Charlie Rose’s PBS show was on one night a couple weeks ago, and Thomas Friedman was on, talking about this climate change movie he was involved with; I taped to watch the next night. One sentence jumped out at me. In the places where Arab Spring seemed to have worked, notably Tunisia, it involved an understanding that there needed to be a sharing of power.
Then I started watching the NBC Nightly News, and the foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, was back in Baghdad, Iraq. He explained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Continue reading Cheney and Iraq→
Every year, I hear, especially since the 10th anniversary, “Remember 9/11! Never forget!” If we somehow forgot, we’d cease to be ‘vigilant’. I remember September 11, 2001 amazingly well, thank you. Just this summer, I was at highway rest stop on I-87, the Northway, not far from Albany, when I saw a memorial for three people who worked for the Department of Transportation, one of whom I knew not very well, who died on that day.
I’m in my church book study a couple months back. We are reading Jesus for President, VERY slowly, for it has much to offer.
Much to my surprise, I get really ticked off, though not at anyone in the room. It was the re-realization that the war in Iraq, indeed many wars, are in stark contrast with Christian ideals. Yet Christianists seemed to have embraced war as some sort of Christo-American manifest destiny.
Last year, I came across this Kickstarter project, We Are Many – a feature length documentary film “about the never-before-told story of the biggest protest in history, on 15 February 2003, and its legacy, through the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement. The day that saw an estimated 30 million people in over 700 cities around the world, gave birth to a new global social movement.”
When I was growing up, Baghdad sounded wonderfully exotic and ancient. After all, it was in Mesopotamia, that area between the Tigris and Euphrates, which is “widely considered to be the cradle of civilization.”
The meaning of the city’s name may be a “Middle Persian compound of Bag ‘god’ + dād ‘given’, translating to ‘God-given’ or ‘God’s gift’…A less probable guess has been Persian compound Bağ ‘garden’ + dād ‘fair’, translating to ‘The fair Garden.’ Regardless of the derivation, I had believed for some time in my youth that there was a literal Garden of Eden at one point, and it was located somewhere around there.
I was trying to figure out how to BlogBlastForPeace when I realized I had a more pressing issue. I need to tidy up my office while passing the peace without spending a fortune. Here’s my situation.
Back in late 2002, I was attending weekly vigils in front of the NYS Capitol in Albany, against the buildup that would, in March 2003, become the Iraq war. Somebody had made up a bunch of these nifty green buttons with white lettering that said, Choose Peace. Rather like the buttons being sported by my friend Dave and me at a massive antiar rally in New York City in mid-February 2003.
In the runup to the Iraq war, lots of people, including many in the United States, were opposed to it. While they may have understood the battle in Afghanistan, at least at that time, fighting a war in Iraq seemed off track with our stated mission to respond to 9/11. The governments of France and Germany, suppportive of the Afghan war, opposed the incursion into Iraq. As a result, France singularly caught a lot of backlash, not just from the punditry, but even from the US Congress, which renamed French fries “freedom fries”, and other such silliness.
I’ve come to believe that those folks had confused American patriotism with a blind and scary form of nationalism.
So I apologize for the irrationality of my fellow countryfolk. Know that this was not a universally held antipathy. In fact, when I was at a massive antiwar rally in New York City on February 15, 2003, about a month before the war began, there were folks from France who were cheered by the crowd.
I can’t begin to further explain the antipathy, so I won’t even try.
It’s halfway through Barack Obama’s first term as President, and I’m filled with a lot of mixed feelings. On one hand, I think his rhetoric far outstrips his ability to govern. In other words, he promised much more than he could deliver. On the other hand, if Bill Clinton was hampered by a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” that was nothing compared with what Obama has been faced with.
What initially struck me about the President-elect back in December 2008 is that he was already acting as though he were already in charge. The bad news about the economy was becoming more fully released, and he appeared fully involved in trying to fix it. My wife noted at the time that he seemed more visible than the 43rd President.
So his inaugural speech was less inspirational than I might have wanted; still we were promised the audacity of hope. Thus, it seems that a lot of people saw Barack Obama the way they WANTED to see him. Surely, he’ll get rid of the onerous secret human right violations that many were distressed about under his predecessor. That did not prove to be the case.
The American participation in the war in Iraq had greatly diminished, as he said would happen, but he was never allowed any credit for that in some circles because he had opposed the war in the first place, and moreover opposed the surge that most analysts suggested allowed for the withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan has expanded, with the end point pushed back later (2011) and later (2014).