And the blog goes on, and the blog goes on. Elaine back with you while Rebecca's on vacation.
Let's start with something from Democracy Now! today:
Gov't Study Estimate War Cost to Reach $700B
A new government study has found that the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will top $700 billion over the next decade. Already $300 billion has been spent. The total cost estimate comes from the Congressional Budget Office. The San Francisco Chronicle reports this would make the combined campaigns the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years. It is estimated that the Vietnam War cost about 600 billion in current dollars. The Korean War cost about 430 billion in current dollars.
There's always money for war, isn't there? People in the world and in our own country go without food and shelter but we can always scrape together the big bucks for war. The administration can screech lies about Social Security having a solvency problem but at the same time they can throw out $300 billion to invade and occupy. These are the priorities of some of our rulers and at a time when Hillary Clinton's making it clear where she stands, you need to be asking yourself if these are your priorities?
Mike has a great post on this today:
I had an e-mail from Kat about how the same day Fonda comes on strong for peace Hillary Clinton's trying to prove . . . Well what is she trying to prove?I never disliked Hillary until that speech she gave yesterday. She's not one of my senators so I didn't pay as close to attention to her as I did to Kerry and Kennedy. But she was our First Lady and I thought she did a pretty good job of that. Yesterday she embarrassed herself. Now maybe she appealed to some cowards and stuff but she came off pretty cowardly to me.
That really is what it's about. Fear. War mongers rattle the swords because they fear. They try to impose out of fear. Throughout history, they've operated from fear. Fear combined with greed as they've defined the other and then attempted to conquer the other.
Now comes Hillary Clinton clearly stepping into the mix. It wasn't a secret to her constiuents who attempted to speak to her about the war. She's brushed them off and ignored them repeatedly. But this was Hillary Clinton on the national stage announcing that she is one with the DLC and, therefore, one with the war mongers.
Clinically, what makes a person respond that way? I'd argue that it has a great deal to do with the attacks on her over the years, attacks that still cotinue but have lessened in their severity as she's associated herself with the likes of Newt Gingrich. She'll never be embraced fully by the right wing, but as she's moderated her stance, she's seen that some on the right have supported her and defended her even when rumor riddled book was released.
When Chris Matthews starts praising her, we'll know her own Scoop Jackson transformation has been complete.
That theory is based upon the belief that she's ever stood for something. For many, left or right, there's the belief that she's never had a core belief she'd stand for and by. That's why she could participate in the attacks on working women and single mothers, known as "welfare reform," while still being hailed as a feminist hero.
Rebecca's made it clear in this space that she has little to no use for Hillary Clinton. As she moves further and further away from the beliefs that her core supporters hold, it will be interesting to see whether they'll continue to justify her actions or whether they'll move away from her.
Among the supporters are people who truly are opposed to many policies that Bill Clinton championed in the nineties. When they justify, you can hear them offer, as C.I. noted this morning, that it would have been worse without Bill Clinton. Which reminds me of a woman in the ER with swollen lips and black eyes arguing that her husband could have also broken an arm but didn't.
There is a dance that Hillary Clinton does and there's a dance that her supporters do and somewhere in the movements, truth goes unheeded which is why questions can't be asked and her supporters will get very angry when they are.
As Hillary Clinton, who's always been one of the team C.I.'s dubbed The Operation Happy Talkers, comes out steadfast in her support of the occupation/invasion, it's important for us to remember what is going on, what actions we are using. I read Jane Mayer's detailed, eleven page article "The Experiment" detailing what's gone on Gitmo, how the techniques were developed and how they migrated to Iraq, most famously with Abu Ghraib. If you haven't read the article, please read C.I.'s summary of it. From the summary:
Concerns are raised regarding "force drift." That's when "interrogators encountering resistance begin to lose the ability to restrain themselves." If you'll think of it in terms of parenting, you'll relate that to the "power struggle." There's also a "seductive" component of these techniques, as an attorney for several prisoners -- Marc Falkoff -- notes. Falkoff asserts that "a mass suicide attempt at Guantanamo, in August 2003, in which two dozens or so detainees tried to hang or strangle themselves, was provoked by Koran mistreatment . . ."
That's a SERE technique. Only on American soil, while "testing" American soldiers, they used a Bible. They might tear pages out of it or kick it around or some other method. But it was developed here with the Bible. (Again, I'm holding my tongue and just attempting to summarize.)
The question is posed (and I'd argue throughout the article) by at least one person in the article of what are we becoming? What does it say about us when we "do things that our enemies do, like using torture?"We'll close out this summary by noting that doctors have participated as "bisquits" (though not all "bisquits" are doctors -- some are p.h.d.s) with the comments of Jonathan Moreno (bioethicist):
Guantanamo is going to haunt us for a long time. The Hippocratic oath is the oldest ethical code we have. We might abandon our morality about other professions. But the medical profession is sort of the last gasp. If we give that up, we've given up our core values.
As a country we're giving up a great deal of what we believe in. Read C.I.'s summary of Jane Mayer's "The Experiment" because The New Yorker hasn't made the article available online. Then use your libraries to find a copy of the issue.
We're not seeing a lot of "leaders" asking that we think about our actions and the consequences that will result from these actions and others. We need to be asking those questions. Real leadership by true leaders would result in opening up a dialogue on this topic. Instead, we see the Operation Happy Talkers and the war hawks like Hillary Clinton whose fear and blood lust require denying reality and speaking out for more deaths.
The easy road is never the moral one or the ethical one which is why so many skip down it. We can follow them or we can insist that a dialgoue on these issues, an honest one, may take place.
"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.