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Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

Why the Middle Ages Matter: Medieval Light on Modern Injustice

By Celia Chazelle (Editor), Simon Doubleday (Editor), Felice Lifshitz (Editor), Amy G. Remensnyder (Editor)

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Keeping Our Demons at Bay

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Posted on Mar 16, 2007

By Stan Goff

(Page 3)

The durability of these norms and conventions is the constant Nemesis of social change agents.  They still think a simple, well-constructed argument should be enough to “change one’s mind,” such a pale linguistic marker for what this proposes.  Enough to begin demolishing the foundational structures of one’s entire worldview, and with it every decision taken on behalf of that worldview, every emotional attachment developed within its framework, and every single thing that gives them meaning as a safety rail along the Abyss.  The Big Dark-World.  Infinity that swallows us up.  This is always the preoccupation of those who understand themselves as simply ... individuals.

Kauzlarich was filling out something called the Family Contingency Workbook.

I want to be buried, cremated: Buried.

Location of Cemetery: West Point.


Square, Site wide
Personal effects I want buried with me: Wedding Band.

Yes, he told Stephanie, whom he had met when they were students at West Point and who hadn’t exactly been seduced by his first words to her, which were: “You can call me The Kauz.” That was all he wanted to be buried with.

Type of head stone: Military.

Scripture you want read: Psalm 23.

Music you want played: Something upbeat.

“Ralph, upbeat music?” Stephanie asked.

“I don’t want people to be sad at my funeral,” Kauzlarich said.

This kind of saccharine script is irresistible to the narcissistic personality of our age.  Our collective narcissism is the moth; the script is the flame.

Christopher Lasch, in “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations,” published all the way back in 1979, concluded (in perfectly predictable patriarchal terms, and with a powerful Freudian inflection) that the narcissism we see in American life is related to the loss of authority of the male.  That’s Lasch’s misogyny, of course, so I am compelled to just name it.  Nonetheless, Lasch’s description of cultural narcissism had a lot of pearls.

“Success in our society has to be ratified by publicity,” he said. 

[A]ll politics becomes a form of spectacle.  It is well known that Madison Avenue packages politicians and markets them as if they were cereals or deodorants; but the art of public relations penetrates more deeply into political life…. The modern prince ... confuses successful completion of the task at hand with the impression he makes or hopes to make on others.  Thus American officials blundered into the war in Vietnam…. More concerned with the trappings than with the reality of power, they convinced themselves that failure to intervene would damage American “credibility”....  [They] fret about their ability to rise to crisis, to project an image of decisiveness, to give a convincing performance of executive power…. Public relations and propaganda have exalted the image and the pseudo-event.  (Emphasis added)

This script gets turned on by the likes of “journalists” such as David Finkel, and the public transfers its amorphous fear.  We make the classic patriarchal deal writ large, the one expected of infantilized women.  We accept the “protection” of the Father-State, and in exchange we offer up ... obedience and conformity ... even vigilance on behalf of the Father-State.  We become dutiful.

Surveillance is established in the prisons, and we accept that.  Then the hospitals, and we accept that.  Then the factories, the offices, the corner stores ... dark danger is ubiquitous.  Even in the family.

The beauty of this new Panopticon is not that it simply takes our eyes off the real war, the real plunder, the real system; it is that it stations a pernicious little watcher inside our individual brains.  We become aware that we are under surveillance all the time, and this surveillance constitutes not the one discipline of the edict, but the implanted discipline that a complex society requires of its subjects to police themselves.

Finkel is not a dupe, any more than Judith Miller or Wolf Blitzer.  They are all active agents of the war establishment.  They are collaborators.  It is this disciplinary process with which they collaborate.  They teach us that Dark-World is real, and there we might be, but for the grace of God and our protectors:  the cop, the soldier, the mercenary, the prison guard, the surveillance camera—the rat mentality that urges some of us to police others for conformity.

But suburbia is not safe.  This is the central illusion.

While suburbia has had its eyes fixed on threatening images of Arabs and Persians and Latinos and deepest, darkest African America, the same establishment that makes war and builds prisons and gazes into our lives has picked suburban pockets with one hand and gripped the ‘burbs as loan sharks with the other.

Suburbia is not being protected; it is being saved for dessert.

It is this sector with its fragile, technological, disembodied living standard that will now come under attack.  In the short term, that is already happening through financial manipulation and the further disappearance of living-wage jobs.  The tremendous personal debt burden that is mounting in the American “middle class,” fueled by past low interest rates and cash-out equity loans, was the latest maneuver to prop up this sector’s role as global consumer—a time bomb that will explode directly under Suburbia’s feet.

Meanwhile, the liquidation of the commons—from Medicare to Social Security to public services—constitutes a massive transfer of wealth saved by these working people directly into the speculative money pit that is Wall Street.  Suburbanites are workers in the truest sense, even though they seldom stand on the factory floor now.  They don’t know it, but they are weak, dependent, high-maintenance workers in a consumer mill.

The bill for the United States from Treasury loans to other nations—already impossible to pay—grows exponentially to support the cost of the military now conducting the war, those we see as the guardians of civilization.  Our children are inheriting this impasse.  We have witnessed what happens when the suburbanites are fleeced; with the taxpayer bailout of the savings and loan criminals, the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund, these burdens will invoke the “too big to fail” principle.  From Chrysler to Enron, the so-called middle class will pick up the tab.

The real threat will not appear as an Arab with a bomb or a 16-year-old with brown skin and a Glock.  It is already present.  It has appeared as pension funds disappearing in strategic bankruptcies.  It has appeared as sub-prime lending and subsequent foreclosures.

“Thank you for buying all these houses,” the banks are already saying.  “Now we can take them back and rent them to you.”

As Suburbia works harder and faster to keep up with the mounting debt, as it is forced to further ingratiate itself to Suburbia’s employers, as it learns to kiss more ass, get personality makeovers to fit itself heart-and-soul to the boss, it is obliged first and foremost to purchase the bare minimum of status markers (like stage props) that validate this new personality.  To call narcissism in this age a “disorder” is a cruel pun.  It is a cultural mandate—the norm.

Outside the ‘burbs, the treatment of the others as Dark-World has become a kind of local self-fulfilling prophecy.  Blending of police and military functions corresponds to an increasingly uniform (urban, unemployed, young) and crisis-ridden global human ecology.  Nonetheless, the imposition of a garrison state on people who have been previously privileged as a core political base (like Suburbia) is no simple matter.

If an openly warlike state is to impose control without the middlemen, it requires Spectacle as camouflage.

Soldier and SWAT spectacle ... soldier and SWAT reality.  They are not the same, the spectacle and the reality.

Spectacle conceals reality.

Spectacle requires publicity and amplification.

What better publicity, what better amplifier, than Finkel’s crude reduction of this war to an adolescent docudrama for The Washington Post?  Ever since the neocons came to power, most of the so-called reputable press has been so craven in its collaboration with our government that it might as well be assigned a formal position on the Pentagon staff.

The Dark-World set of establishment publicists like David Finkel and political consultants like Karl Rove is like a movie in one other respect.  The light you see is on the screen.  The story you see is framed in shadow.  Remain passive.  All will be well.

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By poetican, March 23, 2007 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Back on Earth, however, the war is already lost.”


It’s all about distraction…spectacle…and *taking flight from reality*. Mellow-Drama is sought. People are turned into “characters”. Conflicts are created cuz they’re oft times mum…since Iraq is avoided continually.

They’ve used the term “script” often. Nice cones, btw. Hope u dig that sonnet. Cheers

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By freethinker, March 22, 2007 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One thing I would disagree on is that the US is racist, as in, they would not kill white folk.  This widely held belief divides us and gives whites a false sense of security, rather like their belief in safe suburbia.  (People move to suburbia to keep their kids “safe”, when the number one cause of death in children in the US is cars.)  The US will gladly kill white people.  Remember that in WW11, the US did’t open a second front in Europe from Dec, 1941 until June 1944, in order to let the Germans and Russians (white people, all) kill as many of each other as possible.  And in the 80’s, millions of our dollars went to dark Afghanistan to kill white Russians.
  It is true that race has been used to divide us in the US, like religion has been used in other countries.  But when the shit hits the fan, and the economy collapses, if we have a race war, it will be provoked by the ruling class to keep us divided, the same way the Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq were divided by US death squads (the Salvador solution, based on the Phoenix program).  And they will sacrifice white as well as black americans to get it started.  And then we’ll get told that we’ve always had race problems (which we have, I know) and that the race war was inevitable. 
  I think not.

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By Jeremiad, March 22, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stan, excellent article. Thank you for your accurate description of our “hollow” officer corps and the complicit media, both of whom are now instruments of this corrupt administration, Congress, and the corporations they represent.  As an Academy grad of the 60s I am saddened by the lack of any moral courage in the officer ranks—Fisk, Chomsky, Hersh and you, all describe what I call the “hollow” officer corps.  An officer in todays military must prostitute his soul to rise in the ranks.  Leadership has been replace by “warriorship”. Just read about the two recent Commandants at USAFA and USMA—Weida and Caslen—both are evangelical fundamentalists who undermine Constitutional values and in years past would be section 8 candidates.  They put Klinger to shame.  And inspite of bizarre and criminal behavior, they are promoted just as senior officer in charge of torture and rendition, Boykin, was promoted.  As Hitler used the religious right to promote his self righteous agenda, so goes this administration.  Our military is a failed institution—religious fundamentalism trumps Constitutional principles in our flag ranks.

Keep calling it as you see it!!!  Thanks, Stan.

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By Merle Haggy, March 21, 2007 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sure glad Stan is now making links on his words
to definitions. I can now understand what he writes in three readings instead of four. I appreciate the education on many levels.

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By dstauffer, March 21, 2007 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks again for clear thinking.  Pushing and wading through the humongous load of garbage strewn in our path daily by the true-believers is daunting.  It’s long been known by the peddlars (read advertisers and con men) that if you tell the lie often enough with a sincere face or a jingo, and (most importantly) reinforce it with a fear of loss, the recalcitrant dog will eventually lick your hand.  Those of us too lazy, naive or succeptible to suggestion, succumb to this hynosis.  It was once written that the Mafia used to (maybe still does) have at least one person assigned to corrupt politicians, knowing that once in office, they would succumb to the new-found power and self-importance; and, at that time be easily manipulated into assigning contracts to well-heeled constituents.  It was also then that they began believing they were a cut above the average person and anointed with special intelligence.  We see this in the White House today.  Their view is that the man on the street can be sold any bill of goods, and become a true believer if force-fed the sales pitch often enough.  However, some of us are looking beneath the pretty covers and scripted lies and finding the flaws in the product.  The warranty has run out, the battery is corroded and the machine is breaking.  Let’s keep cooly testing it and make sure its replaced by something that is not deceptive and phony.  There are a few politicians who have clear minds.  Support them continuously, and don’t let them waver.

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By Anthony Martin Dambrosi, March 21, 2007 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Also vietnam combat veteran. This is the same phenomina that happened in Germany after WWI. They sowed the myth that they were not defeated in the field but stabbed in the back by the politician’s at home. The true believers of vietnam have written the same mythology into the fabric of the right and in the military. We never lost a battle it was the Press and the politician’s that made us fight with one hand tied behind our backs and then stabbed us in the back by pulling us out. They never say how many more years lives and dollars it would’ve taken and they can’t tell you what a true victory would look like. Kinda like vietnam today? We have a lack of authenticity now firmly in our culture as it’s a commodity on sale 24/7. We look back at WWII and see a culture with class lines and race lines but also a cohesive quality we have not felt since. It’s yearning for that mythologized GoodWar and the rotten Cold and Hot Wars of the last half of the 20th Century that have the true believers out pedaling their patent medicine selling to a sick and hungry populace too willing to believe it’ll cure their ache.

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By Kol Klink, March 18, 2007 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Stan Goff for your fine essay. I have been reading you since your days at ‘From the Wilderness’ and as always you didnt disappoint.

When general/president Eisenhower put us on guard against the military/industrial complex he wanted to use the phrase military/industrial/congressional complex but was convinced by his staff not to include ‘congress’. But understanding the role of congress is necessary to the understanding of why our country has been turned into a war machine. The manufacture of war materials has been distributed across all senate/congressional districts. For congressmen to say ‘no mas’ to the military/industrial complex is to turn down jobs for the folks that voted for them. How to stop such a diabolical system?

I too am a Nam vet. The most amazing thing to me about our current war is that we got into this thing by convincing ourselves that we didnt really loose Nam. Our leaders of the Nam era looked for scapegoats for the loss and found them everywhere. It was everyones fault but their own that Nam was a disaster. Had we admitted defeat in Nam I dont believe that we would be in Iraq. People and countries learn as much or more from their defeats as from their victories.

As for the people in suburbia I dont think they are as afraid of darkland as they are of losing their homes because they are over their head in mortgage and credit card debt. Bushco was successful using the terror card right after 911 but now that old dog wont hunt. I think when companies like Haliburton start to bail out of the US the other rich 2 percenters wont be far behind. So we might be in for a flight of the monied elite from the US but only if they are convinced that they have squeezed every last nickly out of the other 98 percent of us.

On the subject of subprime loans and all the houses that the banks will soon own. I dont think Americans can afford the rents that the banks will ask. What if the banks sold all those houses to the Chinese? The Chinese government can certainly afford a lot of American houses with their trade surplus and many Chinese would probably like to live in a nice American house in the burbs. Soon the Chinese would become a major political force in the US and we could in effect become a Chinese satellite. I am not looking forward to such an outcome but I dont see how they could be any worse than our current misadministration. Hong Kong seems to be doing ok without the Brits.

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By Gramma Concept, March 18, 2007 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

......A very fine, much appreciated article….

.....Here again…..the most appropriate comment I have:...

God Is Love, war is hell….....Strive On…....


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By Sam Thornton, March 18, 2007 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stan, what an interesting article. Like many others, I suspect, I’ve been trying to make some kind of sense out of the seemingly irrational events of the last few years. Your explanation is the only one I’ve read that accounts for all the facts and rings true. Loudly. Great work.

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By republicanSScareme, March 18, 2007 at 2:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The trajedy is that our soldiers have trusted some untrustworthy leaders.  We have gotten them into a grim war, primerly because America is wealthy, powerful, and arrogant.  Better known as rich thugs to most people.  That’s why we have lost so many friends.

We need decent Americans running things.  Not perfect, just decent. Not Thugs’R Us.

Some wars are worth fighting.  Others aren’t.  Soldiers aren’t expected to know the difference.

We must respect and honor every soldier who serves our flag, and carries out our orders, even if he or she is not the best soldier in the world or likes soldiering too much.

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By Mike, March 17, 2007 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Both wars were begun with lies - falsehoods that caused the US populace to eagerly imagine themselves as victorious warriors, as poor deluded actor Wayne was.
The Tonkin Gulf incident was untrue, the WMDs, Al-qs, and yellowcake, lies, same.
The problem is valorization. Those who sheeplike go to war to kill strangers for an imagined leader are at fault. Demagogues would have no audience, were it not for true believers, my-coutry-right-or-wrongers, die-and-kill fanatics whether jihadis or us marines.
Big bad chest-beating warriors decide to claim those who disagree in this nation are THE enemy, when the enemy of peace is anyone who takes up arms for any reason other than immediate personal protection.
To the military: Bush lied, you died. Get used to it. Hitler lied, millions died, too. This does not make them right.
To anyone: you have one life to live, one. There is no jesus, no heaven, no hell that you don’t choose either to create, or not. Use this life to find joy and beauty and connection with all other life. Or lie and die pretending to ignorant fiction. Either way, don’t claim that others should support your choice. They don’t.

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By ed, March 17, 2007 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Detourn the Military!

C U There

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By Kauzlarich Demotion = Red Ant, March 17, 2007 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kauzlarich time for YOUR long over due demotion, let me see lowest rank ant!  Or better yet, after the Tillman mismanagement, why aren’t you in jail?

NPD…very catchy in this administration.

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By john in california, March 17, 2007 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a vet era vet, I know everything you say is true. I know if you do no more that start a website w/ this article and your annoucement to run, you will raise a million in a week.

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By Dale Headley, March 17, 2007 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The whole concept of “winning” or “losing” this war misses the the central point: this war is WRONG!  This war is totally UNNECESSARY!  This war is ILLEGAL!  This war is IMMORAL!  In other words, even if we “win”, we lose.  Regardless of the outcome, in the eyes of the whole world we have already LOST!  We have lost CREDIBILITY!  We have lost MORAL AUTHORITY!  We have lost RESPECT!  To characterize the war only in terms of VICTORY or DEFEAT militarily, implies that if the Nazis had won World War II, they would have earned the credibility, moral authority, and respect of the world.  That is what the German fascists fervently believed then; and that is what the American fascists (neocons) fervently believe now.

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By bogi666, March 17, 2007 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Terrific article. We were forewarned by a few modern day prophets who wrote books, “1984”, “Animal Farm”, “It can Happen Here”, “Mein Kampf” and others that don’t come to mind that what is happening, which is a sovietfascist government, would happen and what it would be like.In the 1950’s I didn’t grasp why the book “Animal Farm” was so significant or its meaning, it was assigned by the teacher. I do now. Hermann Goerring summed it up in his jail house interview how easy it is to dupe the populace into going to war, fear, patriotism wrapped in a flag, religionism. He said it works the same everywhere. It sure works here in the USA.What exists now is the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CONGRESS-CHURCHIANITY RELIGIONIST-COMPLEX. This is the BEAST OF THE BIBLE, the Beast is a system the NEW WORLD ORDER.

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By Planetjake, March 17, 2007 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This commentary really resonated with me. The doubletalk, and purposely scripted gibberish that has increasingly bombarded us makes it hard to find toe-hold; when everything that is said is so deeply wrong where do you start unraveling the lies?
By simply grabbing a small loose end and pulling M. Goff has laid bear the horrible truth: that so many of us WANT THIS FICTION.
Thank you. Thank you for for your eloquence, for your clearheaded analysis, and thank you for your passion for this country and this world.


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By Griff, March 17, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d be interested to hear your view of the new “revisionist history” of the VietNam war by Mark Moyer, “Triumph Forsaken. Moyer supports the totally discredited “domino theory” and claims we saved southeast asia from falling to communism.(These little brown people can’t deal with “world communism”, you know…) He’s a darling of the right these days.

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By Hank Van den Berg, March 17, 2007 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have noticed quite a bit of this “personal reporting” on individual soldiers in our local press.  Invariably, these articles avoid any serious discussion of the war (which is too discomforting to most people) or the consequences for Iraqis (Americans prefer to not think about them).  They implicitly end up building an acceptance of war and strip the participants and their commanders of any ethical responsibilities. 
I would urge you all, if you have never done so, to read Mark Twain’s “War Prayer”.  It is easy to find through Google or any other search engine.  Twain made some of the same points Goff makes here.  We have to get the word out that by making people “feel good” about war, reporters are committing one of the greatest crimes against humanity.

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By Pete, March 17, 2007 at 7:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The generals in 1968 told their administration that the United States could not win (and therefore would lose).  This assessment was hidden until Daniel Ellsberg outed them.”

  In 1954, the JCS was asked by Eisenhower on the prospects of aiding the French in Indochina. As to be expected, the Navy and Air Force advised it would be a cakewalk. The Army’s advice was that it would take 600,000 COMBAT troops and that there was no timetable or guarantee of victory. This info was shared with congressional leaders including LBJ and HHH.
  In 1961, when JFK took over, he appointed Robert MacNamara as Secretary of Defense. This gentleman decided that he could run the Army the same way he ran Ford. Officers became executives instead of leaders, who were more interested in their careers than in soldierly virtues. With his new promotion policies, many of the “mustangs” from WWII and Korea were thrown out of the service and replaced by “junior executive” lieutenants and captains. The ‘Mustangs” may not have been educated, but they sure knew how to lead platoons and companies of teen aged riflemen.I saw many fine combat leaders dismissed between 1964-67, which was my service period. Add this to the saga of “The China Hands” and the emergence of CIA involvement in formulation of policy and the Viet Nam disaster is a lot more understandable. The military depends on the civilian government to make the right calls.

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By Chris Wood, March 17, 2007 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another fine analysis by Mr. Goff. Especially poignant for a citizen of the fortunate nowhere between Dark Land and Safe Land, that is, the non-American ‘First’ world.

For symptomatic spiritual relief, listen to the Man in Black sing “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” a few times.

For perspective, consider the memorably true insight of Herb Stein, economist (I know, but yes): “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

A Canadian abroad

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By Ron Ranft, March 16, 2007 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very well written. I too am a Nam vet and I keep hearing guys complaining about not being allowed to win that War. I wonder, did they do that many drugs while they were there? Were they so wasted that they never saw how futile and unnecessary the whole thing was? And just what was there to win, anyway?

As for your Col. Kauzlarich, I found him to be very reminiscent of another famous Col. who had pretty much the same dementia. Custer I believe his name was. Yes, he is a man who would lead you to hell, but if necessary he would come home alone. To these types, the men are always expendable.

As for winning the war in Iraq, no one has yet explained to me what that would look like. I know what it would look like to me, and I sure as hell don’t see that ever happening given Iraq’s history. At least not in my lifetime.

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By Quy Tran, March 16, 2007 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Easy to know because he wanted to promote to the next higher rank.

High ranking officers always used his troops as flesh ladders to move up and do not care how many of them died in vain.

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By jo6pac, March 16, 2007 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the truth
We have met the enemy and it’s—-

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By C Quil, March 16, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brilliant article. Thank you.

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By Zena, March 16, 2007 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wheter they like it or not; wheter they believe or not, there are limits to everything and everyone here on here. If there wasn’t, they would be gods. And obviously, they are NOT. Have a great day.  Zena

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By Carlos C. Campbell, March 16, 2007 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is “Iron” in your Words. 
Your “Song” has something to say ( sum~total ), if people can dig it ...(“Grok” it…) 
    You laid it down,
Chapter & Verse. 
Amen Brother.

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By TAO Walker, March 16, 2007 at 11:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stan Goff has summed it up here about as well as it could be.  It is good to see that what has been obvious from here on the Rez for a long time, the terminal condition theamericanpeoples’ condition is in, is plain to see (here in these latter days) to alert and strong-stomached and grown-up people inside the damned contraption, as well.

It should be no surprise, either, that the thin but growing ranks of such people are made up at the moment of a disproportionate number of ‘Nam vets, who’ve penetrated the smokescreen keeping most of their fellow and gal “citizens” from getting any kind of “reality-based” look at the actual nature and content of “Dark-World,” and are now come home to report the truth of what they’ve seen there….ie:  The actual living arrangements “out there” in Indian Country, and the human beings engaged in them, are nothing to be afraid of.  All the real mortal threats to those trapped in “Safe-World” are not only already inside it themselves….they run the whole gangbanging criminal enterprise.

The “presence” of men and women like Stan Goff and Karen Kwiatkowski should be a hopeful sign to those who know something is horribly amiss in America but don’t quite get either exactly what or how utterly all-pervasive it is.  The facade is definitely cracking, and those privateering plutoligarchs who erected it are desperately aware that even a little further erosion of the grand illusion will bring the whole hellish pyramid scheme crashing down around them….leaving them exposed to retributive justice they don’t dare even to imagine.

The warmongers and their collaborators are facing a truly existential crisis of their own making.  Their zero-sum “great game” has been an all-or-nothing proposition from the start.  What us Indians have known since at least late June of 1876 is that it is dead-certain to be NOTHING.


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By martin weiss, March 16, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, Ho Chih Minh intended to create a democracy, but our refusal to sell N. Vietnam arms in their civil war-like struggle with the French drove him into the arms of the Chinese, Vietnam’s thousand-year enemy.
As far as meaningful social identity, control issues doom any attempt at emotionally healthy personal identity.
It seems those who declare war prefer war, and crisis, conflict, and catastrophe to keep themselves in control.
Eventually, someone else will have something they need and they will be forced to participate in society.

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By Bert, March 16, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think, if we want to ‘win’, then Much Closer Attention needs to be paid to the whole business of oil. Yes, oil, ‘that stuff’, the stuff that Standard Oil discovered way back when, that’s propelled our economy along pretty well, all these years, well if you don’t consider the arab oil embargo, and the de-facto embargo we have today thanks to the futures traders, if we want to ‘win’ this time, it means wrenching back HARD on our fuel consumption, period. Don’t NEED to drive? Stay the heck out of that car, then. That kind of thinking, antithetical maybe to GM’s profit margin, but a necessary consideration ‘at this juncture’. ‘Alternatively’, Congress can give CheneyCorp carte blanche(which they kind of have anyway, if you’ve been following the debate at all) to go flatten every country in the middle east, with unknown repercussions and quite possibly some genuine ‘fallout’.

Saddam’s army is gone, well, ok, so the ‘war’ part is over, and you have to ask what exactly is going on, and what the future of that entire venture’s going to be. Cheney etc. say ‘stay the course’, the war opponents say ‘no mas’, I say ‘Congress needs to stand up, as a body, and assert their authority’, and pick The Last Day
and tell the generals to plan accordingly. If what’s going on now isn’t working, then someone needs to Make A Decision, it’s kind of like if you were in a car, speeding toward a ‘t’ intersection, the consequences of inaction are kind of apparent, gotta go left, go right, or stop, and that’s why these people get paid the Big Bucks, ostensibly, to make those kinds of decisions, hopefully they do honest work for their money…

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By James Yell, March 16, 2007 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This about covers the moral value of the military as defined by its use as a tool and if the use is valid it is a great support of the nation. We have been lucky in this country to have had the originators wishes to circumscribe the authority of our military in a narrow focus. This has been broken by the arrogance of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield and their merry crew.

They have been funded and encouraged in this by Multi-national corporations, that believe profit trumpets every consideration. Consideration of humanity, of environment, of nationhood. So we see Halliburton fleeing the nation with our treasury and ahead of criminal investigations and responsibility to pay back some of this just in legal taxes.

The fraud of how Tillman’s death happened was a calculated attempt to spin for the benifit or the Chicken Hawks and their pocket books, by keeping Americans convinced that this was a patriotic war forced upon us by a hostile enemy, when in fact is was very nearly only a calculated action by the ultra rich and their corporations “the military/industrial complex”, who we were warned about by a Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.

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By Expat, March 16, 2007 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Goff has done a remarkable job of saying it all…...

My question is; when will “the people” take responsibility and take back their country?  When will we do the right thing?

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By Terradea, March 16, 2007 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one – not the government, not the corporations, not the churches and especially not the media – are going to protect you or act in your best interest. Here are “20 Easy Tips” to help you keep the demons at bay:

1. Don’t be an employee; if you must, don’t be a full-time employee; if you must, don’t work for an evil (and they all are) corporation - unless it’s your own.

2. Save the environment and your mental health: take public transportation and/or try to work from home.

3. Buy a bicycle and use it.

4. Openly mock people who drive SUVs or Minivans.

5. Never answer the phone unless you know who’s calling; make the caller leave a message. This gives you a record of the call. If the caller doesn’t leave a message, it wasn’t important.

6. Don’t “blow” if you are stopped for a DUI. Never. It can only be used against you; it will NEVER be used to help you. Charges might be dropped if you don’t blow, but you’ll be found guilty for sure if you do (rare exceptions for diabetics or drivers with acid reflux).

7. If cops knock on your door, DON’T OPEN IT unless you called them. Ever. If you accidentally open it, don’t let them in unless they have a warrant. Tell your roommates.

8. Don’t go shopping for pleasure. But if you must go shopping, do it at a thrift store. Used items have character.

9. Don’t use credit. You don’t need to buy anything that costs over $1000 dollars unless it is a surgical procedure or an education. Material goods are temporary and may end up owning you instead of the other way around. Rent or borrow if you really need something.

10. Don’t wear clothing with visible logos or names; When you do, you become a living billboard slut - unless you’re paid to advertise the crap.

11. Ignore trends in fashion, toys and television. If you really like something trendy, try to buy it used. After you do, modify it in some way and make it your own.

12. Tell all collection agencies and debt collectors to f**k off. They won’t help you. They will only take your money and you’ll still have bad credit because you were turned over to them in the first place. And NEVER believe a word they say.

13. If you follow #9 you won’t need to worry about a bad credit rating. Recognize your credit score for what it is: a control mechanism implemented by corporations.

14. Avoid fundamentalists of any religion, and NEVER, under any circumstances, insult them to their face. They are liable to get “Old Testament” on your butt.

15. Ignore stupid traditions like saying “God Bless You” to sneezers. Don’t thank anyone who says it to you. If someone complains, ask them why they don’t have a polite phrase for coughs, burps or farts.

16. Remember, most holidays are inventions of Hallmark. They are meaningless and silly. Think about it…New Years Day is a completely arbitrary date; it has no real meaning.

17. If zealots kidnap you and ask you if you believe in [fill in the blank], ALWAYS tell them what they want to hear. Taking a moral or philosophical stand is never worth dying for, especially if it’s wasted on lunatics. If they kill you anyway, at least you died trying to live.

18. Today, if a person publicly proclaims to be a Christian, hear it as “achristian.”

19. Don’t be embarrassed to ask or demand LOUDLY that parents control their unruly children in public places. They may not listen, but you’ll feel better.

20. Stop being afraid. Adopt the mantra: “It’s better to be free than safe,” especially in matters of speech, sex and motorcycle helmets.

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By Steve Hammons, March 16, 2007 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stan Goff is someone who should be listened to. He has the experience and training to know what he is talking about.

His comparison of many aspects of the Vietnam War to the Iraq War are especially insightful.

The combat of the wars, the casualties, the politicians, the public, the media, the war profiteers and chicken hawks ... these things are all repeating in very sad and troubling ways.

For more on this, the three articles noted below may be of interest:

“Going in circles: Vietnam, Iraq, calls for impeachment”

By Steve Hammons
Populist Party of America
January 14, 2007

-  -  -

“Revisiting the Vietnam War era: The draft, casualties and the Kent State shootings”

By Steve Hammons
Populist Party of America
November 19, 2006

-  -  -

“‘Nam war and ‘Raq war have differences, similarities”

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
October 29, 2005

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By DSmith, March 16, 2007 at 5:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To use an outdated expression…Right on!

To Miller, Finkel, Podhoretz, Kristol, Krauthammer it’s all about war. Although they like dropping bombs on innocent populations they are not so keen on stopping mass murder in the Sudan. No, the wars they encourage and write articles about, like the one you featured, have to be in a specific location. Simply put, it has to be a war fought to enhance Israels stronghold on the middle-east.

They realize that Israel, a welfare state, can’t wage war alone, so the above mention cabal along with Lieberman, Emmanuel, Wolfowitz, Feith and others play on the emotions of hardworking Americans, most of whom are not paying attention. Like experienced fire horses from the old days, when they hear the bell they respond. The bell these days, for Americans is, “The War on Terror.” These manipulators, such as Finkel, know how to ring that bell. They then sit back and watch a unsuspecting public respond.

Good Work!

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