Monday :: May 30, 2005

Mom-morial Day


by pessimist

It is said that for every crime in which someone dies, there are more casualties than just the actual victim. Every member of the family is also a victim of the crime.

It is no different on this Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember all of those casualties from all of the wars fought in America's name. It doesn't matter if the war was just or if it was a bald-faced theft of territory or resources - we remember our war dead.

King George is remembering our war dead, using their memory as a way of justifying the crimes he has committed in the name of 'liberty' - read: protecting SUV owners from the economic realities of their wasteful indulgences.

I don't use profanity in my posts very often, but this hypocrisy forces my to lower myself: George W. Bu$h is a lying motherfucker. You don't have to believe me. Believe Wesley Clark as he presents one of King George's biggest lies:

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who was a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, said in the party's broadcast Saturday that Memorial Day recalled personal memories.
"And just as importantly, we have got to keep our promises to veterans and provide them the medical care they need," Clark said. "That means fully funding the Veterans Administration system."

This is what makes Bu$h a liar:


Veterans Left Behind as VA Continues Drastic Cut Backs

The Budget Resolution passed by both houses of Congress will result in staff reductions in every VA Medical Center at a most inauspicious time ”as veterans return from the war in Iraq and as increasing numbers of veterans need care from the system," said Thomas H. Corey, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). "We must make it crystal clear to Congress that the budget appropriation for fiscal year 2006 year is at least $3.5 billion less than what is needed to fund the VA medical programs adequately," Corey said. "This is a critical time. Without these resources, veterans will have longer waits to see specialists, much-needed maintenance will be deferred, and medical equipment will not be purchased.

"Together, through the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform veterans service organizations will demonstrate against these drastic cutbacks.

"Veterans' health care is not a welfare program. It is a benefit earned by rendering honorable service to our country."

King George wouldn't know honorable service to the country - he deserted from his.

Because he never went to war himself, he doesn't see the costs of war up close and personal. We'll allow a former military officer and avowed Bu$h supporter to detail what war costs are:

I will tell you that I am a proud retired Army officer and a Vietnam vet. As such, I honor and salute all past, present and future men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America. I am also a conservative Republican who fully supports President Bush and the war on terrorism.

I know that many people have short memories, didn’t get taught history in school or like to rewrite history. Perhaps, in response, it is a good time to take a brief walk down history lane regarding some of the wars in which the United States has been involved. Here is an overview:

* World War I, 1914-1918 (U.S. involvement was April 1917-November 1918 — 20 months); the number of U.S. military killed was 116,516; the number wounded was 234,428.

* World War II, 1939-1945 (U.S. involvement was Dec. 8, 1941-Sept. 2, 1945 — 45 months); the number of U.S. military killed was 405,399; the number wounded was 671,278; the estimated total number of people killed in the war was more than 30 million!

* Korean War, June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953 (36 months); the number of U.S. military killed was 36,516; the number wounded was an estimated 103,284.

* Vietnam War, 1965-1972 (seven years) when U.S. combat troops were involved; U.S. military killed was about 58,000; the number wounded was about 300,000.

* Iraq War, March 2003-present (26 months); the number of U.S. military killed is less than 1,600. [as of the publication date of this article -ed]

* One American and two British air raids on Dresden, Germany, on Feb. 13-14, 1945, killed an estimated 135,000 civilians.

* The fire bombing, with jellied gasoline and magnesium, of Tokyo on March 9-10, 1945, killed an estimated 97,000 and wounded 125,000 civilians.

* The mothers of all bombings — the dropping of the "Little Boy" uranium bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and the dropping of the "Fat Boy" plutonium bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Hiroshima had an estimated 80,000 killed and 80,000 wounded, and Nagasaki had an estimated 40,000 killed and 60,000 wounded. You can use your own imagination as to the collateral damage done to those cities.

That was a statistical analysis of the costs of war. Let's get a little more personal:


Why Mothers Grieve Around the World

"And they shall bend their swords into plowshares and study war no more."

These words are an appeal for nonviolence. Thus, we might read these words in the Bible and on the wall outside the United Nations. Yet, as Mother's Day nears, mothers are grieving all over the world because of the wars that are man - made. And we grieve with them.

Mothers grieve around the world in the war zones of Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, and Jerusalem as their children become the casualties of war in areas affected by armed conflict. And mothers also become targets as violence against women in occupied war zones raises its ugly head.

As of the moment I write this, 1657 Americans have died, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, along with 92 members of "The Coalition of the Billing". Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, along with thousands of Afghans. Each of these deceased had a mother.

In a crude way of expressing it, each of these mothers was fucked out of her child by George W. Bu$h. That's what makes him a motherfucker.

One has to wonder why no one is stopping him and his evil cabal. That is the question being asked:

The latest poll from Gallup shows that 57% of Americans do not believe the Iraq war is "worth it," yet there is little public protest. No matter where you stand on the war, you've got to wonder: What's going on here at home? Yet few in the press have set out to explore this gap between what appears to be wide public anger and apathy.

With so little exploration of this public ambivalence or ambiguity in the press, I turned to an expert, Dr. Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. He seemed a bit perplexed himself, saying that it may be "unknowable why they think the war is not worth it. ... You can say it's not worth it without getting emotionally involved" — that is, if you don't have a son or daughter serving over there."

Well, that's part of the "unknowable," anyway. But why so little public and editorial protest, given the poll numbers? Newport offered the standard explanation: unlike with Vietnam, there is no draft, and comparatively few young Americans are coming home in boxes.

But this means the press, despite its ample news coverage, often seems to feel that concerns about the war lack a certain ... salience, unlike, say, the debates over Social Security or judicial appointments.

Newport disagrees: "I believe it's more important in people's minds than many think it is. It's incredibly important to people, a sleeper issue, perhaps on the verge of a tipping point." He pointed out that Iraq shows up as the No. 1 issue in every poll. In a recent survey, people were asked what subject they would bring up if they got to spend 15 minutes with the president, and Iraq easily ranked at the top.

"The average Joe or Jane is very concerned about Iraq," Newport observed. "They may be saying, 'don't fix Social Security or worry about judicial appointments, but do something about Iraq.'" He added, "You know, we found the approval rating for Congress is now very low, about 35%. Maybe that's because people feel Congress is arguing over things they don't care about when you have a war going on."

He didn't say it, but I will: You might say the same thing right now about too many editorial pages.

You can't say that about The Left Coaster. King George's Oil War is a primary topic of discussion here. We look at those who have been harmed by Owwer Leedur:


Missing you: A soldier's mom speaks out on war, concerns

She is the picture of a stylish salon owner, nearly always dressed in professional black. Whether chatting on the cell phone with her daughter or laughing with friends, Nancy Turley is one of those people who seems to know just about everyone.
It's easy to miss the fear that has taken over her world - so long as you don't look in her eyes.
While the subject of war is a constant presence, it is peace that comes to mind when Turley thinks of her son Isaac Toomer, now serving in Iraq. Toomer is fighting in Iraq with the 3rd Armored Division, and is scheduled to serve until January of 2006. However, with stop-loss policies implemented by the Army to prevent the loss of personnel, the date of his actual release remains uncertain.
"Nobody is getting out while we're over there," Turley said, tears suddenly filling her eyes. "They are just trying to stay alive. A friend of Issac's, a guy my daughter used to date, got his leg blown up. But he's alive, and he'll be coming home."
Nancy's fears for her son are made worse by an increasing sense of disillusionment with the war itself. "At first, I truly believed that we would find weapons of mass destruction and Osama Bin Laden. I thought it had nothing to do with oil.
"But I don't think we should be there anymore. I believe we attacked for the wrong reasons."
Turley is in touch with parents of other soldiers in her son's unit. Yet with Americans largely going about their daily business as casualties mount, the long-time Montrose resident feels a growing sense of isolation. Small turnout at a recent non-partisan memorial for those who have died so far in Iraq was especially disheartening.

"There were probably 20 people at the (Remembering Lives Lost traveling war) memorial," Turley said. "But something like 1,748 people have died.

"It's something nobody wants to touch on," she added. "Nobody wants to see you cry, because it makes them uncomfortable."

Are they uncomfortable because this reminds them that they aren't getting the truth from Owwer Leedur? It's getting harder to hide from that fact.

Here's another fact that people should remember:

"The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief ... to declare war requires an act of Congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes deliberation by the president and his advisers."

Thus, we need to be sure of our leaders and that they tell us the truth - especially about why a nation goes to war. As the old '60s poster went: War is dangerous to children and other living things.

No one knows this better than mothers:


A Mothers' War

They were talking about military burial benefits as the waitress took the salad plates away, and one of them had come up with something perversely humorous even on this subject, so they had been laughing. Now there was a brief, comfortable silence. They had one of the back rooms at Boone Tavern in downtown Columbia, Mo., where they usually go. It was a Friday night in February, and because one woman had other plans, there were only five of them, which made the big, round table seem too large. Instead of spacing themselves around it, they had taken seats along one side, closer to one another.
Patricia said, "I had a doorbell moment this week."
Tracy Della Vecchia looked up quickly and watched Patricia's face. Tracy's son had gone to high school with Patricia's son, so Tracy and Patricia knew of each other during the years when all the teenagers would hole up drinking beer in the barn on Tracy's property. But now their sons were 22 and in the same Marine unit in Iraq, and Tracy knows things about Patricia that she has never known about another person before. Tracy knows that clipped to Patricia's refrigerator is a list of things to remember in case the telephone rings in the middle of the night and it's Patricia's son calling from a camp somewhere just to talk. Tracy knows that the grandfather clock in Patricia's house chimes nine times when the other clocks say it's noon because the grandfather clock is set to Baghdad time.

Tracy knows that Patricia has figured out how to tell if someone is in her driveway by squinting at the reflection off a certain glass-covered picture in the dining room, so that if it should ever be two men in uniform, Patricia will know they have arrived before they start ringing the bell and before she is obliged to look directly at them and hear what they have come to say.

I am the father of four, all of whom are of an age that makes them subject to being expected to conquer the world for Big Oil. Even as a father, however, I cannot imagine what it must be like for these women to have to prepare for the possibility that someone will come and tell them that they no longer have a living child, that the creation of nine months' gestation, hours of labor and delivery, and years of rearing and nurturing has been taken from them.

It's enough to make you understand when they ask 'Why?' It also makes one ask 'Why are they not doing what they can to halt this evil crime?' Think of the connection a mother feels when she's doing something like this:

The other thing was that draped over a banister in Tracy's house was an unwashed T-shirt Derrick had dropped during his last visit home. I thought Tracy was apologizing for her housekeeping, which I had already seen was much better than mine, but she cleared her throat and said that what I needed to understand was that she hadn't washed the T-shirt because if the Marine Corps has to send you your deceased child's personal effects, it launders the clothing first.
"That means there's no smell," Tracy said. She let this hover between us for a minute. "I've heard from so many parents who were crushed when they opened that bag, because they had thought they'd be able to smell their son," Tracy said.
"After 9/11, the news was on nonstop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Tracy said. "And I swear, if I could have, I would have gone to San Diego, grabbed my son by the ear and said: 'Buddy, you made a mistake. Let's go home now.' "

A white Toyota with two crosses hanging from the mirror pulled up at the curb. A woman with layered, lightened hair got out, shook Tracy's hand and said she was the niece of Georgette Frank, whom Tracy had come to know on the Web site and who was now awaiting our arrival at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. Georgette Frank and her husband, Roy, had organized the marineparents.com event Tracy had come to help supervise, a daylong volunteers' assembly line to pack up boxes for marines in Iraq, and although she had never met Georgette in person or even seen a picture of her, Tracy still kept in the Web site archives the year-old posting from the night the two marines in dress uniforms came to the Franks' house in Elk Grove Village:

TOPIC AUTHOR: HISMOM
POSTED ON: 04/08/2004 21:52:10
MESSAGE: My dear friends -- the Marines just left us -- LCPL Phil our beloved son was killed in action yesterday -- please keep my husband, daughter and me in your prayers. Please pray for my nieces and nephews as well. Our Phil was so loved by all our family. My heart is breaking -- help me

REPLY AUTHOR: TDV
REPLIED ON: 04/08/2004 21:56:25
MESSAGE: Georgette, I pray for God to be with you and your family. Your son is our hero. Please let us know how we can help. My love and prayers are here for you and your family. God bless and semper fi, Tracy

There was a 22:23:31 posting that night directed to Georgette too -- "words mostly fail me. This is a parent's worst fear" -- and one at 00:39:08 and at 1:21:41 and at 1:55:55.

All night, into dawn the next day, and long into the following weeks, Tracy read messages from Cindi and Justinsbud and vermontmom and scores of other devastated women; men's names turned up here and there, but mostly they were women, and Tracy pictured them alone at their keyboards, all over the country, typing and crying and trying to think of what to say to Georgette.

Tracy had built the Web site in part because she guessed this would happen, that people would want a place where they could sit in the dark making an effort to hold one another up, and although Georgette was neither the first bereaved marineparents.com parent nor the last, she maintained a kind of sorrowful grace on the message boards that Tracy found extraordinarily brave. Months after Phil was killed, shot by an Iraqi sniper during the insurgency in Falluja, Georgette was still a regular on the site, helping out, consoling other parents. She closed each of her postings, "I remain -- as always -- hismom."

When I woke the next morning, it was barely light outside, but Tracy was already at her computer. She was smoking at her desk, which she usually doesn't do, and her face was bleak. "I got a D.O.D.," she said.

A D.O.D. is what Tracy calls a death notice from the Department of Defense. These notices come to her as e-mailed press releases, each with a headline that identifies the service the deceased American belonged to; when she sees "Marine Casualty," Tracy passes the official information directly to the message boards of marineparents.com, so she can make accurate the latest fearful online rumors started by an unverified posting or a televised news report. I looked over Tracy's shoulder at the message on her computer screen. "Cpl. Bryan J. Richardson, 23, of Summersville, W.Va., died March 25 as a result of hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq."

I asked Tracy how long she had known that there was a new Marine death. "Since yesterday morning," she said. "CNN said something about it, but they were vague, and everybody was in a panic. The message boards were popping. The posts yesterday were full of it. But there was no D.O.D., not until now."

She had walked around with it all day in other words; she had known, at Missy's, but she hadn't known the details, only that it wasn't Derrick, first because the Marines had not come to her house and then because Derrick was there, on Missy's computer screen, examining his wife's painted egg. Tracy had said nothing because that's what she has taught herself to do, between the initial rumors and the arrival of the D.O.D.'s: say nothing, pray, wait for Derrick to call, sprint around the Web site to see whether it's the child of someone she has come to know. Tracy was typing now -- "Let's remember him and his family in our prayers" -- and I asked whether she was thinking about Cpl. Bryan J. Richardson's house in Summersville, W.Va., and she said, yes, she was. "The knocking on the door," she said.

Tracy jammed her cigarette into the ashtray, hard.

"And the way I'd react: You've got the wrong house. I just talked to my son. This can't be right.

Denial is the first thing. And knowing there's just complete and total despair in somebody's home right now. This is their Easter." She started to cry. "And I feel so grateful, and then so guilty," she said.

"Nobody's going to say, 'Thank God, it wasn't my son.' But that's what we're all thinking."

There has to be another way. Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the author of The 2 Percent Solution is filling in for Maureen Down at the New York Times. In an article that doesn't cover the war in Iraq, he has this to offer:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world," wrote George Bernard Shaw. "The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Or maybe on the unreasonable woman. Take my wife. In Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, the women withhold their charms until the men agree to stop making war. Jody thinks that's a promising model. Talk about unreasonable.

Is it? Think about the possibilities here. Women do wield a great deal of influence in their men, and there is nothing more precious to them than their children. Why should they not use their 'weapons of mass affection' in the cause of keeping their children safe?

There seems to be some interest in the idea:


'Lysistrata' draws packed house in 'theatrical dissent'

"The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King"
- William Shakespeare

The words of an ancient Greek playwright found new meaning Monday night in the shadows of an impending war. On a dozen stages across Colorado and in more than 800 cities across the world, actors staged "a theatrical act of dissent" with dramatic readings of Lysistrata. The play tells the story of a group of women from warring states who convinced their men to make love not war by withholding their sexual favors.

The play was performed in large theaters and people's homes in places from Byron Bay in New South Wales to a theater just southwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In New York City, well-known actors such as Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick performed the play.

The play is the thing that Heather Larsen hoped would make people think twice about war in Iraq. Larson was in New York City on the day terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. "I was leaving for work and my mom called and told me not to leave," she said. "I felt like we were on lockdown for days."

Larsen, an actress and market researcher, helped organize a dramatic reading of Aristophanes' comedy Lysistrata in Denver Monday night. While she was in New York, Larsen performed in a play where she met Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bower, the two women who organized Monday's worldwide readings.

In Denver, Larson pulled together a cast, many of whom barely knew each other prior to the three rehearsals that preceded Monday night's performance.

"Wow, this is amazing," Larsen told the packed house of about 100 people who attended the performance at the Lida Theater Project. "All of the cast are backstage completely floored by the turnout tonight," she added. "Waves of people are raising their voice, saying they do not want this war to happen."

At the Lida, the crowd reached capacity, and some were sent next door to the Mercury theater, where another group of actors read the play. "We were just overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up," said actress Colleen Luckett. "It just kind of shows how many voices are in unison for peace."


March for Womens’ Lives

On a cloudy Sunday, April 25, 2004, more than half a million people rallied and marched in Washington DC on behalf of reproductive choice for women. A sign held by a young woman with a determined expression on her face as she stood on an elevation:
“Mr Bush: Had your mother chose abortion/More than 800 American soldiers and over 10,000 Iraqi civilians would be alive today/Abortions Save Lives.”
Last February 15th (2/15/03), tens of millions of people marched around the globe to protest Bush’s upcoming invasion of Iraq. Despite achieving visibility on such a colossal scale the criminal invasion happened anyway.

There are similarities between demonstrating for reproductive choices and the 911 Truth Movement. If large numbers of women, with their energy, laughter, cleverness and sex appeal were to throw a large protest that questioned the ludicrous story that 19 suicidal hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center causing them to disintegrate it could start a lasting revolution.

Not only could it topple the Bush regime but it could probably end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with achieving far more security and comfort for those who advocate reproductive choices for all.

Will women consider withholding their favors until a legitimate 9-11 Commission is convened? The future of our civilization may depend on it.

One Lysistrada producer has some insights into why women just might be so effective:


Robert Brustein on adapting Lysistrata

Aristophanes wrote this play during a 21-year old war among Greek city-states, which was driving him to despair. Lysistrata is a peace play, a desperate peace play - a fantasy about how to bring war-torn nations to the peace table. Lysistrata believes that women can understand death best because they come so close to it themselves in the act of giving birth.

Aristophanes imagined women could be an untapped source for peace. Lysistrata continues to have great relevance today in saying that continued carnage solves nothing, that people have to find the formula with which to live together in peace. But women will play a strong part, as they have always played a part, in any peace movement.

A peace meovement - regardless of who makes it up - could exist if women were to make a choice between their children's lives and the lies we are being told about why we need to risk ending them:


Editorial: Memorial Day/Praise bravery, seek forgiveness

In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq.

In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important:

It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country.
In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them.
As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice.
But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious.

Suffer the little children unto me Mark 10:14

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. Mt 18:14


Copyrighted [©] source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.

FAIR USE NOTICE

This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

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Internet Resources for Lysistrada:

Full text of Lysistrada - from Project Perseus.

The Lysistrada of Aristophanes - from Thomas Martin's Overview of Archaic and Classical Greek History from Project Perseus.

Study Guide For Aristophanes' Lysistrada - from Temple University

Lysistrada -- another study guide by Roger Dunkle of Brooklyn College.

More Internet Resources for World Views

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