Friday, November 19, 2004


I'm gonna keep this short. This war needs to end. The summary executions have to be stopped. The civilan casualties have to be stopped. The endless appropriations for this conflict have to be stopped--we're paying troops to knock buildings down and then also paying for them to be rebuilt, usually so some fatcats can make a killing both on the reconstruction and on the business that goes on there afterward.

Don't Assume

So it seems that the reason this is allowed to go on is that people are trained to assume that we have to be in Iraq. Almost every pundit show and news article and opinion piece more or less bases arguments on the supposed fact that we have to be in Iraq. In other words, they assume Iraq.

There are so many articles to link to in order to demonstrate this, so here's one I read today. It's a Slate article basically defending the soldier who shot the unarmed, wounded Iraqi.
Now, it doesn't really argue for or against our being in Iraq or anything, but I use it as an exhibit of "assuming Iraq" because, if it weren't for the fact that we're in Iraq, the article wouldn't need to be written. The poor bastard that was shot wouldn't (necessarily) be dead, and the poor bastard who shot him wouldn't have been put in that position by George W. Bush.

But the article prattles on about how saintly the U.S. military is and how the killing of the Iraqi isn't morally equivalent to the killing of Margaret Hassan as war critics might like to say. They say this is true because Hassan was never a combatant, unlike the headshot Iraqi.

What they conveniently leave out, because they assume Iraq, is that we invaded their country under false pretenses. Were the tables turned and the United States was being occupied by Iraqis, we in America would surely think that the unfortunate deaths of the combatant and Hassan were morally equivalent. Here's the interesting way the Slate authors look at it:

As it turned out, the Iraqi was entitled to mercy, but Hassan was truly innocent. There is no legitimate moral equivalence between a soldier asking for quarter and a noncombatant like Hassan.

So what the writers (two former military men wrote this article) are saying, by contrasting Hassan and the headshot Iraqi, is that the Iraqi is guilty because he fought. Well, according to this logic, the logic put forth by these writers, fighting makes you "guilty." Well, guess who the Iraqi was fighting? The Americans, who are also fighters.

So these Slate writers are doubly hypocritical in that 1)they're apologists for war crimes (just as they accuse those who would criticize our involvement in Iraq as "insurgent apologists" and 2) they're arguing that the insurgents are the guilty ones, not U.S. soldiers, while they make the implicit case that combat taints a person--but both sides are engaged in combat.

And that's what frustrates and angers me. Like I said at the beginning, we shouldn't have to be puzzling through this. We should not have gone to Iraq in the first place, we should not be there now, and we should never go back in the future unless Iraq actually does attack us.

I thought the "war on terror" was supposed to be a "new kind of war." Well, what we see on TV every night seems like the same old kind of bloody, imperialistic, nasty, unnecessary, foul, hellish business it always has been.

What We Should Have Done

Given that we've spent between $100-200 billion already on this stupid, unnecessary war and sustained thousands of casualties, we should have just given Saddam $10 billion if he would agree to move to a compound in Paris, where he would be monitored but could enjoy the billions any way he saw fit as long as he was not using it to build up armaments to attack other countries or anything else of a similar nature. Not a shot fired, not a life lost on either side. And much cheaper than what we're doing now.

Could that be construed as "rewarding" Saddam for his bad behavior? Well, I suppose one could come to that conclusion about as easily as one might conclude that going to war under false pretenses like we've done is punishing our soldiers for joining the military.

We shouldn't even have an army when we're not at war. And we should only be involved in wars of defense, yes, after we've been attacked. Sorry, Bushfucker, that's they way it works. The "pre-emptive" doctrine and the "war on terror" are designed so that we will always have wars and therefore the people will always be on edge and always ready to sacrifice liberty for security.

It's kind of like an ex-military man I might right before the start of the war said when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to go to Iraq--he said, "Well,we've got the most powerful military in the world--it seems a shame not to use it." And I was in the company of another soldier years ago and we happened to hear the song "War" by Edwin Starr ("War/what is it good for/Absolutely nothing). The soldier said "I hate this song--if it were'nt for war, I wouldn't have a job."

And even my own dear departed grandmother once said "I love the military" as we were looking through photo albums. How she could say this after living with my grandfather in the years after his nervous breakdown during WWII after which, according to all accounts, he was never the same again.

What is wrong with people?

Friday, November 12, 2004


1. Fuck the FCC.

2. Fuck the American Family Association.

3. Fuck George Bush.

4. Fuck what Eric Alterman said today.

Fuck 'em? Why?

1. The FCC has gone from watchdog to lap dog, and now has networks afraid to show an Oscar-winning movie with Oscar-winning actors made by an Oscar-winning director about one of the most important events of the 20th century, warts and all.

2. The American Family Association is a Christo-fascist organization that promotes ignorance and despises reality. Why, they suggest, do you have to have all that swearing in a realistic war movie? Wouldn't it be just as realistic without the "'f' words" and the "'s' words?" No, it wouldn't--would the King James version of the Bible be as holy without the words "piss," "ass," "hell," and "damn?"

What these jackbooted Christian thugs are trying to do is sanitize everything to make it more acceptable somehow in their crazed fantasies of how the world ought to be. Well, when you sanitize war and try to make it acceptable, that helps--maybe just in the smallest of ways--to make war acceptable. War is failure and weakness and to try to make it an acceptable option is evil.

3. He's just as clueless, mean, and stupid as ever. I can't wait till news of his love child with Karen Hughes comes out. He constantly says the Palestinians have to "stop terror" but in the same breath says Israel has to "defend herself." He has no idea how to handle the Israel-Palestine situation.

4. Which brings us to Eric Alterman's problem with Noam Chomsky. Eric Alterman is a passionate, brilliant writer and progressive advocate whose blog I read every day. But he'll take a shot at Chomsky every now and again, saying he disagrees with almost everything Chomsky says.

Today he tried to clarify why he feels that way, but didn't really say it himself. He sent readers in search of some elusive Web data (I gave up on trying to find the "H-Diplo" discussion at that convoluted site) that Alterman said expressed how he felt about Chomsky.

Well, it seems to me that Alterman is really just trying to be iconoclastic with these sorts of assertions--taking a swipe at one of the big boys to make himself appear to be in Chomsky's league (which he is) and position himself as the cool new major alternative progressive thinker. I also think Chomsky critics like Alterman have a problem with his moral clarity in that it doesn't favor "us" over "them." In Chomsky's analysis, there is only one "us"--humanity.

Therefore, Chomsky has no problem saying that U.S. violence and/or complicity in violence against other nations is no different to other nations' violence and/or complicity in violence against the U.S. Because, frankly it isn't different. We have our reasons for bombing, they have theirs. When we bomb them, they suffer just like we suffer when they bomb us.

This is one major point of Chomsky's oeuvre (what I've consumed of it, anyway) then, as I see it:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I doubt he'd put it that way, but that's what underlies all his criticism of the U.S.--we don't do that. For example, we go to war with Saddam because he invades a sovereign nation (Kuwait, of course). The hypocritical line we take is that countries do not invade other countries without provocation. Then we do the very same thing by invading Iraq, a sovereign nation that did not provoke us. A simple yet clear and recent example.

So I don't understand why Alterman has a problem with the fact that Chomsky takes exception to the fact that we don't always follow the moral standards that we would have others follow. Except that Chomsky is Jewish and is often very critical of Israel. And apparently that's a no-no in some circles.

But Chomsky calls a terrorist act a terrorist act, no matter who commits it, and that ruffles feathers. He's just trying to get us to see ourselves for who we really are so that we can change, stop antagonizing the world, and maybe really have peace or something close.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Why oh why did you concede John Kerry
I told you not to here on this blog
that you have neither read
nor been informed of the existence of

But whether I told you or not
you should have known not to concede
you're a fighter and a "good closer"
but under a little pressure
you shut down


the FBI now says they never gave
a terror warning to Warren County, Ohio
whose election officials barred reporters from the counting areas


and all the talking heads
say this story and others like it
would be pursued much harder
had you not conceded

will we ever know whether Ohio's 20
should be subtracted from Bush leaving him with 266
and added to you
giving you a winning total of 272

will you at least make a statement

OK...enough of that. I meant to do my election post-mortem the day after the election in this space, but I was sick. Literally. Diarrhea and nausea and exhaustion.

So here's a really capsulated version.

2004 Post Mortem

How could Kerry have lost?

-He won the debates
-He was endorsed by more papers and even papers that endorsed Bush last time
-Omens like the Redskins loss and the Red Sox win were in his favor
-There were no WMD, but thousands of Americans have been killed or wounded “looking” for them, not to mention the number of Iraqis killed or wounded
-And so on...

Oh, wait, here's a couple reasons why he "lost" (if he did in fact lose)...

1. He tried the “centrist”, triangulating position—i.e., supporting the war but not really.

2. Bush timed the war (or drug it out, as in the case of not “really” assaulting Fallujah until after election) to coincide with election, obviously knowing that no president has been turned out of office in wartime.

3. Kerry never really refuted Swift Boat attacks. Big mistake.

Kerry should have fought for Ohio in the courts. That’s the Democrats for you—they’ll fold as soon as the heat is on for fear of looking inappropriate. Republicans know that most people will forget any appearance of impropriety soon enough. So they fight dirty, tooth and nail. They expect behavior from others that they themselves would not provide for others.

So what now?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Yikes...this is a close one.

Mr. Kerry, whatever you do, DO NOT CONCEDE!!! DO NOT BE NICE!!! Bush got into the White House through a court challenge, so can you!!!

Monday, November 01, 2004

TOMORROW'S THE DAY!! a vote for Bush is a vote for the loser...

On Wednesday morning, George W. Bush will have to start packing his bags, shredding documents and planning pardons, 'cause he's going down!!

Why this is so:

1. Gore had 100,00 times the votes that Bush "won" by in 2000--537. So that's already more popular votes to begin with. Add to that the disaffected Republicans like Andrew Sullivan and Nader voters like my wife and me, and you've got a lot more than a 537,000 (give or take) vote margin.

2. The Packers beat the Redskins. I went to college with Brett Favre, who I'm sure wants Bush to win, but oh well. Maybe he should've taken it easy on the 'Skins. I'm no sports fan, but apparently this has correctly predicted the winner since 1936.

3. The millions of new registrants are likely inspired more by wanting to change the status quo (i.e., remove Bush) than by wanting to maintain it.

4. Record turnouts are predicted and turnout helps the challenger, they say.

5. With increasing numbers of people not maintaining land-line phone service, the polls don't necessarily reflect the real attitudes of potential voters because pollsters don't call cell phones.

6. Zogby says he'll win.

7. Florida Democrats are fucking pissed about the 2000 election.

And so forth.

Dirty Tricks and Theft

Hopefully the dirty tricks by the Repukes will be kept to a minimum, but even if they aren't and they really get in gear to steal this thing, Kerry and the liberals won't roll over and play nice like they did in 2000. What happened there of course, was that liberals generally assume that people are rational and reasonable and want to get along with others. Therefore, Democrats in 2000 were willing to say, "Look, this thing was close, we had the Presidency for eight years, our guy did concede and then rescind his concession--we'll just go along with Bush. His rhetoric wasn't over the top and he's known for bipartisanship and moderation. How bad could it be?"

Well, we now know to what lengths these Repukes will go. Give 'em an inch and they'll steal a thousand miles. So we can't just roll over and try to be reasonable this time if they try to steal it. And they probably will--Bush and his people are so dead set on him having a second term and not being a one-termer like dear old Daddy.

Christians For Kerry

Saw a guy at Blockbuster this evening with a "Christians For Kerry" shirt he'd had made. He and his friend had been going door to door soliciting votes and thought such shirts would be a nice touch. On the back was a quote from Garrison Keillor: "Bush doesn't own Jesus."


I'm so nervous and jumpy about tomorrow--I hope I can sleep. Kerry on, my wayward son.