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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Looking back, looking forward

Members of the Madison chapter of Veterans for Peace, February 1, 2003. The guy with the blue hat was a bombardier in the firebombing of Tokyo in World War II. The guy with the “No war” sign was a combat journalist in “Vietnam.” The guy with the beard, holding the corner of the banner was an artilleryman in “Vietnam.” Photo credit: John HamiltonIt seems the Bush criminal regime's plan to attack, invade, bombard, or have "Israel" do the dirty work in "Iran" is a fait accompli, a done deal, an unavoidable fact. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment to the Defense Authorization bill of 2008, recommending that the "Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps" of "Iran" should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization, has passed the "Senate." To see how your "senator" voted, click here. In effect, this designation greases the wheels for the desired conflict.

The "House of Representatives," not to be outdone, passed a resolution to block foreign investment in "Iran." the vote was 397 in favor, 16 against. To see how your "representative" voted, click here.

Me at Patton Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany, summer 1970. Photo credit: Jack Prier, Woodland Hills, CaliforniaIt's Déjà vu all over again. I served in the U.S. Army during the "Vietnam" "war." I was sent to "Germany," but could have been sent to "Vietnam" at any time. Opposing the "war" within the military had its risks, but a growing number of us did what we could to resist the Army altogether in many ways. By the time I got out in 1971 it was near-mutiny.

When the first invasion of "Iraq" was being fomented, Bush I (or "41," as his wayward son calls him) had already invaded "Panama," and Reagan had used a fake threat to justify his invasion of Grenada. Reagan also gave support to the death squads of "El Salvador," and to the "Contras," a terrorist group that was attacking towns and farms in "Nicaragua."

These also were déjà vus, so when Bush II (or "43") was manufacturing his scheme for a "Shock and awe" invasion of "Iraq," I had a familiar sense of dread. The sheer madness and dishonesty of the planned invasion aroused old intuitions. The posturing of politicians, the cheerleading of the news media, the bluster from pretend know-it-alls.

Now might be a good time for those of us with any sense to look back at the last five years, and take stock. It was in September of 2002 that Bush gave his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, making his case for war with "Iraq." Then in October, the "Congress" gave Bush the authorization to invade. Here's how the "Senate" voted. The "House of Representatives" vote result can be seen here.

“Kids for Peace” at the “Preemptive Peace March,” State Street, Madison, Wisconsin, February 1, 2003. Photo credit: John HamiltonI wrote a few things - letters to editors, comments on websites, emails, letters to senators and members of Congress, etc. It all seemed pretty futile. In January 2003 I joined the local chapter of a group called Veterans for Peace. The weekend after I joined, the group participated in the largest peace march in Madison since the "Vietnam" "war," with an estimated 8,000 people marching (Members published a book of their paths to peace, Long Shadows)." Most impressive to me was a group called "Kids for Peace," with about 100 children of various ages marching with signs they made themselves.

Those were heady days. The energy of the march, with similar and larger marches nationwide, made me think the invasion could be stopped. I knew Bush and his gang were criminals, but I believed they would respond to public pressure. Silly me.

The invasion took place in March, the occupation began, and shortly thereafter Bush declared victory. I still had faith in the "system," and thought that a strong opponent in the 2004 election could defeat Bush and end the occupation. I liked Howard Dean, but couldn't see him as president. Naivete upon naivete, I was ready to vote for Ralph Nader again. Then the primary season ended, and John Kerry was the "Democratic" nominee.

John Kerry at the end of his appearance in Madison, October 28, 2004Kerry's performance at the Democratic National Convention was a big turnoff, and I thought he was a pretty lame campaigner. I fully intended to waste my vote on Nader one more time, and then Kerry came to town with Bruce Springsteen. I was among the estimated 80,000 people in attendance on west Washington Avenue on October 28. Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry, October 28, 2004Springsteen sang acoustic versions of "The promised land" and "No retreat, no surrender." I was inspired again, and voted for Kerry. Foolish me. The election was stolen, and if it hadn't been, it's not clear that Kerry would have ended the occupation. He was on TV today, and one thing was crystal clear: we would be plenty tired of him by now.

So now we're moving headlong towards another war, and one that will likely be a far greater disaster than the "Iraq" fiasco. It's out of our hands, though we can't give up. We did what we could to stop the invasion and occupation of "Iraq," and failed. We will likely fail again.

We have nothing to be ashamed of. This country is run by sociopaths. They were put into office by other sociopaths. They get propaganda cover from sociopaths in the news media. None of these sociopaths will ever achieve happiness, peace, or wisdom in their lives. As such, they have wasted their lives, all for a few pieces of silver, and a few grunts of power. "Ugh! Me powerful! Me rich! Me famous! Me steal! Me kill! Me torture! Me feared!"

No matter what hardships we endure as the Bush criminal regime engages in its various schemes, we can always take comfort that we opposed them, that we did what we could to stop them. All that is sown is reaped, positive and negative. Peace will come in its own time. We can't give up.

Click here and here for a bit of inspiration. If you can handle it, have them both running at the same time. Here's another.


Anonymous Tim Roth said...

What is really scary about this push to bomb Iran is that the White House isn't going to be slowed down by politics. One of the reasons why the White House pushed for Iraq in 2002 was the desire to "do something big" and enhance the image of Bush as the heroic wartime president and the GOP as the faithful wartime political party.

A frightening New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh called "Shifting Targets" had this telling quote: At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” The former intelligence official added, “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”

10/07/2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger John Hamilton said...

Good points. It seems the reasons for starting the "war" with "Iraq" are many, and likely would have happened with or without Bush, maybe even Cheney. The ruling "elite" could have lived with the sanctions indefinitely. A President Gore would probably continued this murderous policy.

With the Bush criminal organization, the chief difference, I believe, is a reveling in evil: mass murder, kidnapping, torture, destruction, threats, extortion, theft. And that's only on the international front.

Everything they do domestically is evil also. The negligences in advance of the September 11, 2001 attacks and Hurricane Katrina are evidence enough. The corruption of the Department of Justice and the domestic spying are further indications.

I'm optimistic. This has gone on for too long, it has gone way too far, and if it continues it will end in the collapse of our political and economic system.

In order for the Bush gang to pull off another "war," the country has to effectively become completely corrupt: the executive branch, the military, the Congress, the Judiciary, the mass information media. These institutions are pretty corrupt already, but to go a step farther, complete corruption is necessary. If that happens, then the decline of our "republic" will be rapid.

An example of the corruption of our mass information media can be seen here.

10/07/2007 7:58 PM  

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