Apr 18, 2007

Meanwhile, back at our killing fields . . .

One of the reasons I check into Professor Juan Cole’s site, Informed Comment, almost daily is his realistic and direct talk. He can lose his temper sometimes, which is appealing, in its own way. He’s been condemned and mocked by the people on the right side of the political spectrum for a good while and unfairly has been branded an anti-Semite by the likes of Alan Dershowitz, David Horowitz, Michael Ledeen, and others—kind of a badge of honor these days—but he certainly has the expertise and the scholarship to know what he is talking about when it comes to the Middle East.

Today has produced headlines about the demented killings on Monday at Virginia Tech and those bombs in Baghdad today that killed 183 people, the bloodiest day since the troop escalation at the beginning of February (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070418/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_17).

Juan Cole, on Tuesday, was to the point:

I keep hearing from US politicians and the US mass media that the "situation is improving" in Iraq. The profound sorrow and alarm produced in the American public by the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech should give us a baseline for what the Iraqis are actually living through. They have two Virginia Tech-style attacks every single day. . . . most Iraqis killed violently, perhaps 500 a day throughout the country if you count criminal and tribal violence, are just shot down. Shot down, like the college students and professors at Blacksburg. We Americans can so easily, with a shudder, imagine the college student trying to barricade himself behind a door against the armed madman without. But can we put ourselves in the place of Iraqi students?

I can remember a memorable comparison he made over two and a half years ago to what comparable violence would be in the United States, and if you have enough imagination to bear it, read his comparison and extrapolate it for the time since it was first written: (http://www.juancole.com/2004/09/if-america-were-iraq-what-would-it-be.html). Bush and Cheney and the architects of war say they are religious men. I suspect their God may find it hard to forgive them for what they have wrought.

As always, there is a clarity and simplicity to Professor Cole's entries that helps us shed light on the human condition. All of us should continue to focus on the human cost of the war since all of us bear responsibility for the actions of our country, whether we voted for these madmen or not.

Take that shame, and make sure that we do all we can to throw the bums out every chance we get: cheer them on as they grill Gonzales tomorrow; write your congress critters to support Kucinich when he introduces a motion to impeach Cheney this week; Californians, hold Pelosi's feet to the fire of your anger as she buckles under again and again to AIPAC pressures; Obama partisans, chew your chicken-livered man out for his cowardice under pressure from AIPAC and shame him back into his original and correct stance on the Palestinian question; Edwards supporters, educate the man to understand that it's not only the American Middle class who is getting the short end of the American stick; and Clinton adherents, wake up and reject her--she's just Dubya and McCain light. Better her husband back in office than her.

Demonstrate, march, put signs on your lawns, put the facts in front of your right-leaning friends, honk when you see the right bumper stickers, support dissidence. Write, draw, speak, criticize, act up, and stop the madness as best you can.

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