Monthly Archives: March 2007

Conversation with a "Friendly Neighborhood Right-Winger"

Background: I live in Western Massachusetts and work nights at the USPS.

Reality: Current polling indicates upwards of 70% of Americans want to end the War in Iraq and bring our troops home.

Sobering Reality: Western Massachusetts is mainly rural, and traditionally Republican, and when talking to “folks” in WMass, you might think by their viewpoints (talking points) that the war is still enormously popular and that Fox News really is fair and balanced.

Tonight at work my friend and co-worker Tim was out sick and I shared a work area with another postal employee, the “friendly neighborhood right-winger”, who I’ll call Bob.

I’ve spoken with Bob on a few occasions, but never about anything of great import like politics or world events. Both of us served in the military, he in the Air Force and I in the Navy, and our conversations were confined to military stories and small talk. If only I’d stuck to those subjects.

As Bob and I were preparing a pallet of large boxes for transport, I noticed all 8-9 boxes were care packages for service men and women overseas from a .org (sorry, don’t remember which). I pointed out my discovery to Bob and remarked that the .org people were doing a good thing and some deserving soldiers would be happy when these packages arrived. Bob commented something to the effect that the boxes were probably full of booze and porn. I shrugged off the odd remark and said that although I was sure many soldiers would love to receive such a package, I was pretty sure those items were forbidden. Bob then followed his initial odd remark with another doozy, that we were corrupting the Arab culture [with the booze and porn].

My follow-up to this comment was something like, They are already pretty corrupt.

What I meant was that elements of some sects of Islam, the elements that relegate women to second-class status and support/encourage terrorism, bigotry and intolerence, don’t sit well with me. I chose my words poorly, and was about to clarify when I saw a crooked grin break across Bob’s face. Bob opened his mouth. . .and all hell broke loose.

The people of Iraq love Americans, Bob began.

The problem with the Iraq war was the liberal media’s lies and the Iranian-supplied IEDs.

The solution is to gather our allies Israel and Great Britain and bomb Iran. Really B-O-M-B them. Eliminate the nuke facilities and all traces of the government and the Mullahs so that the people of Iran, who also love Americans, could rise up and become a great democracy like Iraq.

Ladies and gentlemen, my head spun. I could tell by the way Bob spat out the word “liberals” that his mind would most likely be closed-off to opposing views, but nonetheless I offered some: I stated that Democracy couldn’t be thrust on a people following an invasion. That the insurgency in Iraq was mainly a Sunni insurgency, most likely funded by Saudi Arabia, not Iran. That peace couldn’t be won with American boots on Iraqi necks (a metaphor which I meant to convey that many Iraqis now saw us as brutal occupiers and most of them believed they’d be better off without American troops in their country). I felt Bob bristle.

Don’t believe the liberal lies. The Iraqi people love freedom. None of our soldiers are doing the things the news people say they are doing.

Again with the big “ptui” when he said liberals. Uh oh, I thought, its gonna be a long night at the post office. Forget photographs of Iraqi prisoners with bags on their heads and naked human pyramids. Liberal lies. Forget Extraordinary Rendition and CIA secret prisons–more liberal lies. Forget the Salvador option, Smoking guns and mushroom clouds, dead-enders, and an insurgency in its death throes. Forget mortar rounds falling on elementary schools, forget electricity despite billions spend in reconstruction costs. Forget Death Squads. Forget the Coalition Provisional Authority, forget the looting, forget the Bremer orders. Forget car bombs and car bombs and car bombs. Forget it all. Liberal bias. Lies, all lies.

More insight from Bob, topic by topic:

Global warming/climate change.

A myth. The scientists are using incomplete data that only covers the period of 1970 until now. The eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Saint Helens put more gas and dust in the atmosphere than the whole of all post-industrial emissions combined. The planet goes through cycles of warm and cold, and we’re entering a warm cycle. Nothing to be alarmed about.

Immigration.

America for Americans. Build the border wall. Mexicans are terrorist threats and steal our jobs. Anchor Children policy should be reversed. No amnesty for illegals. Deport them all and seal the border. Preserve our language and culture.

South America/Latin America.

When the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the proposed cluster bombing of Iran are brought to a successful close, invade Venezuela and depose the “dictator” Chavez. Chavez is lucky that we’ve been so distracted with promoting democracy in the middle east that we forgot to deal with him–but his days are numbered. Also Cuban “problem” will be solved when Fidel Castro dies, as all Cuban people love Americans and American Democracy and will eventually throw off yoke of communist oppression.

Eventually I steered the conversation away from politics and war and back to safer waters: Navy/Air Force stories and summer travel plans. I couldn’t do any more “heavy” stuff, I was mentally exhausted. I felt as though I had sat through a month of Rush Limbaugh radio programs, without the benefit of being high-as-a-kite on prescription painkillers.

I was not surprised by Bob’s views. As I said earlier, I live in WMass. I’ve known a lot of Bob-clones, people who’s views on all matter of subjects can be condensed to fit on a bumper sticker. These people are not evil or stupid, just busy with their day-to-day lives and tragically misinformed. The best thing a progressive person can do is listen to them, interact without showing scorn or anger, interject a truth or two whenever possible, and hope for the best.

Good luck.

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Meet the President

Wouldn’t it be great if the President of the USA, as our elected leader, had to sometimes answer the questions of the people of this country? Not questions from the press, as he sometimes fields, or scripted softballs from handpicked partisans during his carefully choreographed PR events, but questions from everyday schmoos like you and me. The questions would be of OUR chosing, a cover any topics. Obviously, there would have to be some editing for language and relavince, but basically I think we should be able to ask the President some tough questions.

Some tough questions I’d like to ask our President:

  • “Mr. President, why are wages for middle class workers stagnant while productivity and profits are higher, and bonuses for executives are sky-high? Why did you oppose raising the minimum wage?”

  • “Why does the vast majority of the ENTIRE POPULATION of South America hate us? Could it be that neo-liberal policies and so-called free-trade AREN’T beneficial to anyone except giant multi-national corporations?”

  • “If the Global War on Terror is so important, why haven’t you asked the average American to do ANYTHING to support it other than “go shopping more”(see paragraph 11 from G.W. Bush’s speech to swear in SecDef Gates) and maybe put a stupid magnetic ribbon on his or her car? Shouldn’t we be paying some extra taxes to support such in important struggle? Shouldn’t we save scrap metal and rubber for military vehicles? Shouldn’t we be giving our troops more support than lip service? Shouldn’t we mobilize our industry and populace? Shouldn’t we reinstate the draft so that all American families can support the war effort and ensure there are sufficient troops to adequately stop our enemies?”

  • “Did Christ really change your heart? Honestly, are you really a Christian, or were/are you just trying to win votes? Do you think Jesus Christ would approve of the use of torture against our enemies–for any reason? Christ reached out to the poor and disenfranchised–fed them, healed them, offered them hope–when have you ever done that? Do you think he would approve of your handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?”

I could go on with all day with my questions for our Commander in Chief. My point is this–we need something like this. The American People need an outlet in which they can ask a sitting president questions. Nearly everyone knows that the State of the Union Address and the above-mentioned PR stops are farces–that’s why only political junkies watch them. The details of the proposed forum are unimportant and very negotiable: It could be annual or quarterly or bi-monthly. A cross-section of Americans, chosen in a national lottery, could ask 1 or 2 questions in a live “town hall” style forum–more questions could arrive via the Internet or phone-in. As long as the forum is monitored so it’s fair to all and non-partisan, I’m all for it in any shape or form.

WE, The People need access to our President. We should be allowed to ask tough questions and demand honest answers. We need to know that our highest elected official is more than a stuffed shirt or a sound-bite, and that he has the resolve and courage to face his constituency, good times or bad.

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The Bill of Rights in George Bush’s America

Below is the Bill of Rights. These ten Amendments are our fundamental freedoms as prescribed by the framers of the US Constitution, aka our Founding Fathers. See if you can count how many of our rights have been violated during the G.W. Bush Presidency. See especially Amendments 4 and 5 and remember the warrentless wiretap program or the NSA/AT&T cooperation to illegally read your emails and monitor your web surfing. Google Jose Padilla then see Amendments 6 and 8. Below text is courtesy usinfo.state.gov


THE BILL OF RIGHTS

Amendments 1-10 of the Constitution


The Conventions of a number of the States having, at the time of adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added, and as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States; all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said Constitution, namely:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

MRF

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Old Testament Bible Stories, part 1

I’m currently in the early parts of the book of Leviticus in my Bible reading. I am amazed at the impact the first two books of the Old Testament had on me; Genesis and Exodus were real eye-openers, to be sure.

Please understand, my comments are on the first two books of the Bible. I’m sure there are numerous wonderful passages in both Testaments I haven’t got to yet, and I’ll be sure to share them when I do. If there are any Biblical scholars who can clarify meaning I missed or passages I misunderstood, please contact me with the correct information. This is only one man’s opinion and opposing viewpoints are welcome.

All quotes in the following chapters are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. Look them up if you don’t believe me. I am reading the New International Version (because, let’s face it, it’s much easier to understand) but I’ve read that the corporation who translated that version is harsh about enforcing their copyrights, so I used KJV for quotes.

My background in Bible teachings is as follows: Baptized in Protestant Evangelical Church around the age of four (I was a heathen baby until then, as Nan Gallagher would say). Attended Church services, Summer Vacation Bible School and/or Bible Study from roughly age seven to age fifteen. Attended Church sporadically from age fifteen to age twenty-seven. Attended Catholic Mass frequently and became a confirmed Catholic age twenty-eight to present.

Some things I learned from reading the first two books of the Old Testament:

1. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Genesis seem (to me) to be conflicting accounts of the creation of man. Specifically, God creates Man and Woman in Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” God tells man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply”, etc. (Gen 1:28) That event is on the sixth day of creation according to the text.

Chapter 2 begins with God finishing the creation of earth, finding it good, and resting on the seventh day. Then (I guess), on the eighth day, he creates man (for the second time, since he just created man last chapter), but this time he goes into greater detail on the process involved: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen 2:7) and “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen 2;18) and finally “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen 2:22, 23)

Chapter 1 and 2 clearly seem to contradict each other. Either Man and Woman were created on the sixth day, or sometime after the seventh day–on which God rested. Maybe the author of chapter 2 didn’t think the author of chapter 1 got the creation of man right in its scope and majesty, and so decided to improve the story of man’s creation. But if God wrote both passages, he’s one confused puppy. It may seem like a minor quibble, but it’s (to me) a glaring continuity problem, on the very first page of the most Holy Book.

2. Everyone knows the story about Adam and Eve and the serpent. God told Adam previously that he could eat any fruit in the garden, except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tells him he’ll die if he eats this fruit. Sometime later, the snake “tricks” Eve into eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She gives some to Adam. They notice they are naked, are ashamed, and make clothes from fig leaves. They hear God walking in the garden, they’re ashamed, they hide. God calls, they come out. He learns what they did, gets pissed, curses them and throws them out of his paradise on earth. All mankind suffers–this is called “the original sin.” According to some Christian sects, even newborn wee babies aren’t innocent, as they are born with this taint. I don’t agree, but I suspect I’m not alone on that one.

So, Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden. What I find interesting is why God put that tree there in the first place. If he is all-knowing and all-seeing, he must of known eventually Adam and Eve would eat the fruit and know good and evil. Either God LIKES punishing us or he wanted us to know good and evil. Wouldn’t it have been easier to build us with the knowledge from the get-go? Why the games? And, am I to assume Heaven is like the garden of Eden? Do we walk around naked and brainless, frolicking and fornicating while our voyeuristic creator smiles down on us?

3. Genesis chapter 6. The sons of God mate with the daughters of men. Their offspring were giants and mighty men of renown. I am not making this up. Read it for yourself. Are the sons of God what are later known as angels, or what? Sounds to me like the UFO people with their theories about alien/human hybrids should be re-reading this stuff.

4. Later in chapter 6, God decides everybody but Noah is awful and decides to drown everybody, except Noah and a select group of animals and family members. “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air. . .” (Gen 6:7) I understand God wanting to destroy us, because men as individuals can be stupid and evil and warlike and cruel. But what did the beasts, creeping things and fowls do that was so awful? Were the fowl gay? Did the creeping things abuse drugs? And if as the almighty you’re really bent on killing EVERYTHING, and there’s no changing your mind, why use a flood as your WMD of choice? I believe most aquatic creatures; fish, whales, dolphins, crabs, octopus, etc., would be able to survive a flood pretty easily.

5. Last one for this post. I remember this quote showing up in my “free will astrology” some time ago. I didn’t believe God actually said this in the Bible–until I read Exodus, that is:
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14) There you have it. God has a name, and his name is Jealous.

MRF

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Everybody’s Working For the Weekend

4 AM Saturday March 10.

1. There is a great Noam Chomsky interview on the front page of counterpunch.org

2. I had a great debate with my friend and co-worker Tim tonight-into-this morning at the Post Office. He argued that Hugo Chavez has a “master plan” for South America, that Venezuela cannot survive w/o foreign investments if oil prices plunge, and that Chavez is usurping Venezuelan Democracy, transforming it into a dictatorship. I claimed that Chavez is elevating the poor in his country by sharing oil revenues, improving health care, and returning displaced resources seized in neo-liberal programs. While looking for articles to support my claims, I stumbled onto another great progressive site, Counterpunch.org, and the above-mentioned Noam Chomsky interview, which just so happened to touch on some of the points I had made to Tim earlier in the night.

Tim compared Chavez’s rise to power with Hitler in 1930’s Germany, specifically how Hitler appealed to the nationalist urges of a German people and their anger over the terms of the Versailles treaty. He felt Chavez was trying something similar with his populist reforms. He also challenged the validity of Chavez’s election victory. I tried to explain Chavez’s huge election victories, which were deemed fair by impartial outside reviews, and offer that if Chavez wanted to channel the buried fury of the Venezuelan people, he would have an easier time if he invented an outside enemy and kept his people poor, hungry, and uneducated while barraging them with jingoistic government propaganda (instead he lowered the number of illiterate Venezuelans, instituted reforms to create a true representative democracy, and is working hard to provide numerous social services, including quality health care). I also theorized that maybe, just maybe Chavez’s “master plan” for Venezuela and South America was to tap the region’s many natural resources for the good of its people. That Chavez was using his country’s “petro-dollars” to nurture a flourishing democracy–one which would cast a revealing light on the vile foreign policies of the U.S.A and the decrepit state of her democracy.

3. I experienced very mild shock and disbelief after searching the congressional records concerning the 1992/93 U.N. Mission in Somalia. The Republican-controlled congress decided that congress has the power to curtail the President’s power to make war, even if they previously approved the war. Are you reading this 110th congress? If you apply the resolutions of the congress in 1993 concerning Somalia to what is happening in Iraq, the Iraq War would be over tomorrow. Follow the library of congress link and type “Somalia” in the search block. Happy reading. I learned this info after reading Glenn Greenwald’s Jan 30th post on his blog, Unclaimed Territory.

MRF

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Belated News on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day:

Quick explanation: I work nights at the Post Office (insert your joke here) and I do most of my blogging between the hours of 3 and 5 A.M. Therefore, I totally missed writing about the International Women’s Day (March 8, 2007) on the actual I.W. Day. So, belatedly, yesterday was International Women’s Day. In related news, I lost a bet with my mother about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which gave Women the right to vote in 1920) when I stated that this country was still racist and sexist and women have only had the right to vote for about the last 50 years. I was wrong and way off, women in this country have had the right to vote for nearly 88 years. Kudos to my mom. My point was, 50, 88, both figures are a remarkably short amount of time. Why did it take a country dedicated to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” roughly a hundred-and-fifty years to grant voting rights to a bloc which made up half the population? Check out the wiki for Alice Paul to learn more about the women’s suffrage movement in this country.

The amazing Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report devoted a large chunk of her March 8th broadcast to current Women’s issues. Specifically, She spoke to several woman who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brave war veterans spoke about their experiences in Theater. War IS hell. But for these women, there was the hellish reality of the war, and another hellish reality of harassment, intimidation, and fear of rape by some of their male “Battle Buddies.” At one point in the interview, One female soldier explains how she and other female soldiers peed in plastic water jugs at night because they feared they would be violently raped by certain male soldiers if they tried to use the latrines. And how she carried an M-16 to protect herself from Iraqis while on patrol and a knife to protect herself from other American soldiers while at post. Even more chilling is the behavior of some senior officers, like General Sanchez, who tried to hush up any such events Listen to/download the broadcast here: Democracy Now! March 8, 2007 Archive.

Here is a short excerpt of the segment, entitled “The Private War of Women Soldiers”:

“AMY GOODMAN:
I want to turn to a clip of Colonel Janis Karpinski. She’s best known for her role as commander of the Abu Ghraib prison, but she has also spoken out on the treatment of female soldiers in Iraq. Last year, she testified at a mock trial known as the Bush Crimes Commission Hearings.

    COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: Because the women, in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the portoilets or the latrines, were not drinking liquids after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. And in 120-degree heat or warmer, because there was no air conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep. And rather than make everybody aware of that, because that’s shocking — and as a leader, if that’s not shocking to you, then you’re not much of a leader — so what they told the surgeon to do was, “Don’t brief those details anymore. And don’t say specifically that they’re women. You can provide that in a written report, but don’t brief it in the open anymore.”

    MARJORIE COHN: Was there a commander who saw dehydration listed as a cause of death of a woman, a woman female US soldier, and after that he said “Do not list dehydration as a cause of death anymore”?

    COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: Yes.

    MARJORIE COHN: Who was that?

    COL. JANIS KARPINSKI: General Sanchez.

    MARJORIE COHN: General Sanchez. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Colonel, formerly Brigadier General, Janis Karpinski being questioned by the law professor Marjorie Cohn. The general she’s referring to is Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who served as the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq. Professor Benedict, you write about what Janis Karpinski, what the former Brigadier General demoted after the Abu Ghraib scandal, had to say.” (excerpt from the March 8, 2007 Broadcast transcript of Democracy Now! “The Private War of Women Soldiers”)

Alaskan Aerial Wolf Hunts:

I ran across this story on a back of a conservation magazine at work. I don’t know all the details, but from what I gather, the voters of Alaska are upset over the practice of hunting Alaskan wolves using small aircraft. Despite voter’s indicating on 2 ballot initiatives that they opposed the practice, the Governor of Alaska continues to allow aerial wolf hunting, ostensibly to thin wolf populations and aid ailing caribou and moose populations in certain areas.

Pilots and hunters spot the wolves from the aircraft, then drive them (wolves are scared of low-flying planes, go figure) until exhaustion, at which point the “hunters” fire on the wolves from the aircraft or land and shoot from the ground. Chartered Hunts such as these can cost up to $10,000, plus a couple more thousand to stuff and ship your prize carcass back home.

Given the cost of the Chartered plane and guide, plus travel to Alaska, and the fact that there is little or no actual sport to these hunts, aerial wolf hunts seem like a leisure activity reserved for the very rich. Moreover, if the voters of Alaska believed there was a valid scientific reason to stop wolves from eating caribou and moose, they wouldn’t have voted twice to stop the practice. They see the hunts, rightly, as another example of the wealthy using their influence to create a barbaric niche “sport.”

For some reason, I’m reminded on John Kerry in his 2004 Presidential campaign. No, not his “that dog don’t hunt” botched photo op in his brand-new camo–I’m thinking of him windsurfing. He was blasted by the media after being photographed windsurfing off Nantucket and panned as an elitist twit. The reason I mention it is this: If Kerry windsurfing = elitist twit, what does Anyone Aerial Wolf Hunting = ? And why do I get the feeling that Dick Cheney–or if not him, members of his ultra-rich posse, have shot wolves from Cessnas many, many times?
Read more: Anchorage Daily News Dec 6, 2004.

MRF

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Letter to the Editor

The following is a letter to the Editor printed in my local newspaper, The Republican (Springfield, MA) on Tuesday, March 6th, 2007. I have reproduced it unedited and exactly as it appeared:

Bush bases his decisions on hope and justice for all

Here’s to the writer who questions President Bush’s Christianity, based on his actions and decisions.

At least, the writer knew about one of Christ’s basic teaching to love our enemies; so I am basing my response on it. Our enemies, in Bush’s case, are people who want to destroy us, just as Jesus’ enemies wanted to destroy him. Jesus loved his enemies too, and one of his most loved enemies was Judas, the disciple who betrayed him and even accepted money for his demise.
Can you see the comparison here? Fortunately for Bush, most of his political enemies understand, like the writer, who in Wordsworth prose, would “rather be a Pagan [with an] outworn creed,” that Bush’s actions are based on hope for everyone’s freedom and justice for all. They are not on his religious beliefs. Christians also are commanded, unlike the writer, not to judge. That said, the only Christian aspect of Bush’s actions that I can see is to set free those who would kill innocent folk, by sending them to judgment before Christ. It’s about the most loving thing we can do, even if there is a terrible price to pay.

WALTER GLADWIN

Westfield

99.9% of the time when I read Letters to the Editor such as these, I am momentarily filled with righteous indignation and begin to formulate my logical, coherent response to the letter writer’s illogical, incoherent blather. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at actually putting pen to paper or fingers to keys–but this time is different.

I’m fairly sure this missive was written either by a boy is his very early teens or a geriatric of limited education. I can forgive the teen, as most of or all of his views come from TV or Mom & Dad, and you and I both know how much deceitful, disturbing crap is on TV. But if it’s an elderly man, COME ON. Are these really the ideas and beliefs he’s crafted over his many years on this earth? I would especially like to ask him how Jesus’ love for his enemies and his betrayal by his disciple Judas Iscariot compares to President Bush. Am I to believe the midterm elections and worsening public opinion over the Iraq War constitutes a betrayal of the President? That is BS, Mr. Gladwin; Bush betrayed us. He is guilty of lying to the American public in order to win confidence in, and approval for, the war in Iraq–among other crimes.

Mr. Gladwin probably agreed with former President Richard Nixon’s famous remark that “it’s not illegal if the President does it.” President Nixon must’ve realized that statement was a lie when he was forced to resign from office in disgrace. Perhaps Bush will learn a similar lesson. I hope so, the country would be far better off without him holding its highest elected office.

As far as Mr. Gladwin’s letter goes, I can forgive the sloppy grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc.–but what am I to make of this line:

“. . .the only Christian aspect of Bush’s actions that I can see is to set free those who would kill innocent folk, by sending them to judgment before Christ.”

That is such a chilling statement. I think he meant to say “the only [Un-]Christian aspect” but I really can’t be sure. Either way Mr. Gladwin is talking about the mass murder. Mr. Gladwin’s talk of setting people free to face Christ’s judgment is merely a righteous, innocent-sounding euphemism for the murder of other human beings.

I wish people like Mr. Gladwin would leave Jesus Christ out of their arguments. I don’t remember Jesus killing anyone during his ministry. Or advocating violence. Wasn’t he the man who told his disciples to “turn the other cheek.” Killing people will never bring us peace or security. Violence begets violence. Sooner or later we’re going to have to open a channel with our “enemies.” Diplomacy, education, cooperation–these are the ways to achieve real peace.

Mr. Gladwin is no doubt to true believer in the Bush Crusade against the so-called Islamo-fascist menace. It is my sincere hope that there are very few of these people left in this country. Because, as Mr. Gladwin writes, there will be a “. . .terrible price to pay” for waging preemptive war against our “enemies.” And that price will not only be in dollars spent and soldiers lives lost or ruined, but also with the loss of our freedoms, and the with the weakening of our democracy.

I will try to scan in a copy of Mr. Gladwin’s letter to the editor. If interested, you could probably view it in the archives of the Republican, their website is www.masslive.com

I’d love to spend more time on this topic but I’m tired and going to bed.

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