War: October 2008 Archives

arrest the real criminals!


Nobody has to spell it out again. We all know what it is, and what it represents. We know it should never have been built and we know that it should have been plowed under long ago.

We also know that no one is talking about it any more*.

Its victims remain inside, but it has been arranged that we can never know anything of their innocence or guilt. The only thing we can be sure of is the guilt of so many who are outside, those who built it, those who maintain it still, and all of us who tolerate it.

Well, almost no one. In a letter to the editor of the NYTimes published yesterday, Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International, acknowledges that while Bush has decided to do nothing about Guantanamo, in spite of saying more than two years ago that he wanted to close what I call our Cuban concentration camp, both major candidates are actually on record as saying that they would close it. However, Cox and many others smell the rat:

But they must not transfer the the violations to other locations [my italics]. Detainees should be charged with a recognizable criminal offense, brought to full and fair trial or released.

The next president must also commit to abandon the military commission trials, repudiate secret detention, never again authorize or tolerate torture, and uphold the rule of law at home and abroad.

But my question (and our guilt) remains: Why not now?

[image from Getty Images via Nasir Khan]

in storage since the wingnuts bought all the rights: my old, yellowing 48-star flag

I have had a very hard time getting as excited as most of my friends and acquaintances are about Obama's candidacy, perhaps especially during the time he was coming closer to being the Democratic candidate and then to being chosen to occupy the office of President itself. I admit I'm spoiled: I've always had difficulty settling for less than what I want or, in this case, for less than what is needed by my country.

Yes, part of it's because I'm politically far to the left at least of the image the candidate presents of himself, but I also believe that we have nothing but our fragile hopes to support any belief that Obama will have both the imagination and courage to do as President what absolutely must be done. The extremity of our current crisis requires an even more ambitious agenda, in both domestic and foreign policy, than what was required of FDR in 1933, and I see no evidence that anyone is fully aware of this, including the candidate - perhaps especially the candidate.

We're in big trouble, and I don't think we understand yet what's wrong.

But I also worry that we are too anxious to lay the blame for our shame and misery, and the responsibility for our redemption and relief, solely on someone our system puts in charge of things. Neither Bush and Cheney nor the people and corporations who created them are fully to blame; after all, almost 50% of voters approved their candidacy - twice! At the same time, we won't find our way out of this mess if we think our own responsibility ends after next Tuesday.

The October 27 issue of The New Yorker includes this letter from a reader which beautifully lays out the sense of what I've just touched on:

While I agree with your editorial support for Barack Obama, the challenges of national leadership are greater than simply choosing the right candidate (Comment, October 13th). Our preoccupations - consumer profligacy, national myths, and denial of the rest of the world - may not result in the best choice of leadership, as the second Bush term so clearly demonstrates. The question is whether we can make the personal sacrifices necessary to change ourselves, or whether we believe that change is only about what leadership we select. The original patriots risked their lives for what they believed. No one is asking that of us; just that we vote with care and with attention to our enduring values, and realize that there is more to being good citizens than going to the polls.

Jon Gilmore
South Orleans, Mass.

pretty empty

I've just sat through my first - and last, ever - Presidential or Vice-Presidential debate. As Barry twittered, immediately after we had together watched a real TV show in real time probably for the first time since 9/11:

I feel I lost IQ points watching that. I hope I get them back. What we call a "debate" is a travesty of that concept.

Two of my own thoughts: I think the Republican "principal" should be watching his back: My headline refers to his "dummy", but in this country dummies have a history of taking over everything, even supplanting fools.

And after listening to Ms. Palin's painful memorized deliveries, I never want to hear anyone visit the word "maverick" again. John McCain has only done two "maverick-ish" things in his lifetime: The first was the moment he asserted that he was capable of performing as President of the United States; the second was the moment he decided to tell us that, in a pinch (or something of that sort), Sarah Palin would be able to do the same.

I may be significant of nothing, but does anyone remember the original Ford Maverick, a slightly-gussied-up version of the Falcon, a tired earlier model? I do, for reasons not related to any virtues which might later have been associated with it, sentimentally or otherwise. Let it suffice to say, the Maverick was not a "memorable" car in any sense which could be related to worthiness.

Like the current Republican slate, just lipstick and paint on cheap plastic and rusting tin.

forty years ago a Maverick was merely sort of pathetic

the medieval court jester or fool's own prop-stick fool

[first image, of a century-old bisque marotte, from antiquedolls; the second, of an early-seventies Ford Maverick, from barkbarkwoofwoof]

This page is an archive of entries in the War category from October 2008.

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