Wednesday, April 02, 2008

American Empire : Howard Zinn

I'll Explain Some Things
by Pablo Neruda

Then one morning flames
Came out of the ground
Devouring human beings.
From then on fire,
Gunpowder from then on,
From then on blood.
Bandits with airplanes and Moorish troops
Bandits with gold rings and duchesses
Bandits with black monks giving their blessing
Came across the sky to kill children
And through the streets, the blood of children
Ran simply, like children’s blood does.

Jackals that a jackal would reject
Stones that a dry thistle would bite and spit out
Vipers that vipers would hate!

I have seen the blood
Of Spain rise up against you
To drown you in a single wave
Of pride and knives!

Look at my dead home
Look at broken Spain –
But from each dead house
Burning metal shoots out
Instead of flowers.
From every shell-hole in Spain
Spain will rise.
From every dead child a rifle with
Eyes will rise.
From every crime bullets will be born
Which will one day find a place
In your hearts.

You ask “Why doesn’t your poetry
Speak to us of dreams and leaves
Of the great volcanoes of your native land?”
See the blood along the streets
Come see
The blood along the streets
Come see the blood
Along the Streets!


Once again we are reminded that the so-called Great Society we have built for ourselves comes at a price. The main price seems that we must not think too much ; if we think we may begin to question and to question merely leads to uncovering disturbing facts about our leaders and ourselves and our total disregard for those whom we help day in and day out oppress. So we give our conscience a nice little funeral and then go on with our lives knowing that our lives are far more important in the scheme of things than the lives of those in the countries we invade & conquer & exploit.Besides if we hold the odd Benefit concert and give to charities such as the Red Cross this eases our conscience if we still have one. As the philosopher Leo Strauss has taught our generation Altruism is irrational and self-defeating since it is a dog eat dog world so to hell with those who are suffering its just none of our business.

By Howard Zinn, April 2, 2008.

Have justifications for empire begun to lose their hold on our minds?

In Iraq, in Afghanistan, and at home, the position of the globe's "sole superpower" is visibly fraying. The country that was once proclaimed an "empire lite" has proven increasingly light-headed. The country once hailed as a power greater than that of imperial Rome or imperial Britain, a dominating force beyond anything ever seen on the planet, now can't seem to make a move in its own interest that isn't a disaster. The Iraq government's recent offensive in Basra is but the latest example with -- we can be sure -- more to come.

In the meantime, the fate of that empire, lite or otherwise, is the subject of Howard Zinn today at Tomdispatch, and of a new addition to his famed People's History of the United States. The new book represents a surprise breakthrough into cartoon format. It's a rollicking graphic history, illustrated by cartoonist Mike Konopacki, that takes us from the Indian Wars to the Iraqi "frontier" (with some striking autobiographical asides from Zinn's own life). It's called A People's History of American Empire. It's a gem and it's being published today.

...You can view an animated video, using some of the book's art, with voiceover by none other than Viggo Mortensen at the link below:

If it doesn't work go to YouTube or the link below.

AlterNet:Howard Zinn: The End of Empire?

And to add insult to injury there are even more things rotten in the American Empire as we discover from documents leaked to Wikileaks which show that the prisons in Iraq are inhumane and are a crime in themselves. Though of course Westerners probably think such conditions are justified to teach the Muslim and Arab masses who their masters are . After all their natural resources and their labor and their very lives belong to us and we will treat them anyway we wish. Most Westerners in fact as Howard Zinn and others point out would just as well not want to know what occurs in the Colonies just as long as the oil keeps flowing.

Unbelievable" Abuse Reigns in Iraqi Jails

by Jeffrey Kaye, Invictus April 1, 2008.

While Bush and his media toadies tout Anbar province as a "success" story for the "surge," conditions in the city jail reveal a different reality.

Released last week by Wikileaks, and seen for the first time

Confidential memo from Maj. Gen. Kelly, commander of US forces in western Iraq (MNF-W, or Multi-National Force -- West), written in late February 2008. Privately verified by Wikileaks staff and not denied or contradicted by MNF-W when questioned by UPI's national security editor, Shaun Waterman.

WIKILEAKS: Classified memo from US Maj. Gen. Kelly confirms Fallujah Gulag

February 18, 2008
The Dungeon of Fallujah by Michael J. Totten

FALLUJAH – Next to the Joint Communications Center in downtown Fallujah is a squalid and war-shattered warehouse for human beings. Most detainees are common criminals. Others are captured insurgents – terrorists, car-bombers, IED makers, and throat-slashers. A few are even innocent family members of Al Qaeda leaders at large. The Iraqi Police call it a jail, but it's nothing like a jail you've ever seen, at least not in any civilized country. It was built to house 120 prisoners. Recently it held 900.

The guard opened the first door and walked right in. He didn’t even slow down. I gingerly stepped inside and found myself surrounded by children. They lounged on the floor. Some stood up when they saw us.

What the hell?

“This is the room for minors,” Sergeant Dehaan said. “They're treated better.”

They are? The cell was the size of my living room. Two dozen children lived in this place. They slept on the floor on blankets and had no personal space whatsoever. The kids were grubby, but they didn't appear beaten down or even in bad spirits necessarily.

“Some of them are related to wanted men,” he said.

150 men were smashed together in a single windowless room the size of my house.

“This is the biggest cell,” Sergeant Dehaan said.

No kidding.

There was no furniture. Most men sat on blankets and carpets. A few near the door cautiously stood up to greet us, but they did not shake our hands. They seemed slightly wary, and had a weird look of innocence on their faces, almost like the kids in the previous room who really were mostly innocent.

No comments: