Memoir of the neighborhood Crying Man: Reflection on the Girl Blog from Iraq

Submitted: Aug 21, 2006

... Are the lives of Arabs worth so little?

... And the world wonders how ‘terrorists’ are created! A 15-year-old Lebanese girl lost five of her siblings and her parents and home in the Qana bombing… Ehud Olmert might as well kill her now because if he thinks she’s going to grow up with anything but hate in her heart towards him and everything he represents, then he’s delusional.

Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it’s
a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then it’s terrorism (unless of course the
militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If it’s
the Israeli, American or British army, then it’s a pre-emptive strike, or a ‘war on
terror’. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died
last night- they’re only Arabs, after all, right?

Right?

-- July 30l 2006, Baghdad Burning, "I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend..." Girl Blog from Iraq... let's talk war, politics and occupation.
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There was a man in our neighborhood in San Francisco in the mid-1970s, who cried all day long, openly, quietly, with no other manifestation of mal-adaption but poverty. I assume he slept in our neighborhood park, fairly safely, in the lee of our cathedral.

The neighborhood was popular with tourists from around the world and the mafia kept the streets fairly crime-free for the sake of the restaurant trade. Eventually, the lords of our neighborhood, who had tolerated the crying man among a number of docile street people, granted him a job bussing tables at a coffee shop. I noticed one day in 1979, watching him clearing cups and plates off tables, that his tears had diminished to sniffles. I felt a slight tremor of alarm, but reflected that extreme collective grief cannot be indefinitely maintained, and left the coffee shop to go try to make some money.

But, there was a time, 1975, when he cried for all of us. It was such a time that many of us knew he cried for all the grief over Vietnam and America.

In our neighborhood, however, we had Chinese immigrant people so wracked and ruined by war they babbled and gnashed their teeth out in front of God and everybody. Ours was a picturesque neighborhood but not without its sorrows. Who could forget the earnest Chinese evangelist preaching on the traffic island at our busiest intersection? We were a neighborhood, adored by tourists, yet full of incomprehensible speech and futile gestures.

The Crying Man was as simple as a patient of Jesus. He was the answer to the question asked in the Gospel of St. Mark: Where is the salt? He leaked it. He donated it to the neighborhood. It was his rent check and security deposit.

One analysis of present times is that the Americans sought empire too late in the game. The formerly colonized cut off that avenue for the expansion of power. During the Cold War we could see it all as a vast thriller by Greene, Ambler or Le Carre. After that, America declared the "end of history," and dissolved back into nuclear-armed, oblivious adolescence.

“The Americans have gone mad again,” John Le Carre noted in 2003.

A society that has replaced the knowledge of 30 years ago that “what goes around comes around,” with the arrogant corporate slang that “shit happens,” is actually brain dead.

Right?

Even a spider plunging into the void creates a strand of web behind it. This administration plunged us into a void, leaving behind a trail of nothing but destruction and corruption.

But, wait! Something lurks in the void, more terrifying than this void of corporate nihilism itself: slow moving, society-ruining economic and political consequences.

How do Americans benefit from this fascist plutocracy? How will Americans get rid of it? If we succeed, what then?

Bill Hatch
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Notes:

http://www.counterpunch.com/roberts08212006.html
August 21 , 2006
Will the Unemployed Become Cannon Fodder for Bush's Wars?
Artificial Recovery; Real Job Losses
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
…The July report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists 113,000 new jobs, all of which are in services.“Leisure and hospitality” accounted for 42,000 jobs, most of which are waitresses and bar tenders. “Education and health services” accounted for 24,000 jobs.
“Professional and business services” accounted for 43,000. Manufacturing lost another 15,000 jobs. In the US today, government employs 7.7 million more people than does manufacturing. Little wonder we have an $800 billion annual trade deficit when the government sector is larger than the manufacturing sector. American economists are yet to face up to the fact that offshoring high productivity, high value-added jobs that pay well and replacing them with waitresses and bartenders is a knife in the heart of the US economy. Charles W. McMillion of MBG Information Services reports that compensation is falling behind price rises and that the US economy has been kept afloat by consumers overspending their disposable incomes by drawing down their accumulated assets and going deeper into debt.
McMillion reports that according the Bureau of Economic Affairs, households outspent their disposable incomes by 1.5% in the second quarter of this year, a rate of dissaving equaled only by the depression year of 1933 … What kind of economic recovery is it when the purchasing power of wages falls instead of rises?
In my opinion, the recovery was artificial. It was based on extremely low interest rates orchestrated by the Federal Reserve. The low interest rates discouraged saving, but the low rates reduced the mortgage cost of real estate, inflated home prices and encouraged consumers to refinance their homes and to spend the equity. The federal government has been overspending its income also, and has wasted a minimum of $300 billion on an illegal, pointless, and lost war that has turned Iraq into a terror zone … Considering the loss of good jobs, the high debt burden, and the dependence on imports, it is unclear what will enable America to pull herself out of the next recession.
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http://blog.aflcio.org/2006/08/21/minimum-wage-%e2%80%98take-this-pay-and-shove-it%e2%80%99/
Minimum Wage: ‘Take This Pay and Shove It’
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the last time the federal minimum wage was raised. The 10 long years minimum wage workers have earned just $5.15 an hour shows the “skewed priorities” of the Republican-controlled Congress, writes AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on The Hill, the blog recently launched by the influential congressional insider newspaper The Hill.
Says Sweeney in the Aug. 20 post:
If ever an issue clearly showed the skewed priorities of this Congress’ leadership, it’s the minimum wage. Two weeks ago the Senate rightly rejected a cynical ploy by Republican leadership to poison the current minimum wage increase with yet more massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans…
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http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0820-23.htm
Published on Sunday, August 20, 2006 by the New York Times
Five Years After 9/11, Fear Finally Strikes Out
by Frank Rich
The results are in for the White House’s latest effort to exploit terrorism for political gain: the era of Americans’ fearing fear itself is over.
In each poll released since the foiling of the trans-Atlantic terror plot — Gallup, Newsweek, CBS, Zogby, Pew — George W. Bush’s approval rating remains stuck in the 30’s, just as it has been with little letup in the year since Katrina stripped the last remaining fig leaf of credibility from his presidency. While the new Middle East promised by Condi Rice remains a delusion, the death rattle of the domestic political order we’ve lived with since 9/11 can be found everywhere: in Americans’ unhysterical reaction to the terror plot, in politicians’ and pundits’ hysterical overreaction to Joe Lieberman’s defeat in Connecticut, even in the ho-hum box-office reaction to Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center.” … The administration’s constant refrain that Iraq is the “central front” in the war on terror is not only false but has now also backfired politically: only 9 percent in the CBS poll felt that our involvement in Iraq was helping decrease terrorism. As its fifth anniversary arrives, 9/11 itself has been dwarfed by the mayhem in Iraq, where more civilians are now killed per month than died in the attack on America … We look at Mr. Chertoff and still see the man who couldn’t figure out what was happening in New Orleans when the catastrophe was being broadcast in real time on television …Dick Cheney’s credibility is also nil: he will always be the man who told us that Iraqis would greet our troops as liberators and that the insurgency was in its last throes in May 2005. His latest and predictable effort to exploit terrorism for election-year fear-mongering — arguing that Ned Lamont’s dissent on Iraq gave comfort to “Al Qaeda types” — has no traction because the public has long since untangled the administration’s bogus linkage between the Iraq war and Al Qaeda. That’s why, of all the poll findings last week, the most revealing was one in the CBS survey: While the percentage of Americans who chose terrorism as our “most important problem” increased in the immediate aftermath of the London plot, terrorism still came in second, at only 17 percent, to Iraq, at 28 percent … What Republicans really see in Mr. Lieberman’s loss is not a defeat in the war on terror but the specter of their own defeat. Mr. Lamont is but a passing embodiment of a fixed truth: most Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake and want some plan for a measured withdrawal. That truth would prevail even had Mr. Lamont lost. … As the election campaign quickens, genuine nightmares may well usurp the last gasps of Rovian fear-based politics. It’s hard to ignore the tragic reality that American troops are caught in the cross-fire of a sectarian bloodbath escalating daily, that botched American policy has strengthened Iran and Hezbollah and undermined Israel, and that our Department of Homeland Security is as ill-equipped now to prevent explosives (liquid or otherwise) in cargo as it was on 9/11. For those who’ve presided over this debacle and must face the voters in November, this is far scarier stuff than a foiled terrorist cell, nasty bloggers and Ned Lamont combined.
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http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/story/0,,1855568,00.html
Tories open nine-point lead as Labour drops to 19-year low
Julian Glover
Tuesday August 22, 2006
The Guardian
David Cameron is on course for a possible general election win, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today that shows support for the Conservatives climbing to a lead that could give them a narrow majority in the Commons, while Labour has plunged to a 19-year low.
The Tories have gained over the last month while support for Labour has fallen heavily in the wake of the recent alleged terror plot against airlines. An overwhelming majority of voters appear to pin part of the blame for the increased threat on Tony Blair's policy of intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ministers - including Mr Blair - have repeatedly denied that there is a connection. But 72%, including 65% of Labour voters, think government policy has made Britain more of a target for terrorists. Only 1% of voters believe the government's foreign policy has made Britain safer, a devastating finding given that action in Iraq and Afghanistan has been justified in part to defeat Islamist terrorism.
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http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0820-30.htm
Amateur Warlords
Bush, Cheney, Blair - and now Olmert - have demonstrated they have no grasp of military affairs
by Eric Margolis
Toronto Sun (Canada) -- Aug. 20, 2006
For a leader who styles himself "the war president," U.S. Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush's military record now stands at 0 for 4. Even Italy's born-again "imperial Roman conqueror," Benito Mussolini, fared better.
- Fiasco I: Five years after Bush ordered Afghanistan invaded and proclaimed "total victory," U.S. and allied forces are fighting a losing war against Afghan resistance groups. Afghan heroin exports are up 90%. The U.S. just quietly deployed thousands more troops to Afghanistan to hunt Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in a desperate attempt to save Republicans from getting clobbered in November midterm elections.
- Fiasco II: "Mission accomplished" in Iraq. Bush's war in Iraq is clearly lost, but few dare admit it. The U.S. has spent $300 billion on Afghanistan and Iraq, with nothing to show but bloody chaos, deficits, body bags, and growing hatred of America. The Bush/Dick Cheney "liberation" of Iraq has now cost more than the Vietnam War.
- Fiasco III: The White House had the CIA and Pentagon spend tens of millions bribing Somali warlords to fight Islamist reformers trying to bring law and order to their strife-ravaged nation. The Islamists whipped CIA-backed warlords and ran them out of Somalia. Following this defeat, the U.S. is now urging ally Ethiopia -- shades of Lebanon -- to invade Somalia, thus raising the threat of a wider war between Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Good work, Mr. President.
- Fiasco IV: Bush and Vice President Cheney egged Israel into the hugely destructive but militarily fruitless war in Lebanon over the past month, in what many view as the first part of their long-nurtured plan to militarily crush Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. They did their best to thwart world efforts to halt the conflict …
No sooner had bombing stopped last week than Hezbollah bulldozers were busy clearing rubble, and Hezbollah social workers resettling refugees. Perhaps Bush should ask Hezbollah to take over rebuilding New Orleans … The "war president" has become the fiasco president. The White House should stop listening to bogus military advice from neocon couch commandos who thirst for Muslim blood, and start listening to experienced Pentagon officers who understand the meaning and cost of war.

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