My Novels

Monday, March 31, 2003

So NBC fired Peter Arnett for his remarks about the American battle plan going awry. He should have known better than to state the facts, cause that'll get you fired if the facts don't jive with your corporate employer. Of course, among seasoned journalist there's an old adage that says: "If you haven't been fired at least once, you aren't doing your job." It's coincidental that I explained this very kind of situation a few entries back, about how if you were a reporter (especially with the major USA TV media) and varied from their viewpoints, you'd be sacked. Check back in my archives if you wish to read that earlier entry.

In my years at newspapers, I've seen several levels of this kind of 'publisher' censored content. In small towns it might just be something as simple as pulling a local news event off the front page to insert the obituary of a friend of the publisher's. In large cities...well, it can run the gamut from the trivial to major, important news the public needs to know. Additionally, editors are hired by publishers; hence, they have editorial control over news content. There is always some censorship in news, regardless of how we Americans would like to believe otherwise.

Alas, I'm sure that Arnett is already fielding offers from other worldwide news agencies, and will be employed again soon. Such experience goes with the journalism territory -- that is, if a reporter wants to fight for getting the facts out, and not tow the status-quo line.

As for how the war is going, I really have to find out that from the foreign press online. I'm thinking of dropping our local TV cable access, and getting a satellite/dish. I would then be able to get better coverage from foreign sources/channels, since now we're basically limited to American media. It's odd...I will watch the national media news here (MSNBC/CNN/FOX), and be convinced everything is hunky-dory with the war; then I look at foreign press online sites, and come away with a much more balanced viewpoint. I do know that the USA journalism organization, "Editor & Publisher" has already had articles about the concern that American media/news credibility will suffer from their coverage of this war. Time will tell, and of course, there are a few, very few critics shown occasionally, but all too often, we just get the pentagon's latest dispatches.

Here's a few articles/excerpts I found interesting:

DOWN AND DIRTY: The War in Iraq Turns Ugly. That's What Wars Do.

This campaign was begun, like so many others throughout history, with lofty exhortations from battlefield commanders to their troops, urging courage, patience, compassion for the Iraqi people and even chivalry. Within a week it had degenerated into an unexpected ugliness in virtually every populated area where American and British forces have come under fire. Those who believed from intelligence reports and Pentagon war planners that the Iraqi people, and particularly those from the Shiite sections of the southeast, would rise up to greet them as liberators were instead faced with persistent resistance.

Visions of cheering throngs welcoming them as liberators have vanished in the wake of a bloody engagement whose full casualties are still unknown. Snippets of news from Nasiriya give us a picture of chaotic guerrilla warfare, replete with hit-and-run ambushes, dead civilians, friendly fire casualties from firefights begun in the dead of night and a puzzling number of marines who are still unaccounted for. And long experience tells us that this sort of combat brings with it a "downstream" payback of animosity and revenge.

Other reports corroborate the direction that the war, as well as its aftermath, promises to take: Iraqi militiamen, in civilian clothes, firing weapons and disappearing inside the anonymity of the local populace. So-called civilians riding in buses to move toward contact. Enemy combatants mixing among women and children. Children firing weapons. Families threatened with death if a soldier does not fight. A wounded American soldier commenting, "If they're dressed as civilians, you don't know who is the enemy anymore."

These actions, while reprehensible, are nothing more than classic guerrilla warfare, no different in fact or in moral degree from what our troops faced in difficult areas of Vietnam. In the Fifth Marine Regiment area of operations outside Da Nang, we routinely faced enemy soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and even as women. Their normal routes of ingress and egress were through villages, and we fought daily in populated areas. On one occasion a smiling, waving girl — no more than 7 years old — lured a squad from my platoon into a vicious North Vietnamese crossfire. And if a Vietcong soldier surrendered, it was essential to remove his family members from their village by nightfall, or they might be killed for the sake of discipline.

The moral and tactical confusion that surrounds this type of warfare is enormous. It is also one reason that the Marine Corps took such heavy casualties in Vietnam, losing five times as many killed as in World War I, three times as many as in Korea and more total casualties than in World War II. Guerrilla resistance has already proved deadly in the Iraq war, and far more effective than the set-piece battles that thus far have taken place closer to Baghdad. A majority of American casualties at this point have been the result of guerrilla actions against Marine and Army forces in and around Nasiriya. As this form of warfare has unfolded, the real surprise is why anyone should have been surprised at all. But people have been, among them many who planned the war, many who are fighting it and a large percentage of the general population.


Excellent commentary from someone who has REAL war/battle experience, James Webb, secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam.


Three British soldiers sent home after protesting at civilian deaths

Three British soldiers in Iraq have been ordered home after objecting to the conduct of the war. It is understood they have been sent home for protesting that the war is killing innocent civilians.

Any refusal of soldiers to obey orders is highly embarrassing to the government, with ministers becoming increasingly worried about the way the war is developing.

It is also causing concern to British military chiefs who are worried about growing evidence of civilians being killed in fighting involving American soldiers around urban areas in southern Iraq.


I also saw a brief snippet on MSNBC this morning in which a British soldier who survived an air assualt by an American pilot/bomber -- one of his comrads killed -- was very upset with the pilot whom he said, "...was acting like a lone cowboy." The British soldier said that the American plane was flying low, and could have clearly seen that these were British soldiers, not the enemy...but fired on them anyway.

I also seen a brief news report that stated the Australian foreign minister has advised that once the "conflict" is over, Australian troops will pull out of Iraq. There's only about 2,000 there now, but I do know that there's been massive demonstrations in Australia wanting those troops brought back home. So we will see if this turns into a prolonged war whether American troops can "go it alone," because, frankly, I think that is what will happen -- no international support eventually.

As for 'weapons of mass destruction'...none have been found to date. And since the U.N. is now demanding their inspectors look at any 'evidence' found, I think the international rumors of "planting WMDs so that the USA can seem justified in attacking Iraq" has reached even them.

Like I've said before, this isn't shaping up to be a pretty picture.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I went on my bike ride early, and though partly sunny, that wind is fierce! It's only in the 40s today, a drastic change here, and supposed to hit the high 20s tonight with frost. Lots of plants will perish, unfortunately. I'm at 90 lbs again today, and stayed at 89 a few days, then 91 yesterday and 90 today. This is okay with me, and I don't mind the three pound variation... I'm eating a little more, getting good nutrition, but if I gain, then I cut back. I feel fine too.

Okay, here's a few article links/exerpts you're not likely to see in the USA media (which has become the spokes-persons for the pentagon, I fear). These are interesting articles from British foreign news agencies:

BBC chiefs stress need to attribute war sources

"We're absolutely sick and tired of putting things out and finding they're not true. The misinformation in this war is far and away worse than any conflict I've covered, including the first Gulf war and Kosovo," said a senior BBC news source.

"On Saturday we were told they'd taken Basra and Nassiriya and then subsequently found out neither were true. We're getting more truth out of Baghdad than the Pentagon at the moment. Not because Baghdad is putting out pure and morally correct information but because they're less savvy about it, I think.

"I don't know whether they [the Pentagon] are putting out flyers in the hope that we'll run them first and ask questions later or whether they genuinely don't know what's going on - I rather suspect the latter."

Hometown America watches in horror

The focus on the PoWs has also given the public a clearer picture of who the troops in the Gulf are. Johnson joined up to learn to cook, Piestewa is a Native American from a Navajo reservation, and captured welder Private Patrick Miller, who told his captors on TV that he was only in Iraq to 'fix broke stuff', enlisted last summer to help pay student loans - all of which has fuelled criticism that the military is weighted towards minorities and poor whites.

No surprise in that last article; Bush/Repubs must have some secret plan to wipe out the poor and minorities here, eh? They don't believe in abortion, but sending poverty-struck kids into a war is a-okay.

I'm about to take a break from the news, etc. and get outside, away from it all for the rest of today. I also have the first draft of my article finished, but need to rewrite it tomorrow.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Are Americans somewhat self-centered or what? I mean, Iraqi people are dying and all we can worry about is our emotional 'stress level?' Come on, if you were dodging bombs, your stress level would be irrelevant. You'd just want to stay alive! This upset comes from some American TV stations airing pseudo-psychological stress-related stories. Do we not know how self-centered and egotistical this appears to the rest of the world?

IF we are honest, we Americans SHOULD feel a lot of stress -- due to our fearless? leader continuing to claim 'all is going according to plan.' What a mess, huh?

I have no answers, but I'll tell you this: I don't approve of killing, whether our troops are doing it, their suicide-bombers are doing it, or anyone else. I am just glad that I have no children to explain this to.

By the way, what happened to all the American celebs who were against this war? Oh, I know...they were afraid to keep speaking out since 70% of the Americans approve of the war, thereby affecting their box-office profits, huh?

And with that, I'm going to close today...sad and disgusted with the humanity.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Hmm, this 'war' just keeps looking stranger and stranger. All kinds of mishaps and problems, but according to Bush, Rumsfield and company, all is going fine. How long will the American public buy this BS? Don't know, but it is surely going to get worse before they wake up and realize exactly how bad this is all going to turn out.

I went on my bike ride early, then worked on my article (which is going well) and then surfed a bit, looking at news and various discussion groups online. I want to post a few of the more intelligent comments I found here, though I won't give screen-names. I think these are very much on-target about the war in Iraq.


Iraq is a creation of the British after WW1 when the Ottoman Turkish Empire collapsed. Little if any regard was given to the ethnic or religious diversity of the land when Iraq was created. Kurds, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Christians, Sunni & Shiite Muslims all live in that region but forced under one national “Iraqi” banner. In considering this, one cannot help but to deduct that if not for a harsh dictator like Saddam this creation of Britain, most likely would have separated long ago.

The hatred amongst the people of Iraq for one another runs far back into history. The Americans to think they can simply go in their with no UN backing, and set things straight will prove to be the biggest mistake since the Vietnam war. Yes the people of Iraq will be happy to see Saddam gone, however within a year's time they will turn on the Americans. The Americans -- no matter how they claim to be liberators -- will be seen as an occupying force and an obstacle for the people of the region to attain true freedom. Furthermore the different factions, Kurds, Turkmen Shiites etc will all turn on each other. The land of Iraq will fall into a state of anarchy similar to the state of Afghanistan. The Americans will be trapped between the warring sides, and eventually will leave the state of Iraq ironically in a worse position than even under Saddam.

The end result will cause the entire Middle East to become destabilized. Turks will send in forces from Turkey, Iranians from Iran, Kurds will resist them along with the Arabs: Welcome to the future America will create in Iraq – One of death & destruction.

Though the American goals for Iraq are noble – they lack foresight. One only needs to look at the Israelis/Palestinian conflict to get a taste of what is to come in Iraq.


The U.S. is under the microscope by other nations jockeying for power in this new world order. The mighty Anglo-American war machine is being put to a very difficult test. Iraqi resistance is inspiring other Muslims in the region to see our newfound weaknesses. Basra is nowhere close to being as big and impregnable as Baghdad. The civilian death toll will rise alarmingly and more American-coalition casualties will grow just as well.

Look, pro-war folks, many of the Iraqis interviewed in the southern cities and Baghdad all are fighting for pride and to keep out a foreign occupying force that they find to be a cultural and religious threat to them. This will soon not be viewed as a war for liberation once Baghdad is besieged and the people don't rise up against Saddam. What is being painfully learned is that a majority of the Iraqis are fighting for themselves and not for Saddam. They are aware that he won't be around for long. Iraqi history has been one of in-fighting or chasing away foreigners. Ask the British, who had their tails whipped by these stout Muslims in the 1920s. The Battle of Al-Kut is still remembered in Iraq as a great event of national pride, when the mighty British Empire suffered a surprising defeat. Most Iraqis and Muslims know that Bush has in mind to install Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, a pro-Israel warhawk, as the post-war civil governor of Iraq. That is pure stupidity to do so. This will surely infuriate the Shiites and Sunnis. Bush has embarked on an already doomed mission.


I really don't understand why British and American generals who get paid up to 300,000$ a year can prepare a war this badly.

Ewww, we didn't think the Iraqi's would use guerilla tactics, we only thought they were going to line up all their tanks in the desert so we can bomb 'em for free.

Ewww, we didn't know that having a 600 mile supply line from Quwait to Kerbala makes you vulnerable.

Ewww, we didn't plan the possibility of people in Basra not welcoming us, but instead seeing even 12-yo kids shooting at us.

And then you read that GW asks for another 70 billion and another 130,000 troops.

This war is a non-event. It shows the stupidity of not only the Bush administration, but of an entire echelon of power.


And now let's allow one of the Iraqi people to give his opinion:

Note: This interview was conducted just moments after reports emerged that US/UK forces bombed Iraqi television and a market place in a residential neighborhood in Baghdad. Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman and correspondent Jeremy Scahill spoke with Gazwan Al Muktar, a retired engineer from his home in Baghdad.

Jeremy Scahill: Gazwan, what will you do, if US forces try to come into Baghdad, you as a man, what are you planning to do?

Gazwan Al Muktar: Well ah—what I’m planning to do? I will pull up my rifle and I will shoot. And I will shoot at anybody who comes in. I’m a sixty year old man, but I am not going to let anybody, any foreigner tell me what to do or running my own country. This is a country I have spent all my life, trying to build something, to do something about improving the lot of the Iraqi people. Iraq is a wealthy country, Iraq has been, because of the sanctions, relegated to a third class country. You remember in 1961, that’s 42 years ago, the Iraqi government then, and it wasn’t the Ba’ath Party government, sent me to the States to study. I was a high school student. They sent me. Iraq has invested a lot of money in our education, a lot of time. The consecutive governments, all the governments of Iraq, and we are trying to build a country and you have ruined it. The US government is destroying everything. They destroyed it in ‘91 and we rebuilt it and they are destroying whatever we have rebuilt--

Amy Goodman: The US government says—

Gazwan Al Muktar: --for absolutely no reason.

Amy Goodman: The US government says it’s Saddam Hussein who is ruining it.

Gazwan Al Muktar: What?

Amy Goodman: The US government says it’s Saddam Hussein who is ruining it.

Gazwan Al Muktar: Well, they’re entitled to their view, but my view is that Saddam Hussein, was in 1984 was the President when Donald Rumsfeld came and shook his hand and said “he’s a nice fellow, we can work with him.” Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that you people gave commodity credits to. So what changes is the perceptions of Donald Rumsfeld of what Saddam Hussein is. Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that I have known in ’79 when he took power. So anything that changes, it’s the perception of Donald Rumsfeld. Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that dealt with Ronald Reagan and the presidents before him. It’s now Bush, he doesn’t like Saddam Hussein and he had—they are ruining the country. Bush is entitled to say whatever he wants. But that doesn’t make him right.

Jeremy Scahill: This is the voice of Gazwan Al Muktar, something I have not seen on any of the networks. An ordinary Iraqi speaking live to Americans via radio and television. Gazwan we want to thank you very much for being with us. Do you have any final comments you want to make to this national audience in the United States right now?

Gazwan Al Muktar: Jeremy, everytime I look at the letters, UKUSA, it means to me: “United to Kill Us All.” And that, if you take the first letters of it it’s UKUSA and that’s how I feel. The two countries are united to kill us all, irrespective whether we support the government or we don’t support the government.

Jeremy Scahill: Gazwan—

Gazwan Al Muktar: The final thing, Jeremy, the final thing, I think, it’s the blind leading the blind. You are blind, I mean the US government is blind, and it’s led by another blind people who are the oppositions who are telling you that we will welcome the American soldiers. And you saw what happened in Um Qasr, Al Fao and Basra and Nassiriya. Those are the Shi’ite places where you think they should have welcomed the revolt against the government. But they did not. So it’s about time, you people open up your eyes and see what’s happening and understand the message and forget about the rhetoric.

Excerpt from this Website


Now let's address the "free press" here. As a former journalist, I have already expressed my skepticism of journalist being "embedded" with troops -- rather like being 'in bed' with the government/military. In some ways though, it's been fairly interesting: Nightline's Ted Koppel seems to try and insert a bit of objective comment. Like any reporter in danger though, and living with the military troops, he's bound to be somewhat biased on their behalf.

The fortunate factor in this war is that so many people have access to the internet and satellite TV, and can get the foreign press news. Some are more unbiased, and try to present facts, as well as provide different opinions/viewpoints from all over the world. I like to read the BBC and Guardian news online, as well as several other European and Middle-East online news sites. When I compare those with ours, I can find a balance between the extemes, possibly come up with balanced, more factual information. Try it.

Additionally, Editor & Publisher has a good website of critical commentary about the USA media/news...and this is a list of stories that have been widely misreported or poorly reported so far in the American media:

1. Saddam may well have been killed in the first night's surprise attack (March 20).

2. Even if he wasn't killed, Iraqi command and control was no doubt "decapitated" (March 22).

3. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 22).

4. Most Iraqis soldiers will not fight for Saddam and instead are surrendering in droves (March 22).

5. Iraqi citizens are greeting Americans as liberators (March 22).

6. An entire division of 8,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered en masse near Basra (March 23).

7. Several Scud missiles, banned weapons, have been launched against U.S. forces in Kuwait (March 23).

8. Saddam's Fedayeen militia are few in number and do not pose a serious threat (March 23).

9. Basra has been taken (March 23).

10. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 23).

11. A captured chemical plant likely produced chemical weapons (March 23).

12. Nassiriya has been taken (March 23).

13. Umm Qasr has been taken (March 24).

14. The Iraqi government faces a "major rebellion" of anti-Saddam citizens in Basra (March 24).

15. A convoy of 1,000 Iraqi vehicles and Republican Guards are speeding south from Baghdad to engage U.S. troops (March 25).

Source: Editor & Publisher Online


Since it's been announced that over 100,000 more US troops will be sent to Iraq, and there seems to be continuing problems with Syria (said to be giving arms to Iraq) and with Iran (warned not to send troops into Iraq), and Turkey (some of their troops in northern Iraq)I have to think that we are going to need a draft very soon in order to provide more US troops. Or as one poster put it:

"I feel a draft blowing in the wind."

All I can say is: I sure hope that Bush & Company haven't started WWIII.

And for those USA citizens who are outraged by GW's arrogance and hubris, here's a link where you can vote to impeach him:

Impeach Bush

Hope that helps!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I have a great deal to write about my thoughts on the war...but let me preface this by saying I do love my country. However, it's the current leadership that's in question, to my way of thinking.

I am back home, and have all the material from research/interviews I need to write my article. Collecting that went faster than I'd thought, so now I only need to write the article from my notes and material. I went for a long bike ride earlier, and it was nice to get the much-needed exercise, good for reducing stress/anxiety -- which all Americans must be feeling to some extent regarding the war.

It's not too surprising to me that more American troops are going to be needed over there; and now is when the glaring lack of U.N. support will start to be felt. IF America had gotten U.N. approval (just by being patient, if nothing else), we could call on our allies to help provide troops. But no, Bush had to rush in and go it alone. Now there's going to be more lives lost on all sides. And yet, still the polls here show strong support for the war; I have no idea when this will change, if ever. I was too young to remember much of how this country reacted to the beginning of the Korean and Vietnam wars...but I do know Vietnam went on YEARS before the public demanded a stop to it. That isn't encouraging.

Trying to subdue ALL the Iraqi people is going to be a great deal more difficult than the 'think-tank' wishfuls who advised for this war has led us to believe. Or at least led the majority of the American public to believe. I think there's a 'disconnect' between think-tank armchair planners and the REALITY of war. Too bad that Bush believed them.

As for the Iraqi people not being happy to see us, here's an excerpt from an article well worth reading:

You should have known we'd fight --By Burhan al-Chalabi

It is now clear to everyone that ordinary Iraqis are resisting this military aggression with their lives and souls. Commentators and politicians in Britain and America seem taken aback: how come the Iraqis are putting up such a fight? Why do they so passionately resist this attempt to liberate them from the brutal dictator, Saddam? But Iraqis aren't surprised at all.

When Iraq was first colonised by Britain in 1917, Iraqis were fed the same British propaganda about liberation through occupation. We fought the best part of last century to get rid of colonial Britain and, since then, have helped a great number of independence movements worldwide. Iraqis may wish for the current regime to change, but anyone who understands our culture will know that in this war Iraqis will fight and die, not to save President Saddam Hussein, but to protect their home, land, dignity and self-respect from a new world order alien to their way of life. We are an enormously proud people.

And so history repeats itself. Just as in the past century, the military superiority of the Anglo-American invaders may eventually overwhelm the Iraqi army, which is weak and ill-equipped because of sanctions, containment and isolation. But there is also no doubt that in the end this military crusade against Iraq will fail just like the previous British occupation of Iraq, led by General Maude, where the military odds were just as much in favour of the British army. Iraqis - in particular the Arab-Iraqi Shi'ites - fought bitter and hard and suffered thousands of casualties in order to liberate Iraq from the British occupation. They will do so again.

It is true that, this time, the British and US forces may assume control of sea, air and deserts of Iraq, but they will never win the war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Not only do the people of Iraq face devastation by the US and UK aggression on a scale not previously known to mankind, but they also face death and destruction by another war - the civil war that would inevitably follow. We know what this means, because we have been there before.

Interesting, no?

Last night I watched a lot of our own media coverage, and at some point you are almost brain-washed by the hype for the war, how great things are going to work out eventually. Don't get me wrong: IF Bush's true motives are to free the Iraqi people, to give them all better, productive, happier lives, I'd understand. But awarding Halliburton -- VP Cheney's past employer -- a government contract to 'rebuild' Iraq makes me suspicious!

Last night I watched the Discovery program, "Why They Hate Us," was so santized I wanted to puke. NOT ONCE was oil mentioned in the whole show, even after countless interviews with Arabs (did they cut those comments out?) I mean, come the kid's say, GET REAL. If you grow up in the shadow of massive oil fields that support American wealth and dictator's wealth...but you are hungry, miserable, suppressed..then you KNOW oil is a vital element of the equation. Sooner or later, you are going to be very, very, very angry...and lash out. Thus, Sept. 11th.

IF Bush's goal is to free Iraqi people, to bring democracy...the whole way it's been attempted, I fear, is wrong. You don't bomb people's homes (while protesting you are not targeting them), starve them, cut off power and water supplies...and then expect them to be grateful to you. There was another way, and I think that was to have a covert operation to eliminate Saddam. However, I have to wonder if the CIA hadn't already attempted that many, many times and failed. And also if the CIA couldn't covertly start a revolution by the Iraqi people against Saddam, why would they think that a full-out war by bombing and attack would generate love for the Americans?

And how much GOOD could have been done with the 75 billion dollars we're going to pour into this war? Health care here would have been a darn good start, as well as providing direct aid to the hungry, starving, needy people in Iraq.

In the meantime, America has now gone against the U.N., provoked near-hatred by our former allies, and in effect, broken international law. And to top it all off, it looks like we're going to be fighting another long, protracted war which will kill our troops as well as innocent Iraqi people. The outcome...well, that remains to be seen.

I just don't think it'll be a pretty picture.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003


Yep, it's beginning to look/sound a lot like a replay of the Vietnam War over in Iraq. De ja vu all over again. And all the while we have these politicians/military smugly telling us the 'war' is right on track, nothing is running afoul. To that I only say: "What an idiotic war plan."

Folks, we ain't seen nothin yet. I am fairly sure the worst is yet to come, and then when the smoke settles, wait till those grateful Iraqi people realize we're there to STAY. They can't fight a 'conventional war,' since they don't have the firepower our troops do...but they can use clever deception tactics, just like some of the Vietnamese used. And I see no end to this, because the diversity and long-standing grudges amongst all the tribes in Iraq are not simply going to disappear.

Oh, and the ridiculous righteous outrage of Americans here...oh, the anger that those darn Iraqi people would DARE to defend themselves in any way possible, why...imagine that! That they would kill our troops, who after all are only bringing freedom through death, bombing, killing, why it's just unbelieveable! (sarcasm) Americans need to get a clue: NO HUMAN BEINGS LIKE TO BE INVADED AND BOMBED, KILLING INNOCENT CITIZENS. And further, they are not likely to forget their dead once the war is over either. Somehow I don't think they'll blame Saddam for the killing either...only the invaders.

Welcome to The Bush Era, Americans. All those who voted for him, well, please accept your responsibility in the debacle. And as for the rest of us, please...let's vote Bush out of office at the next election (if we can keep the Supreme Court out of it, that is.)

Sickened, disgusted, angry today at the spectacle of American arrogance.

Monday, March 24, 2003

I'm very busy today, doing some interviews, etc. But I did want to make a brief update, since I may not get time for another entry for a few days. What an AWFUL weekend -- all the grotesque war images on TV. I suppose it really is shocking to the younger generation, but after all, I grew up in the Era of Viet Nam coverage on TV, and such images were a nightly occurrence. The bad thing is that it took YEARS of such horror and waste in human lives before any momentum ever developed to stop the senseless violence and waste of war.

Let me say that I DO love my country, and I would never do anything intentionally to harm it or our security. But I didn't vote for Bush, and I especially think that when the Supreme Court stepped into a disputed voting count, it set a bad example of 'democracy.' I don't like Bush -- not then, not now. And I can't give his actions my 'stamp of approval' because...too many lives are being lost right now for something with a dubious outcome, to say the least.

We're all witnessing the darkest side of humanity...and I would like to hope for better times ahead for the world, but I am very sad and worried about the state of world affairs in general today.

Here's an article and excerpt from the Washington Post which makes me concerned about ever winning the minds/hearts of the Iraqi people:

Battles Rage in Iraqi Cities, Bodies Litter Desert

"There is fighting in the center, on the streets. It is terrible," said Hussein, a 24-year-old engineer who works for the state-run southern oil company in Basra.

"We don't want Americans here. This is Iraq."

One group of Iraqi boys on the side of the road smiled and waved as a convoy of British tanks and trucks rolled by.

But once it had passed, leaving a trail of dust and grit in its wake, their smiles turned to scowls.

"We don't want them here," said 17-year-old Fouad, looking angrily up at the plumes of gray smoke rising from Basra.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

I'm at my destination, and decided to make an entry via my laptop. Mostly because my mind/heart are troubled about the war the US is waging in Iraq. How can any thinking/feeling American NOT be concerned and upset with what is going on in "our name."

I'm very, very pleased with the anti-war demostrations here in the USA, and for an important reason: At least the images of SOME Americans protesting the war/killing shows that not ALL of us agree with the killing done in our name. Perhaps a few people in other countries will know that some here are compassionate and sickened by what is being done in Iraq, and that they are willing to make their voices heard.

I am sure I don't have to say that NO ONE of any reason and intelligence likes Saddam, and certainly I DO understand he needed to go. However, I don't think he or his regime were a threat to the USA; and the failure to get rid of him back in the Gulf War was what made me feel that our war there was unsuccessful back then. There's too much duplicity, deception and hyprocrisy in our foreign policies, and many in the world have known this for a long, long time, and are now becoming vocal about it. Do I have a solution about how Saddam and his regime could have been gotten rid of? Not exactly, but I simply don't understand why Bush & Company didn't negotiate with the U.N. longer -- until they had a majority of the countries with us, if war was inevitable. Regardless though, Bush is not a negotiator; he's like a bull in a china shop when it comes to diplomacy and dealing with delicate foreign relations. And IMO, this will come back to haunt him -- and all Americans.

Who was the supreme idiot that came up with the slogan: "shock & awe" for that massive bombardment of bombing Baghdad? It was horrific, and I am sure (from the anti-American demostrations around the world, particularly in the Arab countries) that it only made others hate us even more. Yes, I was shocked -- at the blunder of military bragging about such bombing; and yes, I was awed at the utter stupidity of anyone who thinks that will subdue and conquer eventually. We may win the battle, but we'll lose the war -- because the awful images will remain in minds/hearts long after the fighting slows down. I don't think it'll stop for a long, long time just because Saddam and his regime are eliminated. Nor will the American troops ever completely be able to leave, since military vigilance will be necessary to restore any sense of order -- and that will appear to be imperalism to all Arabs. Heck, Sept. 11th was partly because Arabs wanted the military presence in Saudia Arabia (and elsewhere in the middle east) to leave. And now our leaders have the audacity to think we are going to stay there permanently -- with no resistance.

I'm sorry that American lives have been lost, and feel grief for the soldier's families...but I'm equally sorry that Iraqi citizens have been killed.

The mainstream media journalists there are trying to do their job...but to be honest, I know that the owner of any media in the USA, from newspaper publisher on up to corporate CEO, has a great influence on what is reported. How? Well, it works like this: Reporters have to earn money in order to live; ergo, if they disregard their employer's wishes...they get fired. Quite simple, really. And I think some of them 'embedded' with the frontlines need to be careful that they don't come across as 'gloating' about the massive USA military might; for all our technological the best we can come up with sophisticated killing machines/bombs? There is no pride in that for me.

I want to post some comments I got from the BBC bulletin board; I've removed last names, but if you go there you can read them all. These are worldwide opinions, and I think they are important enough that I should post some here:

War is not a necessity, and it does not ease tension - it doubles it.
--Ahmad, Afghanistan

I believe the USA is overacting by invading Iraq. The decision of the UN Security Council should be respected. The road for diplomacy never ends. The war can still can be avoided according to the UN Secretary General; war is catastrophic. It can be avoided now.
--Fahim, Afghanistan

The message from Mr. Bush is: the UN must act in accordance with US wishes or it is irrelevant. It is wrong to go to war without UN second resolution. Only the participating countries are saying that this is legal. The rest of the World (including Mr Kofi Anan) say it is illegal. What about other tyrants? What about other countries that torture their own people? Why not attack half the World? I think the answer is simple: They do not have oil.
--Stane, Slovenia

The US/UK are so eager to launch an attack on Iraq (and not Saudi Arabia/North Korea for instance) because it's an easy target - Iraq's military capacity is only half of what it was in the last gulf war. How then does this fit in with the US/UK claim that Iraq is a "serious threat"?
--Rick, UK

The lack of democracy in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to pose a problem and neither does Israel's failure to comply with a number of UN resolutions. How can this not be called hypocrisy? Economic sanctions have taken the food out of the mouths of ordinary Iraqis and medicines out of Iraqi hospitals (while not hurting Saddam personally at all except maybe his pride); now bombs are going to be dropped on the Iraqi people - to me, this does not seem to be the best solution.
--Rebecca, Belgium

I think the process utilized to date has undermined the UN's authority and alienated other communities around the world. And lastly, the dictum for Saddam and family to leave has the appearance of being contrived to allow "Bush's War" to get underway and has no basis in logic, compassion, or supporting hard evidence.
--Anon., USA

Certainly, Bush is not in a position to give anyone in the world a moral lecture about WMD, given the country's track record. Yet, he emphasizes the importance of his mission by reserving the right to use them once again, in a "pre-emptive tactical warfare", which in my opinion equals genocide. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop this.
--Teemu, Finland

Mr. Bush is totally wrong. Going to War without a UN resolution is illegitimate. It will divide the world religiously and cause unending war.
--L.Sakthivel, India

And lastly, I'll post this letter from someone who has been in Iraq to one of the main people who advocated/helped bring about the war. It makes for enlightening reading.

January 15, 2002

An Open Letter to Richard Perle
chairman, Defense Advisory Board
From Kathy Kelly
Voices in the Wilderness

Dear Mr. Perle,

I am writing to you from a faraway land, Iraq, and yet I sense we are not remote from one another. Perhaps you are thinking every day of the cities I've visited this last month: Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul. Be assured that I am thinking, every day, about the recommendations that you and your colleagues make as you urge President Bush to show strength, courage, and vitality by intensifying U.S. warfare in Iraq.

I recently watched children dance and sing and play at the Baghdad school for Music and Ballet. One little girl played the piano, another the violin. Young Ibrahim sang an Arabic translation of a song you may know, based on a melody composed by Jean Sibelius. The lyrics were written in the 1930s during the brief outbreak of peace between world war. "This Is My Song" expresses hopes for peace among people who hold in common a deep, true love of their homeland. Another little boy showed me a drawing he made of 9-11, twin pillars of fire and smoke. He said he felt bad about the attacks, but added that he doesn't think Americans understand what happens to other people when they're hit by American bombs.

After Christmas, you wrote a rosy scenario for the New York Times entitled "The U.S. Must Strike at Saddam Hussein," (12/28). In it, the U.S. attacks Iraq with extraordinary precision. In the cross hairs of a gunsight appears the only Iraqi who seems to matter to American policymakers, Saddam Hussein. After U.S. forces for good eliminate the evil leader, Iraqis take to the streets, dancing, and we all rejoice the outbreak of peace.

However, the fantasy reveals more about America than it does about Iraq. It's easy to imagine the crowds that would tear down pictures of Hussein or topple statues of him. Reporters in Kabul found some Afghans dancing when the Taliban fell, and shaving their beards or removing their burkas. But what about the Afghans who huddle now in fear of Northern Alliance warlords, or who quietly starve due to the physical and social chaos war has brought? Survivors who've seen their villages obliterated by U.S. bombs aren't joyous. Beyond the fanfare of the media, refugee families are even now dying in the snow.

Mr. Perle, you work with complex issues and must know the pitfalls of over-simplifying the realities of other peoples. Your plea for war ignores the future horrors the horror of war may bring. If Iraq collapses in civil war, where would the bloodletting stop?

Increased belligerence does not address a solution to the complex and lethal problems that have already arisen because of current U.S. policy. Whatever the future, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children will never celebrate it. They are already dead. Economic warfare, waged through sanctions, claimed the lives of these innocents.

Will their parents blithely overcome the sorrow they felt when they couldn't obtain the medicines they needed? Will the liberation you envision erase the pain they felt when they gave their children poisoned water and watched them succumb to sicknesses? Will the doctors who struggled vainly to heal them jump for joy if Iraq is again attacked?

Teachers, writers, engineers and civil servants who've lost their savings, sold their belongings, and eked out a living on paltry wages aren't likely to rejoice if the U.S. again bombs the debilitated infrastructure they've tried mightily to restore.

Across Iraq, people ask us why Americans want to punish them even more. For 11 years they've been told sanctions were a "peaceful" alternative to war, and now they're told war is the solution to the suffering of sanctions. In a twisted way the message is at least consistent: to please remember that they're better off dead.

Remarkably, children here seem very ready to believe that Americans can be kind and just. Like children everywhere they are full of curiosity and show easy affection. In their laughter and hopes rest my hopes for a peaceful world.

Please, Mr. Perle, when you preach that no war against terrorism will be successful without Saddam Hussein's removal, try also to remember other terrors inflicted on these people over the last 11 years of our "assistance."

I feel sure that you care deeply about America's national security. Placing our trust in developing, stockpiling and using overpowering and costly weapons has not enhanced that security. We must open our hearts to the cries of people across the world who feel we treat them as dust beneath our feet.

At its core, war is impoverishment. War's genesis and ultimate end is in the poverty of our hearts. If we can realize that the world's liberation begins within those troubled hearts, then we may yet find peace, and a renewal of the courage and vitality you so passionately desire.

--Kathy Kelly is director of Voices in the Wilderness, the first U.S. grassroots organization to bring activists into Iraq to witness the effect of sanctions, to violate the sanctions by bringing medicine and toys into Iraq, and to educate the U.S. public upon their return.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Taking a break... I'll be away for a week or so on a freelance writing assignment, but for anyone interested, you can read my latest entries in the archive log on the lower right sidebar.

Catch you later!
I didn't sleep well last night, and of course, everyone knows the reason. But I got up early and went on a long bike ride, further than I normally ride, hoping to work off some of the anxiety and tension of a world gone mad (at least partly, IMO).

Life just seems to have become to a crashing chaotic mess ever since GW has become president, and IF I were superstitious and/or religious, I'd think he and his dad have a curse on them. But since I'm not, I can only hope that whatever the outcome of the war/conflict now underway it will not create more problems than it solves. As I've stated before though, it's a sad day for so very many, our troops in harm's way and those who are (like ordinary citizens worldwide) unable to do much and feel helpless.

I'm not going to comment on war news, because I'm sure everyone will get enough of that elsewhere in the media. Unless something really catches my eye, that is.

Here's a couple of news articles that might get overlooked in the midst of all that war news though:

Top White House anti-terror boss resigns

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The top National Security Council official in the war on terror resigned this week for what a NSC spokesman said were personal reasons, but intelligence sources say the move reflects concern that the looming war with Iraq is hurting the fight against terrorism.

"Hardly a surprise," said one former intelligence official. "We have sacrificed a war on terror for a war with Iraq. I don't blame Randy at all. This just reflects the widespread thought that the war on terror is being set aside for the war with Iraq at the expense of our military and intel resources and the relationships with our allies."


CDC Cites 11 U.S. Mystery Illness Cases

ATLANTA (AP) - The mystery illness that has killed at least 14 people around the world has apparently hit the United States, with health officials investigating 11 suspected cases - all involving people who have recently traveled to Asia.

And I think that's it for now. I'm going to try and get some rest later, since I feel just awful from lack of sleep.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

With each day that comes, it seems we draw closer to war. After watching Bush speak the other night on TV, I (and countless other Americans) realized that soon our country will be sending our troops into harm's way. While I would NEVER blame the troops for following orders, my uncertainty rests with the current administration -- all the way from the President on down through the many levels of political power wielding massive military might. I do not believe that "might makes right," but for now, we can only wait and see what happens. I am sure that I speak for many Americans who have grave misgivings about this new direction our government is taking, as well as what the results will be -- not just in the immediate present -- but in the future of the world.

Personally, emotionally...I feel sick at heart. I can still recall how nauseous I felt when the first President Bush announced the beginning of the other Gulf War. And I was just as queasy when Bush II announced the massive bombing campaign against Afghanistan. I do not like killing, and I think air-bombardment is horribly destructive. IF, as I've written in other entries in this journal, the Bush administration is set on trying to make Iraq a democratic example in the Middle East, why wasn't Afghanistan first in that priority? We hear so little now about Afghanistan, and I think sometimes Bush has too many irons in the fire to handle any of them well.

Here's some articles and excerpts that I found interesting:

Bush message machine set to roll -- Administration wants to get its version of war out

March 19 — When American troops move into Iraq, the Bush administration’s message machine, in its own way as massive and disciplined as the U.S. military, will be equally ready to roll. Staffed with veterans of countless political campaigns, and honed on the communications lessons of Afghanistan, its war plan is in place.

More than any other conflict in history, the Iraq war will be conducted under the staring eyes and within constant earshot of most of the world. In a new Pentagon strategy both to disseminate and control the news, U.S. and foreign journalists are integrated into virtually every U.S. and British unit, with satellite technology enabling them to broadcast reports on the war on the ground as it happens. A number of journalists remain in Baghdad, watching, for the moment at least, from the other side.

Just as in a political campaign, the Bush administration wants its version of each day’s events to be first and foremost, as it seeks to press preferred story lines.

As a former journalist, I just have to comment on this -- I am appalled! Has the free press ceased to exist? I sure hope that now that reporters are in frontline positions, they WILL TELL THE TRUTH, and NOT the Bush party line. I swear, if we can't trust the free press (the fourth estate, you know, who are supposed to keep a skeptical eye on government) then slowly our own democracy will erode. When the public starts to mistrust the press, then I think we're done for.

Commanders fear wide civil unrest -- U.S. officers worried over possible ‘rolling civil strife’

That's a very interesting article, in that it makes me wonder exactly whom will be killing whom over there in Iraq, once the fighting starts. And if that kind of strife is still going on in Afghanistan, and that's why we hear almost nothing from there now? Just call me cynical about establishing peace and order out of such chaos -- a project that would take many, many years, not overnight.

Oprah had a fascinating show yesterday. She had two guests who are very knowledgeable about the Middle East, and Muslims...and in some ways, the whole show was about WHY so many in the world now hate us here in the USA. If you didn't see it, you should try to catch a re-run or watch the Discovery program Wednesday March 26th. Here's the info on that program: DSC Wednesday, 26 -- Thomas L. Friedman Reporting: Searching for the Roots of 9/11

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman reports from Indonesia, Qatar, Egypt and Europe on the roots of Muslim rage and mistrust towards America.

Thanks to Oprah for having the courage to promote this Discovery special, and take a closer look at why others in the world have come to hate us. It takes courage to voice doubts about the current administration's policies, particularly in the post-9/11 USA. And I am also glad that Rep. Daschle has grown a backbone, and voiced some serious doubts lately too; other Democrats need to follow suit.

It has been stormy off and on here today, and I didn't ride my bike. Our temperature has almost reached 80, and we're still under a severe thunderstorm alert. However, it's sunny out there right now... I did bike yesterday and the day before, since I caught a break in the rain and went then. I am still at 89 lbs, so I may not go bike today. I also have been doing some extensive housework, and yesterday I had to run errands in town, go to Wal-mart -- not my favorite activity.

So it is with sadness and worry about the next few days that I close this entry today.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Dark, dreary, rainy Monday here. No biking, so I'm staying indoors trying to catch up on some overdo writing -- like updating this blog.

The weekend was fairly nice, and though I didn't bike Saturday, I did Sunday morning. I also ate balanced meals, and didn't gain a pound! I think the supplements MUST be keeping my metabolism higher, and thus I don't gain. For more on my CR diet, go here.

Looks like war with Iraq is on the near horizon, and unstoppable. There's nothing I can do, that's for sure...only hope it turns out for the best. I fear it won't in that so many innocent lives will be lost. And I find it difficult to justify that, regardless of the war rhetoric in America now.

When I read statements in the news by VP Cheney like this: "Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed the French proposal, saying "it's difficult to take the French seriously." it is no wonder so many Europeans dislike Americans now. I find it is difficult to take Cheney seriously, since he seems to be a mouth-piece for big oil, IMO.

I also read a very interesting, thought-provoking article which I think is worth your time to check out: The Arrogant Empire -- America’s unprecedented power scares the world, and the Bush administration has only made it worse. How we got here—and what we can do about it now

I am reading the suspense novel, "Sleep No More" by Gregg Iles, and it is quite good...though not as good as the last one I read, "Sacrament of Lies." I have read one of his novels before, but had forgotten it. At any rate, I'm over halfway through the novel, and haven't lost interest yet...which says something positive about it, I guess.

And that's it for now.

Friday, March 14, 2003

The title of this blog is accurate lately: It really is a mad, mad world.

Now we learn that Elizabeth Smart has been found -- although not without major questions about WHY and HOW her abduction and subsequent time with a freaky religious nut affected her. A news media report I saw last night had a psychologist speculating that she was 'easy' to brainwash on the religious angle because her dad/family (being in Mormon land) were obviously freaky religious and had brought her up in a religious manner. I kinda agree, in that once you are totally, blindly accepting of religion, it's rather easy to make you believe almost anything regarding religious ideas. I wonder if that might be the key to WHY she stayed with the weirdo Jesus freak who kidnapped her? Makes you think long and hard about religious practices, and why it's a good idea to be more rational in the REAL world.

And take a look at this news article, if you think war with Iraq is going to create fundamental changes for a democracy in that country as well as the Middle East: Democracy in Iraq doubtful, State Dept. report says -- Social, economic obstacles work against transformation How about Bush, Cheney & Company also being more rational in the REAL world? Here's a quote for Bush about his supposedly Jesus conversion: "One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole." --Mahatma Gandhi In other words, you can't claim to be a 'Christian' while waging war and killing innocent people. Get a clue, GW.

I read this and wondered, what next? Man arrested for 'peace' T-shirt Perhaps the Gestapo will be after anyone who doesn't have the correct thought by the thought police, huh? Here's an excerpt:

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A lawyer was arrested late Monday and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall.

According to the criminal complaint filed Monday, Stephen Downs was wearing a T-shirt bearing the words "Give Peace A Chance" that he had just purchased from a vendor inside the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York, near Albany.

I went on my bike ride around noon, after I returned from the library. I found some great novels, and one of my favorite author's, Ellen Gilchrist. A collection of short stories titled, "I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy & Other Stories" I'm really looking forward to reading that! I also got some suspense fiction, by an author I've never heard of, but who seems to be similar to Thomas Cook. Eagerly anticipating those novels too.

Rainy early, then clear...and cooler today. I'm glad it cooled down somewhat, since it was about to get uncomfortably warm here...far too early in the year. I dread the heat/humidity of summer, and have to confess that air conditioning is the ONE creature comfort I just don't think I could do without!

I'm back to 90 lbs this morning. Eating homemade veggie soup one night, then a chef salad the next night made me lose a pound. Can't complain as long as I stay at 90!

Toodle-do till next time! :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Stormy day in the South. We may have severe storms later today here, but there's already thunderstorm watches in the southern part of our state.

I went on my bike ride early this morning, before the rain and storms started. The workers were mowing the park grass, so I rode up and down the steep hills on the streets. Got a great workout though. And even after eating out last night (delicious and calorie-laden stuff) I didn't even gain a pound! Yippee!

Here's the excerpts from "Enemy Women" by Paulette Jiles. First, an excerpt which shows the confusing style. I know some writers do this because it's artsy-fartsy...but I find it simply pretentious.

But I never did anything. Adair's voice was ragged, and her mouth was dry. She tried to jerk away from the soldiers who had hold of her arm, but this caused her to drop the tavern hat with the half a pie in it. One of the soldiers, a young man with a round pink face, let go of her arm and reached down to hand it back to her. Are you Lieutenant Colonel Miller?

Huh? See what I mean? And that is in one paragraph...some of the dialogue IS broken into paragraphs, which clarifies who's saying what...but most of the time, dialogue is mixed up with characters' thoughts/internal reflection.

However, I must admit there are some passages of beautiful prose, particularly concerning the protagonist's attempt at writing down her crimes/confession for the Yankee in charge of the prison. Here's a couple of examples:

....The needlework was very fine and regular. Adair hated needlework and she could not imagine sitting and stitching the fine crow's-foot seams.
Writing was the same, the pinching of thoughts into marks on paper and trying to keep your cursive legible, trying to think of the next thing to say and then behind you on several sheets of paper you find you have left permanent tracks, a trail, upon which anybody could follow you. Stalking you through your deep woods of private thoughts.

And so she wrote. She wrote the first thing that came into her head. She wrote in tumbling artless sentences that rambled and stopped and jumped from thought to thought. She drove the pen across the paper, her fingers white and thin as pale horses. To construct a world of high romance and innocence, innocence above all, to show him who he held in this place and melt his heart and make him let her go, as the Huntsman had paused in the snowy woods of Grimm and said to Snow White, Run for your life.

And that's it for this rainy, stormy day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Not much to write about today. I had some errands in town, then the usual housework. Today is our anniversary. Don't ask how long DH and I've been married -- too long! :-) And they thought it would never last... We will dine out tonight, and that's about it. Old folks don't celebrate as much as the younger ones.

It is beautiful here today, 70s, sunny, a real prelude to spring. I may go ride my bike shortly, since I put that off this morning. And when I came by the park on my way home from town, the workers were mowing, cleaning up...but should be gone soon. I'm still enjoying my 2000 Ford Escort, it's so smooth and nice, as well as cheap on the gas, which is a definite plus these days.

I gave up on reading "Enemy Women"...made it about halfway through, and just decided it wasn't worth finishing. That doesn't always happen with a novel, but sometimes it does. I'm still planning on adding an excerpt soon, to demonstrate the confusing style it is written in, which detracted from the storyline. Also, there were so many details it bogged down the plot, which wasn't very good anyway.

I'm now reading a better novel, "Sacrament of Lies," by Elizabeth Dewberry. Good concept -- a suspense novel about the daughter of a fictional Governor of Louisiana who suspects her father murdered her mother. I'm over halfway through it already, since it's a page-turner.

I also found some bargain books at the grocery store today -- a huge table full of novels/non-fiction for a buck apiece. Dollar General here in the South has started having paperbacks and hardbacks for a buck apiece, so I assume some of the publishers are hoping to make a little off the ones that aren't selling at bookstores when first released. I was surprised to find a novel by Josephine Hart, "Oblivion"...and bought it, will read it soon. Her novel, "Damage" is one of my favorite books, though I've not seen the movie based on it.

I'll close with this quote I think truly is accurate about being a novelist: "It's a high, this writing thing....a kind of drug, and once you experience it nothing else is ever the same. Ordinary life seems like a prison sentence in comparison to the freedom of writing." Robert Sheckley, SF writer

Yes, THAT is what I miss about writing fiction, the escapism and freedom. Perhaps though, our human lives are indeed lived in a kind of seems that way to me much of the time.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Good news! This blog has been selected for a link at ""... Here's a link to the guide's site: Personal Web

Blogger seems to be going through some sort of weird problem, since I can't add any links to my list at the bottom, etc. Maybe it'll be fixed soon.

I did go on the bike ride, though it didn't improve my mood much. Still, it was nice to ride in the crisp, cool air today!

Just wanted to post the good news!
I feel somewhat tired, lethargic, and have a general depression. I go through periods like this, and can never quite pinpoint the exact cause, whether physiological or psychological. Perhaps a bit of both. At any rate, it's a beautiful sunny day here, though only in the 50s with a light wind. I haven't been on my bike ride, but may go later this afternoon. I did go Saturday and Sunday, so I am due a day off...but then again, getting out in the fresh air might improve my mood.

I saw an excellent movie last night on FX network, which surprised me. I know that FX is affiliated with Fox networks (blatantly pro-Bush/conservative), and was somewhat amazed that a movie portraying a controversial Viet Nam era figure who more or less finally brought the evidence of how WRONG that war was to the USA public...would be broadcast this close to another possible war. Here's the TV Guide description:

The Pentagon Papers

James Spader's haunting performance as controversial Vietnam War figure Daniel Ellsberg drives this powerful 2003 fact-based cable drama.

In 1971, Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, leaks a 7000-page classified report to the press, indicating that four presidents misled the public about U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Spader's understated portrayal conveys Ellsberg's mounting guilt for having supported the war before he becomes convinced that it can't be won and that he holds a document that could end it. Ellsberg's torturous internal debate culminates in an act he considers patriotic---but one that others view as treasonous. Harry Rowen: Alan Arkin. Anthony Russo: Paul Giamatti.

I'm sure there are those of us who grew up during the Viet Nam War Era and can never quite TRUST the government again, after the TRUTH came out. I was a teenager during the latter part of that war, and I well remember how horrible it all was. Every night the TV news showed stacks of bodybags, killed American soldiers, and gave us a 'body count' of the day's dead. And then there was also the sentiment among most of us teen girls that every boy we knew would either be going to college or Viet Nam. Poor kids went to the war, rich kids went to college. Yet it was partly the rebellious college kids who got the anti-war movement started, and helped end the war too. Additionally, most girls would NOT date a Viet Nam vet, because it was widely said that nearly all of them were 'crazy.' A terrible comment, I know...but that is how it was then. I never blamed the frontline soldiers (nor would I in the upcoming war) for what our military had them doing; on the other hand, I also realized that of the Viet Nam vets I knew who had actually been on the frontline in Viet Nam, most were definitely less than stable.

Living during that Era is certainly responsible for much of my anti-war sentiments today; I cannot foresee any good coming from war, and particularly an undefined war that seems to suggest there will be no definite end. It's too similar to how we got into the Viet Nam war disaster.

Here's some article links/excerpts:

Color Purple' author, 26 others arrested at peace rally

Actress Janeane Garofalo, who has spoken out against the Bush administration's position on Iraq: "Silence does not equal patriotism. Obedience is not the American way," she said. "It's our obligation to watchdog the government because, for the most part, the media has not done so."

Yes, I heard that! I'm dismayed at the lack of journalistic fact-finding during this whole Iraq war debacle. And I still don't consider what the USA did in Afghanistan to have been a success -- since bin Laden is still at large. Was it really nescessary to kill so many Afghani people in the pursuit of a man/terror group that still remains on the loose? I don't know, nor do I have any certain answers...but as I stated, I'll always be skeptical when it comes to war issues, due to having witnessed firsthand how badly such schemes can turn out, the toll in human lives.

Before September 11th, I had several email friends in Europe. Within six months after that, I lost all of them. Why? Mainly it was because they seemed to HATE America, to think we Americans are arrogant, brash, ill-bred and completely amoral and materialistic. They (individually) criticized our way of life, and kept asking WHY we Americans think we have the ONLY democracy and that our way is the BEST way. In truth, I've never felt we in America have a perfect society/democracy; we lack many social programs (such as affordable/free medical care, etc) that other democracies now I couldn't defend against their criticisms...but felt disloyal not to. The result though, not just on my personal friendships but worldwide, seems to be a growing distrust and dislike among ALL peoples, Europeans, Arabs, you-name-it. I think that this will be Bush's legacy eventually in history.

Now I'll get down off my soapbox! (sigh)

Here's a last link to a good blog for all the latest anti-war material:

Let There Be Peace

Saturday, March 08, 2003

This is just a brief update, so I can add some links to organizations promoting PEACE not WAR here in the USA. If you are at all interested in DOING something to express your anti-war sentiments, check out these websites and participate!

United For Peace

Peace Action

Not In Our Name

Waited to go on my bike ride till after 3:00 due to a baseball game at the park. Had a nice ride though on this beautiful, almost-spring day with temps in the 70s and sunny! Love this kind of weather! Ran errands in town early, bought groceries, etc.

Also, added some updated pictures of myself, now that I weigh only 90 pounds. Look HERE if you'd like to see those.

I'm currently reading "Enemy Women" -- a novel about Civil War women incarcerated in northern prisons. It's good so far, but the author has chosen a style that I find detracts from the storyline. It's confusing to understand WHO is speaking when you don't use quotation marks. I'll post a passage soon, to demonstrate what I mean.

That's it for now.

Friday, March 07, 2003

I've had a busy past couple of days, no time to update. I was able to ride my bike each day, though it was somewhat cold and overcast yesterday. I also made a short trip out of town, and truly enjoy driving the 2000 Escort, not to mention how cheap it is on gas!

Today is a beautiful day, sunny and in the 60s. It is SO nice to see the sunshine, and feel that spring is perhaps finally in the air. I LOVE springtime, it's my favorite season next to autumn.

I went on the bike ride early this morning (and was able to ride in the park, no work going on), then cleaned and rearranged the feeding area for the stray cats. All the rain had caused the ground around the covered picnic table to get muddy, so I moved that to a different location in the backyard. I have a long upturned wooden box that is positioned underneath the covered picnic table, where I place the dry cat food and fresh water daily. But I do move the table around to various spots in the yard, just to keep it cleaner and not kill the grass, or let the ground become too muddy.

I also did some extensive housework, and finally am at the computer. I wonder sometimes how I ever found the time to write over twenty novels, but I suppose I MADE time. Now it's all I can do to make entries in this journal!

I have several article links and excerpts to post, so here goes:

Why Not Kill Dictators with Kindness?


A year ago in Tehran, I noticed a defiantly goofy graffito inscribed on the wall of the old U.S. embassy building, the compound where the American hostages were held in 1979: ON THE DAY THE U.S. WILL PRAISE US, WE WILL MOURN. This was an official slogan — in Iran, as in America, graffiti are the work of miscreants, but in Iran the miscreants run the country — and it was an unintentionally revealing one: the mullahs are terrified of better relations with the U.S. Without the Great Satan, they have no excuse for, and no way to divert attention from, the dreadful brutality of their rule. A wicked thought occurred to me at the time, and recurred last week, as the Bush Administration continued its foolish refusal to meet with the North Koreans: Why not do the one thing that would most discomfort, and perhaps even destabilize, the precarious regimes of the Ayatollah Khamenei, Kim Jong Il and — for that matter — Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi? Why not just say, "We hereby grant you diplomatic recognition, whether you like it or not. We're naming an ambassador. We're lifting the embargo. We're going to let our companies sell you all sorts of cool American things like Big Macs and Hummers. This doesn't mean we approve of the way you run your country, but it's silly for us to deny that you're in charge ... for now"?

The arguments against Fatal Huggery are obvious. Why encourage and legitimize evildoers? Why allow Kim Jong Il — the Michael Jackson of world leaders — to succeed with nuclear blackmail? Why reward the Iranians for their support of Hizballah? Fair points, all. But there is a problem: the current American policy of nonrecognition isn't working, and it may well be counterproductive. "What's the hardest job for a tin-pot dictator in the information age?" asks Joseph Nye, dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. "Keeping his people isolated from the world. Why should we be making life easier for Fidel Castro or Kim Jong Il?"

The U.S. is the only major country that indulges in diplomatic ostracism (although most Arab states don't recognize Israel). This policy was invented, appropriately enough, by the arch-idealist Woodrow Wilson, who said that diplomatic recognition should depend on the "existence of a just government ... resting upon the consent of the governed." Wilson refused to recognize the Soviet Union in 1917. That ban was lifted in 1933, but Wilson's policy was resurrected in 1949 when the communists conquered China. America's nonrecognition of China, which lasted nearly 30 years, was an unmitigated disaster. "If we had not ostracized the Chinese, we might have avoided the war in Vietnam," says a prominent Republican foreign policy expert, referring to the American misreading of China's control over the Vietnamese communists (China and Vietnam proved to be mortal enemies). "But when has it ever helped to refuse to talk? Why voluntarily reduce your influence over an adversary?"

I find this very thought-provoking, particularly after Bush's speech last night indicating he is ready to wage war -- whether American people or anyone else worldwide likes it or not. Shades of the lone cowboy are NOT encouraging to me! At any rate, that's an excellent column if you have time to read it.

Gephardt Could Win. Really

.... Gephardt does have a message advantage. For any Democrat to have a chance against George W. Bush, the economy will have to be the dominant issue in the campaign. And Gephardt, more than the rest of the Democratic field, has a message designed to capitalize on (you might say "exploit") whatever economic discontent there is out there come primary and general election time. Having sided with Bush on Iraq, Gephardt is counting on the economy — rather than war or terrorism — to carry him to the nomination and beyond. He started today by slamming Bush's "tax cuts for the wealthy", proposing that the money should be used instead for expanding health care coverage. Depending on the state of the economy next year, it's a message that could resonate — certainly in the Democratic primaries, and maybe even in the general election.

Sounds good to me. I am definitely in the Gephardt camp, and will vote for him in the primary.

I watched Nightline last night, and the program was somewhat upsetting. I'd never heard of a group of conservative Republicans who advocated invading Iraq LONG BEFORE the terrorist act of 9/11. Apparently this group included/includes Donald Rumsfield and several of the individuals NOW in the administration. Scary too. Not only are they advocating invading Iraq, but also 'spreading democracy' throughout other parts of the world, middle east, etc. I can't help but think of how history has taught us that only the deluded rulers think they can 'take over the world'...such as Hitler and company. Missions of world domination are always doomed, in my opinion. Here's the URL for their website:

The Project for the New American Century

And finally, this awful article about two terrorism prisoners possibly being tortured to death while under interrogation by the U.S. Here's the URL to the article:

America admits suspects died in interrogations

American military officials acknowledged yesterday that two prisoners captured in Afghanistan in December had been killed while under interrogation at Bagram air base north of Kabul – reviving concerns that the US is resorting to torture in its treatment of Taliban fighters and suspected al-Qa'ida operatives.

Somehow I don't think this will be reported on the major network news media tonight.

I fear war is soon to be a fact, and I HATE war. I can't help that, it's just my natural instincts to think/feel that war anywhere is an atrocity and that human beings SHOULD be able to rationally, diplomatically settle their differences. Call me an idealist, though I am a very practical, realistic person...but I HATE/LOATHE killing -- of humans, animals, anything.

I also saw another interesting Nightline program that had a town meeting discussion, with Rep. John McCaine one of the people on the panel. When asked specifically, pointedly about how long U.S. troops would have to stay in Iraq AFTER the war, he was at first evasive. But eventually he did say that we couldn't keep the current troops there indefinitely, since they were mostly reserve forces, but that troops would have to be there for a long, long time. This led me to speculate that possibly there will, at some point in time, HAVE to be another draft in America if the current administration plans to 'spread democracy' (or take over other hostile countries) and station troops there...because quite simply, we will HAVE TO HAVE MANY troops, and volunteers for armed servies are NOT going to be enough. So get ready for the draft, kids.

Additionally, I read this disturbing article on MSNBC about aspects of the upcoming war our soldiers can expect. Here's an excerpt:

“Eco-terrorism”: In a written statement, the Pentagon said it feared Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would try to destroy Iraq’s oil fields and that it had “crafted strategies that will allow U.S. forces to secure and protect the oil fields as rapidly as possible in order to preserve them prior to destruction.”

Citing the destruction of Kuwaiti oil fields by Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, the Pentagon said it had also drawn up plans for putting out oil fires with the help of Brown & Root Services, a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., the massive energy services company headed by Dick Cheney before he became vice president.

Oddly enough, I find it not surprising that Halliburton stands to make money off the situation described. Of course, this war is NOT about oil, is it? (sarcasm)

And that's all she wrote for today!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Whew! I spent most of today cleaning/polishing the new Escort. What a job! Nearly broke my back. But it's really shiny and clean now, and since no one but myself will be in it, it should stay that way for some time to come.

I also went on my bike ride early this morning, and again had to ride in the streets. However, I didn't ride as many miles as usual, and came back a bit sooner. My knees seem to be bothering me, which is the result of riding up the steep, steep hills on the streets, instead of the park -- which has inclines, but not such taxing hills.

I finished the novel, "A Thousand Country Roads" by Robert James Waller last night. It was okay, nothing to brag about. Except near the end the character, Robert Kincaid, is speaking to his recently arrived son (who he didn't know existed earlier) and is telling him that he wants the son to destroy all his negatives of photos when he dies. There is a passage that resonates with my own feeling about life/death then, and here it is:

This has to do with a view of life and death that's almost impossible to explain in words. It's more of a gut-level feeling that time and I are old partners, that I'm just another rider on the big arrow. My life is worth no more than what I have done with it, and I've always seen the search for immortality as not only futile but ludicrous, just as elaborate coffins are a pathetic attempt to evade the carbon cycle. ....When I die, I'd like the floor swept clean behind me, all traces gone, nothing left. It's just my way....just the way I see things.

This states EXACTLY how I feel about life/death. In fact, so strongly do I feel this...that I won't use my 'real name' for any of my fiction work that's been published. And this feeling also is partly why I chose NEVER to have children. When I die, it is the END, period. I see the futility and wild attempts at assuring 'immortality' as pathetic too....for in a MILLION YEARS from now, who will care? LIVE FOR NOW, for no one is promised tomorrow.

Monday, March 03, 2003

I've been fooling around with the HTML colors on this template, changed them a bit. Not the greatest color scheme, nor flashy..but should be easy on the eyes. This is not a blog for showing off my HTML skills, rather just an easy-on-the-eyes-to-read flow, and using the simple template at Blogger. At any rate, I'll leave it this neutral color for now. I'm thinking of upgrading to the paying account, but haven't decided yet.

I just had to get out of the house today in this sunny weather. Not very warm, still in the 50s, but the first sign of sun we've seen in over a week! I did a few errands in town, some shopping, then came home and hastily did the housework.

Afterward, I got on my bike, prepared for a long ride in the park...only to find that the park staff was working on the baseball diamond, had the trail blocked. I understand that, but what irks me sometimes is this HUGELY obese guy who is too lazy to walk from the entrance to the field, so he drives his pickup all the way into the park, then blocks the trail! He is too lazy to walk to the baseball field, and we're talking less than a quarter mile here. He could use the exercise! Oh well. I just rode my bike up and down the steep hilly streets, got a better workout.

I didn't get any good pictures yesterday, it was a gray, dark day and no point in even trying. But we had a nice afternoon ride through the countryside, good to get out of town for an hour or so.

I'm at 90 lbs again today. That means I can eat a little more for my evening meal...but not much.

Here's an article about the religious fanatic in the White House from TIME, via MSNBC:

Bush and God


Bush believes in God’s will—and in winning elections with the backing of those who agree with him. As a subaltern in his father’s 1988 campaign, George Bush the Younger assembled his career through contacts with ministers of the then emerging evangelical movement in political life. Now they form the core of the Republican Party, which controls all of the capital for the first time in a half century. Bible-believing Christians are Bush’s strongest backers, and turning them out next year in even greater numbers is the top priority of the president’s political adviser Karl Rove.

I find that to be VERY scary indeed.

And now I'm going to do some surfing, see if I can find some other interesting bloggers!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

I'm feeling a bit better emotionally today. I go through depressive episodes, particularly when I realize self-defeating patterns from my past, which arise due to growing up with an alcoholic father/enabling mother. I suppose the good news is that I DO recognize the bad behavior, and though it is often impossible to stop during the event, at least I can reflect on it and try to improve. Such are the psychological scars ALL adult children of alcoholics live with each and every day. In the words of an old adage/cliche: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Better to prevent child abuse than try to fix the broken person once they are an adult. Society can't seem to UNDERSTAND this truth -- ah, but then, those who have not suffered abuse simply lack insight and true understanding.

At any rate, for the past couple of days I was able to ride my bike (which always helps relieve stress/anxiety levels) even though the park trail was a bit muddy. My bike is really dirty...but looks like a used one, not a shiny bike stuck in a garage where it's never used. We had overcast, cold weather too, and that continues today, although the sun is peaking out at times. I am SO tired of rain and clouds, it'll be good to see the sunshine, if it ever returns. Overcast days unending can truly affect my mood.

Today DH and I will go on our usual Sunday afternoon ride. Maybe I'll get some pictures, and will take my digital camera in case I come across a good setting for a photo.

Last night I felt sick, had a terrible migraine headache (haven't had one in years, had forgotten how awful they are!), nauseated, but this only occurred near bedtime so I was able to go to sleep and awoke feeling better this morning. I don't know what brought on the migraine, but it sure reminded me of how bad I hate those things! I also did a lot of scrubbing/cleaning on my cats' sunporch yesterday, and assorted tasks around the house.

I went to the library for an hour or so yesterday, and picked up the epilogue, "A Thousand County Roads"...Waller's novel that tries to recapture some sales from, "The Bridges of Madison County." Not thrilled with it so far, and I'm halfway through. But sometimes he can truly write beautiful prose, as in this passage:

One great love in one dancing moment when the wind had come around to his back and the universe hesitated in whatever the universe was up to. One dancing moment when the old traveler saw the fires of home, when the trains came to rest and their whistles turned silent. When his circling around Rilke's ancient tower had ceased for a time."

I also got a novel I've been looking forward to reading: "Enemy Women" which deals with a female during the Civil War.

And that's it for now.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Erm, why is that I want to like people who seem to either NOT like me...or seem disinterested? I have never figured this out....unless it's because I always felt rejected by my father.

I don't want to get into WHY this question has come up lately..but it is puzzling me. And yes, there IS someone (male) I'm concerned about liking me. I wanted to make a 'good impression' and I hope I did. But I won't know necessarily for a few days. So far, it looks promising...but I'll wait and see.

I hate this...over 50, and still a hostage to childhood misery/worries/abuse.