A Heart and Head at War.


Illustration by Tabby.com

“On September 11, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away cold bring murder and destruction to our country”-George W. Bush, January 31, 2006

Why did we attack Iraq when the attackers on September 11th originated mostly from Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Do we have a right and a duty to bring “democracy” to oppressed countries? Is our survival predicated upon the emergence of freedom in former and present tyrannies around the globe?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. We cannot retreat into isolationism and ignore the rest of the world. Yet, what if we had very little to do with the Middle East and removed all our troops from that region of the world, and even stopped supporting Israel and sending money to Egypt, Palestine and Iraq? Would things actually improve? Is there a way to be actively engaged by practicing tough love and packing up and leaving those hideous tribal factions to war among themselves?

“America rejects the false comfort of isolationism”, this President said. But we seem to live it. How many Americans speak another language besides English? What news program carries stories in depth from Lithuania, Ghana, Brazil or Serbia? How many Americans travel abroad every year: 7% or less than one in ten. We have troops in every country, but if we are willing to station troops in the lands of other people, then we should accept Polish soldiers stationed in Topeka and Russian troops at their base in Fairbanks, Alaska. After all, if we cannot be isolationists, other nations cannot either.

“The Palestinian people have voted in elections, and now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel”, he told us. But what if the “failed and oppressive” state of tomorrow emerges in the Gaza Strip? Will America say it is our duty to invade and make over Palestine?

“I have authorized a terrrorist-surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of Al Qaeda…” For how many years will the government monitor our conversations, correspondence and emails? Our republic and constitution is a little over 200 years old. Will we endure 200 more years of a state of war where our fears trample our respect for the law and constitutional precedents?

“We must confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending and entitlements”, he warns. Yet the massive and ill run Medicare prescription drug bill is his creation. If we can afford a war overseas, to bring benefits to people who didn’t ask for them, can we not at the very least bring protections to the American people who demand and deserve them?

He promises that we will break our addiction to oil. That has been said by every president since Jimmy Carter. I still look around me on the freeway and see Hummers, Jeep Cherokees, Cadillacs. I see suburban housing sprawling 100 miles away from the center of every major city in America. How will these gas guzzling and wasteful patterns of living be amended and changed? Words from the Presidential pulpit are not enough. No matter how dazzling the grammatical flourishes of young, well paid speechwriters.

“I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years”, he said. And will your “base” give up those mystical and magical beliefs in creationism and that all biology must somehow conform to the fundamentalist prejudices of devout Christians? Will Kansas and other states allow sex education to be taught with all the facts and images? Some call themselves “pro-life” and prohibit the teaching of how human life itself is created!

Republicans are fond of saying that they wish for a court which does not “legislate from the bench.” But what about this chief executive– who won’t legislate at all– but merely presumes that his own office allows him to spy on his fellow Americans, to make war without cause, to increase our debt to catastrophic proportions and bring the rest of the world to despise the home of the free and the brave?

“We have committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans”, he promised. But there are tens of thousands who are still without homes, and the old city on the Mississippi is dying. There needs to be an environmental and regional plan for the entire state of Louisiana on the order of what the Netherlands did in the 1950’s. Wetlands destruction and global warming are at least part of the answer of why the hurricanes of the past few years have been so catastrophic. But first we must ask what type of nation would fail to provide trailers for homeless people? Those same unoccupied mobile homes are then parked in fields: while bureaucrats quibble over whose department is responsible. Mr. President: have you no decency in allowing New Orleans to die in front of our eyes?

We listened to a beautiful and inspiring speech last night delivered by teleprompter. If all we have is a figurehead in the Oval Office pretending to lead us, one who considers that his law trumps all other laws, what hope is there for our nation or the world?

5 thoughts on “A Heart and Head at War.

  1. TarzanaWalt wrote “But whay is it people like Feistein and Boxer are so sikent? All they do is complain which gives the GOP full, unlimited ability to do whatever they want.”

    Check out their net worth. What makes you think they want to rock the boat?

    The problem is that the Democrats are just the period of dormancy between right-wing backlashes. You must look for a way to make social change outside of politics.

    Politics got us into the mess; it sure as hell is not going to get us out of it. And we are facing a tsunami of catastrophes:
    *The Oil Wars will prove to be futile, and we will have nothing but a trillion-dollar invoice to show for it.
    *Oil production will peak, meaning that supplies are only going to dwindle while demand increases exponentially.
    *There is no alternative energy source with the efficiency of oil as a replacement.
    *The United States has become too dependent on maintaining our lifestyles based on excessive supply chains.
    *The United States, by decreeing monetarism to be the official world economic policy, has become a rentier economy. This makes our financial institutions strong at the expense of our own trade-productive economy. We will join the ranks of the Third World.
    *We are on the verge of an economic collapse that may be the largest in the history of civilization. Because of the large fiscal debt, and personal debt outnumbering savings, the value of the dollar is precarious. Since our latest “economic” boom only occurred because of promiscuous lending and large floating debt, the prospects are very high for bankruptcy. This will take the dollar down, and other currencies will fall like dominoes as investors will overvalue the world’s remaining economies.

    No politician can ever deliver bad news and expect to be re-elected.

    You’re all on your own.

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  2. Wad, you’re right. But whay is it people like Feistein and Boxer are so sikent? All they do is complain which gives the GOP full, unlimited ability to do whatever they want.

    The Democrats are proving the old adage, you snooze, you lose.

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  3. Andrew wrote: “Yet Bush is the author and creator of a war without reason, one that is even less comprehensible than Vietnam.”

    Bush did not create the war. A man of such stupidity lacks the brain power to plan out such an operation. He is merely a puppet.

    And there is a reason why we went to, and are going to war, in the Middle East. And only the rest of the world is acknowledging it honestly.

    About a decade ago, an entity called the Project for a New American Century, which I guess is more pragmatic than a Thousand Year Reich, published a treatise on American domination being reinforced through control of the financial and natural resources sectors. Dominating the petroleum sector is key to realizing the PNAC’s vision.

    The high concept: we’re in the Middle East to take over the region’s oil reserves, thereby having an iron grip on the world economy.

    Toppling the Saddam Hussein regime, the 21st century white man’s burden of bringing democracy and enlightenment to the Levantine savages, and “fighting them so that they don’t fight us here” are all red herrings, and acknowledging their validity only prolongs a futile endeavor.

    Much has been made of the Bush Administration being an oil administration. They should at least know a little something about oil.

    They know this: we use more oil than geology can create. Several nations are emerging economic powers, and are thus going to need more petroleum. Also, the United States has 5 percent of the world’s population but uses 25 percent of the world’s energy, meaning we are incredibly wasteful with our energy economy. The last has a lot of bearing. We are at war because we are 5 percent of the world’s population and we use 25 percent of energy. If we didn’t, we can’t cease to function.

    Also, people who know about oil know that petroleum has been the world’s most efficient energy source, and there’s no other source that will deliver us the same energy in the same abundance. Let me repeat: THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO PETROLEUM. Alternative fuels that exist now do not give us the same efficiency or abundance as petroleum.

    How does America ensure its dominance then? Well, since the United States officially is a proponent of monetarism, that ensures that all economic activity is centered around financial transactions instead of trade. This got us around the Adam Smith problem of comparative advantage, as Wall Street, bankers, insurers and property brokers can take a cut from both producers and consumers, and now we can do it globally.

    Taking control of oil only solidifies our position as an economic power, as we can cut deals to make or break entire nations through the price of oil. If we succeed, we would be at an extraordinary extortionary position.

    Now, for most Americans, we either can’t think up to such adult ramifications, or we can see the truth and develop a self-deception mechanism in response to it.

    Most of the world knows what’s going on. The Middle East knows it all too well. The rest of the world rightly feels threatened. Say Europeans, who enjoy their welfare states and in many cases shut entire countries down when benefit cuts are announced, know that America doesn’t like the safety nets and demands that “this variant of vile communism” be dismantled wholesale or else we cut off their oil supplies. They don’t want their states to be petro-leveraged.

    So the war is comprehensible, and even rational. There are just some of us who don’t want to see reality for the hideous beast that it is sometimes.

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  4. You’re absolutely right. The Democrats suck. They have a mealy-mouth, wimpy, directionless party that long ago abandoned its principles and now is lead by cynicism and pablum.

    But criticising Bush doesn’t mean one can’t also be critical of the Democrat(ic) Party. When Hillary Clinton proposes some regulation of the video game industry as part of her 2008 campaign plans, nobody is fooled.

    Yet Bush is the author and creator of a war without reason, one that is even less comprehensible than Vietnam.

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  5. Rather than discuss the SOTU speech, I’d like to point out how the Democrat’s have failed us miserably, as demonstrated by the vapid response by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. He had absolutely no suggestions, programs or ideas to counter anything that President Bush had to say. Worse, the Democrats in the audience sat on their hands throughout the speech except the one time when the President mentioned the stalled efforts to address our bankrupt Social Security program.

    Where is the Democrat plan for Iraq that Chuck Schumer promised would be released in January, 2006?

    Where is the Democrat plan for rescuing Social security that Bill Clinton said was critical, but did nothing about?

    Etc.

    Rather than criticising what Bush said, and there’s plenty to criticise, why not focus on the do nothing and leaderless Democrats who simply draw a paycheck but accomplish nothing?

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