Since 9/11, 8 years ago this year, my productivity has been cut fairly significantly by thinking, talking and writing about this (gigantic) cloud that's formed over America.
For background, if you don't know me: I'm self-employed. I program computers for a living. I love my work and have been fortunate enough to have my own business doing exactly what I was born to do. I'm hardly a slacker, and I am as dedicated to my enterprise as anyone might be. Why, then is it hard just to make ends meet?
Am I the only American so afflicted by this problem? I don't think so.
On self-examination, I see that my prime, best thinking time, is early in the day. Maybe you're like that too, or can at least relate to what I'm saying. To be sure, I solve many problems during the day and laying down to go to sleep, but it's in the morning, in the fresh light of day, that the problem, the solution and the actual coding must come together, and I'm just much better at doing the hard stuff in the morning. Towards evening I tend to handle loose ends and other details, but it's the morning stuff that matters most and has been eaten into.
The problem is that, since 9/11, the beginning of each day finds me reading the news, getting upset and going off on a thinking/talking/writing tangent all over again. After almost 8 years, I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in the film "Ground Hog Day", where the days start to resemble each other, with one important exception: this problem keeps growing. And this gets me more upset, so I start thinking/talking/writing all over again.
Just today, for example, I read that Obama is sending more troops to Afghanistan, while in the background looms a terrible defeat for any sense of purpose of the invasion of Iraq; Korea may well explode, Pakistan and (get this) Mexico are moving to the brink, just to list some sub-problems of the main problem.
What bothers me most is that we refuse to even identify the main problem: that effective control of our government (foreign policy being at the core because it sets our national attitude) has been seized by AIPAC/Neocon-related interests. The Jewish half of the Neocon enterprise are essentially "Soldiers of Israel" doing what they have to do for their beloved country. The other half may call themselves Christian, but I see them as warmongering liars, thieves and murderers, and that's decidedly NOT Christian.
Truth be told, I'm only so much of a Christian. Non-practicing as it relates to any established sect or church, which I want to exist, but not to attend. Nevertheless, I call myself a Christian because (a) I was born into a Christian family, and (b) I tend to agree with what I believe are the essential ingredients of Christianity. I was particularly impressed by Christian Brothers, who turned my life around from a wayward course as a teenager and have since gone to Ethiopia (think about that). But I've also come to appreciate other religions such as Buddhism.
I'm not against Judaism. Like myself, many Jews were simply born into Jewish families. That alone doesn't mean anything. Indeed, merely thinking so is the very basis of prejudice. What I do think is that some militant, arrogant, belligerent Jews believe God let them down in Europe, that it's really a dog eat dog world, and they can only defend themselves by conquering others and holding the power. What has made these people so dangerous and effective is that they have been able to shield themselves behind a cloak of religion that people everywhere have been conditioned to be afraid to even talk about. We don't even talk about something so simple and straightforward as "Thou shalt not kill"
Are we a nation of sheep? Of chicken-shits?
I am a peace-freak, but I will not be a sheep or a chicken! I served as a military adviser with the Marines in Vietnam in 67-68, living with people in a refugee camp next to our outpost a few miles inland from DaNang, between rice paddies, a river, some jungle and the mountains behind us. During and after Tet, the war we thought we were winning exploded and it became clear we weren't winning at all. Around that time I realized - actually learned the hard way - that those people really didn't want us there, and all the smiles and the good manners were just survival measures, not true or heartfelt at all.
The lesson became very clear after finding, twice, detailed maps of the layout of the inside of our camp carried by enemy attackers; maps that could only have been created by people who were inside our camp - our 'friends' in the village, who smiled and talked/worked with us during the day were giving the VC maps at night. And we weren't the only camp so mapped. The problem was endemic.
It wasn't until years later that I finally put this in proper perspective (at the time we became very angry with them), and it was so easy. All I had to do was imagine enemy soldiers in my home town. Would I make maps for the insurgents, my neighbors? You bet. So why should I have expected the Vietnamese or the Iraqi's to do anything else?
Just imagine how the Iraqi's feel. Sure, many wanted to see Saddam go, but 75,000 (or, more likely, several hundred thousand) people dead, including families, women and children? How about the 8x this count of people wounded? I could go on and on about the destruction we're rained on the Iraqi society, but after almost 8 years, I have to believe you already know.
Obama says he wants to leave Iraq. Right. As if he or anyone can just say "OK, we're stopping now", walk away and just forget about it. It's not going to happen that way. There is no way in the world I or anyone can predict what will actually happen with Iraq, but it's going to be bad for us, that is a certainty.
At the same time, he's sending more troops into Afghanistan, the boneyard of Empires.
That's one fatal mistake too many. And that's without mentioning another half-dozen powderkegs that could go off. Korea in particular, is poised to launch their "re-unification" drive, for several reasons, including Kim Jong-il having one last chance at doing something big, coincidentally American pre-occupation in the ME. If he is going to invade the south, he knows he couldn't pick a better time). And then there is nuclear-armed Pakistan on the edge of chaos.
What gets my morning so diverted from my work, and my bank account so low, is that I see the essential problem, the seizure of control over our government's foreign policy (the overall attitude and direction of the country), but nobody wants to even talk about it, much less solve it.
What is the essential problem? It is that this gang, the so-called Neocons and their cohorts in AIPAC and our information supply, the so-called "news", are pulling the strings of our government. These people are arrogant, belligerent and driven by a lust for power that exceeds our imagination. The mantra is "the Arabs wouldn't control our destiny", which sounds reasonable until you realize their solution is the flip side: that they must therefore control the Arabs, because there is no sharing, there is only capitulation. These people do NOT represent me or, as I see it, the average American, or the average Earthling for the matter. We, the average people, want peace, growth, prosperity and harmony with people around the world. We don't want war, we don't seek to control anyone - indeed, we believe in personal freedom to do as we please, not more authority!
More then anything, we don't want war. This is especially true of those who have experienced one. Of course we'd fight invaders and occupiers, but we have no interest whatsoever in sending our children to kill and die for ANY cause proclaimed by rulers.
The invasion of the Middle East was clearly the handiwork of AIPAC, the Neocons and friends in the "media", who did what they wanted to do despite the will of the American people. In the beginning, this was arguable, and argue they did, but evidence has emerged over time and now there is more then enough evidence to convict them of war crimes.
But what are we getting instead? From our AIPAC/Neocon-controlled Congress? We're hearing some talk about prosecuting Bush (and therefore his cronies) for torture. EXCUSE ME, but sure, torture is a crime, but what about the BIG MAJOR CRIME: the invasion of Iraq in the first place? THIS is the crime that needs prosecution, because not only will it bring Bush to justice, but the leaders of the AIPAC/Neocon gang and media as well.
If you haven't seen it, check out the PNAC Statement of Principals where the principals of this enterprise stated their ambitions before pulling off that invasion. Of course this paper doesn't mention Israel, so you have to do some homework and connect the dots yourself. But it does mention their lust for power, control and authority. Who would have thought they would actually get the power to enact their plan? Well, they did.
I've read Begliosi's book on impeaching Bush. He succeeded in laying out the case for "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" well enough for a prosecutor to act. Why aren't they acting? It's because they know, like Begliosi knows, that prosecuting Bush will prove to be the thread that untangles the web of deceit, and nobody has the guts to put that in motion. So they walk - right to their next endeavor. You don't think they'll ever stop, right?
There are many things we now have to do in order to right these terrible wrongs. The top three are:
1. Expose and prosecute the people responsible for the invasion of Iraq
2. Remove Big Money from politics, period.
3. Bust up Big Media ownership into as many pieces as possible
This has been a long-winded explanation of the personal cost of these problems, not measured as much by money spent as by angst, aggravation and attention diverted from matters of greater importance. This gang stole my time, my attention and a good piece of my productivity. I'm not the only one.