Friday, April 11, 2003

Well, apparently I have nerve. Perhaps I should clarify.

[excitement at being noticed] Oh goody.[/excitement at being noticed]

I'm being [sarcasm] bashed [/sarcasm] by a pro-war blog.

[playfully provocative] Let the flaming commence.[/playfully provocative]

By the way, thanks for pointing out that yes indeed I had thoughts on the liberation of Baghdad. Having nerve occasionally gets results.
What Were They Like?

1. Did the people of Vietnam
use lanterns of stone?

2. Did they hold ceremonies
to reverence the opening of buds?

3. Were they inclined to quiet laughter?

4. Did they use bone and ivory,
and silver, for ornament?

5. Had they an epic poem?

6. Did they distinguish between speech and singing?

1. Sir, their light hearts turned to stone.
It is not remembered whether in gardens the lanterns illumined pleasant ways.

2. Perhaps they gathered once to delight in blossom, but after the children were killed, there were no more buds.

3. Sir, laughter is bitter to the burned mouth.

4. A dream ago, perhaps. Ornament is for joy.
All the bones were charred.

5. It is not remembered. Remember,
most were peasants; their life
was in rice and bamboo.
When peaceful clouds were reflected in the paddies
And the water buffalo stepped surely along terraces,
maybe fathers told their sons old tales.
When bombs smashed those mirrors
there was time only to scream.

6. There is an echo yet
Of their speech which was like a song.
It was reported their singing resembled
the flight of moths in moonlight.
Who can say? It is silent now.

--Denise Levertov

Oh goody. I'm being bashed by a pro-war blog. Let the flaming commence.
Sign the Petition (via Rittenhouse)

Casablanca? Have they no shame? One hopes that this is some sort of Kevin Smith spoof.

Real War-time Sacrifices We Should Consider Making

It's no mystery why the administration has yet to ask the American people to make any kind of significant sacrifice during this time of war and recession. How do you reward your friends while asking the people to give up creature comforts? So I'm thinking of sending a list of suggestions around to various media and public figures to see how these jive with people.

Gas Conservation
Whether you buy the"Oil War" rhetoric or not, there is no more powerful symbol for this war than the Iraqi oil fields. Instead of just saying "We are not after your oil," why not send a stronger message by making public service announcements urging Americans to conserve and sponsor local carpools?

Republican Party Purge
Clean out some of that racist rhetoric that's lying around the GOP by asking key members of Congress to resign. Considering that minorities are a large part of the military and at the same time the most anti-war demographic, it would do wonders in unifying the country if you finally let go of the Trent Lotts of the party.

Promote raising taxes as an act of patriotism
In a capitalist society there is no greater sacrifice then money. Why not ask your richest ten percent--incidentally the population least likely to see military action--to literally put their money where there mouths are?

Sacifice Valuable Beauty Sleep
Since Bush's 10 p.m. bedtime is so important to him, it would show a great deal of personal sacrifice if he were to push it back an hour or so. There is nothing like a few shots of our commander in chief hard at work at his desk, all alone, one single desklamp lighting his way through the long dark of governance. One can almost hear the Aaron Brown commentary the following morning. "Clearly, this is a man for whom bringing democracy to Iraq is well worth the dark circles under his eyes the following morning. If he's a bit snappish during his press conferences, it is for the security of the nation."

SUV Drivers Get a tax Break when they Convert to Hybrids
Okay this may not be a fair one to those of us are already drive eco-friendly vehicles but we need to do something. Think about SUV drivers; they're not going to convert without persuasion.

Declare A Moratorium on Reality TV Shows
Because watching the war on the news is REAL TV as opposed to REALITY TV, in the interest of maintaining perspective the reality tv shows should go on hiatus indefinitely. Come on, folks. War is scary. Who needs Fear Factor?

and finally...

Each Major Pundit And Anchor on Cable News Should Sacrifice Some Air Time in the Interest of just giving us the news
Because there is no greater sacrifice in the media than that of air time.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

This is the tale of two privates. They were sisters-in-arms - two young women fighting for Uncle Sam. They were roommates at Fort Bliss military base in Texas; tentmates in the Gulf, and close friends at all places in between. Then they (and 13 other members of the US Army's 507th Maintenance Company) took a wrong turn in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya and were ambushed. One, Jessica Lynch, 19, was injured, hospitalised and then rescued by Special Forces to emerge as the poster girl for American resilience and camaraderie. The other, Lori Piestewa, 23, was killed, with the gruesome distinction of being the first native American in the US army to be killed in combat and the only American servicewoman to die in this war.

On the face of it, Piestewa, from the Hopi tribe, does not fit the bill for the all-American war hero or heroine. She was a single mother of two who left her four-year-old son, Brandon, and three-year-old daughter, Carla, with her parents who live in a trailer in Tuba City, Arizona while she went to fight in the Middle East. But, in more ways than one, hers is the other American face of this war, fought by a military whose ranks have been swelled by poor, non-white women. A volunteer army comprising recruits who, whatever their patriotic credentials, have few other choices...

...after African-Americans, native Americans are the ethnic group represented most strongly in the military.
False Dawn

So this is what victory feels like. Than why don't I feel like celebrating? I've been avoiding most of the Baghdad coverage over the last 24 hours so I've missed the nyah-nyahing of the pro-war crowd. I have a hard time mustering indignation at an adversary whose responses are so tediously predictable so I won't bother. But I do want to comment on the false sense of jubilation being broadcast over the airwaves. Even Jon Stewart wasn't able to not do a mini victory lap around the studio. For all the jubilation on TV, I don't see very much of it around the city. No public celebrations, no underlying sense of relief. If anything, things feel even more tense than last week. There's an anxiety that comes waiting and wondering; What comes next?

Well apparently it's time to cash in.

Follow the money.

Former Secretary of State George Shultz is on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group, the largest contractor in the U.S. and one of the finalists in the competition to land a fat contract to help in the rebuilding of Iraq.

He is also the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group with close ties to the White House. The committee, formed last year, made it clear from the beginning that it sought more than the ouster of Saddam's regime. It was committed, among other things, "to work beyond the liberation of Iraq to the reconstruction of its economy."

War is a tragedy for some and a boon for others. I asked Mr. Shultz if the fact that he was an advocate of the war while sitting on the board of a company that would benefit from it left him concerned about the appearance of a
conflict of interest.

"I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it," he said. "But if there's work that's needed to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it. But nobody looks at it as something you benefit from."

Jack Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel. He's also a member of the
Defense Policy Board, a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon on major defense issues. Its members
are selected by the under secretary of defense for policy, currently Douglas Feith, and approved by the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

I've heard it said that war that death is the only constant. Interesting how money keeps coming up as well. The protesters that wave the "No War for Oil" have it wrong, but only because they've barely scratched the surface.

This isn't news to anyone. What's frightening is that they are getting away with it. Is it merely the media-saturation has us all too glutted with information that we can't pay attention? Or is it a deeper problem? We have such a huge tradition of worshipping the wealthy that I do have to wonder what the reaction would be if this story were spread across the front page and not buried in the editorial section.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I started to write an angry response to Gurley' s piece/smear on Eric Alterman, but I gave it up because I hate letting stupid stuff get me angry. I went back and read Gurley's piece on Coulter to get some perspective and that didn't work very well. For one thing it's not fair to compare Coulter and Eric. Coulter's a lunatic and a hack. Eric's sane and intelligent. That's all you need to know. For another, Coulter makes my head hurt.

If the worst you can say about Eric is that he's kind of jerk and likes Kobe beef than why bother to write a story?

Even so. Ouch.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

I haven't yet remarked on the Coleman statement. I'll let Joe Conason do it for me.

Behind those bright capped teeth there is obviously no brain, and (despite all those pious references to God) quite possibly no soul.
Forget Syria. Hey France, you want a piece of this?

Seriously, though. If the mere suggestion that another country is not on our side translates to the American public as a declaration of war, we've become way too war happy.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Reason 1001 why Jon Stewart and the Daily Show kick ass.
More on Hummers and SUVs here and here.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Wonderfully sensitive piece on Rachel Corrie's parents in the NYT today. I haven't really been following the Corrie debate because I think that it's a mistake either to lionize or demonize her. And I think what's been missing is the sense that she was an actual person. I don't like turning people into symbols.
Back when we first started talking about war on Iraq, I remember that a couple of cable airings of Three Kings had been pulled at the last minute. Ever since I've been torn between watching it to see how it holds up under the current situation, and avoiding it so as not to be more soul sick than I am.

It's rare that I turn to a Hollywood movie for a reality check. But the above scene from "Three Kings" — shot four years ago on a dry Mexican lake bed — captures a war unseen on American TV screens: the horror that emerges in newspaper accounts of suicide attacks on coalition soldiers and of frightened Americans unwittingly blowing up women and children.
Um, hello? Anybody paying attention to this?

War in North Korea is now almost inevitable because of the country's diplomatic stalemate with America, a senior UN official claims