A Letter to Americans about Afghanistan, from the Margins of Empire

Kenn Orphan gives us a lot to think about in this post. Read it, think on it, and share it.
Larry

Kenn Orphan

Dear Americans,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you on Afghanistan, as it sits amongst the rubble of another indifferent imperial folly with the dread of more fundamentalist authoritarian terror on the horizon. And especially on the American public’s disconnect from its own government’s culpability in spreading misery there and throughout the Global South. I wanted to talk about reflection too.

I wanted to talk about twenty years of drone bombing civilians like a grandmother picking okra in her field, incinerating people, even in hospital, of Marine night raids on terrified civilians, including women and children. kicking in doors, torching villages. Twenty years supporting and propping up a corrupt Afghan proxy government even though the US intelligence were informed countless times of their corruption. Even though the Taliban will likely be worse, let’s not pretend that these last 20 years under American occupation has been a bucolic 4th of…

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Wise Words

Here’s a good helping of perspective for all the whiners out there during this Covid-19 crisis. What we’re asked to do doesn’t compare even a little bit to what our parents and grandparents lived through. Surely we can sit at home a little longer.
Larry

hughcurtler

I have no idea who wrote the following piece, but it strikes me as worthy of wider dissemination than it has had so far. My son sent it to me the other day and said, simply, “it was written by a co-worker.” It strikes me as particularly important given the fact that we are all feeling fed-up with the coronavirus and all that it entails. We simply cannot wait until things go “back to normal” — refusing to admit to ourselves that there may be no return to normal and that the “new normal” will be like nothing we have ever experienced.

In any event, we wallow in self-pity since few of us has ever had to deny ourselves much of what we want. This is, after all, the “Age of Entitlement” not only in the schools but in the homes as well. We buy on plastic and run up…

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Whatever Happened to Peace?

Maybe that’s a ridiculously naive question, but I still think it’s worth asking.

I just don’t know if anyone in Washington bothers asking it anymore. It’s as though the word has become quaint.

An entire generation of Americans has grown up in wartime. Peace, to them, is an abstract concept; maybe even a myth. That’s sad to think about.

Oh, well, I guess the defense contractors are happy, ‘cause their stocks went way up this week because of the events in Iran.

 

I guess it’s because peace requires maturity and toughness. I mean, think about it: anyone can fire missiles and beat their chest and talk macho. You want to prove how tough you are, have the guts to sit across from your enemy and work out a peace agreement.

I think women could do it if they were in charge. I think they are more acutely aware of the effects of war on children, and that would greatly influence their strategy in these situations.

Just sayin’.

Peace, not domination, not destruction, should be the objective in foreign relations.

You think Iran isn’t interested in peace? I’m willing to bet a large portion of the population actually is. We just never hear from them.

Just like they probably never hear from us. That’s got to change.

I don’t know how, exactly, but it’s time for those of us who cherish peace to take a stand for it.

Our opportunity, I think, is perilously close to ending.

 

 

Day Trip to France

 

Have to admit, most of what I know about D-Day, which commemorates its 75th anniversary today, I learned from watching Saving Private Ryan. (A terrific movie, by the way.) I know it involved a lot of young men who knew they would probably die that day on the shores of Normandy, France, yet despite being scared out of their minds, courageously carried out the mission that ultimately saved the world.

And some of those young men are still alive today, and though they are much older now, the memories of that day are no less vivid, no less haunting. War stays with you your whole life.

It would behoove us all to take some time to read about the events of June 6, 1944, and appreciate just how historically impactful they were.

And to remind ourselves of just how undeniably horrible war is.

To all the remaining veterans of World War II and D-Day, I salute you, and offer my heartfelt gratitude. Your courage and heroism in the face of grave danger is why we are all here now.

Peace in Our Time.

The Biggest Christmas Gift


They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah Noel be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve

“I Believe in Father Christmas”, Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Songwriters
GREG LAKE, PETER JOHN SINFIELD, SERGE PROKOFIEFF

Published By
Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, MUSIC SALES CORPORATION

 

Peace on Earth.

What a deceptively simple concept.

All the people of the world, living together in harmony and bliss. No fighting, no bullets, no bombs, no dead warriors, no bereaved families, no lying governments. (In this case, at least.)

It’s a concept many of us don’t even think about until this time of year. For much of the world, war is as much a part of our daily routine as breathing, whether observed from a distance or experienced firsthand. War is just another fact of life, and we tacitly accept it.

Then, our minds get pumped with almost nonstop Christmas music, from every store and every radio station, and we get a barrage of Christmas movies and TV specials, and everyone’s heart softens a bit. We gush about what a wonderful time of year it is and, by Jiminy, why can’t it be this way all the time? Why can’t we all be kinder to each other? Why can’t we show more charity to our fellow man?

Why can’t we have peace on earth?

If only the answer was that simple.

 

It’s not my intent here to debate the causes for war, or its reasons, or its inevitability, or its morality.

There are many facets of war about which many of us disagree, but I would think, and I would hope, that we could all agree on this: war is overwhelmingly, unbearably, heartbreakingly sad, due to the terribly high cost of human lives it always exacts.

And to our stubborn refusal to ever, ever learn from it.

 

We can all wish for peace, we can pray for it, we can sing for it, we can petition for it, and we should do all those things, as long as we have to.

But tonight, when I go to sleep, I’m going to close my eyes, and dream of it.

And what a beautiful dream it will be.

As the song goes, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Merry Christmas, everyone. Love and peace to you all.

 

A Simple Request

 

James…earn this……..earn it.

Captain John Miller’s (Tom Hanks) last words to Private James Ryan (Matt Damon)

Saving Private Ryan, 1998

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Monday is Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember all American servicemen and servicewomen who have laid down their lives in defense of the freedom we all hold dear.

Did they all have to die? Did they all even have to go fight?

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I’m sure we each have our own answers to those questions. For what it’s worth, my answer to both is no. I won’t offer any reasons; those of you who agree with me need none, and those of you who don’t are likely not interested in any.

But, if I could make just one request, lest the significance of the day get lost in all the barbecues and picnics and lake expeditions and huge blowout sales…

I would ask that every American who reads this, at some point on Memorial Day, observe a moment of silence in remembrance of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice while in the colors of the United States Armed Forces.

And, may we all, like Private Ryan, earn that sacrifice every day of our lives.

Have a safe and pleasant Memorial Day.