Cat and Deer; You and Me



Cat and Deer

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

He was a Nigerian man, a foreign-born nationalist, a terrorist, or one who at least attempted to threatened the tranquility of a plane.  Most people see this individual as someone unlike “me.” The word is we must do all we can to protect ourselves.  Surely, this incident reminds us that we must require stronger security measures.  Today, with the news of another “menace” in our midst people, once again, presume society as we know it is not a safe place.  

Americans, Afghanis, Anglos, African Americans, Armenians, Asians, [name the archetype of your choice] proclaim the other is an opponent.  Millions muse; is us against them.  Enemies are everywhere.   Forever humans find reason to call our brethren brutal, a bully, and, or a bad person.  In a world where we typically think of the alien, those different than us, as a potential antagonist, it is important to realize that aggression is not instinctual.  Hatred and hostility are born out of fear.

Mankind kills in order not to be killed.  He, or she, massacres the masses in hope that one person, a foe will be found.  Rarely do humans reflect on the kitten and the deer.  Nor do we dare take the time to learn of the authentic you and me.  We race ’round.  Few stop to smell the essence of friendship. Less let themselves feel what their fellowman feels.  Empathy is barely evident in our culture.  Compassion is not as common as cruelty.  

Perchance, people might ponder; a bit of curiosity did not kill the kitty who sniffed the deer.  A fawn becomes a friend, a cat a compassionate companion.  Oh, what a wonderful world it would be if you, and me, were as those beings, that humans are quick to define as beasts.

Please ponder possibilities.  If you wish to, you might see the world beyond conventional wisdoms or the apprehensions we share.

Infamous Anniversary of Attack



Global Greens 2008 – Bruce Gagnon (Maine, USA)

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

March 19, 2009, is a day that lives in infamy.  There were others in the past.  However, on this date six years ago, the United States launched what has come to be accepted as unwarranted attacks on Iraq.  Although, from the first, there were protests even in high places such as the Senate floor, unilaterally, Americans bombed an innocent people.  This time, for near two years prior, pretense was presented as truth.

The American people were told by their President how dangerous the Iraqi Al Qaida terrorists were.  George W. Bush assured anxious Americans, he would protect us.  Congress was warned of what would occur if the United States did not react to the Middle Eastern threat.  Commander Bush sent a letter on March 18, 2003.  Even as his eight-year term ended, he worked to establish in the minds of historians and the electorate who had experienced all that occurred, Mister Bush kept us safe.  

As recently as December 2008, the now former President proclaimed, a newly acquired nuance to the saga he has long recounted on the war in Iraq.  “It is true, as I have said many times, that Saddam Hussein was not connected to the 9/11 attacks.  But the decision to remove Saddam from power cannot be viewed in isolation from 9/11.”  Yet, he retained and repeated his ever-strident commitment to the combat.  “It was clear to me, to members of both political parties, and to many leaders around the world that after 9/11, this was a risk we could not afford to take.”

Americans, many of whom are content the Bush era has passed, refer to the 9/11 Commission Report to invalidate the claims of a President who no longer resides in the White House.  Currently, countless citizens take comfort; Barack Obama presides over the Oval Office.  The just elected Commander-In-Chief has already begun to take steps to remove beleaguered troops from the embattled frontlines.  

Since Mister Obama took office, citizens are less concerned with the war in Iraq.  Many have faith the President will do what is best for military men and women.  Some are encouraged by reports that the Commander-In-Chief will send combat soldiers stationed in Iraq home safely, or perhaps, individuals are focused on more personal realities.  Anxiety over a potential, probable, or actual job loss consumes countless Americans, more so than combat abroad does.  A pension-plan gone bust, a lack of health care coverage, and a possible home foreclosure take precedence for millions more than war.  Few of the common folk feel as troubled by occurrences in the Middle East.  Most merely hope Mister Obama will do what is best.  

Occasional outspoken exception can be heard.  On March 12, 2009, former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleisher stated, “[A]fter September 11th, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?  We got a report saying al Qaeda is determined to attack the United States.”  Nonetheless, even Conservatives such as John McCain endorse President Obama’s plan for withdrawal.

Overall, opinions on Iraq, the war and the withdrawal are mixed, even among foreign policy experts.

Then there are the few who fear further folly in the Persian Gulf.  Progressives, be they political figures or peace activists amongst the public, think the Obama agenda to end the conflict in Iraq is too little and too late.  Official dissent is often stated diplomatically.  Personal pleas may be more moving.  

A week before the sixth anniversary of America’s Second Gulf War, regardless of the President’s intended withdrawal everyday people stood out in the streets, just as they had done throughout the war.  ‘Iraq is a symptom of a foreign policy and priorities” that the peaceful felt and feel they cannot sanction.

At local vigils nationwide attendees talked of their observation, verified in the news.  Americans support the President’s proposed Afghan buildup.   ”Enough!  Bring the Troops Home Now!” was the oft-heard cry from those who crave global harmony.  Most asked as they had during the fateful Bush years.  “What Do We Do Now?”

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons offers his perspective.  In an article published on June 14, 2007, the recipient of the Doctor Benjamin Spock’s Peacemaker Award presents his ten-point plan.


I often hear from people asking me, “What should we do about all this?  How can we stop Bush?”

I would first say that we must move beyond blaming Bush.  The fact of U.S. empire is bigger than Bush.  Hopefully by now, all of us are more clear how the Democrats have been, and are now, involved in enabling the whole U.S. military empire-building plan.  It is about corporate domination.  Bush is just the front man for the big money.

So to me that is step #1 .

Step #2  is to openly acknowledge that as a nation, and we as citizens, benefit from this U.S. military and economic empire.  By keeping our collective military boot on the necks of the people of the world we get control of a higher percentage of the world’s resources.  We, 5% of the global population in the U.S., use 25% of the global resource base.  This reality creates serious moral questions that cannot be ignored.

Step #3  is to recognize that we are addicted to war and to violence.  The very weaving together of our nation was predicated on violence when we began the extermination of the Native populations and introduced the institution of slavery.  A veteran of George Washington’s Army, in 1779, said, “I really felt guilty as I applied the torch to huts that were homes of content until we ravagers came spreading desolation everywhere..  Our mission here is ostensibly to destroy but may it not transpire, that we pillagers are carelessly sowing the seed of Empire.”  The soldier wrote this as Washington’s Army set out to remove the Iroquois civilization from New York state so that the U.S. government could expand its borders westward toward the Mississippi River.  The creation of the American empire was underway.

Our history since then has been endless war.  Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Major General Smedley D. Butler, U.S. Marine Corps, told the story in his book War is a Racket.  Butler recalls in his book, “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service….And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.  In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….Thus I helped make Mexico and especially

Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.  I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.  I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street….I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.  I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.  I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903.  In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”

Step # 4  We have to begin to change how we think about our country.  We have to learn to understand what oligarchy means.  I’ll save you the trouble of having to look up the definition – A government in which power is in the hands of a few.  When you have lost your democracy then what do the citizens do?  They must fight (non-violently) to take it back.  This of course means direct action and sometimes civil disobedience.  Virtually everything good in our nation (abolition of slavery movement, women’s suffrage, civil rights movement, anti-war movements, etc) have come from people stepping up when they were needed.  Calling for impeachment by the Congress becomes imperative today.  Are you in or out?

Step #5  Forget the “every man for himself” mythology.  We are all brainwashed in this country to believe in the rugged individualism story.  But movement for change can only happen in community – working with others.  So forget the egocentric notion that “one great man” is going to come save us.  It’s going to take a village – in fact all the villages.  Just like an addict goes to a group to seek help for addiction, knowing they can’t do it themselves, so we must form community to work for the needed change if we are to protect our children’s future.

Step # 6  What about my job?  Another smothering myth in America is success.  Keep your nose clean and don’t rock the boat.  Don’t get involved in politics, especially calling for a revolution of values (like Martin Luther King Jr. did) or you will get labeled and then you can forget about owning that castle on the hill you’ve always dreamed of.  In a way we become controlled by our own subservience to the success mythology.  We keep ourselves in line because success and upward mobility become more important than protecting free speech, clean water, clean air, and ending an out of control government bent on world domination.  Free our minds, free our bodies and we free the nation.

Step #7  Learn to work well with others.  Sure we all want to be stars.  But in the end we have to learn to set aside our egos if we want to be able to work with others to bring about the needed changes.  Cindy Sheehan should not be hammered just for telling the truth about the Democrats playing footsie with Bush on the war.

Step # 8  It’s the money.  How can I do this peace work when I have to work full-time just to pay the mortgage?  I’d like to help but I’ve got bills to pay!  Maybe we can begin to look at the consumerist life we lead and see that our addiction to the rat race keeps us from being fully engaged in the most important issue of our time – which is protecting the future generations.  How can we begin to explore cooperative living arrangements, by building community, that free us up economically to be able to get more involved?

Step # 9  Learn to read again.  Many of us don’t read enough.  We spend our time in front of the TV, which is a primary tool that the power structure uses to brainwash us.  We’ve got to become independent thinkers again and teach our kids to think for themselves.  Reading and talking to others is a key.  Read more history.  All the answers and lessons can be found there.

Step #10 Learn to trust again and have fun.  Some of the nicest people in the world are doing political work.  Meet them and become friends with them and your life will change for the better.

Mister Gagnon professes wars will be forever perpetual if we the people continue to consider our brethren an enemy.  If dominion is our preference, diplomacy will never be more than a mere word.  The public cannot blame George W. Bush or Barack Obama for its addiction to might and material goods.  Nor can we, the people expect an oligarchy to have the best interests of common folks at heart.  If consumption and competition are the principles that guide our population, battles will endure.  If peace is to ever come, as citizens, as a country, on every continent, the people must act in accordance with the principles most claim they hold dear.  Consistency, in thought and deed, can eliminate combat.

“Love thy neighbor” cannot be said only on Sundays, on the Sabbath, or in houses of worship.  Indeed, Bruce Gagnon might avow, as other peaceful persons do, March 19, 2009 is not the sixth anniversary of a war.  It is another date that lives in infamy, as has been every day in centuries of battles fought.

References for the reality of war . . .  

What Pulls Us Apart



Defending Islam at a McCain rally

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

It was a cool Fall evening in South Florida.  The breeze was gentle; the sunset glorious.  As I approached the intersection where, each weekend I stand in support of peace and tranquility, I did as I do when at this crossroad.  I placed my arm out the window.  My digits were extended and formed the symbol associated with serenity.  When I am in a vehicle, at the locale commonly considered the Peace Corner I work to preserve the intent of my Saturday mission.  I strive to advance awareness for the notion, this nation remains at war.  Soldiers are slaughtered far from the shores of home sweet home.  Civilians, in their native country continue to lose their lives for a want of war.  I crave global harmony and will work to restore some sense of civility worldwide.  However, as I sat silently in contemplation cries of “Country First” startled me.

The divisiveness that has become pervasive during this political season  smacked me in the face.  Shaken, I turned to see where the words of contempt might have come from.  There they stood, two young boys, perhaps eleven years of age stood on the sidewalk with homemade signs in hand.  “McCain Palin” was painted on a poster.  Smaller type, difficult to read from even a short distance, said more.  I might pretend to portend what the words were meant to communicate.  However, I rather not assume.  I can only describe what was said and done as the seconds on the street turned into minutes.

As others had done when they passed me with my peaceful placard for oh so many years, I expressed my belief in a manner that might be visible to these youthful demonstrators.  I reached for my Obama sign, which is neatly tucked between my windshield and the dashboard.  I held the glossy rectangular navy blue sticker up, my arm stretched beyond the side of the automobile.  The near Middle School age gents immediately saw my marker and exclaimed.  “He is a Muslim!”  

I calmly cried, “No, he is not.  Barack Obama is a Christian.”  “However,” I continued, even if he were as you seem to believe, why would that matter?”  ”  Do you really wish to be intolerant of other religions?”  “What of our rights as afforded by the United States Constitution?”  Perhaps as one who taught Junior High School students for so long, an invitation to discuss seemed ideal to me.  These young people, not familiar with me, and my love of open and reverent conversations were intent on repeating the rhetoric they likely heard in their homes.

I could not help but wonder would the words Communist, Socialist, or terrorist, pass through the lips of these lads.  Might one boy or the other tell me as drivers had days ago when I stood on the corner in vigil for peace,  “Barack Obama is Black”?  My mind raced as I reflected upon the two chaps.  I realized the issues important to them were those the elders they loved had discussed at length.  Human as the young men were they knew what they knew.  The adolescents were taught to think as the adults important in their lives did.  We all do, at least initially.

I remembered a tale I frequently told pupils in the past.  In my own life, I later understood, when I was young I was unaware of the infinite options and opportunities to think, say, do, and feel, in ways that were uncommon in my family.  I could not imagine what was novel to me.  If questioned I would defend my beliefs; however, unlike these preteens I did not dismiss a request for thoughtfulness.  A want for greater wisdom was instilled in me from the first.  I learned to desire discussions.  Fury in my family seemed a futile emotion.  It brought more wrath and offered little promise for peace.

However, my relatives did not raise these miniature men.  Perhaps that explains why the pair of youthful McCain/Palin supporters began to rant and rage.  They chided me for the size of my sign.  The littler than full-grown lads laughed as they pointed to a banner firmly planted, permanently into the ground.  Behind them was a monstrous sign, perhaps eight-feet wide and six feet high.  The words McCain Palin stood strident for all passer-bys to see.  On a background, so dark as to appear near black, the white letters screamed support for the Republican ticket.

The boys shrieked; “I cannot even see your sign.”  “It is so small,” the two shouted.  I did not react.  The language the boys used morphed into a lexicon I will not utter, even when distressed.  After moments when I avoided actual engagement; although I did not put my Obama sign down, I decided to speak again.  “Love and peace,” I proclaimed.  I was quickly told there would be none of that.  A slew of statements not to be repeated spewed from the mouths of babes.  I was stunned, not by the venom but by the similarities and contrast.

While I waited for the light to turn green, I found myself lost in reveries.

As a child, also at the age of eleven or possibly twelve, I first began on my path as an activist, an advocate for people, regardless of race, color, creed, or religion.  My civic maturity was intellectually realized through acceptance.  I was taught not merely to tolerate others; I learned to embrace all.  Amongst my lessons, diversity is as significantly wondrous as similarities.  These were our family values.  More importantly, the skill that was honed in my parents’ home was listening.

My Mom and Dad helped me to understand that if I chose to hear what another believed, I could grow wiser.  Together, communities are greater when the commonweal is the central concern.  Fundamentally, my family believed, all individuals believe in love and goodness.  “All men [and women, children too] are created equal.

Perhaps that is why, while in Middle School my family participated in a civil rights march.  I was invited to join them.  Years earlier, at the age of five, I became interested in politics.  As my parents engaged in the most animated discussion I had ever witnessed, I learned of elections.  

I grew aware of the emotional impact an economic issues and the impact these could have on a vote.  Education, the environment, war, and peace all played a part in ballot decisions.  At the kitchen table, as I sat and listened to the lively talk on topics that related to every aspect of life, I realized the power of everyday people.  All Americans who vote shape our society.  I also understood that those to little to cast a ballot had influence.

Mothers and fathers often jest, “My children learn what I never did.”  Proud papas revel in the knowledge a son or daughter shares.  Modest Mamas marvel when their offspring offer informed opinions.  In my youth, I may not have realized the words I uttered as a student enrolled in school were of interest to my Mom and Dad.  What I saw and felt taught them.  As I talked aloud, my parents learned.  We chatted.  The child was a mentor.  Caregivers were counselors.  Each gained and received a greater education from the other.

The difference between my experience and what I witnessed at the intersection was in my family, peace was promoted.  A reciprocal reverence was advanced.  A word such as “Muslim,” a person’s religion, was not considered a source for a slight.

I was not encouraged to slam or damn another being, not one who stood before me, or one who wished to serve the public.  Indeed, behavior than might demean or dismiss another being was sincerely discouraged.

As a child, I was taught to believe competitive temperaments are counter productive.  Characteristics that could be classified as cutthroat were considered childish, aggressive, and contrary to the traits that might create peace.  Calmness was considered the pinnacle path.  In my family, communication was thought to be the greatest travel, that is, next to thinking.  

Even in election season, I learned at the knees of Mommy and Daddy; empathy is the best educator.  I wondered.  What had these young men experienced in their homes?  

Would their mothers and fathers be pleased as they heard their brood proclaim prejudice statements from the pavement, “Barack Obama is a Muslim.”  Might the Moms or Dads of these chaps be indignant at the discordant idea of “Country First?”  Would they rather the children cry in concord, “We, the people, are the change we can believe in.”  Likely not.  Progeny are the products of parents.  

If we teach the children to chastise, they will.  Offspring trained to offend others do.  Those tutored to act defensively often deliver dubious dictums.  Fear fills the spirits of those who were not treated with abundant respect.  Apprehension is frequently expressed as anger.  

Concerned communication gives birth to calm and care.  If we edify praise, as well as unity and peace, our offspring will practice kindheartedness.  When mothers and fathers teach attentiveness and acceptance, the children will acquire comparable customs.  Elders who choose to listen and learn from and with their progeny teach little ones to do the same.

Perchance what divides our country is not political parties, religious practices, color, or creed.  What fractures America is the manner in which we parent our children.

Chaos in perspective




To view the original art, please travel to Chaos in perspective

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

It’s not the actual destruction that makes us fear terrorists, it’s the chaos they introduce into the system. So imagine what the rest of the world thinks of the “First-World Terrorist,” (Archive 0832) who, driven by a radical faith in greed, lays waste to financial markets and threatens prosperity everywhere. Too bad Bush and his cronies didn’t launch a preemptive strike against those bastards.

Till next week,

Andrew

toon@offthewahl.com

Mortality Test




To view the original art, please travel to Mortality Test

copyright © 2008.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

In August 2007, Artist and Essayist Andrew Wahl asked us to look at our life.  Today, as he endeavors to better his circumstance and being, the rest of us might reflect on our state of being.

No New Toon Till Next Week

I had every intention of cartooning this week – especially given last night’s political drama. But it’s finals week for my first quarter of grad school and compromises had to be made. Back in seven, I promise.

Till then,

Andrew

Benazir Bhutto Rests In Peace. Will We?

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

Millions of Americans awoke to the news; Benazir Bhutto was killed in an attack.  The daughter of a former Prime Minister, and twice Prime Minister herself, Bhutto, months ago returned to her homeland, after a self-imposed eight  year exile.

The Harvard graduate ventured forth with a hope and a dream that she might unite her mother country.  The scion and scholar arrived in Pakistan amidst much fanfare and furor.

Benazir Bhutto was a deeply controversial figure.

Western-educated and charismatic, she presented herself as a moderate, democratic force. As such she was widely courted in the West. The United States hoped she could restore popular legitimacy to President Musharraf’s failing war against Islamist militants.

But she was widely seen as having misused her office for her own financial gain and faced a number of court cases, both inside Pakistan and outside the country. Islamist militants hated her for her pro-American views.

Earlier this year, Ms Bhutto and Mr Musharraf had been working on a power-sharing agreement. The talks failed, leaving Ms Bhutto as the biggest political threat to President Musharraf, rather than an ally.

Therein lies the question many citizens of the United States ask.  Who, among the leaders in Pakistan is a friend to America and who is the foe.  Benazir Bhutto was our lover, devotee, and we her enthusiast.  Yet, for years the White House has happily courted the current President of Pakistan.

Despite talk of terrorist encampments and anti-American sentiment within Pakistan, the Bush Administration spoke of General Musharraf as a friend of the States.  Oh, the President of the United States and President, General Pervez Musharraf had their differences.  There was a time when the leaders aired their angst aloud.  However, ultimately, the two kissed and made-up as couples often do.  The world powers then walked off into the sunset, hand-in-hand.  Each, revels in the joint venture to fight against Islamic insurgents.

Granted, there were other rifts.  Commander-In-Chief, the American military commandant demanded that the General take off his uniform.  After Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law and suspended that nation’s Constitution, there was fear within the White House.  Federal officials stated our ally had gone too far. His decision to wear military garb exacerbated the situation.  An elected official cannot be considered militaristic.  During a telephone conference with the Middle Eastern Head of State, President and Commander George W. Bush expressed his distress with the man who supported the United States in its endeavor to spread democracy.

“You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time,” Bush said. “I had a very frank discussion with him.” . . .

“My message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform,” Bush said.

Perhaps this derision was the last straw.  It was time to move on, move forward, or stay the course with a new face at the helm.  Certainly, there is no need to imagine; were Benazir Bhutto Prime Minister of Pakistan, she too would have joined US in combat against “terrorists.”

The U.S. has long supported a return to power by Bhutto, who was perceived to be a moderate willing to work with Washington on the war on terror. She was also seen as a democratic leader who would serve as a counter to the plummeting popularity of Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 military coup. It was thought that a power-sharing deal between the two, in which Musharraf stayed on as president while Bhutto lead as prime minister, would promote stability in this nuclear armed nation of 165 million. But from the day of her arrival in Pakistan after eight years in exile, Bhutto’s return has been marred by violence.

We can only surmise that the hostile environment did not worry the Americans, the Bush Administration much.  After all, aggression is the way of this White House.  It matters not who leads or lends a hand as we go into battle.  As long as the war continues, a surge strategy is maintained, and fear is sustained.  Then, the hawks win.  All must inquire; is that not the most important aspect of this New World Strategy.

We can peruse the Pakistani papers.  We can read the rhetoric of the Right and the Left in America.  Candidates can recount their experience of Benazir Bhutto.  Still, there is reason to believe we know nothing of what really happened and why.  The common folk are not even certain they understand how to care for a tragic event that has now become a campaign battle cry.  Americans listen to the words of woe, and the warnings.  Again we are told, in the name of democracy, we are at war . . . and do not forget it!

“The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy,” Bush said. “Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice.” . . .

With the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses just a week away, U.S. presidential candidates also swiftly condemned the killing and stressed the need to fight terrorism.

The assassins who killed Bhutto “must be brought to justice,” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.

“Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred and violence,” said Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is trailing fellow Democrats Clinton and Barack Obama in polls, said a leader has died in Pakistan “but democracy must live.”

“It is in the interests of the U.S. that there be a democratic Pakistan that relentlessly hunts down terrorists,” Richardson said in a statement.

Campaigning in Florida, current Iowa-caucus Republican frontrunner Mike Huckabee said he is “deeply troubled” by the news of Bhutto’s killing. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, said the U.S. must stand with moderate forces across the Islamic world “and together face the defining challenge of our generation — the struggle against violent, radical jihadists.”

“For those who think Iraq is the sole front in the war on terror, one must look no further than what has happened today,” said Romney, a Republican. . . .

Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center, said Bhutto’s death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere “is an enemy of freedom.”

“We must redouble our efforts to win the terrorists’ war on us,” Giuliani said in a statement.

“This is devastating news for the people of Pakistan, and my prayers go out to them as we follow developments regarding this dire situation,” Huckabee said in a statement.

Once again, Americans must acknowledge that purposely, we are not fully informed.  As long as war remains in the wind, we cannot and will not speak of peace.  In an era where faux-Progressives stress the need for global tranquility, as they plan to wage war for at least another term, we must remember that when conflict is the cause of strife, it will also be the effect.

Americans and citizen worldwide can only hope that we, as  a world will decide not to focus on assignations and the aggressive demeanors that lead to these.  We might dream of the impossible, harmony, and create it.  

Together let us take a moment and rest in peace.  Perchance, we might listen to the words of the one Presidential hopeful from either nation, Pakistan or the United states, who wishes only for serenity planet-wide.  The aspirant that believes we can achieve the impossible, what same think absurd offers his words of wisdom.

U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after learning of the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in a suicide attack following a campaign rally.

“This is a very dangerous moment for the world,” Kucinich said. . . .

“The United States must change its policy direction in the region. It must stop adding fuel to the fire.”

If we truly wish to establish world unity, Americans and Pakistanis alike cannot condone combat, in any form, on foreign or domestic shores.  If we are to authentically invite and work for peace, we, as a nation, as individual people must live  our lives in harmony.  We must be calm when in the company of our neighbors, strangers and genuinely care for our selves.

Peace, Pax. Hasiti. Amniat.

Source of Serenity or Strife . . .

Terrorist Build A “Totalitarian Empire” From Within White House ©

Today, President Bush spoke to the nation.  He declared terrorists are intent on building ??a “totalitarian empire” of global reach.’  I muse, whose intention is this?  Actions demonstrate this is the goal of George W. Bush and his administration.

• Please read and reflect upon, Bush Stresses Terror Threat and Urges Support for Iraq War, By Brian Knowlton, New York Times

Baby Bush and his battalion have stated this philosophy for years. Nevertheless, Bush Junior wants us to believe otherwise.  However, we know. The Bush base, neoconservatives revealed a desire to spread democracy, globally, long ago.

On June 3, 1997, ultra conservative extremists stated, “We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order.” They defiantly declared, “We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.”

Bush1841

The Project for the New American Century, in their Statement of Principles, suggested then and continues to pose Americans forgot “the essential elements of the Reagan Administration.”  The men within this organization avowed, they would remind the citizens of this country.  They fine fellows are still trying to teach “us” what is “right.”

Their mission has not changed.  Bush and the neocons are actively promoting “a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad.”  They think this necessary.  Witness today’s Bush speech.

These bold boys, through their President GW Bush, postulate, a strong military force is vital.  They claimed years ago and maintain, “We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities.”  Yet, they assert this is the plan of others.  I wonder.

Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, and Paul Wolfowitz made it known almost a decade earlier, they were working to create a autocratic empire.  They still are.

President Bush declares that the idea of building a one-party society is the task of terrorists.  Perhaps, it is.  I believe the true dilemma is radicals, fanatics, are working from within.  Terrorists are our leaders!

Terrorist and Liberators, England and Iraq ©

  Today terrorists attacked London.  Four bombs blasted in parts of the city proper, simultaneously.  The people were devastated and Prime Minister Tony Blair was not there. The Premier was meeting with Group of Eight leaders, and five heads of state in Gleneagles, Scotland.  They were together for what is known as the G8 Summit.  The talk was to be of global warming, aid to Africa, and other issues that unite us all.  However, the discussion changed and Blair’s, participation would be delayed.  He needed to return to London quickly.

Before his departure the host of the conference, Prime Minister of England, spoke.  He addressed the press on behalf of the G8 leaders.  Blair stated, “We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values; nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit.  We will continue our deliberations in the interest of a better world.” Later, from his residence at 10 Downing Street, Blair offered, “They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us, but they should know they will not succeed.”

Might those living in Iraq say the same; have they?  They have. Iraqi citizens were and are trying to live a “normal” life.  They too are not allowing violence to change their civilization or ethics.  They continually work not to be frightened by the forces that besiege them.  The people of Iraq believe that, in March 2003, they were going about their daily business when America, Britain, and the allies attacked.

Now, and for three long years, they feel that Americans and the alliance are “trying to use slaughter” and intimidation of innocents, to change their social order.  Iraqi citizens huddle in their homes. They know not what the day will bring; however they can say, without hesitation, devastation and killing will occur.  Iraqi’s are certain that on any given day, in any given moment, the allied armies may break down doors, enter homes, kill families, and do so in the name of justice and freedom.  Innocent Iraqi’s will be maimed and murdered, just as those in London were today.

When the allied defenses began their invasion, Iraqi citizens spoke out.  In April 2003, as America and its coalition assailed, the Canadian Broadcasting Network reported.  The reports showed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians coalescing.  The people of Baghdad hit the streets.  They were protesting what they regarded as a U.S.-led foreign occupation.  For these countrymen, women, and children, the liberators, otherwise known as Americans and the allies, were and are assaulting the guiltless.  They were and are terrorizing the Iraqi homeland and hurting harmless people.

These self-proclaimed redeemers entered Iraq violently.  Americans and the alliance were on a mission.  They were going to “change the regime,” overthrow the government, and they did.  Yet, they were not asked to do so. No one invited the Americans or the allied forces.

Actually, many Iraqi’s asked US forces to leave.  However, the Whitehouse and mass media rarely report these requests.  On Saturday, April 26, 2003, “At least six members of the same family were killed when a stash of Iraqi arms exploded in Baghdad.”  US officials faulted the ousted Hussein government; yet, the locals saw it differently.  This action provoked angry demonstrations. Iraq residents pelted US forces with stones, forcing them to retreat.  Americans claimed to be taking the wounded to hospital.  However, Iraqi’s believed, without American military, there would have been no wounded.  Iraqi’s shouted, “No, no to America, yes, yes to Islam!”  A banner waved, “The Americans are killing Iraqis with the weapons of Saddam Hussein.”

While at the hospital, Thamer, the eldest son of the fallen family, spoke as he stood weeping inconsolably.  He said, “Does God accept this?  We kept telling the Americans not to store explosives so close by. What happened? Why didn’t they listen to us?”  After the incident, a distraught Ahmed Khilal, 18, expressed his grief.  He sobbed, “I saw three dead women with my own eyes. One of my friends was killed. They pulled him out of the building covered with blood.”  Do these tales sound familiar?

They are the human stories, those that we relate to when we see them on television or experience them ourselves.  However, these personal accounts are rarely, if ever offered from Iraq.  What we see, and therefore connect to, are American narratives, English anecdotes, and stories told by the Spaniards.  The allied families are our focus.  We see, hear, and read of anxious Americans, lamenting Londoners, and the cries of city dwellers in Spain.  We know of their pain.  It is Iraqi pain that we know little of.

In the Middle East hurt happens daily.  Events such as those in Iraq are not as 9/11/2001, 3/11/2004, or 7/7/2005.  They are not those that happen in a single day.  They are not frozen in time; they occur every day!

When we listen to the words of the President of the United States, George W. Bush, the Spanish Premiere, José Maria Aznar, or Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of England, we identify these as true.  When we hear the words of Osama Bin Laden, we recoil.  Yet, there are similarities.

On October 7, 2001, after the September 11, attacks the al-Qaida leader spoke, “Praise be to God and we beseech Him for help and forgiveness.  God Almighty hit the United States at its most vulnerable spot. He destroyed its greatest buildings.”  Bin Laden continued, “What the United States tastes today, is a very small thing compared to what we have tasted for tens of years.  One million Iraqi children have thus far died in Iraq although they did not do anything wrong.”

Americans and the coalition find these words offensive.  Osama bin Laden invokes the name of God; how dare he.  Iraqi’s find the words of the alliance insulting.  The Western World believes that God is on their side, and that those in the Middle East are “evil.”  How can that be?  Yet, it is.  Each sees the other as “enemy.”  Each justifies slaughter!  This practice and philosophy may be universally true, or at least it is for American and al-Qaida leaders.  The same is not valid for all of their victims.

Many of the common folk in the Persian Gulf experience the President, the Pentagon, and the coalition as subjugators.  They came, they saw, and they conquered.  Afghanistan and Iraq became battlefields; they still are.  Bombs were and are blasting, guns blazing; a foreign influence, America, claims to be the savior. Yet, they are the source of ample antagonism.  The Western world states it will deliver Iraqi’s from evil and yet, for many, it is the Americans that are evil.  The United States government is a terrorist organization!

The American majority does not understand this.  Rarely are they afforded an opportunity to hear from Iraqi citizens.  However, during the recent Summer Olympics, Americans and Europeans were given the chance.  In August 2004 President Bush was campaigning for the upcoming election.  He touted his success; he as a leader was spreading freedom successfully. Political advertisements [see ad here] featuring Iraq as democracy triumphant were aired. These promotional pieces highlighted, the flags of Afghanistan and Iraq.  A narrator spoke, “At this Olympics there will be two more free nations, and two fewer terrorist regimes.”  These words inflamed the people of Iraq.

After an Olympic win, the Iraqi soccer team was interviewed, “Were they looking forward to their meeting with the President of the United States?” Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir spoke calmly and directly, offering his thoughts.  He spoke of meeting the President and these televised trailers, he said,  “Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to advertise himself.”

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder, had an even stronger response when asked of the infomercial and the scheduled meeting with President Bush.  He offered his comments to Grant Wahl, reporter for Sports Illustrated. Manajid said, “How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?  He has committed so many crimes.”

Adnan Hamad, the Olympian coach, expressed a similar sentiment.  “The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?”

Yet, President Bush believes the actions of America and its allies are just.  George Walker claims, “The contrast couldn’t be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who’ve got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.”

America kills. We the people of the United States intentionally and unilaterally chose to slaughter the innocent, or at least our leaders did.  Killing is “evil,” according to Christians such as our President.  The commandments specifically state, “Thou shall not kill.”  However, Bush proudly proclaims, “death” to all those that defy his idea of democracy!  Violence is the President’s vengeance!

For Iraqi’s soccer player, Sadir, 21, “I want the violence and the war to go away from the city.  We don’t wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away.”

Manajid, 22, who nearly scored his own goal for his Iraqi team, resides in the city of Fallujah.  He declares coalition forces killed his cousin, Omar Jabbar al-Aziz.  The young man was fighting as an insurgent, with several of his friends.  Frankly, Manajid says, ??if he were not playing soccer for his country, he would “for sure” be fighting as part of the resistance.’  Manajid expressed boldly, “I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?” Manajid retorts.  “Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq.”

However, American and allied leaders tell us a different tale.  They say this is a just war; the Iraqis had or have weapons of mass destruction and yet we know they did and do not.  Bush and his battalion insist Saddam Hussein was a bad man and he needed to be taken out, “dead or alive.”  This may be true, however, Hussein is one man, and we attacked a country of many.

American leaders wanted Saddam Hussein and yet, they went after the blameless.  Young boys and girls, fathers, and mothers have become collateral damage.  Civilians, the common-folk were quietly living their lives or at least trying to, and then America and the allies invaded.  There were threats and there was terror.  It continues.

This Thursday, July 7, 2005, President Bush invokes, we the leaders of G8 carry “a message of solidarity.”  He continues, “The war on terror goes on . . . We will not yield to these people.”  This is exactly what many in the Persian Gulf espouse.

Please consider the words of Max.  He writes of London.  MaxSpeak offers the words of “Red Ken” Livingstone, Mayor of London, “this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian … young and old.”  This missive is a powerful piece.

Steve Soto, The Left Coaster is for me, always a good read.  I invite you to reflect on his most recent treatise, ‘What Good Is An “Anywhere But Here” Anti-Terror Policy?

For those that desire a glimpse of London living on and with death, the BBC reports.