Friday, July 01, 2005

Did You Say War? What War?

My friend sent me the below eloquent article written by Gary Kamiya of It states in such an accurate manner the indifference that has taken over our country's collective mind about war in general and especially this Bush Iraq war.
(Whenever I write or speak about the 2003 war in Iraq I always refer
to it as the Bush War, because if it weren't for our nation of voters,
casting their votes for this man, there would be no war raging in Iraq and
thousands of dead war victims would be alive today.)

As we go about our daily lives, the war is continually going on, getting hotter and more erratic as we speak. I use to think about it during my every waking moment. I would search out news medium who reported truth about the war such as Democracy Now, I.N.N.TV Free Speech TV, Link TV, just to name a few. Plus, the many Internet websites dedicated to truth. But as the destruction mounted and the maimed and killed escalated, I had to take a break from it all to save my sanity. (If only the embedded soldiers or the citizens of this war torn country could do the same.)

Now, with Bush's sorry-ass TV appearance the other night and how corporate media continues to whitewash it or ignore it all together, I have again allowed my thoughts to embrace the sheer adversity and insurmountable human suffering this war has inflicted on the rational IQ, once again. Please read this article and GET ANGRY, we should all be beyond rage that one group of ideologists were able to convince a naive country that this war was about protecting our way of life. When in reality it was about satisfying the greed for power of just a handful of fanatic zealots. Thinking Blue

War? What War?
By Gary Kamiya Wednesday 29 June 2005

As the Iraq nightmare deepens, Fox News and its cable
competitors wallow in shark attacks and Natalee Holloway. If you don't cover a war, does it exist?

Almost four years ago, the American right launched a great moral
crusade. Sept. 11 had changed everything forever, the war party and its
supporters repeated. The apostles of the New Righteousness used the
smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center to anathematize anyone who
failed to embrace the cause. To dissent, even to analyze, was to
dishonor the dead, virtually to commit high treason. Those few who tried
to stop King George's Crusade from marching to Jerusalem (or Baghdad, in
this millennium-later iteration) were swept away like the black
protesters in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, hosed off the streets not with
water but with the saintly blood of the 9/11 victims. Pundits railed
against an elitist "Fifth Column" and compared dissenters to Neville
Chamberlain-like "appeasers." In one of the great failures of the
opposition in American history, the Democrats and the mainstream media
joined the angry mob. A few mumbled some pathetic caveats as they waved
their pitchforks, but their bleats were drowned out as the patriotic
horde swept on to Infinite Justice.

Beyond the calls to war and vengeance, Americans were told that
this was a transforming moment, an epiphany. It was a Great Awakening,
not just a political but a spiritual watershed. A pious young writer
insisted that after 9/11, irony was dead; he received a large book
contract to expand upon his paean to sincerity. Analysts from
across the political spectrum argued that the terror attacks, like a
vast memento mori, were a manifestation of death and evil that would
forever change our superficial, sensation-addled culture.
astute New York Times columnist Frank Rich criticized the media for its
petty pre-9/11 obsessions with such ephemera as shark attacks and tawdry
murder cases. In the dark months after the attacks, the left and right
agreed that the new era should, must, be one of dignity and gravitas.
For conservatives, those qualities were in the service of anger; for
liberals, of analysis - but there was no disagreement about the need for

Today, the issue of how to comport ourselves in the wake of 9/11
is moot: It has been almost four years since the attacks, and most
Americans - without forgetting the tragedy or disrespecting the dead -
have gotten over it. But our current situation raises almost
identical issues, of morality, personal conscience and the
responsibility of the media.

For those opposed to the Iraq war and appalled by the
moralistic blackmail practiced by the right, it has never been easy to
separate legitimate mourning and reflection on the significance of 9/11
from hysteria and unreflective anger
. (Indeed, one of the
sadder consequences of George W. Bush's divisive war has been the way it
has scattered what could have been a shared American grief.) The
"9/11 changed everything" line became a tool used by the right;

it overstated the significance of what was not, historically speaking,
an epochal event, and implicitly laid the groundwork for the Iraq war.

In fact, soon after the trauma of 9/11 faded it became clear that
the demands for a permanent change in American manners and mores were
naive at best and overbearing at worst. Moralistic pronouncements about
what we should think or watch are tiresome, would result in terrible
sitcoms and in any case are doomed to be defeated by what Daniel Bell
called "the cultural contradictions of capitalism." No one would really expect,
or want, American culture to suddenly abandon irony, or even its
obsession with shark attacks, weird real people conniving against each
other on prime time and addictive murder cases. What's the use of
defeating a global enemy if as a result you can't watch "America's Top

Still, one need not be a Victorian, or Marxist, moralist to find
some of those cultural contradictions pretty appalling - and getting
worse all the time.

We are at war. Dozens of Americans are dying every month, and
hundreds if not thousands of Iraqis, and there is no end in sight.
It is a situation that calls for seriousness, analysis and
reflection - in a word, for respect.

So one might expect that the mass media - and in particular,
those media outlets that were the most aggressive in calling for war -
would treat the war with at least a modicum of respect, and cover it

But if one expected that, one would be colossally wrong.
Welcome to Fox's America, land of dissociation, where war isn't real but
must be supported at all costs.

Fox News is rapidly becoming an essential if faintly
horrific guide to the American soul, a kind of cross between an organ
and a tumor.
Fox is certainly not the only offender - its cable
competitors CNN and MSNBC are chasing the same ratings, and are guilty
of similar sins - but it's the most egregious. Those who have
watched Fox News recently must feel as if they had fallen into a bizarre
time and logic warp out of Philip K. Dick, where 9/11 never happened
(except when necessary to drum up support for the war on Iraq, which
also doesn't exist except when it has to be defended) and we've returned
to those happy summer days when lurid, sexually charged murder cases and
shark attacks were not just the most important stories, they were the
only stories.

On Fox these days, it's all Natalee Holloway, all the time, with
breaks for "news alerts" about shark attacks. Probably the only thing
that could have knocked the young woman who went missing in Aruba off
the Fox air was a speech by Bush, and it did. Fox dragged itself away
from Holloway long enough on Tuesday to preview the president's
prime-time speech, trotting out the usual "expert" ostriches who intoned
through mouthfuls of sand that only a "steadfast message" would calm the
markets and the country, as well as a long-haired right-winger in the
Ted Nugent mold who informed us that the Allies had to fight Nazi
terrorists after the end of World War II for 10 years. With its
usual reverence, Fox also covered Bush's speech itself, an utterly
insignificant offering that seemed to have been spliced together from
earlier "inspiring" Bush sound bites. Bush sought to rally support for
the increasingly disastrous war by saying we had to fight the terrorists
"where they are making their stand" - leaving out the inconvenient fact
that they were not there before he invaded. His halftime locker-room
address may have been intended to recall the steely resolve of Winston
Churchill's famous "We shall never surrender" speech, but for students
of military history it may instead have summoned the words of Adolf
Hitler, who proclaimed to the commander of his doomed troops in
Stalingrad, "Where the soldier of Germany sets foot, there he remains."

But Fox's all-consuming interest is in the Holloway case, upon
whose resolution the fate of the republic apparently rests. Tuesday, a
short news segment opened with a live report from that epicenter of
world news, Aruba, with a grim-looking reporter standing on the beach,
intoning something ominous about Holloway. On Monday, its news
programming was even more dominated by Holloway (a highlight was when
Geraldo Rivera suggested putting military pressure on the Dutch marines
to help find her body) and lovingly detailed accounts of the gory
Florida shark attacks. John Gibson opened his "The Big Story" show by
intoning "This is a Fox News alert" - then proceeded to inform his
viewers of the urgent news that a boy who was attacked by a shark had
his leg amputated, before going on to interview a shark expert. The
contrast between Fox's resolute avoidance of showing bloody images from
the war in Iraq and its nearly pornographic immersion in shark bites and
unsolved murders, was glaring. Only death or bloodshed with high
entertainment value gets on Fox.

In this context, it was remarkable that Fox host Neil Caputo was
able to maintain a straight face when he asked oilman T. Boone Pickens,
"Does it trouble you the way the war is presented in the media?" - a
question so embarrassingly Jeff Gannon-esque that even Pickens retorted,
"That's a loaded question." There's no problem with such "liberal media"
bias at Fox: If it doesn't like the way the war is going, it just
doesn't cover it. (Bush and Fox always sing from the same hymnal. In a
not-so-subtle passage in his speech, Bush implicitly chastised news
outlets for running images of bombings in Iraq, saying the insurgents
carry them out "for the cameras.")

If Fox had not been such an ardent supporter of the war, its
tabloid wallowing might be merely irritating. As it is, it's disgusting
- the contrast between Fox's earlier moralizing and its current
pandering feels debased, almost depraved. Fox has not lived up
to the war it demanded, and it's hard to believe that even supporters of
the war aren't offended by this
. But for today's right wing,
including those blowhards who make careers out of decrying "the death of
outrage" and the loss of Victorian virtues and other sins for which
liberal "relativism" and "moral cowardice" are responsible, the idea
that war should be covered with dignity and seriousness is as quaint as
the Geneva Conventions: What matters is propaganda,
effectiveness. If you want to win a war, and it's going badly, and its
continued prosecution (or the political effectiveness of the president)
depends upon the opinion of the American people, then you don't cover
it, or you whitewash it. Hence the violent anger, in some conservative
quarters, at the "Nightline" programs that showed the U.S. dead in Iraq.
That the ultimate act of disrespect for the dead is to ignore them
apparently does not matter.

If only the war in Iraq had been the video-game cakewalk the Bush
administration promised, Fox wouldn't have had to deal with this taste
problem. After all, everyone knew at the time that the most pro-war
cable channel was also the one that wallowed most luxuriantly in shark
attacks, tawdry murder cases and cheesy sexual titillation.
There seemed no reason at the time that this should trouble anyone:
After all, we were going to swagger into Iraq, kick Saddam's evil ass,
declare "Mission accomplished" and swagger back to a hero's greeting of
wonderfully pneumatic blonde babes in bikinis on some cool Pacific
island where the beer flows 24/7. This wasn't going to be a war, it was
going to be another hit reality show - "Survivor" without casualties,
where all the dudes score with the chicks! Plus, if gravitas was needed
for some reason, like if somehow a GI actually got killed or something,
all the news anchors were wearing U.S. flag pins in their lapels and
were pumped to get deeply emotional and patriotic at a moment's notice.

Still, it is now slowly beginning to dawn on the American people
- perhaps even on Fox, although it is not going to do anything about it
- that there is a disconnect at the heart of the war party's
rhetoric about the grand mission, a deeply mixed message, and that this
is doing something bad to our national character.
After 9/11
Bush told Americans that they were embarked on a great struggle, the
"war on terror," and he periodically appealed to their fear and anger.
But he has demanded no sacrifice - unless slapping a $1 yellow "Support
Our Troops" sticker on the back of your car counts as a sacrifice.
In his speech Tuesday, Bush seemed aware that the war is a phantom,
disconnected from American reality: He appealed to the country to make
some gesture of support to the troops on July 4. It was a pathetic,
token appeal that will do little or nothing to unify the country.
Perhaps it will raise some troops' morale, but properly armored vehicles
would do far more.
In the end, the larger question of how television should cover
war today remains unexplored. In this era of a toothless and intimidated
media, this is not surprising: It's an explosive issue, one that places
the media in direct opposition to power. Governments never want
their citizens to know the truth about war. Fox News or any other media
organization could argue, legitimately enough from the traditional
war-coverage perspective, that U.S. casualties in Iraq are so low that
covering them in detail, in the modern age of instant mass transmission,
of color film and close-ups, would be both unnecessary and a
manifestation of antiwar bias, since the bloody images would harm
national morale. This is, of course, a debate as old as the Vietnam War:
Some conservatives insisted that the American people only rejected that
war when body bags began appearing on the screen, and they demanded -
and demand now - that the media serve as an instrument of the government.

In fact, this attitude patronizes the American people and
imposes a kind of national repression about the actual realities of war
that is deeply unhealthy.
That unhealthiness, a kind of
spiritual rot, rises up not just from Fox's coverage but from all war
coverage that flinches, that glosses over, that pleads "taste," that
pleads "we're a family newspaper," that does not actually depict what
happens when you go to war.

I am not a pacifist: I accept that there may be times when it is
necessary to go to war. But if we do make that ultimate decision,
we should do it knowing - and seeing - what war does.

We now live in an age of near-total information. In our fear and
uncertainty about this unprecedented state of affairs, magnified by our
underlying confusion about how to deal with war, we have
embraced near-total repression.
As a result, this war has been
absurdly sanitized. It's time to grow up, to make
ourselves face the real boogeyman of war - not fake ones like the BTK
killer, now safely behind bars and telling his gruesome tales for our
horrified titillation. As Chris Hedges, one of the most unflinching
chroniclers of war, has noted, modern war is "industrialized
Or, as some GI somewhere put it, war is "about
blowing motherfuckers up." It's about heads getting shot off, and faces
torn apart, and babies cut in two, and everything else horrible that can
happen to a human body when big pieces of metal hit it at incredible
speed. That is what war is - no more, no less. The
Spanish artist Goya knew this; he drew it in his "Disasters of War," and
under one of his hideous etchings he wrote these simple words:
"This always happens."

This always happens: Every combat veteran knows this about war,
but the politicians who make war don't, or don't tell.
Yes, compared with World War II, or even Vietnam, not many American
troops are dying in Iraq. But every GI who dies in Iraq, and
every dead Iraqi civilian we don't count, is a human being like you or
me, and as worthy of memorializing as the people who died in the World
Trade Center - certainly as Natalee Holloway. It's time, long past time,
for the media to get real about war. Until it does, the TV channels will
just be filled with bread and circuses and lies. And the Great Awakening
that was supposed to be ushered in will be revealed to be a restless
sleep, haunted by shabby, mean-spirited dreams.


The Real Picture

There are horrors that must not be tampered with, a pain so intense that
even compassion is insulting. To go beyond the mere description of such
terror and such anguish is to belittle it. There are no inferences to be
drawn from it, there are no lessons to be learned from it, there is no
hope of ever achieving the absolute, the categorical ruthlessness and
self-sufficiency of such an experience.” — Fred Licht from the article
“The Disasters of War” in the book Goya: The Origins of the Modern Temper
in Art

In 1808, Napoleon, in his quest for increased power in Europe, invaded
Spain. The Spanish people, determined to rid their country of this foreign
invader, took up arms and created an effective resistance to Napoleon’s
armies. The campaign dragged on until 1813, when guerrilla warfare by
Spanish civilians, aided by the presence of the British Army, finally
drove the French troops back across the border. Thus ended one more war,
in a European history rife with wars.

A student sitting in a classroom in 1999 reading about Napoleon’s Spanish
campaign in a history textbook might find at most a page or two describing
the invasion. The textbook might explain Napoleon’s reasons for invading
Spain, the manner in which he installed his brother Joseph Bonaparte onto
the Spanish throne, the reasons for Spanish resistance, and the part
played by the British in helping Spain repel the invasion by the French.
The textbook would probably discuss the significance of the battle,
identifying the first indication that Napoleon could be beaten—a
foreshadowing of things to come. The student might make notes of the
salient points, learn the important dates, and summarize the importance
and significance of this conflict. In the same manner, the student would
study other wars.

Yet, in this relatively obscure event in time, people died horrible,
brutal deaths. These deaths were documented through the art of Francisco
José de Goya in a series of etchings titled The Disasters of War (Los
Desastres de la Guerra). Goya depicted the atrocities of the 1808 invasion
of Spain in 62 etchings—a testimony to the terror, chaos, brutality, and
insanity of this war and of war in general.

The images are horrific, the portrayals too graphic to be considered
romantic. The series was not meant for public consumption, but rather was
a form of personal exorcism of the horrors that Goya personally witnessed.
The series was not exhibited until 1863, 35 years after Goya’s death and
50 years after the end of Napoleon’s invasion of Spain.

The titles ascribed to the images render them even more haunting. “I saw
this” is the caption on Plate 44; “Why?” is the simple, yet profound,
caption on Plate 32. The images and titles can overwhelm or even confuse
the viewer. They do not, however, lay blame. They do not provide
simplistic answers; they depict the horror. Atrocities were committed by
both sides in the conflict. Rather than tallying up the wrong-doings of
either side, Goya’s etchings demonstrate through their brutal honesty the
importance of recording what occurred. They do not “go beyond the mere
description of such terror and such anguish” thus belittling it.

In the same article in which Licht writes about this monumental series of
etchings, he also says “Either every fiber within us calls out to stop the
killing or else we seek cowardly refuge by trying to ‘get the facts
straight so that we can judge.’ But there is no time to get the facts

Do we use an academic study of the facts of war as a filter to help us
reconcile the horror? Have we become immune to the images of war? Have no
lessons been learned? The horrors witnessed and recorded by Goya have been
played out many times since 1808 in many different venues: the
extermination of over six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis during
the Second World War, the killing fields created by the Khmer Rouge in
Cambodia, and the 1994 massacre of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in
Rwanda are just a few examples. The only thing that seems to have changed
is our reaction to the images of war. When Goya’s etchings were first
shown to the public, people were shocked by them. Images depicting horror
of that magnitude had never been exhibited before. Today, television
coverage brings similar images into our homes on a daily and often hourly
basis. Have we become saturated by the coverage and lost our ability to be
horrified? Have we become desensitized or even bored by images of war?
What coping mechanisms does the contemporary news watcher use consciously
or subconsciously? Do we change the channel and watch The Simpsons?

During Viewing

It is important to understand that by watching this news report, you are
not required to “solve” the conflict or resolve the suffering that
occurred. Like Goya, however, you can be a witness and in your own way
express your reaction to the war in Yugoslavia. For a short and important
period of time, during and after viewing, you can try to identify with the
real human beings who experienced this war first-hand. Look closely at the
ethnic Albanians shown in the video and listen carefully to their stories.
What must they have felt losing their homes, being dispersed and separated
from their family members, not knowing if or when they could return? What
must conditions really have been like living in the refugee camps? Can you
imagine having to leave Canada for shelter in another country?

After Viewing

In his article about Goya, Fred Licht says, “Goya seeks to bear witness to
the fundamental nature of man’s eternal warfare against himself, he seems
to bring to the attention of the fatuous and the forgetful the fact that
the world is divided into two races: the complacent and the wretched. Both
states of mind are equally incompatible with the dignity man might

As a class, discuss the meaning of this quote and express it in your own
words. Do you agree with what Licht says? Suggest words and phrases to
describe someone who is able to watch and listen to the victims of Kosovo
without being complacent or without also becoming wretched.




Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will
clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens
will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole
earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to
peace. ~Charles Sumner

The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of
thinking... the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If
only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker. ~Albert Einstein

War does not determine who is right - only who is left. ~Bertrand Russell

It'll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the
Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers. ~Author unknown, quoted
in You Said a Mouthful edited by Ronald D. Fuchs

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. ~John
F. Kennedy, 1961

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?"
~Eve Merriam

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is
generally employed only by small children and large nations. ~David

"There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism,
it's an argument against foxholes. ~James Morrow

Sometimes I think it should be a rule of war that you have to see somebody
up close and get to know him before you can shoot him. ~M*A*S*H, Colonel

All the arms we need are for hugging. ~Author Unknown

A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. ~Napoleon

A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an
army of mourners, and an army of thieves. ~German Proverb

More quotes at CLICK HERE





Justice Sunday's Derision of Faith

Perfumed Lies

What War Really Looks Like ... From Bushflash

100 Bush Days (seems more like 100 years)

Mother's Day Proclamation

National Religion

Bush Lies Democracy Dies



Deception, Denial, and Demagoguery

War, What War?


The tears fall each time young soldiers, die.

For a lie…

The tears fall as last breaths whisper, goodbye.

For a lie…

The tears fall, as exploding bombs, fill the sky.

For a lie…

The tears fall, filled with hate, questioning why?


CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use it!

this is a Proud Liberal Site



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