Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Please Please Stop the Madness-Driven Violence


How can violence stop with a trillion dollar war budget by the American military-corporate killing machine? While Charlie is killing around the world, why should little Johnny stop killing in the hood?
Violence is an addiction, the more you do, the more you want to do--it's a high. Ask killers. Ask Obama with his list of people to kill around the world. --Marvin X

Dear Friends,
Our government has war-fever again. I have lived it all my life, all 65 years. We never learn our lessons. Our neo-con press push us again toward blood spilling.
So we have violence at home and abroad. We cannot carry on decades of wars abroad without the virus spreading among our own citizens and brothers.
Let us give national awards to the peacemakers, rather than the blood-spillers. Let us shout down the hypocrites whether they are high or low, private citizen or politician.
I invite you to read Wanda Coleman's poem below about Madness. My critique is that she does not connect the dots to violence abroad and violence at home.
But that is not only a shortcoming of Ms. Coleman'pem, it was also a shortcoming of Al Sharpton's March on Washington. That man needs a lot of criticism.
Loving you madly, Rudy
Rudolph Lewis, Editor
ChickenBones: A Journal 

Please Please Stop the Madness-Driven Violence
By Wanda Coleman
August 25, 2013

In the name of Trayvon Martin, just Americans
must rise up and stop this monstrous domestic brutality
motivated by bias and bigotry, justified by fear,
a vigilante violence that has claimed too many lives to count:

Like 19-year-old Michael Donald, kidnapped at
random and beaten to death in Mobile , Alabama ,
on March 20th 1981, courtesy of the Ku Klux Klan.

Like 20-year-old, mentally disabled Melvin Eugene Hair
who succumbed to a carotid chokehold by a
Tampa , Florida police officer on February 20th 1987.

Like 19-year-old Jerrold Hall, accused of stealing a $60
Walkman, felled by a shotgun blast to the back of his head,
issued by a BART transit cop on November 15th 1992.

Like 16-year-old exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori, shot
dead for trespassing by an irate property owner in Baton Rouge ,
while on his way to a Halloween party on October 17th 1992.

Like 21-year-old Matthew Wayne Shepard, mistaken for a
scarecrow after being tortured and tied to a fence outside
Laramie , Wyoming , October 12th 1998, because he was gay.

Like 19-year-old Tyisha Miller bullet-riddled 12 times by
Riverside , California officers during a brain seizure, a semi-
automatic allegedly in her lap, that December 28th, 1998.

O Trayvon, Trayvon! Far too many were martyred decades before you.
Too many to name, too many to remember:

Who says they got what they deserved?
What kind of justice was served?
Where is empathy and respect for human life?
When will there be an end to this God-ugly strife?
Why the shoot-first-and-ask-questions-too-late?
How many unarmed or incapacitated victims of hate?

These names in the name of Trayvon demand we defend The Dream

with unrelenting commitment,
with protests against and repeals of unjust laws,
with hearts and eyes that refuse to be blinded by lies.

In the names of innocents slain, the compassionate must rise.
The author is a widely published Los Angeles poet and fiction writer.

Visit www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/wanda-coleman & www.blacksparrowbooks.com/  for more on this Guggenheim fellow and recipient of The Shelley Memorial Award by the Poetry Society of America (2012).

The Atrocities and Allure of America’s Perpetual War Machine…

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According to Wikipedia, perpetual war refers to a lasting state of war with no clear ending conditions.  The United States is in this particular state and has been for a very long time.   There also appears to be no end in sight as tensions mount with Iran.  So, why is America always at war?
The economic costs associated with perpetual war are staggering.  Getting a firm dollar amount is very difficult, but according to costofwar.org the Pentagon’s total allocation for war from 2001-2011 in current dollars was $1.2 trillion dollars.   So, what does America have to show for that $1.2 trillion dollar investment?   There are several companies making annual profits from this never-ending war.  You can see the top ten profiteers here.
So everybody knows that big business makes big money from war, but what about the non-economic costs?  What toll is being paid by our troops fighting this war?  Chris Hedges, in an excellent article titled “A Culture of Atrocity“, writes,
All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are swiftly placed in what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton terms “atrocity-producing situations.”
He continues about the betrayal of war,
War is always about betrayal, betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics and of troops by politicians.  This bitter knowledge of betrayal is seeping into the ranks of the American military.  It is bringing us a new wave of enraged and disenfranchised veterans who will never again trust the country that sent them to war.
So what about the betrayed veterans of war.  The U.S. and other NATO countries have this mythical love affair with the heroism of our soldiers fighting for our freedom overseas.  You see the yellow ribbons claiming support for our troops.  So what, exactly, do we support?  Hedges continues,
We make our heroes out of clay.  We laud their gallant deeds.  We give them uniforms with colored ribbons for the acts of violence they committed or endured.  They are our false repositories of glory and honor, of power, of self-righteousness, of patriotism and self-worship, all that we want to believe about ourselves.  They are our plaster saints, the icons we cheer to defend us and make us and our nation great.  They are the props of our demented civic religion, our love of power and force, our belief in our right as a chosen nation to wield this force against the weak.  This is our nation’s idolatry of itself.
Prophets are not those who speak of piety and duty from pulpits—there are few people in pulpits worth listening to.  The prophets are the battered wrecks of men and women who return from Iraq and find the courage to speak the halting words we do not want to hear, words that we must hear and digest in order to know ourselves.  These veterans, the ones who dare to tell the truth, have seen and tasted how war plunges us into barbarity, perversion, pain and an unchecked orgy of death.  And it is their testimonies, if we take the time to listen, which alone can save us.
By no means am I saying that I do not support our troops.  I have many friends who are or have served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I do support them, however I feel that they are pawns in this endless game of chess.  The atrocities of war are taking a huge toll on our troops.  Last month, anarticle in the New York Times discusses the very high rate of soldier suicides.  The article, from June 8 of last month states,
The suicide rate among the nation’s active-duty military personnel has spiked this year, eclipsing the number of troops dying in battle and on pace to set a record annual high since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, the Pentagon said Friday.
Seeing data like this makes you wonder if our troops truly believe in what they are doing.  Do our soldiers, having been in some of the worst situations imaginable, really believe in the cause?  They have been betrayed.  In Hedges’ article “War is Betrayal “, written yesterday, he says,
The disillusionment comes swiftly. It is not the war of the movies. It is not the glory promised by the recruiters. The mythology fed to you by the church, the press, the school, the state, and the entertainment industry is exposed as a lie. We are not a virtuous nation. God has not blessed America. Victory is not assured. And we can be as evil, even more evil, than those we oppose. War is venal, noisy, frightening, and dirty. The military is a vast bureaucratic machine fueled by hyper-masculine fantasies and arcane and mind-numbing rules. War is always about betrayal—betrayal of the young by the old, of idealists by cynics, and of soldiers and Marines by politicians.
So please, by every means possible, support the men and women who serve the country, they truly deserve as much support as we can give them.  You don’t, however, have to support the cause.  Don’t be fooled with the mantra of “fighting for our freedoms”.  The U.S. government is fighting against its own citizens in an attempt to strip freedoms away.  The threat is not external, but rather internal.  Don’t be sucked in by main stream media who will attempt to rationalize another reason to go to war.  Do your homework, figure out who the real enemies are…and you will find that they are right here.

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