dreamsamelia

Scene Obscene

In Air, Garment on May 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Convalescent camp, near Alexandria, Va.

The rejoinder to Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir, Known and Unknown  keeps arising to me as an imagined memoir, The Scene Obscene, which hit my conscience as unremittingly as the speckled drops of blood on Samar Hassan’s 5-year-old face: “Face that Screamed War’s Pain Looks Back, 6 Hard Years Later,”  New York Times, May 7, 2011.

This image of Samar’s horror-stricken primal howl as she witnessed her parents being gunned to death by U.S. troops is indeed the caveat to add to any collective sigh of relief over OBL’s death.  And you almost have to wonder if the Times isn’t being intentionally exploitative in trying to sell more online subscriptions by featuring inflammatory stories such as the one running front and center right now, “Bin Laden Sons Say U.S. Violated International Law.”  The Times seems to exploit Palin the same way…so all the wacknut delusional fantasies of politics (i.e 3/4 of what is printed any given day) are used to attract hits to the papers so that presumably then people will be lured to more serious stories?  As opposed to simply setting the bar high with only solid stories and refusing to print the obviously  sensationalized and intentionally inflammatory?

The President’s 60 Minutes in-depth 30 minute interview demonstrates the type of equipoise and seriousness which we could only wish more recent presidents had displayed.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20060530-10391709.html?tag=component.0

But the bittersweet wistfulness over his leadership leads to the agonizing conclusion…if Obama had been president instead of GWB, surely we would have avoided Iraq altogether.

No memory of 9/11 is complete without a lament that there is no real accounting of how many injuries and deaths Iraqi and Afghan citizens have suffered. But from myriad sources, the numbers all point to a horror far larger than anything we faced on 9/11.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

And so, while we have avenged fear with the death of OBL, whose wake leaves the threat of an omnipresent paranoia more d/elusive than fear itself, the moral debts of war remains a burden that will stain our conscience far beyond any time in which the financial debts are repaid.

No heroic mission can undo the huge burden of what our tax dollars have done against our will,  though we have been out in the streets or in the blogs, shouting against the war….or in our deleted comments to the New York Times, whose justice only touched the void of cyberspace.  Apparently those types of rumors and allegations–of civilian casualties–are the types of “mere speculation” that can’t be entertained, while ludicrous hatchet jobs to the middle class are fair game.

There is no “mission accomplished” in undoing the mechanism of war, there are only the earnest threads, voice by voice, piece by written piece, prayer by prayer, of people rising up in defiance of war.

I am watching Ken Burns Civil War, and it seems that none of those thousands of death did very much to mitigate the attitudes and budget wars we are fighting today.  The rallying cry of “state’s rights” is a sheerly confederate slogan: thus it is impossible to read of the Republican governors’ rejection of federal aid without thinking of how southern states burned bales of cotton during the war in the hopes of persuading England to side with them to re-open their invaluable commodities supplies. (“The Rejected Windfall” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/opinion/10tue1.html?hp)

If the bitterest, bloodiest war in these somewhat loosely United States did little to change fundamentalist opinions about the nature of work and pay, the nature of education, the nature of government, and the nature of business….then obviously we are throwing billions into a sinkhole to try to “reform” a fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan, as we have trying to “change hearts and minds” in Iraq.  I’ve never met anyone willing to give up their cherished beliefs, and obviously they would lose all respect if they did…so changing anyone’s mind is not an option.

The challenge is how do we reconcile diametrically opposed agendas–protecting the oceans vs. subsidizing oil drilling; providing a social safety net for health and retirement vs. variable and widely divergent private enterprise experiments; every car for himself vs. public transportation; corporate welfare and bailouts vs. no safety nets for people; making pleasures such as pot into petty crimes to fill up for-profit jails vs. tax-payer funded jails that only lock away violent criminals; safe, legal abortion vs. no abortion at all; I am sure anyone reads this blog other than the botnets who regularly peruse it can come up with better examples—but the only solution to these intractable, diametrically opposed agendas is through compromise.  You simply cannot kill ideas out of people.  Joe Hill watches over every shoulder.

But the compromise only exists by each idea maintaining its purest integrity, not by diluting the ferocity of the goal or agenda.  So though Abe Lincoln was elected because he was viewed as a moderate, and not one of those radical abolitionists, abolition became the only compromise feasible to save the union.   Jim Crow and every battle we have faced since is ever a negotiating of the turf of fair wage for labor with people and plutocrats yanking the debate back and forth.

And obviously, the plutocrats have about the same leverage as they did at the turn of the 19th century, which is why I read this editorial as “The Unseen Obscene,” as Democrats continue to lose all the moral ground and jump into the money train. (“Democrats, Seduced by Secret Dollars,” May 7, 2011  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/opinion/08sun1.html?scp=1&sq=secret%20money&st=Search)

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