Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Comments from Readers on "Threats on Iran and the 'Batterer's Defense'"

I have received a number of messages about the above-entitled essay posted yesterday at Counterpunch and will repost some of them here (with the authors' permission). I will be adding to this as time permits over the course of the next couple days or so. Newer adds are at the end.

Floyd wrote me this after reading the initial posted note from the 54 yo black man:

"The letter from the Detroit man was very poignant. He, and probably others, can see the inevitable consequences of the war with Iraq and more war with Iran. And there is nothing locally that he individually can do to prevent the inevitable. That feeling has probably been around in other wars. Today is 1937 in Europe."

So true about the parallel to 1937. I do believe, however, that there is something that each of us can do locally to prevent the "inevitable." The rise of Hitler and all of the horrid consequences that flowed from that weren't inevitable. The triumph of Bush and Cheney's will isn't inevitable.

A majority feel fundamentally at odds with and deeply disturbed by what is going on. They need a vehicle to show this and they need to act in individual ways and in collective ways.

Of these two, at this point, the individual acts, small or large, are most important because collective action doesn't occur without first being sparked by individual actions.

We cannot succeed absent very large collective action. We don't need everyone to act. We only need a fraction - as has been true in every other revolution - but we do need millions. We cannot get to that level of collective action unless individuals on the individual level act.

All too many people are waiting for someone else to do something; all too many are feeling that there is nothing that they can do.

As I have written in different essays and from different angles, making the decision to do something that shows publicly how you feel and that actually contributes to spurring others to act in ways that help to unfold and eventually unleash the independent actions of the people, not pleading or hoping for "saviors" such as Obama or easy and useless or worse than useless answers such as simply voting, CAN and WILL make a difference.

You will also find, by the way, an interesting - and rather extensive - dialogue/debate triggered by my "Change We Can Believe In?" essay at OpEd News.

* * *

Hello and Thanks

I am a 54 yo black man, single and taking care of a 93 yo mother with Alzheimer's. I can now clearly see the day when I lose the house because the cost of necessities like house and car insurance, utilites etc exceed our income and eats into our savings. Obama used every excuse not to come to Detroit and yet so many Blacks here are voting for him just because he's Black. When the US attacks Iran, I know for a fact I will be homeless. Mom's still got benefits and can be placed in a home but for me it's bleak. Gangs here are getting bolder and using the economy as an excuse for what they were doing when things were better.

Everytime one of these political whores opens his mouth about war with Iran oil spikes and there goes hundreds of thousands of more Americans into bankruptcies and homelessness.

I don't want to be homeless, especially now I don't have the energy of youth anymore, but why should I be different than thousands or millions of others? One thing might have to happen is for more Whites with the delusions of middle-class status bolstered by easy credit to become homeless for them to understand how their bigotry got the best of them. I say that because White men are always commenting about gas prices at the pump until I say 'well what would one expect when they elect oilmen as President and VP twice?'

That's always the end of the small-talk. I wonder who buys those oil futures when one of these demagogues rattles the saber at Iran? Anyway, sorry for the rant but the future is not rosy for me and few other people I know and many I don't know.

We are being squeezed by thugs in the White House and on Wall Street as well as on the street corners of urban America. This country's had it and maybe that's the proper karma considering the way it was created and all the BS about a 'shining light on the hill' that covers dead Injun nations.

Again, thanks


Good afternoon,

Thank you for the essay. I teach psychology in a university in Arctic Norway. Your essay has reached the ends of the Earth, or one of them.

During the lead up to the 2003 attack on Iraq, I gave one public anti-war speech, and for that I made bar graphs comparing the USA and Iraq on military spending, size of economy, national population, etc. For all of these, Iraq was barely above the base line of the graphs; whereas, the USA was 2/3s or more up the scale. Iraq did not and could not threaten the USA. The war was a bully beating up on a weaker nation, for the pleasure of strutting power before an international audience.

Now we are in the lead up to an attack on Iran. It, too, is a modest country on measures of military spending, size of economy, etc. But it has geared its military for defense, which means that offensive forces might take more losses than they are used to, including a couple of sunk aircraft carriers. Obama has promised negotiations with Iran. That is good. But he might feel compelled to show some macho manliness by making more war. That is an old US tradition, unfortunately.


Floyd Rudmin

Thanks for that very pungent and sensible article! I was amazed I had never thought of the analogy you make in the title before. It's one of those very clever perceptions that seems utterly obvious - after you hear it.

Tom Welsh

There is something sinister and sick about both U.S. and Israeli politics, trouble is, I don`t know what, or what to do about it.
Now I hear that Kurdish Northern Iraq is leaning more toward Islam, in which case, they too should look out, Bush, Cheney and the Zionists aren`t finished yet and there may be "just as bad," or "worse" to come.

regards, Ingrid B. Norway.


Professor Loo,

Sir, I want to thank you for this outstanding commentary at the Counterpunch web site today.

This old, former US Marine/Vietnam veteran is so damn sick of these idiot wars of choice. These war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against international law, crimes against the United States Constitution that have been already started and those in the "planning" stages. I am also very damn sick of pandering politicians like McCrazy and Obama (or is it now Oh, bomb 'em?). Of course any human over the age of 8 with a functioning brain knew that Obama would crawl to AIPAC and suck up to the Zionists. No surprise at all there. Hi-Larry had done so many times already as well. Such is the way of the donkey gang in America.

That the guy from the elephant gang has done so, is also no surprise.

We NEED a real president who will stand for America and OUR national interests. Someone like Ms. McKinney or Mr. Nader. In short a real American president. Not some puppet of a foreign country as we have had since the end of World War Two, not counting Ike, who was probably our last TRUE American president.

I have no children, so these wars do not affect me in that manner. I DO however, resent that OUR young people who have joined the military, for many the employer of last resort, are being used and abused by this criminal administration. They do not get the proper equipment, training, nor other needed things. They are given substandard medical care when they return to the states after being wounded. Their psychological needs are not being met in the least. The suicide rate among the troops is appalling, yet nothing other than very cheap talk is done about it.

Our news media (a national joke) will not even admit that it has failed us, instead they rant on about how their job is not to challenge the powers that be! And all these years, stupid me, thought the job of a real journalist was to question everything! Well, I guess that all my schooling and out of school learning was totally inadequate. Damn me anyhow. Well, stupid is as stupid does. Guess my votes for Mr. Nader and when I still lived in California for the "Peace and Freedom Party" were just idiot "mistakes".

Yes sir, I am highly pissed off at our so-called "leaders" in this country today.

America now is certainly NOT the America of the old high school civics text books. It IS, however, the America that sent me and tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands actually) of American young men and women off on another imperial war in Southeast Asia during the 1960's and 70's.

We are a nation of idiot sheep if we continue to allow this crap to be pulled on us again.

Yet, we do not seem to even be aware that we are in a sorry assed state of things right here at home. How much more dumb can we get?

Thank you sir, for your excellent commentary. Thank you also for your valuable time reading the rants of an old disabled veteran.

semper fi,
charlie ehlen
Glenmora, LA

No people can be both ignorant and free......
Thomas Jefferson

1 comment:

Dennis Loo said...

By request, I'm posting this:

I`d like to respond to something in the comment by Charlie Ehlan. He said at one point: "We are a nation of idiot sheep." In an article I read recently, on Counterpunch, Paul Craig Roberts had a word for that: "sheeple."

I sincerely hope that the people of America and the rest of us in the wider world, get what we deserve, a decent president but the way things look, it`s doubtful.

Ingrid B. Norway.