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America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan

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Posted on Feb 9, 2010
U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Angelita Lawrence

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Owen sits on the ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft while flying over the mountains of Afghanistan after an airdrop mission.

By William Pfaff

Richard Holbrooke’s comments on reconciliation with the Taliban in Afghanistan, made during the recent Munich Security Conference, echoed earlier remarks by U.N. officials and American military commanders in Kabul that suggest that diplomacy might be coming alive on the Afghan front. This could be true despite, or in coordination with, a new NATO offensive in southern Afghanistan.

For it to succeed, however, it has three enormous obstacles to overcome. The first is that neither the Pentagon nor the White House seems to have clearly identified what the United States wants in Afghanistan. To capture the al-Qaida leadership? Or to defeat that Taliban and create a client government there?

President Barack Obama is in Afghanistan because it is the “right” war to fight. This is because it is where al-Qaida supposedly has its headquarters. But the president seems also to have been convinced that his real objective should be to stabilize or secure Pakistan as well as Afghanistan because of the former’s nuclear weapons. This is entirely different. The highly nationalistic Pakistan army is already hostile to the U.S.

One more military intervention for the U.S.? Washington already is deeply involved in Afghanistan. Israel wants the U.S. to attack Iran. Iraq could blow up this spring because of scheduled elections and attempts by Shiite government figures to disqualify Sunni candidates accused of Baath Party connections. What is the rationale for an involvement in Pakistan, likely to involve India?

A former colleague of mine in the world of strategic studies said in a recent letter that on a Washington visit he could find no one among his acquaintances at the National Security Council who could give him a coherent explanation of what the United States is actually doing in Afghanistan.

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Obviously there is a plan on paper: defeat and neutralize al-Qaida. But whatever al-Qaida consists of in Afghanistan today—leaders, a staff, arms, training areas for volunteers?—can leave the country whenever it decides to do so. The essential elements could probably depart with a few hours’ notice, while the rest scatter.

But the U.S. is laboriously building up a multinational military operational force with attendant bases, infrastructure and (highly vulnerable) lines of supply in order to defeat the Taliban effort to take back control of Afghanistan. The U.S. is doing this to defend the elected government in Kabul against its internal political and ethnic enemies. Why? Can’t the present Afghan leadership defend itself? Or make its own deal with the Pashtun majority in the country, where the Taliban have found their support?

U.S. military action to defeat the Taliban has not been a great success. Nor does Afghanistan offer the terrain for the classic seize-and-hold strategy of orthodox armies confronted with guerrillas and terrorists.

The unorthodox weapon President Obama seems to like best, the unmanned drone bomber, by all accounts has the collateral effect of bitterly alienating the population whose support the U.S. seeks to win.

Richard Holbrooke said at the Berlin security meeting that he regretted that in the past year the reconciliation of the Taliban has been “neglected.” He said that this year American generals hope to separate the Taliban from their existing relationship with the ordinary Pashtun people, among whom they live and find protection.

Holbrooke’s policy of reconciliation sounds very much like the strategy Gen. David Petraeus applied in Iraq, where he dealt with the tribal leadership to foster the Sunni “awakening” movement, through which the U.S. paid the Sunni tribes to provide security in difficult areas.

Last week it was reported in Afghanistan that one of the largest tribal groups, the Shinwari, has apparently turned against the Taliban (for reasons of its own). A million dollars in development funds has now been promised by the U.S. in payment directly to the tribal leaders. This is a fragile gain for the anti-Taliban cause but very much what Gen. Stanley McChrystal wants to see. American officials are talking about greatly enlarged tribal subsidies to provide jobs and economic security.

The objection here is that this buys loyalty to the U.S Army or to NATO units but not to the central government in Kabul, which is dominated by ethnic rivals of the Pashtuns, and is allegedly corrupt. Present policy is that defectors must swear allegiance to the government, which is often unacceptable. Buying the tribes doesn’t solve the problem of internal conflict in the country because the Americans inevitably will (someday) go home.

U.S. and U.N. officials have claimed that Taliban leaders met the top U.N. figure in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, although the story (unsurprisingly) has been denied.

The fate of al-Qaida aside, a negotiated settlement to the Afghanistan conflict is unlikely and maybe impossible without the involvement and support of neighboring countries, including—notably—Iran as well as Pakistan and India. All would expect withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Is that acceptable to the United States? If not, why not? What permanent interest, requiring permanent U.S. bases, does the United States have in the countries of Central and Southern Asia? This is a key issue, and the public has a right to know. The United States went into Afghanistan to find al-Qaida, not to rule Asia.


Visit William Pfaff’s website at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie

You are to be commended for your personal sacrifices to charitable, and community action activities. The link you provided showed the organization in question to be one worthy of much respect. I especially enjoyed the sentiment of the name this organization has chosen to represent their work. It would be wonderful if this sentiment would actually eliminate bombs. Hopefully, this community action will result in a change in course of our ship of state.

Clearly there are people in need in this country, but I am of the opinion that there are others on this planet that are much more in need of near term, urgent, immediate help. The people I’m referring to are not those who are the victims of natural disaster, but those who are the victims of man made disaster, and more specifically those who are suffering and dying from man made disaster caused by the unnecessary, counter productive and destructive actions of our government leaders. World events seem to be escalating every day, which causes me to believe that this is another reason why immediate action is necessary.

Waiting around for local community action to provide these people with relief from suffering and dying, is not an option I find promising, near term or long term, unless they are willing to participate in, and help to organize national political action.
 
I’ve noticed that legal action has not been as successful as we would hope in combating the excesses and injustices perpetrated by the powerful elite, and that it has been nearly impotent of late, in combating the atrocities perpetrated by the Federal Government, and its agencies and contractors. Never the less, what I advocate for is legal action authorized by the highest legal document in the land, i.e. the Constitution of the United States (Specifically the first amendment, of the Constitution, and its provisions for the right of assembly to express grievances.)

You say,

“I myself go out weekly with Food Not Bombs.”

No one is suggesting that you do, or should, go out with bombs. As far as I know, the only parties that advocate going out with bombs are our, past and present, government leaders, their supporters, and our enemies, who object(ed) to the going out with bombs, of our past and present government leaders.  Bombs are expensive in so many ways, so I will suggest that the practice of people going out with bombs should be ended.

I have put forth my suggestion for ending this problem, which is the best one I can offer, and is an alternative to doing nothing. I know that you find my suggestion to be inadequate, impractical, or perhaps too demanding, but your suggestion that I “Put up, or shut up,” is not one that I find to be reasonable. If you find my suggestion unacceptable, that’s your prerogrotive, but for you to suggest that I should “Shut up” is far beyond your authority, real or imagined, and it’s a suggestion I will blithely ignore.

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Radson

Sorry about the misunderstanding, communication can be difficult at times.

Don’t be uncomfortable when your work is called genius. I’ll suggest that using the word as an adjective to art is based on personal appraisals, and that artistic genius may not be a constant state. I believe your poem was a flash of genius, and that is my appraisal.

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By radson, February 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Jdmysticdj

I believe there is a misunderstanding with reference to my last post .What you are saying in your posts is pertinent to the subject matter and I agree with many things you say ,however my use of the
word “zealous” was in reference to the compliments you had written with regards to the poem.Poetry I enjoy but the word “genius ” is perhaps an overstatement ,hence over zealous.

cheers

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 15, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, February 13 at 8:34 am:
‘What I have been advocating is non-violent revolution within the confines of Democracy, or at the least, action to correct gross injustice (Using the word gross, is a gross understatement.)

What others on this thread advocate, continues to be, “Nothing.”

Now it’s my turn, I’d like to see some suggestions for “…definite, material, near term actions.” ‘

I myself go out weekly with Food Not Bombs.  I was previously involved with a free store.  Some people I know are doing various actions to try to save housing for people on Long Island who will become homeless if their neighborhood is torn down—not just protest, but legal and political actions which may impede the process.  See http://www.lifnb.com.

To me these activities are not nothing, but they’re on a very small scale because not many people are interested in them.  No doubt other small groups are doing similar things.  Someday, something may catch on in a bigger way, but it’s not catching on at the moment.  Most political movements spend a long time on the margins before they get traction. 

Evidently, however you think the present activities are “nothing” because that is how you characterize the situation.  Your standard of comparison is the grand sweep of “a non-violent revolution within the confines of Democracy” about which you have given no specifics, no plan of action, and no facts.  May I suggest that you put up or shut up?

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 15, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Radson

I’m disappointed that my comments seem over zealous to you. I certainly don’t want to be considered a zealot. However, I’ve noticed, over the years, that calls for political action have, in the main, been considered zealotry. Comments about napalm, death squads, torture, collateral damage, hegemonic goals, and on and on, etc. etc., ad nauseam, are frequently perceived as being extreme by most, (i.e. zealotry.) Even kindred spirits seem offended, and reluctant to admit that they have the ability to move beyond being relatively impotent, to existentially active, when confronted by requests for more tangible political action.

Poets, artists, social commentators, theoreticians, and others have succeeded in providing a counter balance, when the scales of justice became unbalanced, but it required real political action to balance those scales.

Could it be that all these repetitive sermons to the choir, are counter productive, and have the effect of eliciting the response of, oh well, heavy sigh, there’s nothing we can do? At some point commenting about the dangers of the enemy, must be followed by actually engaging with the enemy. I maintain that we need a surge in political action, in order to bring the issues, which have been ignored, or obfuscated, to the forefront of political debate.

Of course, I realize that my comments have been mere theorizing, but I will reassert that there is a difference between knowing what’s right, and doing what’s right.

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By radson, February 14, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

JD thanks for the compliments ,but perhaps a touch over zealous ,poetry is nevertheless very difficult to write ,yet very enjoyable.To do “nothing” is definitely not the solution and there are prominent spokespersons’
that are raising Red Flags in the likes of Chris Hedges,Cynthia McKinney ,Dennis Kucinich and others,that I am sure you are aware of .Although this movement is in it’s infancy and the Grassroots numbers small ,it
will grow with time .The greatest setback at the moment is I believe Education ,or more precisely -the Institutional narrow mindedness-that is so prominent amongst the Elites.Therefore teaching the new generation
more than one side to the story is of the utmost importance,with a Global Theme hinged on the well being of Mother Earth and all the actions or inactions for that matter should be emphasized to contribute to the
only home that we all inhabit.Watching one of Howard Zinn’ last videos I was amazed at his candid remark ,and this is a paraphrase “after all the years that I had spent studying in a university I only started to really learn when I left” is rather indicative of the educational curriculum.There are other countries that are forming Blocs or economic zones to counter the West’s hegemonic ambitions -which in reality is just a continuation of Imperialism,these countries ,Venezuela ,Bolivia in South-America are going to be in need of support ,when and if the US along with Columbian complicity and Dutch support comes to a head.At the other end of the World the
Chinese are supporting the Iranians that have been vilified by the West ,due of course to China’s increased energy demands ,the Iranian nuclear issue is the excuse for the continual Western rhetoric and it could be
concluded that they missed the boat with the WMD argument.The void left in Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union has created a vacuum effect which the US and Nato is trying to fill with Drones and bombs and death and destruction and then they wonder Why they don’t like us,conversely the Chinese have had favorable relations with both Afghanistan and Pakistan since the nineteen fifties but that aspect of
world coverage is nil.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a visit to the Gulf States at the moment in order to find a way to escalate a conflict with Iran that will not point the finger at the US and Bibi is off to
Moscow in order to convince the Russians not to sell air-defense missiles to the Iranians and to acquiesce in isolating Iran -or is it close their eyes.Neither Russia and or China will except these destabilizing overtures,
because it will only weaken and divide them.So back to your fundamental question of “nothing” first of all Education is paramount ,even though it is a lengthy process,secondly the grassroots must rally around
the advocates of peaceful coexistence and more evening out of the wealth ,thirdly I personally don’t promote violence -that’s how the greedy maintain power.Keeping up to date on current affairs ,as difficult as that
is in this day and age in order to offer an alternate point of view to the opposition is important and lastly since this is a Global concern the movement must become International.

Hopefully I didn’t bore anyone

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Radson

Liecatcher’s post shows your poetic genius, and his excellent good taste, but the question remains. What is to be done?  I hope the answer isn’t - nothing.

“…to what end will this lead us, perhaps to the path of perdition.”

Let us not fall victim to the bleak humanist fallacy that “Perdition” is inescapable or un-escapable. Let us not accept Perdition, or trudge resolutely, with resignation, down the path to Perdition. Let us seek another path, away from Perdition, towards a different destination.

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By radson, February 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

To Liecatcher

Thanks for your comment and your interest in the poem ,I appreciate it.

Cheers

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By liecatcher, February 13, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan

TO: radson, February 12 at 7:43 pm

Hey radson:
I saved one of your blogs from last year because IMO,
it’s one of
the best ever written, & because your prediction came
true.
And, apropos of your statement:
“The path of Perdition is where we are all heading if
we don’t take care of our Planet.”, Bush3
is making an all out push on behalf of GE (one of the
predatory companies that was given $billions
because it was well connected enough to share the
plunder) to have we the sheeple spend $trillion
to create nuclear reactors to , get this, “free us
from dependence on foreign oil”. Ralph Nader’s
Friday newsletter covered in great detail what a
disaster nuclear reactors would be for the Planet.

2009
By radson, June 30 at 6:42 pm #

The heroes are bemedalled

the saints are few

the fools are many

the blue-blooded rule regardless of the cost

for chaos is the definition of progress

where profit is prime

regardless of crime

for crime it is when innocence is robbed of time

the cries go unheeded

for the children of the damned have no voice

or is it no choice

when capitalist greed spreads a seed is born

though at first it is unbeknown to most

yet after time it requires an insatiable thirst

that rapes the land and also the hand

the hand which toils until it falters

yet there are few alters

for progress needs none

still progress needs the son

to blind the one’s who die for naught

as we witness what is wrought before our eyes

and innocence dies

we laugh and drink as societies sink

into the quagmire of ruin

where history is lost or rewritten with poisonous
fumes

to what end will this lead us

perhaps to the path of perdition

By radson, June 30 at 8:44 pm #  To Liecatcher
The term blue-blooded originated in Spain with the
Aristocracy ,
it is meant today to denote the wealthy rulers
regardless of nationality.
Basically the Magnates ,the Barons ,the
Billionaires.The children of the
damned are the children that are being exploited and
or denied a fair chance.
The path of Perdition is where we are all heading if
we don’t take care of our Planet.

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 13, 2010 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

(Please disregard my most recent post, it was intended for another thread.)

What I have been advocating is non-violent revolution within the confines of Democracy, or at the least, action to correct gross injustice (Using the word gross, is a gross understatement.)

What others on this thread advocate, continues to be, “Nothing.”

Now it’s my turn, I’d like to see some suggestions for “…definite, material, near term actions.”

Report this
JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, February 13, 2010 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

Please forgive the gross error of my previous post.

I admire Caesar Chavez for many reasons, but I am not familiar with any highly refined olfactory senses he might have had.

The Chavez I admire because of his highly refined olfactory senses is Hugo, not Caesar.

Report this

By radson, February 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

The argument that is being discussed at the moment between Liecatcher ,Gerard ,JD,Ofersince 72 is palpable ,but the pertinent question -how should anyone or organization- move ahead is the dilemma.The
underlying problem is the unquestionable mastery that the Elites have over the general public and their ability in manipulation.Whether one considers the Foreign Policy arrangements constructed by America
and the appendage called Nato to spread and maintain the English Imperialistic Status Quo throughout the world should raise more than a few eye browses.Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys are not
in reality a novelty when one understands Imperialism ,they are merely a continuation of Guarantees for the Hegemonic growth of the so -called superior societies ,better known as the West and basically f##k
the rest .When the story of a backwards Country emerges in the news ;take a moment and reflect ,it is not by definition the general consensus of the the populace that wishes or for that matter desires such
chaos ,it is consistently attributable to the misdirection of wealth fomented by the Global Hamsters.The glorious call to battle in olden times whereas the propagators were led by the Rulers is no more -call them
inglorious basterds -if you wish ,but the Elites have chosen to send other Suckers in their stead.And there lies the question to this conundrum ,a King needs Serfs without which there is no power to be maintained,
so choose your kinship carefully and if the shit hits the fan ,don’t fight for the Barons confront them instead.

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By TAO Walker, February 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Thanks are again due liecatcher for reminding us of the yawning gap between the bloody awful reality and the airbrushed p.r. image of that crazy little thing called “civilization.”  This Old Indian has not been using mere metaphors and other figures-of-speech here in descriptions of the damned CONtraption and its operations.

It’s true some among the Native Peoples have been trying to turn “money” from their “gaming” set-ups into something (like land, and care for the Children and the Elders) that we might all be able to go on living-with.  Those who’ve kept more intact their natural organic Ways seem to have more success in that.

Meantime, our tame Sisters and Brothers CONtinue waiting in-vain for the pyramid-schemers who sold ‘em that bill-of-goods, in-the-first-place, to deliver the actual promised “goods” themselves….and as always they’re told by their tormentors’ two-legged tools that ‘technical difficulties’ have set things back another ten or twenty years.  This charade CONtinues even as everyday access to the very necessities of their half-lives becomes more-and-more problematical for the captives, and temptations to get LOST in the gadgetry of the virtual world-o’-hurt’s “cyberspace” DEAD END grow exponentially.  When it comes to genuinely nourishing food and safe-to-drink water, though, “deferred gratification” gets to be a real killer….witness Haiti.

So this Old Savage again recommends people getting together where they live-and-breathe, and ‘re-investing’ their precious Human attention-in and paying their affectionate respects-to our Mother Earth and All Our Relations.  They will see, all together, the mutually beneficial ‘dividends’ immediately.

The thing about The Tiyoshpaye Way, though, and entirely unlike the false eCONomy that is the ‘operating system’ of the “civilization” apparatus, there is just no faking-it.

HokaHey!

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By ofersince72, February 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, if your still listening, I doubt you are

we just missed a real good opportunity for what you
speak of and want…..When Bush and Obama rescued
Capitolism again by bailing out Wall Street.

We should have let it collapse….
While it may have been devestating in the short
term…..many long term benifits were thrown away
with the doublespeak “too big too fail” crap.

That is all FDR did with the New Deal , rescued
Capitolism from the labor movement.

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By liecatcher, February 12, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan  
Posted on Feb 9, 2010 By William Pfaff

Confusion is created by lies, ignorance, fear,
mainstream media
control, & propaganda spewed by the miscreants who
benefit
from the confusion.
Having digested all of that, let’s look at two liars
& evaluate the
consequences. What is the difference between the lies
John
Edwards told (taking into account that he eventually
confessed),
& the lies Olima keeps telling. Edwards’ lies may
cost him a few
$million & hurt his family. Olima’s lies, on the
other hand, have
injured every man, woman, & child in America, not
just the
obvious lives of the millions of people who have lost
their jobs,
homes, life savings, and have very little to look
forward to
except waiting in lines at charitable food pantries.
Others have
covered,on a daily basis, the death & destruction
being rained
down on the victims of his policies around the world.
His lies which he will never acknowledge have
enslaved we the
people & pushed the U.S. into a debtor’s abyss from
which there
is no escape. While some people who’ve become
discombobulated
will feel embarrassed, & perhaps even inadequate,
while others
resort to scapegoats to assuage their pain & salve
their egos.
The net effect is the deterioration of our society &
the obscene
enrichment of the Fascist Oligarchs whose boots he
licks & whose
anuses he kisses.

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By ofersince72, February 12, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

A few months back, Democracy Now did a special
on the Black Panther that was gunned down in front
of his wife while he was in bed , by the Chicago
Police Dept.

They did a little “IN HIS OWN WORDS”

this very thing is what that young man was talking
about…He was very concerned about the Civil
Rights movement becoming a self interest movement
rather than a social change or social justice
movement…..

As it turns out,, he had good reasons for those
concerns.

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By ofersince72, February 12, 2010 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

none the less the Civil Rights movement
just as the anti-draft movement….

would end up being a self interest movement
not a social change movement..

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 12, 2010 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ—You seemed to be impatient with gerard’s talk of local, small-scale political action, so I was wondering what you had in mind.  Small groups however committed cannot be massive demonstrations all by themselves, and in any case even very large demonstrations do not seem to affect the course of events very much, if at all.

I regard the Civil Rights movement as effective, but it was different from the anti-war movement in significant ways.  Mainly, it called for the application of the normal liberal rights to all citizens—something the established order of liberal capitalism was largely in favor of already.  But as war and imperialism are apparently intrinsic to liberal capitalism, any attempt to dismantle the death machine is going to be met with very stubborn resistance on the part of the same established order.  We have not figured out how to deal with that resistance yet.

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By ofersince72, February 12, 2010 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

Oh,  do I make sound all so depressing and hopeless
Gerard?

I bet I know just how all those Near and Middle East
citizens feel right now,

If putting the facts on the table is considered a
scare tactic you KNOW we are beyond political fix!!!

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By ofersince72, February 12, 2010 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

Gerard you are exactly right, except for leading
people to kill,

If the greats and now legends of Zinn, Chomsky,
Goodman, Klien, and so many others can’t change
the direction of destruction,  I sure can’t either.
But I am AWARE of my souroundings.

I am not trying to scare anyone,  It’s scary enough!

P.S.  Nader has never been considered a rabble rouser
by anyone other than intimidated Democrats !!!!

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By gerard, February 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

In my opinion: 

  You can scare people into following some rabble-rouser. 
  You can scare people into killing people.
  You can scare people into hiding under the bed.
  You can scare people into running away.
  It is doubtful if you can scare people into taking wiss action or leading other people away from exploitation and toward reconciliation and justice.

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

So in our present state,  with a very low percentage
of docters, lawyers, accountants, insurance salesman,
teachers, community leaders, ect

children being brought home in caskets or being
wheeled around in chairs,

added to the dumbing and numming down, complete
control over media,  reporters in bed with military
no cost control on elections, as a matter of fact
rigged elections,  lawmakers concerned more about
getting re-elected for corporate needs rather than
public needs,  presidents speaking out both sides
of thier mouth still, a public that has been made
immune to their sourroundings,

I DON’T NEED A FUCKING CIVICS COURSE FROM YOU!!
Excuse the language DJ,
A politcal fix is not going to come in your or my
lifetime…...It is going to be an ecological fix,
because we have trashed this planet to the point
that it is beyond fixing by man….
MAMA IS THE ONE THAT IS GOING TO STRAIGNTEN
ALL THIS OUT AND SHE JUST MIGHT RID HERSELF OF PESTS
JUST LIKE CARLIN SAID….LIKE A DOG SCRATCHING OFF
A FLEA…...THAT DON’T TEACH THIS IN CIVICS COURSES

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By liecatcher, February 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

TO TAO Walker:
I thought that by including the white man’s
definitions of “civilization”
the absurdity of what the sheeple have become by
accepting that
“lofty” illusion would make more sense. Ergo my last
sentence:

Notice that none of the definitions listed below
include or explain our
current state of decline & disintegration. The
billion plus people being
starved to death around the world already know what
it means.
However, I plead ignorance when I said:
The disease is civilization & the cure for us may be
the same as
it was for the Mayans or the Incas .
I’m glad to find out that there were survivors.
I thought that among the white race,the good,
the bad & the ugly would become extinct, or
so enslaved as to wish for extinction.

And finally, with regard to my casino question,
I left out the part about a particular tribe
buying up as much of its ancestral land as
possible because of the abuse by & waiting for
THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS to do what
the law required it to do, i.e., return the stolen
sacred land.
HokaHey!

wam·pum (wmpm, wôm-)
n.
1. Small cylindrical beads made from polished shells
and fashioned into strings or belts, formerly used by
certain Native American peoples as currency and
jewelry or for ceremonial exchanges between groups.
Also called peag.
2. Informal Money.

wampum [?w?mp?m]
n
1. (Social Science / Anthropology & Ethnology)
(Economics, Accounting & Finance / Currencies)
(formerly) money used by North American Indians, made
of cylindrical shells strung or woven together, esp
white shells rather than the more valuable black or
purple ones
2. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Banking &
Finance) US and Canadian informal money or wealth
Also called peag peage
[short for wampumpeag, from Narraganset wampompeag,
from wampan light + api string + -ag plural suffix]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged
6th Edition 2003. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd
1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994,
1998, 2000, 2003

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

All you have to do Jdmysticdj, to prove that the
protest of the sixties was mostly self interest
rather than morals…is look what came right after

The US was ,by the time troops were leaving Viet,
arming repressive regimes in Africa that were
committing genocide for the oil companies,,, No
protest their,,,By the end of the Carter Admin
we were funding arms to keep dictators in Central
America. Some of us still protesting, but not massive
enough to stop the funding. and on and on and on
As long as middle America isn’t taking the bullets,
they will fly !!!!

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

While i sure appreciate the spotty protest against
the wars by college students today…..

I believe the reason that it isn’t as a massive
movement as the anti-Viet movement is because there
is no draft….
It was mostly an anti-draft movement.

The pentagon learned well,, no draft for their silly
resourse wars. Privatize….
remove jobs so inner city and rural youths have
no option but the military.

THERE IS A   CIVICS COURSE FOR YOU JDMYSTICDJ!!!!!

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

That was a mouth full of names you called me JD.
for saying that Capitol Hill does not respond
to the desires of the voters.

The Good War, did you buy into that?
I didn’t buy into it from day one… cause it ain’t.
The public told congress in 2006 to end both wars,
they laughed at us…

I laughed at them, watching all the “progressive
congressmen and woman, parading in front of the
C-Span mics acting so indignant of the Bush funding
,talking beautiful peace, then sneaking their vote
to extend the wars….

Yes is sure need a civics course to tell me how this
works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! give me one please.

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Since you mention that we do have a black pres JD.

Is that why you voted for him?

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

I am still suggesting that all the protest against
the Viet war isn’t what ended it.
The protest ended white sububia draft into it.
North Vietnamese overrunning Saigon had a lot to do
with the end of US occupation.

Looking at our cities and the number of young black
men being incarcerated leaves one to wonder about
the civil rights movement also.  The crumbling schools,  the unequal lack of funding,
, the unemployment rate among blacks ect.
We are still today having incidents like Geena five,
but only difference, a black federal prosecutor
rules against them.
Ethnic cleansing in New Orleans….

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By ofersince72, February 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

I may be all those things you said JD
even a coward…...

What is your political fix that you see?

What Civics course have you taken JD.

Is this country run like any civic course you have
taken?

I usually do stand alone…

Is the health care bill one of your examples of civics?

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By TAO Walker, February 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

The “Indian casinos” Liecatcher wonders about are only one more kind of fools’ bet laid-down in the “global” crap-shoot.  “Money” may be god, but like all such make-believe it is toxic, corrosive, and habit-forming in its actual effects on our Natural Living Arrangements.

Wampum, on-the-other-hnd, is something else altogether.

HokaHey!

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By gerard, February 11, 2010 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ: 

Thanks a whole lot for your last two posts.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 11, 2010 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie

Did you read Hedges’ truthdig article, “American Democracy is a Useful Fiction”? Hedges suggested what was necessary to save American Democracy, and he also commented that it wouldn’t be pleasant or easy.

Someone on another truthdig thread made the comment that the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-War Movement didn’t accomplish anything. I wonder if that person has noticed that we have a Black President.  Like Obama or not, I’ll argue that we wouldn’t have a black President if it wasn’t for the sacrifices made by those people who marched and demonstrated for civil rights. Regarding the wars in Indochina, there was no discussion of the morality of those wars, until the Anti-War Movement took to the streets and brought those issues to the forefront of political debate. Working people would still be working 10-12 hours a day, six days a week, if it weren’t for the grass roots political action taken by workers who suffered and sacrificed, in order to bring about economic justice. Our corporate masters, and their surrogates, have been very successful with their dissemination of propaganda to discredit labor unions, but history is evident, and there wouldn’t be a middle class, if it weren’t for the political action taken by the members of early Labor Unions.

Public protest is not always desirable. Sometimes public demonstration lacks merit. Consider the rallies by the American Nazi Party, or the Tea Partiers. Unfortunately, the example of Tea Partiers serves to point out how effective public demonstration can be as a method of making political beliefs subject to national debate, no matter how absurd those beliefs may be. The example of the Tea Partiers also serves to point out that doing nothing is sometimes preferable to doing something. (I digress.)

Sometimes, because of circumstances, mass protest has been met with indifference, but those who participated in those actions did something, and not nothing. Those who participated in the protests against the invasion of Iraq took existential action, and although their protest didn’t accomplish the desired goal, they are to be commended for their superior insight, and because they did something.

Are current events important, or are they inconsequential and a mere annoyance? Do the realities of current events necessitate that we take action, or should we do nothing? Is what Hedges calls, “Empty moral posturing,” sufficient action to take in order to solve the problems that confront our nation and the world?

Perhaps I misread gerard’s post. Perhaps gerard had intent for the tens of thousands mentioned who would become politically active, that is different from my own. My vision is that the tens of thousands would take to the streets and voice their concerns, thereby making their issues subject for national debate.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 11, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie (cont.)

You ask,

“So, what do you propose, in terms of definite, material, near-term actions?”

You pose your question in a way that is difficult to answer. I think I’ve already answered regarding my proposal for the “definite” and “material” actions; it’s the “…definite, material, near term actions” that are difficult.

Clearly there is no coordinated national opposition to current military policy that is willing to organize national protest.

As coincidence would have it, I am presently listening to a discussion about the efficacy of a national demonstration in favor of health care reform. It’s frustrating to me that those who are in a position to organize, or at the very least not discourage national protest, fail to see the efficacy of national protest. These progressive media outlets are very good at motivating us to be angry and outraged, but not very good at suggesting positive outlets for this anger and outrage. Do they believe that their provision of propaganda is the only viable method of political action? If so, their method appears to be failing. What was more effective for the promotion of the right wing agenda, their propaganda, which failed them in the 08 election, or their promotion of Tea Party events?

Maybe opening ones mind to the fact that real political action is the only kind of action that will actually be effective, would be the first “near term action” to take.

I’m afraid that any other, “…definite, material, near term actions” I will suggest will not be “Pleasant or easy,” and they will require “Commitment” I’ll be attending local protests I give credence to, no matter how small, demeaning and ineffectual they may seem. Networking, organizing and encouraging are other “…definite, material, near term actions” that I want to take.

Life was so much easier back in the 60’s, when all one had to do was protest, get arrested, be roughed up, be insulted, suffer abuse, be thrown in jail, be charged with a Federal crime for exercising First Amendment Rights and then wait around for trial, in order to inspire people to protest. These days they make you come up with “…definite, material, near term actions.”

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By copernicist, February 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Re Samson at 7:59 PM
Right you are. Closest to the grim truth, now obvious to all but the most willingly self-deluded, that however opportunistically clever our talented-giver-of-speeches and his gamesmen-advisors may THINK the pseudo-Warrior pose is right now and will be for future Novembers, an ingrained habit of yielding to hostile pressure [most of all from domestic enemies and their Heroes on White Horses] has now and will forever keep him wriggling but caught in the competitively barbed coils of “The Toughness Trap” beloved by our bellicose non-combatant War Profiteers Inc.

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By liecatcher, February 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan
Posted on Feb 9, 2010 By William Pfaff

TO:TAO Walker, February 10 at 6:46 pm


“Needless to say that hasn’t happened, despite some
token
CONtacts with some perfectly decent nativeamericans
(a-k-a americanindians) who are theirownselfs
unfortunately
far from free-of the illusions entrapping the mostly
euroamerican occupiers of their ancestral lands.”

Hey TAO Walker:
Does this mean that the spread of Indian casinos
which provide
jobs, money & an opportunity to compete with the
occupiers in a game
that they can win, not withstanding getting ripped
off by a lobbyist
who is now in jail, is not their best bet?

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By Samson, February 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

The wars of an empire are driven by domestic needs.  Its all about power, and who can grab power and then use it to make their friends and allies richer and more powerful.  The actual strategic nature of the war is at best secondary.

Obama is fighting in Afghanistan because it polled well in the last election.  Even though the top Democrats have always loved the Iraq war, their base had decidedly turned against that war.  So, Democrats were pushed into saying they opposed that war (which will still be continuing after Obama’s term).

But, the Afghan war polled better.  So, the Democrats adopted the line of it being ‘the right war’.  A pro-war party that lives on corporate contributions like the Democrats can never be really anti-war, so they needed another war to promote so they didn’t look soft to their contributors.

Afghanistan is that war.  It served Obama’s need to look ‘tough’.  It keeps the weapons contracts flowing.  It keeps the ‘war president’ mentality going that says that Pentagon budgets have to increase even while everything else gets slashed and frozen.

Trying to understand the Afghan war based on geo-political strategies is misguided.  That’s why this column seems so disjointed.  By now, this war is being fought entirely for domestic reasons.

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By TAO Walker, February 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

William Pfaff’s rather disjointed essay here seems symptomatic of the CONfusion overwhelming much more than just the U.S. ‘policy’ of lurching-around drunkenly in (and over) AfPak….and elsewhere.  Though that particular manifestation of it is perhaps most starkly limned at-the-moment on the eve of turning Marjah, in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, into the ‘new’ Fallujah.

The plain truth is that nobody half-living today within the suffocating CONfines of the “global” system has ever been faced with the CONgeries of problematical CONditions prevailing today.  There is nothing (on the public record anyhow) to indicate, either, that any of the “leaders” among the domesticated peoples has any real clue about exactly what’s ‘wrong’ even.  So it’s no wonder their bumbling hunt-and-peck efforts to respond, in ways that at-least don’t exacerbate The-Situation, are proving to be such miserable failures.

Some of us surviving free wild Turtle Island Indians urged, in a letter mailed to his Last Chance Gulch (How’s that for ‘irony’?) campaign headquarters in Helena, Montana, and one hand-delivered to his U.S. Senate Office in Washington, D.C., a newly-elected (to OFFICE, by-the-way, not “power”) Barack Obama to seek some Native guidance, as he tried to find ways he and theamericanpeople could get out of their self-inflicted common predicament.  We even provided a way to ‘get-in-touch,’ if he was interested.  Needless to say that hasn’t happened, despite some token CONtacts with some perfectly decent nativeamericans (a-k-a americanindians) who are theirownselfs unfortunately far from free-of the illusions entrapping the mostly euroamerican occupiers of their ancestral lands.

The offer still stands.

HokaHey!

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, February 10 at 1:33 pm:
’... Doing nothing is not an effective method for defeating corporatism (Fascism) and all the horrors associated with it. Talk is cheap, when the audience is small and ineffectual, while real action has real value, and will expand the audience exponentially. ...’

So, what do you propose, in terms of definite, material, near-term actions?

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By liecatcher, February 10, 2010 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan
By William Pfaff

To: Paul_GA, February 10 at 12:23 pm

“This country has nine “Principles of War”, which are
taught at the service academies, and are
supposed to be the basic framework for this country’s
war effort in any war it wages.

Hey Paul_GA: Permit me to see if I captured the
essence of your comment.

The fascist Oligarchs controlling & feeding off
America’s carcass have one
primary war objective, which is to maintain perpetual
wars financed by
perpetual debt which will ensnare & enslave the
masses & maintain & increase
their hegemony.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 10, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

.
Ofersince72

You say,

“…you think they are
      going to pay attention, congress doesn’t
      need us… “

What do you mean by “us?” If you mean the American people when you say “us,” let me suggest you take a refresher course in elementary civics. If you’re referring to yourself when you say “us,” I would agree. You appear to be: a self-disenfranchised impotent bystander, a non-existent entity, a coward, a facilitator of tyranny, an un-indicted co-conspirator, and you will be one of the many, who will be a non-participant in removing American Democracy as a stain on history. You won’t erase the stain; you’ll be a - non-participating - participant in erasing American Democracy.

Doing nothing is not an effective method for defeating corporatism (Fascism) and all the horrors associated with it. Talk is cheap, when the audience is small and ineffectual, while real action has real value, and will expand the audience exponentially.

To steal a phrase, let me say that your saying, Nay! Makes you, a genuine “Nattering nabob of negativity.”

(You’re enlightened enough to see the problem, are you enlightened enough to see the solution?)

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By bozh, February 10, 2010 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

US wants land. Maybe BHO may not know that. But if he studied history for its protreptic value [for what it teaches us] he’d know that all wars [except trojan]were waged for land.

US/nato already possess [in]directly parts of afgh’n!
Unless militarily driven out, US/nato will not leave it.
So why did US leave n.korea and vietnam? Because, soviets and chinese were behind n.koreans and because socialists were resolute in fighting US/nato no matter even if it resulted in use of wmd.
It scared the rich people off!
The plan worked; the rich euros and americans backed dwn.
The same analyses is also valid for vietnam.
Who’s fighting along pashtuns against nato? Whatever nato does there,it cannot be, methinks, a threat to world peace! tnx

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By Paul_GA, February 10, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

This country has nine “Principles of War”, which are taught at the service academies, and are supposed to be the basic framework for this country’s war effort in any war it wages.

The very first principle is “The Objective”, which reads as follows: “Every military operation must have a clearly defined, and ultimately attainable, objective. Once you know what you want to do, the other eight principles will tell you how to attain it.”

So never mind Obama’s objective (which is, as I see it, to appear the big, brave, patriotic, warlike hero-president to the US voting populace, and get himself re-elected on that account, like his predecessor): what precisely *is* this country’s objective in Afghanistan? Or in the entire “Global War on Terror”, for that matter?

Define this country’s objective, or realize the war is futile, and end it, no matter how embarrassing the end may be. This country survived the embarrassment of losing the late unpleasantness in Southeast Asia; it can survive ending the present Central Asian unpleasantness—but, as I see it, only if it ends this foolishness ASAP, and ends it once and for all.

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By Vic Anderson, February 10, 2010 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We, the People want PEACE in our Homeland (and theirs’). US out of Iraqiranistan,
NOW!

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By copernicist, February 10, 2010 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Mr Pfaff notes a striking but unsurprising void:
“A former colleague of mine in the world of strategic studies said in a recent letter that on a Washington visit he could find no one among his acquaintances at the National Security Council who could give him a coherent explanation of what the United States is actually doing in Afghanistan.”
Perhaps that was because no one will admit the depth of cynicism & despair reflected in many comments by unduped onlookers, such as the always perspicacious gerard:
“The fact is that by getting militarily involved in the Middle East we have created virtually permanent employment for tens of thousands of soldiers, contractors, munitions makers, Pentagon officials and transportation companies and hi-tech research. If the wars were stopped tomorrow (which they should be, morally speaking) there is no visible plan to replace all those jobs.  That’s the horror of it: Permanent killing as a way to keep our economy alive.”
Of course the remedy he and others call for is correct; but I fear the reality is A Nation Superbowled-over…

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By hkhan, February 10, 2010 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Pfaff is wrong on three counts - The Pashtuns are not a
majority (in fact the non-Pashtuns amount to 60% of the
population).

Secondly, the Pashtuns are very well-represented in the
Afghan government.

Thirdly, the Taliban have very little support even
amongst the Pashtuns.

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By ofersince72, February 10, 2010 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

On the Hightower website he quotes
Lily Tomlin

no matter how cynical i get, its really hard to keep
up.

Mr. Pfaff,  your pulling my leg…its that bad?
        you gotta be kidding!!!!
Gerard…...Congress has had all sorts of pressure
        on them to stop this nonsense, you hit
        the nail about jobs and money and
        oil pipelines,,,, you think they are
        going to pay attention, congress doesn’t
        need us… Thats where we are at.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

gerard

Your “suggestion” is the one that offers our only hope of being effective. Your proposals, if enacted, would move us from being:  ineffectual critics, preachers to the choir, semi-quasi journalists, and pseudo theoreticians, to being actual political activists.

Thousands in the streets will have the effect of making the issues subject for national debate, and as the truths become evident, support for more rational/just policies can only grow, political necessities will push politicians towards more rational /just policies, and more rational/just policies will eventually be adopted.

Or… we do nothing, and humbly accept our fate as being: impotent bystanders, non-existent entities, cowards, facilitators of tyranny, un-indicted co-conspirators, and black marks on history.

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By liecatcher, February 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

America’s Confused Approach to Afghanistan
Posted on Feb 9, 2010 By William Pfaff

We the people are not confused, we know it’s all about
controlling the drug business ,U.S. hegemony &
enslaving America with perpetual debt.

The MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CONSPIRACY isn’t confused
either, because perpetual wars are its business.

Bush3 is just following orders.

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By radson, February 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Pfaff you forgot one word CHINA.

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By gerard, February 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Pfaff:  Why chew over old bones?  We were led to believe that the US went into Afghanistan to “find al-Qaeda” because many American citizens thought we should get revenge for 9/ll.  Probably that was not the “real” reason.  Oil pipelines seem to have figured in the picture heavily. And then there was “nation-building” and “the American Century”, world financial control, and all that.

The fact is that by getting militarily involved in the Middle East we have created virtually permanent employment for tens of thousands of soldiers, contractors, munitions makers, Pentagon officials and transportation companies and hi-tech research. If the wars were stopped tomorrow (which they should be, morally speaking) there is no visible plan to replace all those jobs.  That’s the horror of it: Permanent killing as a way to keep our economy alive.

This atrocity is not inevitable, but it requires tens of thousands of Americans to come to conclusions similar to the above, get together and force the change. Some people say it is impossible to expect such a movement under present conditions.  If this is true, we are nothing more than tools in the hands of powers beyond our control.

I suggest that we are not that ignominious, corrupt and deceived.  We know what we should do.  We don’t know how to do it.  Quite probably, the “how” is patient nonviolent education, action, continuous pressure on Congress and the President—the much maligned community organizing around common goals, and a national coming together, a humanizing movement for the future of human beings.

The amount of cynicism circulating cross-country at present works against the idea of such solutions emerging, and this is the first darkness we need to work against. What’s your suggestion?

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