... and then I sit down on the back door steps and immerse myself into John Crowley's latest novel "The Translator", and cry and cry. I can't write (and I'll certainly never write like he does), but at least I can read.
- Michael O'Connor Clarke alerts us to the fact that Gary Hart, pondering a presidential candidacy, has started a blog. Interesting stuff ... I'll check that every once in a while to see how well politics and blogging will mix.
- "Texas can set bright line moral standards for its people."Jennifer Balderama reports on the Supreme Court hearing a sodomy case and tries not to foam at the mouth. "Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four -- Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri -- prohibit "deviate sexual intercourse," or oral and anal sex, between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.", says the Washington Post article she quotes. I had no idea.
- Steve Himmer gets me thinking by reminding me that it's "vitally important that we figure out not only where we want to be but how we might possibly get there. Those of us who envision non-violent solutions to conflict need, for better or for worse, to be more willing to get our hands dirty. Not dirty with blood, but dirty instead with the messy, ugly, unpredictable routes to immediate change that are available to us."
Yesterday the media reported that you have made a supplemental budget request to Congress of $74.7 billion to pay for the current war in Iraq. Your budget for fiscal year 2003 assumes total federal receipts of $2,048.1 billion. My personal income tax accounts for .000000040% of that figure. Applying this percentage to the amount of funding you have requested from Congress, I find that I personally have been asked to pay $29.94 for the Iraq war.
The Mercy Corps, a charitable organization with which you may be familiar, has established an Iraq Emergency Fund to help alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe that the war has already caused, and which will only worsen in coming weeks. Lack of food, clean water, power, and medical supplies will place millions of people at risk of hunger and disease, and a refugee crisis of massive proportions is assured. I have made a charitable donation to this fund in the amount of $199.62. As I am in the fifteen-percent tax bracket, this will reduce my federal tax liability for the next year by the precise amount which you have charged me for your war.
I oppose this invasion in the strongest possible terms. Neither my belief that America must be protected from unconventional threats, nor my immense respect for the American men and women who are currently risking their lives on your orders, alter my conviction that you and your advisers have conceived this war recklessly, in bad faith, with insufficient thought given to possible consequences, insufficient support given to diplomatic alternatives, and appallingly little regard for the sanctity of human life. You will not wage it in my name, and you will not wage it with my financial support.
"You are a journalist. You know better than I do that we can't win. You know the road to Hanoi is cut and mined every night. You know we lose one class of Saint-Cyr every year. We were nearly beaten in 'fifty. De Lattre has given us two years of grace - that's all. But we are professionals; we have to go on fighting till the politicians tell us to stop. Probably they will get together and agree to the same peace that we could have had at the beginning, making nonsense of all these years." His ugly face, which had winked at me before the dive, wore a kind of professional brutality, like a Christmas mask from which a child's eyes peer through the holes in the paper. "You would not understand the nonsense, Fowler. You are not one of us."
Captain Trouin in "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene
Wil Wheaton quotes one of his veteran friends who tells him: "to my mind, you can protest the war, and at the same time, hang a yellow ribbon in the hope that the troops come home safely. Hoping for our folks to come home safe isn't at all pro-war, to my mind. Writing a letter saying, "Hey, hope you guys are doing okay" doesn't imply you hope anyone else (like the Iraqis) are being blown to smithereens."
Yeah, that's how I see it too.
In related news, William Gibson quotes from a speech of a British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins of the 1st Battalion of The Royal Irish, to his troops. I think that man has his priorities straight. Sees what's coming, doesn't sugarcoat it, and holds his men to the highest standards possible in a war. My hat is off to him.
I'm trying to stay away from most of the news coverage about the war. I steer a wide berth around CNN, and I've reordered my Yahoo! page so that I have to scroll down to get the world news, so I don't get overwhelmed and sucked in to watching the same night-green image for hours.
It seems obscene to watch from the safety of a TV screen in California. At the same time, it's impossible - and equally obscene - to ignore that there's a war on. If you want to help the people caught in the middle of it, maybe you can support the humanitarian activities of Oxfam or the Mercy Corps.