Experience, By Beth Fouhy.  Associated Press.  Forbes. November 19, 2007
  • NAFTA, Farmers and Agriculture, NAFTA’s Seven Years War on Farmers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Public Citizen.
  • The Big Lie Technique, By Robert Scheer.  The Nation. November 16, 2005
  • Hillary: “I Have to Earn Every Vote,” By Karen Tumulty.  Time Magazine. February 1, 2007
  • Don’t ask, they’ll tell,  By Linda DouglassMSNBC August 9, 2007
  • Hillary Clinton invokes Bill in poll battle, By Alex Spillius in North Conway, New Hampshire.  Telegraph. November 12, 2007
  • Bayh, Clinton Call for More Troops in Afghanistan. U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  • Welfare’s Changing Face, By Dan Froomkin.  ?Washington Post. July 23, 1998
  • For ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Split on Party Lines, By Robin Toner.  The New York Times. June 8, 2007
  • Mandatory health care won’t curb costs, By Jamie Court.  Market Place. September 18, 2007
  • Candidates Hedge Bets on Iraq Withdrawal, By Jeff Zeleny and Patrick Healy.  The New York Times. September 26, 2007
  • Seven Things We Learned From the Democratic Debate, By Dan Balz.  The Washington Post. August 8, 2007
  • Clinton, Obama ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Eliciting Outrage, By Satta Sarmah.  Columbia Journalism Review. March 15, 2007
  • A Clinton Distancing Act, By Peter Baker.  Washington Post. November 20, 2007
  • Different Rules When a Rival Is a Woman? New York Times. November 5, 2007
  • Clinton: Vast right-wing conspiracy is back, Cites anti-voter actions, phone jamming and intimidating phone calls.  Associated Press.  MSNBC. March 13, 2007
  • Peace Protester Meets Military Men; Perceptions or Promise

    This morning, as I approached the peace corner, two of my fellow demonstrators made mention of the soldiers across the street.  Weekly, a throng of Iraq war dissenters stands and pickets on the south side of the street.  I position myself on the North end of the avenue.  I stand alone.  On this afternoon, two young men dressed in Army fatigues, soldiers, situated themselves on the median, yards from where I position myself.  They carried plastic bins; patriotic banners were pasted onto these containers.  American flags and pamphlets graced their station.  The military men collected money from passers-by.  They distributed literature.  They did their work from the same side of the street I favor.

    My comrades in peace and protest were concerned.  Perhaps I would not wish to cross over into the abyss of possible confrontations or conflict of interest.  I glanced over at the diligent warrior and decided they were as I, people that long for peace.  I quickly gathered my sign, pressed the button on the traffic pole, and waited until it was safe to enter the intersection.  Cars are my enemy.  These fast moving vehicles are, in my mind Weapons of Mass Destruction.  People, no matter their attire or philosophical views are not my foes.

    Minutes after I took my characteristic stance, held up my sign “Love, Not War” and extended my forefinger and central digit to form the symbol universally acknowledged as “peace” one of the soldiers smiled at me.  He faced me and flashed the same sign.  Yes, we were on the same side of the street and the issue.  Neither of us wants war.  We work to bring harmony to a world wrought with distress.  The serviceman and I each yearn for global calm.

    Throughout the afternoon, I pondered what people might think a dichotomy.  I wondered why other picketers thought there might be a problem with my being so near these troops.  I reflected; what might those in their automobiles think.  Was it likely those in cars would think to wave in appreciation of me was to defy the intent of the military volunteers, or might the travelers consider each of us, soldiers and myself, as joined forces.  I observed various notions.  I also accepted that some voyagers would see only what they wished to believe, or perhaps we all do.

    We may walk down different philosophical paths; yet, I cannot help but believe we are one.  We stroll in synch on the same side of a single street.

    Days ago, Americans honored our war veterans.  On that hallowed occasion, I wept as I thought of all the soldiers that passed.  I mourned for those who would die on the battlefields abroad.  Grief consumes me as I contemplate those who will take their last breath in transit.  I feel such sorrow when I gaze upon a soldier some think fortunate enough to survive.  I understand that many have lost the will to live.  Those that made the trek and stand strong often tell tales.  The war is alive and well within them, frequently for years, even if they appear settled, safe, and secure.

    I might muse as many do, “I support the soldiers.”  However, I understand how trite, contrite, contrived such a claim might sounds, particularly to those that put their lives in on the line, the front line, in the face of great peril as they fight for America’s freedoms. 

    I have infinite faith that each man or woman alive believes in the ethics of their actions, or on the rare occasion that any of us is reactive and engages in the unthinkable, we work to rationalize what we did.  Sadly, frequently, we cannot.  I have met many a soldier that speaks of how the mission was not what he or she thought it might be.  I am familiar with numerous others that, long after, they return home from battle, still believe the cause was just.  As I watch these two men collect funds for the fight, for families of the fallen, I wonder; what was and is their experience.

    I look over and once more, I am greeted with a smile, a wave, and an acknowledgement that the three of us yearn for world peace.  Ah, to be human is to love thy fellow man, and to fight?

    Some say aggression is natural.  Man by his very nature is combative.  Others are certain confrontational behaviors are learned.  No matter what we believe, every individual has to grapple with the fact that we are creatures of the Earth, complex, and difficult to understand.  However, I believe no one truly wants war or wishes to kill another.  Some say they think mass slaughter is an option; however, faced with the possibility, none of us is left unscathed.

    Perception, passion, human emotions frequently give rise to errors, crimes against man and nature.  People are easily persuaded, pushed, become fearful, and are filled with angst.  Each can cause individuals to act against their best judgment or interest.  I perpend the soldiers on the Boulevard and reflect.  What is their reality.  As we exchange glances and consistently acknowledge the other, I trust neither would have said . . .

    “I came over here because I wanted to kill people.”
    By Andrew Tilghman?
    Washington Post.
    Sunday, July 30, 2006; B01

    ” I came over here because I wanted to kill people.”

    Over a mess-tent dinner of turkey cutlets, the bony-faced 21-year-old private from West Texas looked right at me as he talked about killing Iraqis with casual indifference.  It was February, and we were at his small patrol base about 20 miles south of Baghdad.  “The truth is, it wasn’t all I thought it was cracked up to be.  I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience.  And then I did it, and I was like, ‘All right, whatever.'”

    He shrugged.

    “I shot a guy who wouldn’t stop when we were out at a traffic checkpoint and it was like nothing,” he went on.  “Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody and it’s like ‘All right, let’s go get some pizza.'”

    As I read these words, I feel a palpable bravado.  The boldness expressed for me is that of a man that felt so deeply, he wanted to feel no more.  Months after Private Steven D. Green made this statement, he stood outside a federal courthouse in North Carolina.  There he pled ‘not guilty’ to charges of premeditated rape and murder. Private Green was accused of these crimes.  In Mahmudiyah, a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl and her family fell victim to war and the emotions evoked by such a brutal practice.

    Andrew Tilghman, embedded Journalist with the Washington Post wrote of his encounter with Steven D. Green and the tale the young serviceman told prior to his crime.  The account was harrowing.

    Tilghman describes the circumstances and situation.  The correspondent explains he met Private Green in Mahmudiyah, on the edge of the zone known as “The Triangle of Death.”  It was there that the reporter realized the fear, foreboding of the frontlines.  Andrew Tilghman remembers the unrelenting knot death and destruction left in his stomach.  He recalls the low morale, the stories of fire, ambush, and the loss of innocence many soldiers and commanders expressed.

    The columnist recounts a narrative.  The company commander in charge of Green’s unit said of himself, he “almost had a nervous breakdown.” This trained, experienced, hardened officer was confined to a hotel-style compound in Baghdad for three days of “freedom rest.”  Without this time away he could not resume his command.
    Yet, the journalist notes, he experienced extraordinary camaraderie among the soldiers in Mahmudiyah.  Tilghman states, “They were among the friendliest troops I met in Iraq.”  These troops had been through much together.  Washington Post Andrew Tilghman inscribes . . .

    When I met Green, I knew nothing about his background — his troubled youth and family life, his apparent problems with drugs and alcohol, his petty criminal record. I just saw and heard a blunt-talking kid.  Now that I know the charges against Green, his words take on an utterly different context for me.  But when I met him then, his comments didn’t seem nearly as chilling as they do now . . .

    Green was one of several soldiers I sat down with in the chow hall one night not long after my arrival.  We talked over dinner served on cardboard trays.  I asked them how it was going out there, and to tell me about some of their most harrowing moments.  When they began talking about the December death of Sgt. Kenith Casica, my interview zeroed in on Green.

    He described how after an attack on their traffic checkpoint, he and several others pushed one wounded man into the back seat of a Humvee and put Casica, who had a bullet wound in his throat, on the truck’s hood.  Green flung himself across Casica to keep the dying soldier from falling off as they sped back to the base.

    “We were going, like, 55 miles an hour and I was hanging on to him.  I was like, ‘Sgt. Casica, Sgt. Casica.’ He just moved his eyes a little bit,” Green related with a breezy candor. “I was just laying on top of him, listening to him breathing, telling him he’s okay. I was rubbing his chest.  I was looking at the tattoo on his arm. He had his little girl’s name tattooed on his arm.

    “I was just talking to him. Listening to his heartbeat.  It was weird — I drooled on him a little bit and I was, like, wiping it off. It’s weird that I was worried about stupid [expletive] like that.

    “Then I heard him stop breathing,” Green said. “We got back and everyone was like, ‘Oh [expletive], get him off the truck.’  But I knew he was dead. You could look in his eyes and there wasn’t nothing in his eyes. I knew what was going on there.”

    He paused and looked away.  “He was the nicest man I ever met,” he said. “I never saw him yell at anybody.  That was the worst time, that was my worst time since I’ve been in Iraq.”

    At the time, Private green had served only four months of a one-year stint.  He was resigned to a life that recruiters do not speak of.  Servicemen and women intent on signing up young enlistees focus on the best of what we would all wish to believe.  The military will train enlistees to do a job.  The service will provide security.  There is money for college, ample adventures, and a well-disciplined community will help to establish leadership skills. 

    All that may be true.  However, there is a price to pay.  The cost of engagement in a cold, cruel war, may be too high.  Five months before he brutally sexually assaulted a young woman and slaughtered her and her family Private Steven D. Green said . . .

    “I gotta be here for a year and there ain’t [expletive] I can do about it,” he said.  “I just want to go home alive.  I don’t give a [expletive] about the whole Iraq thing.  I don’t care.

    “See, this war is different from all the ones that our fathers and grandfathers fought.  Those wars were for something.  This war is for nothing.”

    Private Green, the soldiers that stood across the street from me, and I may not agree completely.  We may differ on the broader construct of combat.  Nonetheless, it seems to me, those that served in Iraq, those that expect to ship out, military men and women that saw war firsthand in years past, and I each concede war is not wonderful.  It does not bring out the best in people.  To kill or be killed is not a quest anyone pursues with love or intent.

    Private Steven D. Green reflects and expresses his frustration with the Army brass.  Green cries out as he contemplates the calls for caution.  He states, soldiers are ordered to be prudent, exercise vigilance, even in the most horrific, dreadful, and grave circumstances.  The Private ponders when your life is threatened you are commanded to remain calm.

    “We’re out here getting attacked all the time and we’re in trouble when somebody accidentally gets shot?” he said, referring to infantrymen like himself throughout Iraq.  “We’re pawns for the [expletive] politicians, for people that don’t give a [expletive] about us and don’t know anything about what it’s like to be out here on the line.”

    Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, in his book published in 1935 wrote,  “War is a racket.”  The two-time Medal of Honor winner continued, “It has always been.”  The General would find no fault with the assessment Green makes.

    Wars are rarely fought for the reasons that are claimed.  Those reasons amount to nothing more than bogus excuses, ways to hoodwink the gullible public, and the vilest propaganda designed to incite people to sacrifice their children for a supposedly glorious cause.

    The defense of freedom and democracy is one false claim that we often hear in this country.  This shameful claim could not be further from the truth.

    No one ever bothers to explain how our freedom and democracy are at risk in some obscure little country halfway around the world.  That’s because the sad and dirty truth is that wars are fought for empire and the financial gain of the few.

    I yearn for peace planet wide and I continue to do all that I might to ensure global harmony.  Each weekend, I take to the streets to protest the war, just as I did today.  The pilgrimage began years ago, before the first bomb struck the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Since then much to my chagrin, many innocents, soldier, and civilians have died, all in the name of terrorism.  Americans, allied forces, and citizens of the Middle East.  It is a challenge for me to understand; who is the fanatic, the foe, the revolutionary, or the rebel.  I know not who fights for freedom and democracy, who occupies, or who liberates.  For me, if we resort to killing we are as savages.  War and combat are incomprehensible to me.  Yet, I long to understand.

    “Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
    ~ Thomas Edison [Scientist, Inventor]

    Soldiers on active duty and off, also struggle to grasp the greater significance.  Some warriors resent persons such as I, or what they believe to be my intention, my presumed purpose, or me.  Just as those at the peace protest thought the soldiers on the calm city street in America might approach me with resentment or judgment, some of the troops feel support expressed by dissenters is shallow. Five Iraq War veterans spoke of their return to American life to editors of The New York Times.

    Q: Are we mature enough as a country to thank those who risk their lives on our behalf while voicing our outrage at the actions of the politicians who put them in harm’s way?

    Michael Jernigan: To people who support the troops but not the war – that is your right. But remember there was someone holding a gun who fought so you can have that right. It is tough for me to smile when someone tells me that they support our troops but feel the war is wrong.  I stand there and smile and say, “Thank you for sharing your feelings.” I think people say that because it makes them feel better to say it, but they really mean, “Thank you for your service, but really you are an idiot for following that insane president.” It makes me feel belittled.  I do not want to hear it.  I was a corporal in the United States Marine Corps and I do not make policy so save it for your congressman.

    Perception is the truest reality and I believe it is the reason we war.  I could have surmised that the soldiers were warmongers, fighters, aggressors, ready to attack and antagonize me.  However, that conclusion would be contrary to my basic belief: people are good.  I have faith, in the human form, we each error.  Emotions cannot be easily understood or controlled.  Often, what we feel, what we think true, rules us.  Then, later, with regret for what we have thought or done, we rationalize.

    This week, as I listened to a National Public Radio interview A Soldier’s Journey from Iraq to Grad School, I realized again, the power of the mind, and the role it plays in peace.

    Demond Mullins spent a year in Iraq with the National Guard.  When he came back, he felt alienated and angry at what he had seen and done in the war.  Now Mullins has found a degree of peace in higher learning.

    “Academia … that’s where I’m at,” the City University of New York grad student says.  “Right now, school, books – Weber, Marx, Durkheim – that’s my medication.”

    That’s his medication now.  But if it’s true that there are seven stages of grief, it’s fair to say that Mullins is going through several stages of adjusting to his new life.

    Upon his return from Iraq, Mullins hoped to resume his life as it was.  Yet, he realized this was not possible.  He was no longer the same person; his views changed.  The way Demond Mullins saw the world and considered himself had been altered.

    Before he enlisted and shipped out, Demond Mullins had been a clothing model.  This romantic gentleman once followed a girl to Las Vegas.  He had plans.  Ambitious and reflective, Mullins joined the National Guard to pay for college; he did not join the armed Services to fight.  Yet, that is what he did.

    when he tried to resume it, Mullins’ old friends kept asking questions, like “What was it like when you shot someone?”

    “I don’t know,” he says. “My experiences are not pornography for my friends or for anyone else. I use the word pornography because I feel like it is just the … exploitation of my personal experiences for someone else’s entertainment.”

    Mullins says he either ignored the question “or I would just say, ‘You know, I don’t want to talk about things like that’ or just say, ‘I didn’t shoot anybody or whatever.'”

    ‘Stressed Out and on the Edge’
    He says he’s not sure if he did shoot and kill anybody, though he knows exactly what he did at close range.

    “I dehumanized people,” Mullins says.  “I don’t even know how many raids I did while I was there.  But during raids you’re throwing them up against the wall, you’re tying their hands behind their back, you’re dragging them out of the bed.  You’re dehumanizing them in front of their wives and their kids and, you know, the women are crying and the children are crying and you’re just like, whatever.  Put a bag over their head or blindfold, drag them into the Humvee.

    “Certain exhibitions of violence on my part that were probably unnecessary – were definitely unnecessary.  But I was really stressed out and on edge at the time and I conducted myself . . .  like that.”

    When he returned from Iraq, Mullins says he felt angry at himself. He broke up with his girlfriend.  He spent days in his apartment.

    “Staring at the wall.  Not eating.  I lost about 15 to 20 pounds,” he says. “My friends still look at me and like, ‘What happened to you?'”

    Mullins says he was depressed to the point of being suicidal.  Two of his friends have died since their return from Iraq, including one who shot himself in the face, Mullins says.

    “To me, that would be the only way that I was capable of doing it because it was fast and it was a tool that I was very familiar with,” he says.

    Mullins got counseling from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  He didn’t like it and didn’t want to take medication.

    He managed to resume college, get a degree and move on to graduate school.

    However, the path Demond Mullins took had many twists and turns.  Initially, he immersed himself in his anger.  Then dedicated to a cause, Demond took action and protested the war.  Mullins appeared in an anti-war documentary called The Ground Truth.

    “When I first started anti-war activism, it was because I felt guilty,” Mullins says.  “Because I’d meet people, especially a lot of civilians on the street, and they say, ‘Oh, thank you for your service. Thank you for protecting America.’  Like, what are you talking about? I wasn’t protecting America.  I was protecting myself and my buddy, you know?”

    After Mullins participated in the film, he felt less of a need to speak out.

    And by this semester at graduate school, most of his fellow students and at least one of his professors had no idea of his background.

    Demond Mullins is now more reflective, philosophical, and aware. He knows, to authentically assess America and this society, he must study.

    Perhaps, the servicemen I watched stroll from car to car on this day, were on a similar journey.  Perchance, later, after we all finished our work we would speak, not as peace protestor and participants in war, but as people.  For now, they had a job to do as did I.  Interestingly, in the abstract we each were motivated by peace.

    As I interacted with those in vehicles as they passed I continued to ponder.  I am close to numerous Veterans.  As friends and as fellow protestors against the current wars, I know many a Vietnam Veteran. 

    One noble and honorably discharged soldier, whom I first met in cyberspace, again dedicates himself to his country.  Jerry Northington aspires to be the Congressional Representative from Delaware.  As one who fought in country, he understands the woes of warfare.

    Family members engaged in battle during World War II.  A nephew is off about to depart for Basic Training.  Jason joined the Marines.  I cannot imagine what his future holds.  Will Jason be injured.  Will he return whole, if at all.  What will my nineteen year young nephew see, hear, and feel.  Will he be willing or able to discuss such an ordeal.  I am certain what I have been told by those once there on the frontlines is true.  War is not pretty.  A soldier cannot fully explain what he or she witness.  Combat is experienced.  It scars the spirit and deprives a man of his senses.

    Soldier describes killing unarmed Iraqi
    One of three members of sniper team accused of murder makes a tearful confession during testimony in the court-martial of a colleague.
    By Ned Parker
    Los Angeles Times
    September 28, 2007

    BAGHDAD – U.S. Army Sgt. Evan Vela spoke in a low voice Thursday at the court-martial for his fellow soldier.  Tears slid down the 23-year-old’s cheeks and the judge prompted him to talk louder.

    On May 11, Vela’s sniper team had detained an Iraqi man near Jarf Sakhr, Vela testified.  Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley undid the ropes that had pinned the prisoner’s arms and asked Vela whether he was ready, he said.

    The dark-haired Idaho native told the court he wasn’t sure what his superior meant at the time.  Vela said Hensley cradled the Iraqi’s head, straightened his headdress, then moved away from Vela, who gripped a 9-millimeter pistol.

    “I heard the word ‘shoot.’ I don’t remember pulling the trigger.  I just came to and the guy was dead. It took me a second to realize the shot came from the pistol in my hand,” Vela said.

    Vela is one of three soldiers from the same sniper team who are accused of premeditated murder in three shootings this spring.  Their cases have provided a picture of mentally exhausted troops and the role they allegedly played in a “baiting program,” in which snipers are believed to have planted fake weapons and bomb-making materials, then killed anyone who picked them up.

    The alleged tactic was revealed in a hearing in July that eventually sent Hensley and Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval Jr. to face court-martial on murder charges.  The Pentagon refuses to speak publicly about baiting or other such tactics, but insists that military practices are within the law.

    “My client is no murderer.  He is a victim,” said James Culp, Vela’s civilian defense attorney, who suspects that baiting contributed to the slaying of the Iraqi man on May 11.

    We are all victims of war and those that command young men and women to shoot another being.  Enemies, as nameless and faceless as we wish them to be are as we are.  They are humans, with hearts and souls.  Minds can be manipulated for a moment or for months.  People persuaded or unduly influenced to do as they would never have done may commit crimes.  Emotions can evoke feelings of fright that cause us to temporarily separate ourselves from our greater wisdom.  However, after any of us does the unthinkable, we are left with the memories.  Overtime, we reflect on the meaning.  Perhaps that is why those that fought in battles are often less likely to resort to combat.

    There must be a lesson, a means to communicate the tragedy of war before we engage.  For now, I can only propose what I envisioned as a child.  As I reflect on the story, The Truce of Christmas, A Silent Night 1914, I understand the power of true knowledge.  When people stop and listen to the hearts of others, not the harangue of irrational “intellectualizations,” they learn to love.  When we see strangers as similar to us, we cannot kill.  Indeed, we connect to the commonality that is humankind. 

    Hence, I believe, world leaders must face each other alone in a room for more than a moment.  The argumentative among us must eat and sleep with those they disagree with.  Perhaps, if the need to compete overwhelms those in power, they might arrange a chess tournament.  A “war game” played on a checkered board might relieve the angst some feel when they argue.  Thoughtful battles would do far less harm.  Physical and financial wounds would be less severe.  This is but a thought.  I trust there are infinite opportunities to connect that we might consider.  Unquestionably, there must be a better way to learn the lessons of war before a soldier loses a limb.

    Jonathan Bartlett, one of 25,000 military persons injured during the Iraq war speaks of his trauma and trials.  When Bartlett was a 19-year-old Army Corporal his truck hit a bomb on a road near Fallujah.  That was three years ago.  The explosion blew off both of his legs.  Today, he appears in a Home Box Office [HBO] documentary titled Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq.  In an interview with Vanity Fair Columnist Austin Merrill, Jonathon shares the conflict within.  He explains how the battle has just begun, or perhaps Bartlett plainly states how the battle never ends.  Merrill inquires . . .

    At one point in the film you say that you’d do it all over again. Then later you say that if given your legs back, you’d move on to do something else. 

    [Jonathon Bartlett] replies] I would do it all over again if I went back to the age of 18 and they told me, you’re going to join the army.  I’d say yes.  But if they gave me new legs tomorrow, I wouldn’t go back.  I was 18 and idealistic and naïve and uninformed, and I didn’t know how the world works.  Now I’m 22 and idealistic and naïve, but I do know how the world works.  And I’m not going to go fight in a war that’s so badly run, that some people don’t give a [expletive] about.  There’s just so much bad [expletive] going on in this war.  I don’t want any part of it.

    Yet, Bartlett goes on to clarify for him the problem with this war is not the warriors.  It is the leaders.  Jonathon Bartlett is angry with the Commander-In-Chief and his Cabinet.  This soldier believes the nation’s leaders did not have a plan.  The soldiers were well trained.  He was a good trooper.

    I was good at being a soldier. I say that with no shame or no boasting. I was good at being a soldier.  Mostly because I enjoyed it.

    What does being a good soldier mean, exactly?

    I could shoot straight, I could ride true, and I could speak the truth.  I could fight, I could think.  I took care of my stuff.  I took care of my vehicles.  I looked the part all the time, which is very important.  I knew how to talk, which gets you in trouble.  I knew how to work the system. I knew how to acquire things.  I could take care of my buddies.

    Bartlett believes the Bush Administration is at fault, not the soldiers.  On this, we would agree.  However, when asked of peace protesters and retired Generals that speak out against the conflict he offers a view that befuddles me.

    How do you feel when you see people rallying for or protesting against the war?
    I think all of them have a massive disrespect for the soldiers who are over there, because they do not understand.  They have no [expletive] clue.  We don’t have a choice.  As soon as you sign that paper and swear that oath, we do not have a choice.  We go wherever the hell the president and the generals tell us to.  People who say if you’re against this war you’re against the soldiers are displaying their ignorance.  Most people don’t understand.  They just don’t get it.  You know how many times I’ve been asked by some stupid person, some civilian, how many people did you kill?  You don’t ask a soldier that.  I was a trained killer.  That was my job, man.  Somebody has to do it.  Being a soldier is a job.

    What do you think of the retired generals who have come out against the war?  Is that a betrayal??
    No!  It’s good!  They should have been doing that [expletive] when they were still in. I don’t think it’s a betrayal.  These generals understand that they have soldiers on the line.  The best generals are those who know what it means to be a troopie.  A ground pounder.  A supply clerk.  This administration keeps throwing people at a problem and expecting it to fix it.  It’s not how things are done.  You have to give them a plan.  You have to lead them.  And these generals understand that.  The president does not.  The president doesn’t have a [expletive] clue.

    The clue may be cryptic and not part of our conscious mind.  As I stood at the corner, I thought the soldiers were on a peaceful mission.  Fellow dissenters were certain there might be a confrontation.

    Our view of others and ourselves provides, perspective.  Perceptions are profoundly altered.  Jonathon Bartlett has long believed military service was in his blood. His mother and father were each in the Navy.  Jonathon was trained to protect, defend, and kill, and to consider each of these options tantamount.  The young man trusts that Generals understand this.  Yet, Mister Bartlett believes there must be a strategy if a mass massacre is to be effective.

    Perhaps, that is the paradox.  We coach our young to be combative.  As a culture, we do not expect world harmony.  We do not believe it can exist. 

    We must acknowledge and accept, what each of us believes affects our idea of war, peace, perpetrators, and protestors.  An experience may cause us to blame, to frame friends and foes in a manner that does not make sense to others.

    As I reflect on the words of Jonathon Bartlett, I am confused.  While critical of those that demonstrate in favor of global accord, Private Bartlett also believes the individuals that think protestors are against the soldiers are in error.  The Iraq war Veteran reasons, military leaders must speak out, stand strong, and stress ”we need a plan.  The dichotomy befuddles.  Perchance, another soldier explained the circumstances best.  Sandi Austin discussed her view of the peace protestors.

    For the most part, I feel that the majority of anti-war activists focus on our political leaders and not the soldiers.  Driving by the anti-war protests I usually see signs the relay messages in support of the troops, but opposing the cause.  Perhaps if I still wore a uniform I would feel differently, I might get glares or comments, but because I too am a civilian, I haven’t faced any hostility or felt unappreciated on a regular basis.

    I wonder.  When people go to war, do they flail at uniforms and forget that a person inhabits the clothing?  Might appearances motivate us to engage in battle?  As I reflect on the day, I realize, I could have reacted to the olive green and khaki camouflage fabric.  The shaved heads, the American flags, the military garb  . . . I might have been offended.  If I had done as advised, I would have kept a distance.  The servicemen might have concluded I did not understand.  They too could have chosen to do other than they did. War, on a small scale may have ensued.  Instead, each of us gave peace a chance.

    Imagine if world leaders chose not to presume, assume, suppose or surmise, if soldiers were not sent off into battle, if we established a Department of Peace and left the Defense Department behind.  I can dream and act in accordance.

    Perceptions; The Promise of Peace . . .

  • “I came over here because I wanted to kill people.” By Andrew Tilghman. Washington Post. Sunday, July 30, 2006; Page B01
  • pdf “I came over here because I wanted to kill people.” By Andrew Tilghman. Washington Post. Sunday, July 30, 2006; Page B01
  • Do You Know Enough to Enlist?  Youth and Militarism.
  • Home Fires. Questions and Answers: Views From Veterans.  The New York Times. November 10, 2007
  • Soldier describes killing unarmed Iraqi, By Ned Parker.  Los Angeles Times. September 28, 2007
  • pdf Soldier describes killing unarmed Iraqi, By Ned Parker.  Los Angeles Times. September 28, 2007
  • One Veteran’s Story, By Austin Merrill.  Vanity Fair. August 20, 2007
  • American Military Casualties in Iraq. AntiWar.com.
  • Military recruiters target schools strategically, By Charlie Savage.  Boston Globe. November 29, 2004
  • pdf Military recruiters target schools strategically, By Charlie Savage.  Boston Globe. November 29, 2004
  • A Soldier’s Journey from Iraq to Grad School, By Steve Inskeep.  All Things Considered.  National Public Broadcasting. November 14, 2007
  • pdf A Soldier’s Journey from Iraq to Grad School, By Steve Inskeep.  All Things Considered.  National Public Broadcasting. November 14, 2007
  • The Ground Truth.
  • Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq.  Home Box Office [HBO].
  • The Truce of Christmas, 1914. By Thomas Vinciguerra.  The New York Times. December 25, 2005
  • pdf The Truce of Christmas, 1914. By Thomas Vinciguerra.  The New York Times. December 25, 2005