iraq, war

5 Years On

I came across these posts by a Baghdad Journalist.  Watch and see what is still going on in Iraq.  It appears we Americans are the only ones who think “the surge” is working.  Unless 179 dead Iraqis in 2 weeks means it is working.

“Tell the world.  I want the world to know, to see how we live.”

Please share these:

Baghdad, 5 years on — Part 1 City of Walls.

Part 2 Killing Fields

Part 3 Iraq’s Lost Generation

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Iran, iraq, Mark Twain, politics, Religion, war

The War Prayer

The War Prayer

by Mark Twain

Part 1

Part 2

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams – visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation – “God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”

Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,” Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

“I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.

“God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

“You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

“Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Note: Twain wrote The War Prayer during the US war on the Philippines. It was submitted for publication, but on March 22, 1905, Harper’s Bazaar rejected it as “not quite suited to a woman’s magazine.” Eight days later, Twain wrote to his friend Dan Beard, to whom he had read the story, “I don’t think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.” Because he had an exclusive contract with Harper & Brothers, Mark Twain could not publish “The War Prayer” elsewhere and it remained unpublished until 1923.

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Barack Obama, George Bush, politics, war

Appeasement v. Diplomacy

President Bush, recently, did something that is extremely inappropriate in a couple of ways.  First of all, he compared a certain senator’s willingness to sit down with “enemies” as a form of appeasement comparable to Chamberlain meeting with Hitler.  Secondly, he did this while addressing a group in a foreign country.  The U.S. has a policy of not attacking political opponents from overseas.  It not only reeks of desperation, but just a lack of class.

Bush was trying to villianize Obama for his wanting to actually work through diplomatic channels instead of brute force.  The talking points of calling Obama an appeaser are starting to make their way through the news.  However, I have a feeling this meme will not last long.  In the clip below a Right Wing talkshow host is on Hardball, and start to rail against Obama calling him an appeaser.  Well, after about 5 minutes of his screaming and ranting, Chris Matthews is finally able to challenge that assertion.  (Anyone who has ever seen Hardball knows that it is near impossible to not let Matthews get a word in.)  Matthews repeatedly tries to get this guy to define what he means by calling Obama an appeaser.  This guy has no sense of history, nor any access to a dictionary.  He has no clue what is saying and pretty much admits such.

Diplomacy is talking with the enemy trying to resolve the situation through talks.  Appeasement is talking with the enemy and then as a token of giving them something.  (Chamberlain appeased Hitler by giving him half of what was the Czechoslovakia.  Only to empower Hitler.)

Bush does not realize that his administration actually did the whole diplomacy thing.  If you remember correctly North Korea is part of the axis of evil.  Well, Bush was wanting to bomb them into the stone age a few years ago, but at the request of our allies in the area we actually sat down to TALK with the North Koreans.  You know what happened?  We are not having an Asian front to the war on terror, but we are working with the North Koreans to come to an end of their nuclear program.

Mr. Bush, is your administration an administration of appeasement or diplomacy?

Here is the clip.  Matthews lays down the law at about 4 minutes.

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Friday Music Club, war

Friday Music Club

I was looking for videos of John Lennon’s Happy X-mas (War is Over), and I came across this one.  I am still crying as I write this post.  It is one of the most intense videos I have posted.  It really really puts into perspective how much we need the Prince of Peace.  The images in the video are graphic reminders of the hell we put other human beings through — I came close to not posting it, but there is a through line with the song that War is Over, If you want it.

I think that is an important message.  We are the one’s who have to end the war.  We do that empowered by the Prince of Peace, but it is our doing.  We created the messes and we must clean them up.

and here is something a little lighter

Elf’s Lament

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Friday Music Club, Hiroshima, horror, Krysztof Penderecki, Nagasaki, war

Friday Music Club

Last week was the awful anniversaries of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

I want to post a piece of music by Krzysztof Penderecki called Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. It is one of the most intense pieces of music I have ever heard.

Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (Tren ofiarom Hiroszimy in Polish) is a musical composition for 52 string instruments, composed in 1960 by Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933), which took third prize at the Grzegorz Fitelberg Composers’ Competition in Katowice in 1960. The piece swiftly attracted interest around the world and made its young composer famous. The piece—originally called 8’37” (at times also 8’26”)—applies the sonoristic technique and rigors of specific counterpoint to an ensemble of strings treated unconventionally in terms of tone production. Penderecki later said ‘It existed only in my imagination, in a somewhat abstract way.’ When he heard an actual performance, ‘I was struck by the emotional charge of the work…I searched for associations and, in the end, I decided to dedicate it to the Hiroshima victims’. Tadeusz Zielinski made a similar point, writing in 1961, ‘While reading the score, one may admire Penderecki’s inventiveness and coloristic ingeniousness. Yet one cannot rightly evaluate the Threnody until it has been listened to, for only then does one face the amazing fact: all these effects have turned out to serve as a pretext to conceive a profound and dramatic work of art!’ The piece tends to leave an impression both solemn and catastrophic, earning its classification as a threnody. On October 12, 1964, Penderecki wrote, ‘Let the ThrenodyHiroshima will never be forgotten and lost.’ express my firm belief that the sacrifice of

The piece’s unorthodox, largely symbol-based score directs the musicians to play at various vague points in their range or to concentrate on certain textural effects, and they are directed to play on the wrong side of the bridge, or to slap the body of the instrument. Penderecki sought to heighten the effects of traditional chromaticism by using ‘hypertonality’—composing in quarter tones—to make dissonance more prominent than it would be in traditional tonality. Another unusual aspect of Threnody is Penderecki’s expressive use of total serialism. The piece includes an “invisible canon,” in 36 voices, an overall musical texture that is more important than the individual notes, making it a leading example of sound mass composition. As a whole, Threnody constitutes one of the most extensive elaborations on the tone cluster.

The Welsh rock group Manic Street Preachers sampled a portion of Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima for the introduction to their 1991 single ‘You Love Us.’

Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima is featured in the 2006 dystopian film ‘Children of Men.’

Below is the only video I could find.  It runs  about 9 minutes.  The video has images for about the first half, and then none.  Be warned some of the images are graphic, but how else can one see the true horrors of war.

May their memory be with us forever, and we never do something like this again

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George Bush, Iran, iraq, war

Ratcheting Up

This past weekend Joe Leiberman was on Face the Nation calling for an attack on Iran. What is scary about this is the fact that Joe was sent out there by the administration to test the waters. To see if A. people are paying attention and B. people will react.

War games have been played off the coast of Iran since November. The administration and Joe are claiming that we need to bomb Iran because al-Quaida is coming in through Iran and attacking Americans in Iraq. This is a lie. Only about 5% of the “enemy” in Iraq is al-Quaida. Most of the violence directed at Americans is coming from BOTH sides of the civil war raging in Iraq. Our kids are clay pigeons in the skeet shoot that is this fucked up war. The administration is ready to attack.

So, what does this mean. WW-III.

If we were to attack Iran. They would retaliate by attacking Israel. They would have allies from China and Russia on their side. And we would LOOSE and ally in the war in Afghanistan. You see, Iran is helping the United States in the “hunt” for bin-Laden.

Pray for Peace. Pray for calm. Pray for diplomacy.

TAKE ACTION. FIGHT BACK.

Contact your members of Congress here and here. Tell them to fight.

Or

Go Here: StopIranWar.com and sign the letter, and it will be sent to directly to the White House.

If the worst happens. Be willing to fight back. Take part in protests. Get active.

I am stopping now as I am about to loose my cool and go off on an anti-apathy rant.

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Christianity, death, Dr. King, life, love, Robert F. Kennedy, war

“Make Gentle the Life of This World”

Thirty-nine years ago today Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.  He is a hero of mine.  Below are two clips.  One is a photo montage that plays while Edward Kennedy is delivering Bobby’s eulogy.  The second is a photo montage overlaying Bobby’s announcement of Dr. Martin Luther King’s death.

Listen to his words.  The man was compassion.

Through no virtues or accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions.  We, therefor, have a responsibility to others who are less well off.

rfk-1964.jpg

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iraq, politics, president, war

Time To Go

According to al-Maliki, we can go home now!

date Nov. 2006:

“AMMAN, Jordan – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country’s forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

‘I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007,’ Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.

Maliki was replying to a question about whether U.S. troops could start withdrawing at that time.”

h/t Atrios

Let’s Go!

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Christianity, folk, John Prine, music, politics, Religion, war

St. John the Prophet

John Prine that is.

John Prine wrote this song back in 1971, during Viet-Nam. Not being around then, I wonder if the being American meant you would get you to heaven mentality was as pronounced then as it seems to be now. Anyhoo, enjoy!

Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore

While digesting Reader’s Digest
In the back of a dirty book store
A plastic flag with gum on the back
Fell out on the floor.
Well,I picked it up and ran outside
And slapped it on my windowshield.
And If I could see ol’ Betsy Ross
I’d tell her how good I feel.

(Chorus:)
But, you flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven anymore.
They’re already overcrowded
From your dirty little war
Now Jesus don’t like Killin’
No matter what the reasons for.
And your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore.

Well,I went to the Bank this morning
And the cashier said to me
If you join the Christmas Club
We’ll give you ten of them flags for free.
I didn’t mess a round a bit
I took him up on what he said
And stuck them stickers all over my car
And one on my wife’s forehead.

(Chorus:)
But, you flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven anymore.
They’re already overcrowded
From your dirty little war
Now Jesus don’t like Killin’
No matter what the reasons for.
And your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore.

Well,I got my windshield so filled with flags I couldn’t see
So I ran my car upside a curb and right into a tree
By the time they got a doctor down
I was already dead,
And I’ll never understand
Why the man,
Standing in the Pearly Gates said…

(Chorus:)
But your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore,
We’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war
Now Jesus don’t like killin’
No matter what the reasons for.
And your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore.

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life, Mother's Day, war

Happy Mother’s Day!

The origin of Mother’s Day is that of a protest to war. The cry of mother’s after the Civil War rose in a cry of peace, that no more children must die in the act of war.

Julia Ward Howe wrote the original Mother’s Day Proclamation.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston
1870

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