“I won!”


copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Update . . . A bell rings.  The sound reverberates.  A sentiment shared aloud resonates within the heart, mind, body, and soul of persons who heard the message.  No matter the actions taken afterward, sullen statements are not easily erased from memory.  

Days before Congress was asked to pass the stimulus package, the President uttered the now famous phrase; “I won,” Republicans, as could have been expected, expressed resentment.  Immediately, subsequent to President Obama’s statement Democrats were said to have followed the Chief Executive’s lead.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he thought Republicans might block the initiative.  Empathically, he replied; “No.”  Today we know differently.  In the House, the measure received no support from the Grand Old Party.  

As we await approval from the Senate we may wish to consider, the past.  Words that evoke division have a lasting effect.  

Please peruse a missive penned shortly after President Obama reacted to pressure from the “Right.”

Oh Mister Obama, please tell me it is not so.  Days ago, I read and heard numerous reports.  You made a declarative statement.  Many were shocked.  Anecdotally, Congressman and women stated, when pressed by Republicans who disagreed with your position on economic policy, you said, “I won.”  Will this mean, once again, Americans will be the losers?  

I fear for the future, for I remember when the words were “Yes we can!”  Has this assertion become but an old argot, now trivial or trite?  Please tell me.  Now that you sit solidly in the Oval Office is the achievement of one all that matters?  Perchance, with a “change” in climate, we, the Progressives have become the Party of arrogance.

It seems you personally have adopted an individualistic platform.  Peace and process talks will be less diplomatic.  Discussions will be more reflective of Obama rule or Democratic control.  After he left the White House, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina was said to have “echoed” your sentiment.  He may not have used your exact words; nevertheless, the sentiment was clear, the Progressive Party will dictate the rule of law.  Congressman Clyburn said, “The American people didn’t listen to them [the Republicans] too well during the election.”  The implication being, so why should the Progressives who represent them.

My concern extends beyond the language.  It is the intent I lament!

I had hoped that sooner than later, the Obama Administration would recognize individualism, as we all saw, did more harm than good.  ‘I envisioned “Mavericks no more,” would be the mantra of an Obama Administration.  

As a Democrat, devoted to progressive platforms, I imagined peace was a prospect we would no longer ignore.  Admittedly, as I say this I cannot help but think of the quagmire that Afghanistan is, and I fear will be worsened

You may recall, President Obama, when we go for the unilateral kill, as we did in Iraq, innocents, foreign born and our own die.  The terrain is devastated.  The cost cannot be accurately calculated.  The price humans pay for victory is incomprehensible, at least it is to me.  I inquire; how does one place value on lives, limbs, and a sense of security, serenity, and safety lost.  It seems in America, most rarely do the math.  We want only to overcome, to be the victor.

Hence, with a note of superiority, supremacy, and self-importance, we say we, he, or “I win.”

I heard the reaction on November 4, 2008.  As the election results came in, your constituents chanted “We won!”  You too must have felt concern as the crowd cheered.  You spoke to such a perspective often.  A triumphal tune closes doors and ends discussion.  President Obama, these are your words.  “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”  

The electorate, I recognize is new to the novelty of inclusively, but you, Mister President.  What of your core beliefs?

President Obama, I could understand such a statement from a Republican, not yet ready, to put aside differences after what seemed to be a defeat.  Elections, by their very nature, are divisive.  However, even Conservatives for Change concluded this year was different.  Republican Senator Mitch McConnell even offered his open hand.  I suspect with word of your “win” that will not last.

Oh, Mister President, until I heard word of how you spoke of “your” feat, I truly believed that change had come.

I wonder, with all the work to do, has anyone won?  There has been too much despair, too much distress, disparity that is incomprehensible, and all this has existed for far too long.  

Please Mister President,  travel back, into the future, with me.  Do you recall the deregulations and the economic downfall?.  In the recent past, as a country, we experienced the dire effects of a Republican victory.  It seemed obvious, a conquest breed certain vanity.

Persons within the Grand Old Party are not alone when it comes to excessive pomposity.  Hence, my apprehension.  In modern times, Americans have seen the ill inflated egos can cause.  Democrats, equally haughty, ultimately embraced policies that ended an era of effective oversight.  Do the words Glass-Steagall Act remind you of how arrogant, those replete with power might be,  Does the taste of the Depression era law President Clinton repealed linger on your lips?

Those who no longer have a legal right to redeem a mortgage might caution against a prizewinning irrational exuberance.  

Perhaps you may recall predatory lending.  Winners on Wall Street thought this idea fine.  Home foreclosures flourished.  Bank failures became common.  Unemployment rates rose.  Workers received less benefits before businesses finally closed the doors.

It was not that long ago.  Think back.  During the Bush reign the Conservatives were in power.  For decades, Republicans won most every Presidential election.  On the one occasion when a Democrat occupied the Oval Office and Congress was mostly Progressive, defiant winners were only able to do so much.  Soon after, Democratic “control” was easily lost.  

Perhaps, the people felt the Administration to full of itself with the win.  You may remember President Obama, “The Republican Contract with America.”  In the past, a practiced politician or a Political Party may have said they won.  However, what really happened was America lost.

President Obama, you spoke of this in your more recent book, The Audacity of Hope.”  Remember?

“In the back-and-forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the Baby Boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – played out on the national stage. . . .what has been lost in the process, and has yet to be replaced, are those shared assumptions – that quality of trust and fellow feeling – that bring us together as Americans.”

Mister President, you also addressed the issue of the ownership society.  You must remember this.  You stated what I often say; however, more eloquently.

Barack Obama these are your words.  “In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own. Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.”

If someone, anyone wins or owns the rights to run the show, we are all doomed. Currently, we witness the woes of a win in our Health Care systems.   Medical coverage is a service available only to the privileged.  There is income for triumphant Insurers. Pharmaceuticals profits have paralyzed this country.  Disparity in healthcare devastates the impoverished, the ill, and the injured, millions of whom have no medical coverage.  More Americans are underinsured.  Even more are likely to lose what they have as the economy weakens.  In this country, cash divides winners and losers.  

Mister President, you might understand this.  Consider the dollars needed just to get a candidate elected, to have him or her heard.  Please also ponder what was once more important to you and the electorate than dough.  The community carried the message.  Without the strength of unity, we as a country crumble.

The deterioration has already begun.  President Obama, do you remember the dream?  You must recall; Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Junior taught us to believe in the dream of equality. Reverend King avowed, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.  This is the way our world is made.”  Doctor King did not praise personal wins or commend clannish conquests.

Yet, today, in America, where a President proudly proclaims “I won,” children of all colors, their elders of every hue, are not afforded a chance to succeed.  In a country where Progressives posture, “We won,” we do not consider what a coup d’état mentality means to a country, or to the children who inherit a nation torn asunder.

Mister President and Progressives proud of what it means to win, please consider the ominous shadow cast by a Supreme Court decision, Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson,  The Court and the prideful parents who championed a cause ensured only the wealthy and the white would receive a quality education.  Separate and unequal services are again sanctioned in city schools.  The judgment sealed a subterranean deal that has long been in effect.  The rich triumph; the poor will not have equal opportunities.  

In America, we have seen the destruction wrought by our culture of conquests.  Yet, as a nation we continue to ignore what might be obvious.

Perhaps, this is why, as your proclamation filtered through the airwaves, Mister President, many Progressives applauded what was familiar and what they had waited for.  Republicans who had come to believe there was reason to hope for true change were struck by the divisive rhetoric.  Your disdainful remark was like a slap in the face, a stab in the back, or the statement that would bring resentment back to Washington, Those still bruised by the political battle never forgot that they wanted to be the ones, or at least “That one.”  

I recall history and recoil at what could be our future if we affirm as you did days ago.  “I won?”  

Oh please President Obama, remember your own reflection.    “What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night.  This “victory” alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change . . . ”

I beg you to consider, the power of words.  Ponder; can we be “victorious,” and will such a triumph leave many behind; or we can we be successful together.  Can one “I” prevail or will we, the people achieve when we unite.  

Please tell me it is true.  Government can be of, by, and for us all, or an Administration, and Americans can be partisan.

Please President Obama, let us not suggest that we, or “I won!”  I implore you to reflect or your own words.. “(The change we seek) that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.  It cannot happen without you (the American people).”  

President Obama, you did not win.  Progressives did not prevail when you were placed in the Oval Office.  We the people will not meet the challenges through conquest.  Nor will we be the change we can believe in if you, or any of us, declaratively deems, “I won!”

Americans did not vote for the arrogance we heard and saw for eight long years,  We had hope.  We had a dream.  In the White House, in the people’s house, in Congress, and in our local communities, we could become  genuinely united, integrated, and inclusive.  Yes we can, and I think we must.

References for realities that divide us . . .

A people’s strategy against perpetual war

© copyright 2008 Michael Prysner.  Party for Socialism and Liberation

Challenging the bipartisan imperialist consensus

On the outset of the invasion of Iraq, I sat strapped in a cargo plane that swooped through the night sky dodging anti-aircraft guns. As we sat in darkness, not knowing if we would ever reach the ground, we suddenly dropped quickly from the air and slammed hard against a makeshift runway. Our plane was the first to land in the north. Our mission was to get in quickly, take the required territory and be relieved by heavy armor.

As we took our first steps on Iraqi soil, we expected to get back on a plane and leave within two months. Month by month, our deployment was extended. We read of the overwhelming military defeat across the country, and wrote home to our families that we would see them soon. We began to pack our bags as we watched the president declare the “mission accomplished,” expecting our return orders to come any day. We watched the blazing summer come and go, just trying to get through one more month.

We grew bitter as we ate a Thanksgiving dinner of macaroni and stale bread as the president smiled for photos in Baghdad holding a giant fake turkey. We spent the day dodging bullets when Saddam Hussein was captured, thinking maybe-just maybe-it was finally over. Even as we strapped back into a cargo plane a year after we landed, we expected to circle right back and continue to watch the months pass through a rifle sight. This was a reality for some; many in my unit were sent back within two months of returning home. Anyone who could not find a way to get out of the army was stop-lossed and sent back for at least one more tour.

Essentially, my year of watching the months pass represents the Iraq war as a whole-thinking it was going to end, but seeing only an increase in the size and brutality of the occupation. With the “end of major combat operations” declared in the early months of the war, we saw all-out sieges on Fallujah, Basra and other cities where the Iraqi people had stood up to the occupiers.

The American and Iraqi people demanded that the troops be withdrawn, yet they got the opposite-a massive troop surge. The surge, sold to the public as a temporary measure to bring an end to the war, has served as a justification to keep the number of soldiers in Iraq well above pre-surge levels. Furthermore, the number of U.S. soldiers occupying Iraq has been supplemented by private mercenaries, paid generously by the Pentagon to terrorize Iraqis with no legal consequences.

To ring in the New Year-the fifth of the occupation-2008 began with the war’s largest bombing campaign on one of Baghdad’s most populous suburbs. Month by month, the body count rises and the imperialist occupation of Iraq deepens.

Why not just vote for change?

In 2006, the masses of American people opposed to the war put their hopes in the Democratic Party, handing it control of Congress in what was widely understood as a vote against the war. Since then, funding for the war has continued to flow unimpeded and General Petraeus and the Bush administration have continued on their destructive warpath. In June alone, Congress approved $165 billion to fund the war without restrictions.

Now, many who still fail to recognize the true loyalties of the Democratic Party have thrown their support behind another Democrat posing as an anti-war candidate. Barack Obama, who began his campaign promising a total withdrawal from Iraq within 16 months-simultaneously pledging imperialist intervention elsewhere in the Middle East-has also begun to shift his position to prolong the occupation.

Obama now promises, using ambiguous language, to remove “U.S. combat troops” from Iraq. “Combat troops” do not include residual forces such as “counterterrorism” units, military training personnel and force protection units. Nor does it include private contractors and mercenaries, which number over 180,000.

Obama’s Iraq policy co-coordinator, Colin Kahl, advocates a residual force of up to 80,000 U.S. troops. Obama advocates a “careful” withdrawal, essentially subject to the advice of military commanders. General Petraeus, widely known for promoting a massive, brutal and indefinite occupation of Iraq, has Obama’s full support as the new commander of the U.S. Central Command. This position gives General Petraeus full control over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, East Africa, and Central Asia.

Those who believe that they can “vote for change” will be voting for a slightly modified imperialist policy.

Charting an independent path

The reality is that the war against Iraq will continue unabated. This is glaringly evident in the new security agreement now being forced upon the Iraqi people. Keeping with the trend of further entrenching and increasing the occupation while the Iraqi masses are demanding an end to it, the security deal will guarantee the U.S. military 58 permanent military bases in Iraq-nearly double the current number-while once the public was assured that there would be no permanent military bases.

The security plan will strip Iraq of whatever sovereignty it has left, cementing its de facto status as a U.S. colony. It will give Washington control over Iraqi airspace and the ability to use Iraq as a staging ground for military attacks elsewhere in the region. It will grant U.S. troops and private contractors full immunity from Iraqi law, giving them the right to raid any house and to arrest and interrogate Iraqi citizens without permission from the Iraqi government

Not only does the security plan demonstrate the U.S. government’s determination to forever control Iraq, it sets the stage for further conquest in the Middle East.

There is no doubt that, if politicians in Washington get their way, the war will continue for years to come. Months will pass as they debate the complexities of the war and develop new strategies aimed at giving the appearance that the end is just around the corner. Months will pass and the lives of Iraqis will continue to be destroyed and soldiers will continue to strap into cargo planes only to be snuck home at night in flag-draped coffins.

The plan to permanently occupy and terrorize Iraq is staring us in the face. We cannot vote for change; change will come the way it always does in society-through the efforts of a dedicated, militant mass movement against the heinous crimes of those who claim to represent us. Without such a movement, the imperialist plans for the Middle East will stay on course, and war will be a permanent reality.

The author is an Iraq war veteran and the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s congressional candidate in Florida’s 22nd District. Click here to read more about his campaign. Click here to read more about other PSL candidates running in local and national elections.

May Day. May Day. Tell Us The Mission (Accomplished)

Tell Us The Mission (Accomplished) Tell Us the Mission.

© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Please accept my apology for what might seem to be an oft, or for some, an overused video.  Perhaps, my missive is my response, the reasoning, and rationale for my submission or an answer to the question.  “What, exactly was accomplished?”

Today, as I awoke, I was reminded of the date.  The radio broadcaster shared the history of May Day and spoke of how the events of the past are playing out in the present.

Workers are uniting as they have done for centuries.  Americans are declaring their loyalty.  Children are signing and dancing ’round Maypoles.  Immigrants are gathering together showing their allegiance to the States,  and George W. Bush is presented with a Bill to fund the war that he will not sign. 

Although, four long years ago the President proclaimed an end to the Iraq war, the combat continues.  It worsens.  Currently, the Commander-In-Chief wants no closing date recommended or imposed.  He prefers the legacy of this protracted effort.

You dear reader recall.  It was May 1, 2003, a day that lives in infamy.  It began as every May 1 has since man created the calendar.  It was a day of reflection, realization, and of course, realities revealed.  Americans were thanked and told, the Iraq war had come to a swift and welcome close.  The President of the United States, standing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln proclaimed his gratitude and relief.  A large banner, not so subtlety placed, screamed, “Mission Accomplished.”  Commander-In-Chief, George W. Bush said . . .

Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans:
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.  In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. Now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world.  Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment – yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it.  Your courage – your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other – made this day possible.  Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, and speed, and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before. From distant bases or ships at sea, we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division, or strike a single bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground, in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history. You have shown the world the skill and the might of the American Armed Forces.

This nation thanks all of the members of our coalition who joined in a noble cause. We thank the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, who shared in the hardships of war. We thank all of the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country. And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld, for General (Tommy) Franks, and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done. 

Now, four years later, the message is massaged again.  Days ago, White House spokesperson, Dana Perino, Deputy White House Press Secretary stated . . .

I would just remind you that I know that our opponents for years have tried — have misconstrued that speech.  I would encourage anybody who’s actually going to write about this to go back and read that speech and what it was about and what the USS Abraham Lincoln was doing, how long they had been gone, way past their six-month deployment. I think they were gone nine to 10 months. They were expanded, and their mission was accomplished. The President never said “mission accomplished” in his speech.

Nevertheless, the meaning seemed clear at the time.  On reflection, it still does.  Victory belonged to the triumphant, those that toppled the regime and the brought down the statue of Saddam Hussein.  However, we will never know what the Commander meant on that infamous day.  We can only wonder does he.  Nor do we fully understand why the President would withdraw billions in cash allocated for the war effort and claim Congress made him do it.  Tonight the Commander-In-Chief vetoed the Bill that designated dollars for the troops.  Life, death, war, and peace are not as they appear to be since George W. Bush took office.

As the day dawns, as dusk turns into dark, we can only reflect, as we must.

Nationally renowned spoken word artist Steven Connell, Robert Greenwald, and Brave New Foundation are reviewing the same circumstances for us, and with us.  They came together to ponder the reactions of this President and assess his policies.  They query “what, exactly, was ever accomplished.”  These renowned artists, and their organization request that we, the people, consider the Double Speak, the combat, and our hope for tranquility.  Rapping on reality reminds us of what is and never was. 

For me, what might be of greater consequence is not whether the mission was accomplished or when.  I wonder, what was, what is the mission.  Is the intent to triumph over others, to be victorious while victimizing life.

Soldiers and Iraqi civilians die with honor for they are valued persons, not necessarily, because they are engaged in a principled war.  Yet, we as a nation, as a world do not show them the respect that all life  forms deserve.

Please consider the Tell Us The Mission petition.  This document asks us all to fly the United States flag at half-mast when a service man or woman passes.  Oh, were we to do the same when Iraqi and Afghani civilians pass.  Think about the manner in which we revere the fallen when they pass on American soil, particularly at the hands of a gunman.  Sigh, if only we had shown our respect for the shooter when he was alive.  Then ponder the unceremonious respect we show to those that pass fighting to protect us.  Please show “Support for the troops” fully, in life and as they pass. 

“Mission accomplished” is more than a phrase.  I believe that the truest mission is our vision to venerate our brethren.  We know not whether the brutal battle will ever be over.  Nevertheless, I think we will continue to fight as long as we avoid showing our admiration for those that lose their lives and those whose lives are lost in an attempt to preserve ours.

What exactly have we accomplished?  I believe we have advanced fear and given rise to greater terror.  For me, the banner might read, “Envision a Mission of Peace.  Accomplish It!”  Perchance these words will inspire each of us to eliminate war from our vernacular.  In time, possibly, if we allow ourselves to believe in harmony, war will never again be an option.

Sources of Pain and Truth . . .

  • Four Years Later, ‘Mission’ in Iraq Is Troubled, By Mike Shuster.  Morning Edition. May 1, 2007
  • Congress to Deliver War-Funds Bill to Bush. Morning Edition. May 1, 2007
  • Immigrant – Rights Protestors Take to Streets  Reuters.  The New York Times. May 1, 2007
  • Workers of the world unite for May Day rallies, By Richard Meares.  Star Publications.
  • Loyalty Day.  US Code Collection.  Cornell Law School
  • Text of Bush Speech.  CBS News. May 1, 2003
  • Tell Us The Mission.
  • Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and Administration Officials on the EU Summit, Office of the Press Secretary. April 26, 2007
  • Iraq Dissenters Peacefully March. Request ‘Power to the People’

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert
    More than four years ago, an arrogant American nation concluded we have the right to trample on the flag of a sovereign nation.  Today, Iraqis’ tread on ours.

    In 2003, American occupiers marched into Baghdad, and forcefully changed the Iraqi regime.  United States officials proclaimed they took this action in the name of democracy.  When, on April 9, the statue of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein fell, American President George W. Bush [or the Navy] announced, “Mission Accomplished.”  The war was a success.  At present, we cannot be certain who postulated the theory.  The Administration tells us the Navy was responsible for this assertion.  The maritime services say the White House made the banner famously seen in the background while President acknowledged a United States victory. Although, we do not know who avowed our triumph, we recall who contended the Iraq war was in its last throes.

    Nevertheless, Mister Bush, and his Cabinet decisively declared, Iraqis hold dear the principles that serve Americans well.  With the fall of the dictatorial leader, freedom is theirs.  The American public was told, from that day forward, Iraqi individuals, would have the right to participate in their government.  All the citizens of Iraq could, would, and do vote for their representatives.  Indeed, the Iraq government is now of, by, and for the people, the American people. 

    With thanks to citizens of the United States social equality exists throughout this Middle Eastern country, even if it was imposed irreverently and ineffectually. 

    In 2007, on this the anniversary of the fall, in a country deeply divided, tens of thousands of people joined together.  Iraqis’ stepped on the national pennant of their oppressors.  These religious and secular factions correctly believe Americans and allied forces marched on their national banner.  Thus, the Iraqi’s show their distain, reciting, ‘One “good” turn deserves another.’

    The demonstration, which has remained peaceful, was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr.  He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days.

    Mr. Sadr’s statement did not explicitly call for armed struggle against the Americans, but it still represented his most forceful condemnation of the American-led occupation since he went underground after the start of an intensified Baghdad security crackdown nearly two months ago.

    While the American Mainstream Media criticizes the intent of Mister Sadr, and negates his credibility, it is interesting to observe the power of this man or this mission.  The people of Iraq are truly speaking for themselves.  They want the oppressors out!  This ever-growing group of Iraqi soldiers and civilians, formerly fighting amongst themselves and with each other, is united in one cause, a “call for liberation.”  These tired men and women, children too, wear tattered clothing.  Their spirits are torn.  Yet, they have the strength and the will to protest, peacefully.

    The demonstrators marched to Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, from neighboring Kufa, with two cordons of Iraqi police lining the route.  Some at the rally waved small Iraqi flags; others hoisted a giant flag 10 yards long, the Associated Press reported.  Leaflets fluttered through the breeze reading: “Yes, Yes to Iraq” and “Yes, Yes to Moktada.  Occupiers should leave Iraq.”

    “The enemy that is occupying our country is now targeting the dignity of the Iraqi people,” said lawmaker Nassar al-Rubaie, head of Mr. Sadr’s bloc in parliament, as he marched, according to the A.P. “After four years of occupation, we have hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded.”

    A senior official in Mr. Sadr’s organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a “call for liberation,” the A.P. reported.  “We’re hoping that by next year’s anniversary, we will be an independent and liberated Iraq with full sovereignty.”

    Ironically, that is what President Bush and Vice President Cheney said to the American public; they wanted to provide freedom for the people of Iraq.  However, they are as they were, unwilling to do this.  Their words did not reveal the truer plan.  This war would be protracted.  We intend to stay, to protect our oil interests, and to maintain bases in the Middle East. 

    Upon reflection, this was and is obvious.  When one country, or its Commander-In-Chief, in this case America and the Bush-Cheney Cabinet, concludes that they are privileged merely because they have military and monetary power, they often act as emperors.  Pompous leaders propagate evil, while seeing it elsewhere.  A superpower frequently exerts force against all that they declare an enemy.  Much ill is wrought in the name of “justice.”  Sadly, wars are fought in a futile attempt to promote peace.

    Americans, or their influential Administrators, with little information, believing they are right, fight for the freedom of those that they know nothing about. Lies are promoted facilitating the conquest.  Thus, we have the Iraq conflict.

    Certainly, it is a challenge to watch a dictator execute thousands of his own people.  However, to enter a country and slay thousands more in defense of your belief is not a solution.  To claim that “you,” the United States of America have the right to dictate policy, or to chose governance, simply because you are saintly or sanctimonious, does not honor peace for all people.  A punitive practice such as that Americans allowed is counter productive. 

    Mister Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, Missus Rice, please understand to justify “your” own reactive behavior, asserting that the other is evil or has done wrong, is infantile.  I was a toddler when I learned “Two wrongs do not make a right.”  When will you ever learn?  When will you give Iraq back to the Iraqi people.  They are begging, pleading, for the right to be free.

    The Iraqi dissenters are demonstrating as Americans might if our territory was taken over.  They are assembling and speaking out against an autocrat who assumes authority against the wishes of the people.

    “This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech – they didn’t have that under the former regime,” [Colonel Steven Boylan, an American military spokesman and aide to the commander of all American forces in Iraq] said. “This is progress, there’s no two ways about it.”

    After four plus years of violence, the citizens of Iraq feel they can take no more.  There is aggression on the fields, in the streets, and in people’s homes.  Hearts are hurt.  Individuals are lashing out.  Hostility is everywhere; it is worsening. Forlornly, Iraqis are fighting their brethren.  Thus, a call for change.

    Mr. Sadr’s call for resistance came as the American military announced the deaths of 10 soldiers in five attacks over the weekend, the highest two-day total for American fatalities since the new security plan began Feb. 14. Five soldiers were wounded. Violence against Iraqis continued unabated on Sunday, with at least 43 people killed or found dead. Seventeen were killed and 26 wounded in a car bombing near a hospital and mosque in the insurgent enclave of Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.

    Mr. Sadr’s statement on Sunday indicated he might be ready to resume steering his militia, the Mahdi Army, toward more open confrontation with the American military.

    The Mahdi Army has generally been lying low during the Baghdad security plan, but intense fighting broke out in Diwaniya on Friday between militiamen and American-led forces. The battles erupted when American and Iraqi soldiers isolated neighborhoods in Diwaniya to search for militiamen. Fighter jets hit militia positions on Saturday, and one police official said at least seven Iraqis had been killed and 15 wounded in the fighting. Residents reported American soldiers scampering across rooftops on Saturday evening.

    The battles in Diwaniya have been the most violent in months between the Mahdi Army and the Americans, and could portend violence in other strongholds of the Sadr militia. Mahdi Army fighters began moving to Diwaniya and other southern cities when the Baghdad crackdown began.

    “The strife that is taking place in Diwaniya was planned by the occupier to drag down the brothers and make them quarrel, fight and even kill each other,” Mr. Sadr said in a written statement. “Oh my brothers in the Mahdi Army and my brothers in the security forces, stop fighting and killing because that is what our enemy and your enemy and even God’s enemy hope for.”

    Mr. Sadr added: “God ordered you to be patient and to unite your efforts against the enemy and not against the sons of Iraq. They want to drag you into a war that ends Shiitism and Islam, but they cannot.”

    Moktada al-Sadr realizes “United we stand; divided we fall.”  This organizer knowingly offers insight, stating the invaders that reside in our region under the guise of “liberator” are the terrorists.  Mister Sadr may be helping the Iraq people find the will and the way to settle the sectarian disagreements among the people of Iraq.  Moktada al-Sadr says ‘We need to take our country back.”  In other words, Moktada al-Sadr offers the oft-heard expression, ‘Power to the People.’  I, for one, wish him, more precisely, the people of Iraq success.  My hope is that citizens in every nation will take the power back peacefully.

    4 Years OF War…A Look Back..Metal Mashup..Blackened Waters

    Reflect on References . . .

  • White House pressed on ‘mission accomplished’ sign.  Cable News Network. Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  • President Speaks to the United Nations General Assembly. United Nations Headquarters.  Office of the Press Secretary September 21, 2004
  • Iraq insurgency in ‘last throes,’ Cheney says. Cable News Network. Monday, June 20, 2005
  • Radical cleric’s influence grows in Iraq, By Robert F. Worth and Sabrina Tavernise. The New York Times.  Thursday, February 16, 2006
  • Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation of Iraq, By Edward Wong.  The New York Times.  April 9, 2007
  • pdf Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation of Iraq, By Edward Wong.  The New York Times.  April 9, 2007
  • Former security adviser says war in Iraq a calamity that could lead to conflict with Iran. Associated Press. February 1, 2007
  • Bush gives new reason for Iraq war, Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists.  By Jennifer Loven.  Associated Press.  Boston Globe. August 31, 2005