Archive for April, 2009

The grammar of war

April 13th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

From a recent Al Jazeera report on remarks by Said Jawad — the ambassador from the government ruling Afghanistan to the government ruling the United States — about the death of five Afghan civilians, killed by the United States government’s military:

Said Jawad said that the deaths were a tragedy, but could be necessary if fighters were to be defeated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond.

This is a price that we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world, he said in Washington on Friday.

Jawad’s remarks come after the US military apologised for killing four civilians, including a child, in a raid earlier this week.

. . . A 13-year-old boy who survived the US raid on his home overnight on Wednesday told Al Jazeera that his mother, brother, uncle and another female family member were killed.

A woman who was nine months pregnant was wounded and lost her baby.

— Al-Jazeera English (2009-04-13): Afghan envoy defends US raids

He wants the political stability in Afghanistan, the region, and the world. They pay the price for what he wants.

If there is a proper apology, and there is a good explanation, and that’s exactly what we have been asking from our American friends in the past … then I think the people understand, he said.

He has American friends. He gets the apologies. He gets the explanations. They get the tragedy that he understands.

He ought to speak for his own damn self.

Here as elsewhere, half of human decency in political thinking is just learning to keep your personal pronouns straight.

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est (2009-04-13)...]

The grammar of war

April 13th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

From a recent Al Jazeera report on remarks by Said Jawad — the ambassador from the government ruling Afghanistan to the government ruling the United States — about the death of five Afghan civilians, killed by the United States government’s military:

Said Jawad said that the deaths were a tragedy, but could be necessary if fighters were to be defeated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond.

This is a price that we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world, he said in Washington on Friday.

Jawad’s remarks come after the US military apologised for killing four civilians, including a child, in a raid earlier this week.

[…] A 13-year-old boy who survived the US raid on his home overnight on Wednesday told Al Jazeera that his mother, brother, uncle and another female family member were killed.

A woman who was nine months pregnant was wounded and lost her baby.

Al-Jazeera English (2009-04-13): Afghan envoy defends US raids

He wants the political stability in Afghanistan, the region, and the world. They pay the price for what he wants.

If there is a proper apology, and there is a good explanation, and that’s exactly what we have been asking from our American friends in the past … then I think the people understand, he said.

He has American friends. He gets the apologies. He gets the explanations. They get the tragedy that he understands.

He ought to speak for his own damn self.

Here as elsewhere, half of human decency in political thinking is just learning to keep your personal pronouns straight.

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est ()...]

The grammar of war

April 13th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

From a recent Al Jazeera report on remarks by Said Jawad — the ambassador from the government ruling Afghanistan to the government ruling the United States — about the death of five Afghan civilians, killed by the United States government’s military:

Said Jawad said that the deaths were a tragedy, but could be necessary if fighters were to be defeated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond.

This is a price that we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world, he said in Washington on Friday.

Jawad’s remarks come after the US military apologised for killing four civilians, including a child, in a raid earlier this week.

. . . A 13-year-old boy who survived the US raid on his home overnight on Wednesday told Al Jazeera that his mother, brother, uncle and another female family member were killed.

A woman who was nine months pregnant was wounded and lost her baby.

— Al-Jazeera English (2009-04-13): Afghan envoy defends US raids

He wants the political stability in Afghanistan, the region, and the world. They pay the price for what he wants.

If there is a proper apology, and there is a good explanation, and that’s exactly what we have been asking from our American friends in the past … then I think the people understand, he said.

He has American friends. He gets the apologies. He gets the explanations. They get the tragedy that he understands.

He ought to speak for his own damn self.

Here as elsewhere, half of human decency in political thinking is just learning to keep your personal pronouns straight.

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est ()...]

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? (#5)

April 10th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

— President Barack Hussein Obama (29 January 2009): Inaugural Address

The problem with that is that every day that United States government soldiers spend on beginning to leave, instead of actually leaving — every day that is spent on that responsibly instead of that leaving — every day that is spent in the forging of peace in Afghanistan, rather than in the practicing of it, by withdrawing all United States government soldiers immediately and completely — is another day when Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis and Americans will all be killed by this Peace President’s war and his policies of gradualism. Another day when yet more people will be killed in the name of prolonging the final end of a Bush Administration war policy now universally acknowledged as a catastrophic failure and a stupid mistake.

On Friday, April 10, two months and 12 days after President Barack Obama promised American soldiers would begin to responsibly leave Iraq, a suicide bomber drove a truck bomb into an Iraqi government police compound in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Besides the bomber himself, the bombing also killed two Iraqi government police, one soldier in the Iraqi government’s army, and five soldiers in the United States government’s army. About 65 others — including dozens of civilians living in the nearby neighborhood — were wounded by flying shrapnel.

Every death and every wound is blood on Barack Obama’s hands. Every one of these people who were maimed or killed, were maimed or killed because of Barack Obama’s standing orders and for the sake of his war policy. Because Obama wants to wash his hands of the United States government’s war on Iraq, every day that he delays getting out, completely — delays getting out in the name of exit strategies and central fronts and responsibility — which is to say, delays ending this war because he is still convinced that, with the right sort of gradualist policy, he can somehow try to win a war that should never have been fought — is another person who is maimed or killed so that Barack Obama, after being elected as a peace candidate, can adopt and prolong the colossal, catastrophic mistakes of a disastrous failure of a predecessor, so that he won’t come off as being soft on national defense.

Mr. Obama, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est (2009-04-10)...]

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? (#5)

April 10th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

President Barack Hussein Obama (29 January 2009): Inaugural Address

The problem with that is that every day that United States government soldiers spend on beginning to leave, instead of actually leaving — every day that is spent on that responsibly instead of that leaving — every day that is spent in the forging of peace in Afghanistan, rather than in the practicing of it, by withdrawing all United States government soldiers immediately and completely — is another day when Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis and Americans will all be killed by this Peace President’s war and his policies of gradualism. Another day when yet more people will be killed in the name of prolonging the final end of a Bush Administration war policy now universally acknowledged as a catastrophic failure and a stupid mistake.

On Friday, April 10, two months and 12 days after President Barack Obama promised American soldiers would begin to responsibly leave Iraq, a suicide bomber drove a truck bomb into an Iraqi government police compound in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Besides the bomber himself, the bombing also killed two Iraqi government police, one soldier in the Iraqi government’s army, and five soldiers in the United States government’s army. About 65 others — including dozens of civilians living in the nearby neighborhood — were wounded by flying shrapnel.

Every death and every wound is blood on Barack Obama’s hands. Every one of these people who were maimed or killed, were maimed or killed because of Barack Obama’s standing orders and for the sake of his war policy. Because Obama wants to wash his hands of the United States government’s war on Iraq, every day that he delays getting out, completely — delays getting out in the name of exit strategies and central fronts and responsibility — which is to say, delays ending this war because he is still convinced that, with the right sort of gradualist policy, he can somehow try to win a war that should never have been fought — is another person who is maimed or killed so that Barack Obama, after being elected as a peace candidate, can adopt and prolong the colossal, catastrophic mistakes of a disastrous failure of a predecessor, so that he won’t come off as being soft on national defense.

Mr. Obama, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est ()...]

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? (#5)

April 10th, 2009

This is a syndicated post, originally from Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est.

Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense. And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

— President Barack Hussein Obama (29 January 2009): Inaugural Address

The problem with that is that every day that United States government soldiers spend on beginning to leave, instead of actually leaving — every day that is spent on that responsibly instead of that leaving — every day that is spent in the forging of peace in Afghanistan, rather than in the practicing of it, by withdrawing all United States government soldiers immediately and completely — is another day when Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis and Americans will all be killed by this Peace President’s war and his policies of gradualism. Another day when yet more people will be killed in the name of prolonging the final end of a Bush Administration war policy now universally acknowledged as a catastrophic failure and a stupid mistake.

On Friday, April 10, two months and 12 days after President Barack Obama promised American soldiers would begin to responsibly leave Iraq, a suicide bomber drove a truck bomb into an Iraqi government police compound in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Besides the bomber himself, the bombing also killed two Iraqi government police, one soldier in the Iraqi government’s army, and five soldiers in the United States government’s army. About 65 others — including dozens of civilians living in the nearby neighborhood — were wounded by flying shrapnel.

Every death and every wound is blood on Barack Obama’s hands. Every one of these people who were maimed or killed, were maimed or killed because of Barack Obama’s standing orders and for the sake of his war policy. Because Obama wants to wash his hands of the United States government’s war on Iraq, every day that he delays getting out, completely — delays getting out in the name of exit strategies and central fronts and responsibility — which is to say, delays ending this war because he is still convinced that, with the right sort of gradualist policy, he can somehow try to win a war that should never have been fought — is another person who is maimed or killed so that Barack Obama, after being elected as a peace candidate, can adopt and prolong the colossal, catastrophic mistakes of a disastrous failure of a predecessor, so that he won’t come off as being soft on national defense.

Mr. Obama, how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Iraq?

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

See also:

[Read the original at Rad Geek People's Daily » Dulce Et Decorum Est ()...]

“Patterns,” by Amy Lowell

April 6th, 2009

Patterns

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the plashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon—
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun shifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.

As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
Any answer, Madam? said my footman.
No, I told him.
See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.

And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, It shall be as you have said.
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.

For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

from Amy Lowell (1916), Men, women and ghosts