Monthly Archives: March 2003

My latest venture.

here lies the ghost of the entry titled “my latest venutre,” forever gone from the interwebs. I wonder what it was?

[[based on a link in this post I think it has something to do with this scarf.]]

War, Huh! What is it good for?

I’ve been kind of freaked out all day today thinking about war. I haven’t gotten much work done, and I’m too busy reading up on current events. I’m going to have to bill sick time today, I think.

I remember the gulf war, when I was ending middle school. Or was it high school? I remember trying to get people to meet me by the flag pole for a last minute protest during homeroom, but no one would. Those ubiquitous yellow ribbons. “Support the soldiers, not the war.�

These are things I thought after last night’s speech by GWB:

* We’re going to war.

* We’re going to war, supported by a potentially fictitious “coalition.â€?

* We can’t even afford to educate or feed our children. I know of teachers that have to panhandle for classroom supplies for their students. We’re going to finance the entirety of another gulf war by ourselves?

* There’s a sneaky large tax cut being pushed through the senate right now, and we’re going to finance the entirety of another gulf war by ourselves?

* We are the aggressors in this war. We are attacking another country with little reason. We are attacking another country because:

* Bush is ushering in a super-aggressive future where it’s called “suicideâ€? (his word!) to wait and see if your neighbors won’t attack you, and one should just go ahead and attack them, just in case.

* I have a sneaking suspicion that Bush is trying to coax Armageddon in, to force the end of the world to come in his lifetime.

* The Bush administration has been systematically redefining who is allowed to disagree with the government and still be considered ‘American’, and has been systematically demonizing dissenters, since September 11th. And now people are disagreeing and protesting, there’s no response. Our elected representatives seem to be lost, running in circles and avoiding the immediate and real issues. Many of our rights have been tossed – and all in the name of security. As Michelle said last night, if we really have to discard so many essential American freedoms, ones the country was built on, in order to preserve security, than it means the system isn’t working.

Remember during the last gulf war? When we had to really convince Israel not to return the attack, because of the frightening potential for a Jewish-Muslim war developing? How the heck are we going to prevent that from happening now? Especially now that the Israeli government is taking a ‘hard-line’ stance on Palestine, and is driving bulldozers over unarmed, peaceful protesters. You know, while they knock houses over in the Gaza Strip. An American woman died, and the war talk has kept us from asking, where did these bulldozers and tanks come from? Whose money was spent on this? Was it mine, from my 2001 taxes? 2002? And American woman died and it hardly made the news. What chance did the some-dozen other Palestinians (as young as 4 years old) have to make the news?

This is our “coalition�:

Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.

(I guess it’s a shame that Spain’s once invincible armada is no more. (Thanks a lot, Queen Elizabeth!) Though if we’re fighting in a desert it wouldn’t do much good anyway.)

Here’s another thing I’ve been thinking about. The singer from the Dixie Chicks criticized GWB and was immediately demonized: people drove over their CDs, and the fact that she wouldn’t support our president was denounced. She stuck to her guns for a couple of days, and didn’t apologize until her record company made her. Why wasn’t she allowed by American society to speak her beliefs?

I am a patriot. I believe strongly in the American way of life. I love my country, despite her faults. But I don’t understand at what point I’m supposed to just suck it up, to realize the severity of the situation and to not speak my mind. When is that appropriate? And when do you think our founding fathers would have thought it be appropriate? Our elected representatives are hiding behind the “support the soldiers� tenet – they don’t have to say anything hard, or bad, or dissenting about this war, because they are busy supporting the soldiers. I know a lot of veterans. I know lots of people who went to war, and wish we hadn’t, and also wish we wouldn’t now. I also know many people who joined the military for the wrong reason, not because they want to fight, but because they felt they had to. Will they understand if we speak out against war that we aren’t speaking out against them? Won’t they understand that we speak out against war because we want them home, safe, and with their families?

I don’t want a war, y’all.

Weekend in Tennessee. American Torture Morals

I flew to Tennessee for a whirlwind visit with my grand mother this weekend. It was fantastic. I got a wicked cheap flight, and the traveling went so smoothly (probably because I was traveling at non-traditional times, Saturday AM and Monday AM). It was really good to see Gramma. She’s one of the neatest people I know. She’s super crafty, and tough, and stubborn (in a good way). She can make anything, and if she can’t make it, she’ll figure it out. I told her about being interviewed for a book about crafting, and why I craft (I don’t get much of a feeling of accomplishment at work) and she said she likes to do things to figure them out. There’s the story about her weaving, where someone told her it would be impossible to weave a checkerboard pattern on the loom she was using, but she figured it out and that year gave us all little traveling checkerboards. And, she’s got so much wonderful great stuff. If I ever am concerned about how much stuff I have, well, as she said, it’s genetically inherited that I collect junk in case I need it later. I love going to her house, she’s got patterns from the 70’s (I scored a cool knit ascot pattern and a neat flyer on macramé bags!), boxes of fabrics (she’s been collecting them to make lap rugs for Meals-on-wheels recipients), and so much yarn and neat old stuff.

How I feel about my own belongings, well, that might be a longer and more stand-alone entry.

I’m concerned about the possible torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I saw a newspaper today with the headline “Tormented, but not Tortured.� But after reading this article from the Washington Post [I’ll revise with a link, I can’t find it now. I’ve asked my source…], with this paragraph down towards the bottom:

“U.S. authorities have an additional inducement to make Mr. Mohammed talk, even if he shares the suicidal commitment of the Sept. 11 hijackers: The Americans have access to two of his elementary-school-age children, the top law-enforcement official says. The children were captured in a September raid that netted one of Mr. Mohammed’s top comrades, Ramzi Binalshibhâ€?

…I’m not really sure what’s going to happen.

Why would we ever consider using children as leverage? Unless we’re hoping that the promise of being raised as an American is so terrible that he cracks, I can’t see how this “leverage� would mean anything except for torture. And I guess the NYPost article was right, if he’ll be tormented but not tortured, and his torment is knowing his children will be tortured.

OK, so he’s a bad man. So he might know things that will help stop terrorism. He probably knows the other people responsible for September 11th. But you know who tortures children in front of their parents? Saddam Hussein. And by suggesting we use these children as “leverage� implies we’re going to do the same thing that Saddam Hussein has done, you know, one of those things that gives Bush the moral imperative to invade Iraq. If we do this to Mohammed’s children, will our great buddy Tony Blair in Great Britain feel the moral imperative to invade us?

These are some of the things that I love about America (that people seem to walk over at will lately):

* Equal rights/Freedom for all (as long as they look just like me).

* Land of Opportunity (for me and my ancestors but no one new, because new = dangerous and costly).

* Due process of law (except for those people who oppose the government).

* Freedom of Speech (but not if it requires you to assemble in the streets of Manhattan below 59th Street).

I am feeling particularly cynical about the current state of affairs in America today. I love America. I consider myself a patriot (pre-patriot act, of course). I think we’ve got a great way of life here, and we have a fantastic society that can do a lot of good if it wants to. But slowly, slowly, we’re slipping into that gray area of too much power in the hands of a few. And it’s terrifying to me how quickly our most basic rights, the ones that America was founded on, are being yanked from us. It baffles me that the republican party, the one that insists the government has too large a hand in everyday American’s lives, is the source of these revisionist policies. And I don’t know how to stop it except to tell everyone I know, and to call my senators every single day.