Roundup: Historian's Take
This is where we place excerpts by historians writing about the news. On occasion this page also includes political scientists, economists, and law professors who write about history. We may from time to time even include English profs.
SOURCE: NYT (5-1-07)
If you’re a political junkie with Internet access looking for cheap laughs — and if you’re reading this column, you probably are — take a minute, go to YouTube and search for “Nixon” and “Rove.”
Your query will yield a 1972 CBS news segment on Richard M. Nixon’s reelection campaign. At the four-minute mark — not long after a passing mention of “an electric paper-shredding machine, to destroy secret campaign documents,” located “just out of sight” at Nixon headquarters — we meet the soft-cheeked, thick-sideburned 21-year-old Rove. Already the director of the College Republicans, Rove speaks with evident polish, touting the campaign’s youth outreach effort.
However amusing the interview with Rove (done by Dan Rather), the operative’s role in Nixon’s 1972 organization — the one that brought us Watergate — is more than a curiosity. Rove has recently found himself in legal peril again, this time alleged to have sought to politicize the non-partisan General Services Administration, along with scrutiny for his part in the firings of eight United States attorneys. The reminder of his roots in Nixon’s anything-to-win political machine is telling.
When George W. Bush became president, the smart money pegged him as Ronald Reagan redux. Bill Keller, now the executive editor of The New York Times, persuasively laid out the case in a nearly 8,000-word piece for the Sunday Magazine titled “Reagan’s Son.” The two men, he pointed out, had similar political agendas in cutting social services and taxes on the rich and projecting American military power abroad. They also shared a management style, establishing their administrations’ big picture while delegating details.
In his ideology and his policies, Bush’s debt to Reagan has been borne out. (Conservative purists back in the day even accused Reagan, as they do Bush now, of betraying their principles when he became unpopular.) In other ways, however — Bush’s political style, his attitudes toward executive power, and his contempt for democratic procedures — it has been clear for many years now that his real role model is Nixon.
The resemblances could fill a magazine article as long as Keller’s. Both Bush and Nixon, resentful of the supposed cultural dominance of liberals, perfected a conservative populism that vilifies academics, journalists, bureaucrats and other professionals as out-of-touch elites. Both men, hostile to the news media, rigidly prescribed the messages that their staffers could take to the press. Both vaunted secrecy, restricted access to information, and politicized areas of the government once deemed the province of non-partisan experts....
Posted on: Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 19:33
SOURCE: NYT (5-2-07)
Today’s presidential candidates are understandably cautious when it comes to foreign policy, especially about stepping into the minefields of Iraq. But in their remarks, it is possible to discern an assumption about the rightness of American leadership in world affairs – a notion that is the legacy of Woodrow Wilson.
In January of 2006, when Hillary Clinton spoke at an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, she warned, “We cannot lead the rest of the world if we do not have a vision of where we are headed and if we do not summon our leadership, not just based on our military strength, but on the strength of our values and our ideals as well.”
Barack Obama accepts that mission, too, as well as the Wilsonian view that the United States is more secure in a prosperous and peaceful world. But he is more aware of the dangers of such thinking. Quoted in a profile in this week’s New Yorker, he says: “The same idealism can express itself in a sense that we can remake the world any way we want by flipping a switch, because we’re technologically superior or we’re wealthier or we’re morally superior. And when our idealism spills into that kind of naïveté and an unwillingness to acknowledge history and the weight of other cultures, then we get ourselves into trouble, as we did in Vietnam.”
Since Wilson was president, the United States has positioned itself as the keeper of the world’s conscience and as the model for other nations to emulate. Over the years foreigners like me have both shared that view and resented it, because what looks like leadership from Washington can feel like bullying elsewhere....
Wilson still arouses strong reactions around the world. In the United States, he is widely regarded as one of the great foreign policy presidents, a visionary who bore the gift of a better, fairer world to the Europeans, who reacted with jeers and contempt. Even American statesmen who fall on the realist end of the spectrum admire Wilson’s vision and his attempt to build a new international order. President Richard Nixon hung Wilson’s portrait on the wall of the Cabinet Room. George W. Bush sounds positively Wilsonian when he talks of spreading democracy worldwide and encouraging free trade among nations as ways to promote stability.
The view among Europeans is quite different. There Wilson is often seen as a meddlesome and self-righteous pedant, even, in John Maynard Keynes’s word, “a booby.” His idea of building an international system based on a League of Nations and collective security has been attacked over the decades as unworkable or, worse, a cover for American hegemony. Europeans on the right have tended to see Wilsonianism as dangerously naïve; peace is kept rather by being strong yourself and working for a balance of power. Lenin and left-wing Europeans since him, in contrast, have argued that the League of Nations was simply a society of imperialists who would do their best to keep the oppressed of the world under control....
A French diplomat of Wilson’s time believed that if the president had lived in a different, less democratic era he would have been a tyrant “because he does not seem to have the slightest conception that he can ever be wrong.” There have been times when that assertion could apply to the United States itself. Wilson’s influence has done much good, but, as Obama warns, it can lead American presidents and their administrations to see the world as they would like it to be and not as it is.
Posted on: Thursday, May 3, 2007 - 19:28
SOURCE: Salon (4-30-07)
Tenet has revealed for the first time that he encountered Pentagon advisor Richard Perle on the day after the Sept. 11 attacks. As Tenet recounted the story on "60 Minutes," Perle "said to me, 'Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday; they bear responsibility.'" Tenet told interviewer Scott Pelley that he was startled at the allegation. "It's September the 12th," said Tenet. "I've got the manifest with me that tells me al-Qaida did this. Nothing in my head that says there is any Iraqi involvement in this in any way, shape or form, and I remember thinking to myself, as I'm about to go brief the president, 'What the hell is he talking about?'"
Is that really what Tenet should have been thinking to himself? Just, "What the hell is he talking about?" Perle was then the chairman of the civilian Defense Policy Board, which had great influence over Pentagon policy, and he was intimately linked to Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the No. 2 and 3 men at the Department of Defense. He was also close to Cheney and to the latter's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Perle had coauthored with Feith and others a 1996 white paper for Israeli politician Bibi Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party, advocating a war against Iraq. Perle believed that the Saddam Hussein regime posed a dire threat to Israel and that overthrowing it would enhance Israel's security. If Tenet had been as street savvy as he likes to pretend -- what with being a Greek from Queens and all -- he should have been thinking, "Aha! So that is how the neoconservatives are going to play this thing. How can I head them off at the pass?"...
Much of the reporting about the book and the interview has focused on Tenet's feeling of betrayal over the use to which Cheney and Rice later put his comment that presenting the case for an Iraq war to the American public would be a "slam-dunk." He resented the White House leaks that made it appear that he had urged a war on the grounds that the war itself would be a cinch, and the implication that his "slam-dunk" comment is what finally decided the president on his course of action. Tenet's outrage is outrageous. Why was he alleging that a good case could be made for a war that he now says he did not believe in? Why was he selling a war that, all these years later, he claims he believed was a distraction from the important struggle against al-Qaida?
In the end, Tenet exhibits all the symptoms of an abused spouse. He praises Bush and even has good things to say about Cheney. He never could pick up the phone and call the police in the midst of being beaten up. He never cared enough about the fate of the country to stand up and say that the country was being driven to war on the basis of obvious falsehoods and a tissue of lies. Even now, his high dudgeon concerns affronts to his own reputation, and that of his agency, rather than the deaths of more than 3,300 U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Some of his last words in the "60 Minutes" interview were among the most revealing, but not in the way he implied. "You know, at the end of the day, the only thing you have is trust and honor in this world. It's all you have. All you have is your reputation built on trust and your personal honor. And when you don't have that anymore, well, there you go." You can imagine him mumbling those words over and over again as he walks up the stairs to go to bed.
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2007 - 19:59
SOURCE: http://www.americansc.org.uk (3-13-07)
Ralph Donald examines the similarities between the rhetoric found in war films of the World War II era and the rhetoric used by President Bush in America’s wars against terrorism in Afghanistan and against Saddam Hussein and in Iraq. He compares the propaganda appeals used by the makers of popular Hollywood feature films during World War II to the speeches in which President Bush attempts to persuade the American people to support his wars against Al-Qa’eda and Iraq.
In the World War II-era feature propaganda film, China (1943) on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack, an American named Jones (Alan Ladd) stages a climactic debate with a Japanese general. The Japanese officer boasts:
General : Contrary to public belief, the Japanese people have always held your country in great esteem. Yes, we have finally decided to take it away from you. In fact, we have already moved toward that aim [he looks at his watch], and the fate of Pearl Harbor will be the fate of all so-called free democracies that dare to oppose the Imperial Japanese Government. We and our allies, for the ultimate good of all nations concerned, have determined to establish a new world order.
Jones : General, in all the countries that you and your gang have put the finger on, there are millions and millions of guys just like me pretty much living their lives in the same pattern. And the pattern of our lives is freedom. And it's in our blood, giving us the kind of courage that you and your gang never dreamed of. And in the end, it's that pattern of freedom that'll make guys like you wish you'd never been born!
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly September 12, 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush said:
Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take … We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and the hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. (www.whitehouse.gov Sept. 12, 2002)
From the outset of his evolution, Homo Sapiens has been a territorial creature who instinctively defends his property against outsiders. (Ardrey 1) In the history of war rhetoric in the United States, appeals to defend ourselves against an invading “other” have been popular ploys. In World War II, American popular film was awash with films that implied or even clearly outlined a real threat to the nation, American homes, families, religious freedoms and the American way of life. The territorial imperative, as Ardrey referred to his theories and his book, was a primary appeal of 1940s American war propaganda. And in subsequent wars in Korea and Vietnam, the appeal to fear to defend the homeland against the potential of communist attack and takeover continued. A popular approach to invoke territoriality was based on a speech in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in which he introduced the “domino theory” to war propaganda. Actually a hypothesis, not a theory, what has been nonetheless called the “domino theory” postulated that if the march of communist takeovers was not stopped in those Asian countries, one-by-one -- like dominoes – these countries would fall to the communists, as would their neighbors, and eventually America would be cut off and endangered by the forces of a “red” world.
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan used Eisenhower’s domino theory to justify American involvement in both legal and illegal anti-communist activities in Central America and Caribbean countries.
But for the sake of brevity and focus, and also because President George W. Bush often tries to connect the current crisis with the dangers facing the U.S. during World War II, this essay limits its discussion to an examination of the similarities between the territoriality appeals found in war films of the World War II era and the immediate present (America’s wars against terrorism in Afghanistan and against Saddam Hussein and in Iraq since Sept. 11, 2001). First will be an analysis and description of territorial propaganda appeals used by the makers of popular Hollywood feature films during World War II. And to show that an effective propaganda ploy has no expiration date, these appeals will then be compared to those found in speeches in which President Bush persuades the American people to support his wars against Al-Qa’eda and Iraq. ...
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2007 - 16:12
SOURCE: Teachers College Record (4-25-07)
Quick question: what did Don Imus' bigoted remarks and the dismissed Duke rape charges have in common?
If you answered “race and gender,” you’re only partially correct. There was a third shared element in these stories, which gave them their special power and prominence in American public life.
They're both about sports.
For the past century, sports have helped Americans define the nation to themselves. Organized athletics embody a host of values that we hold dear: hard work, persistence, and cooperation.
Most of all, sports symbolize "fair play"—that is, equality of all. Whenever we discuss or debate this ideal, we fall back upon sports metaphors. Everyone should begin from the same starting gate. They should compete on a level playing field. They should stay between the lines. And so on.
So when athletes themselves suffer discrimination—on the basis of race or gender—we stand up and take notice. That’s why Americans continue to venerate Jackie Robinson, who played his first major league game sixty years ago this month. Sports tell a story about who and what we want to be: fair, just, and equal. And Robinson reminded us how far our actual society diverged from that ideal.
How else to explain the fact that the second most important African-American of the 20th century—after Martin Luther King, Jr.—was a baseball player? King organized protests, went to jail, and sacrificed his life for the egalitarian ideal. Robinson stole bases and snared line drives, all in the service of the same principle.
In slurring the Rutgers women’s basketball team, then, Don Imus chose the most combustible target in American life. It’s not just that the team is female and almost entirely black. These women are athletes, after all, so they embody the most basic premises of America itself. ....
[HNN Editor: The author next makes the point that athletes are ironically not only a symbol of equality in America but also members of a privileged class.]
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2007 - 12:51
SOURCE: Tabsir (blog) (5-1-07)
“May day, may day.” You can take this in two ways. First, this is the day in which many working people in the world celebrate being workers. This is not the way it will be commemorated on the front lawn of the White House today. Then there is the military version of a Spitfire on fire and a pilot knowing it is time to bail out. The pilot currently occupying the White House is wielding his veto power today in order to stay the course. Since he is not yet convicted that the war is lost, he sees no need to bail out.
But let’s flash back four years to the banner day “Mission Accomplished” speech of a boastful George Bush on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln. The full speech is archived on the White House website. Four years and over 3000 American military deaths later, how does the plain-ridden rhetoric of the day stand up today? Let’s see…
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.)
Combat operations have actually expanded. One can quibble about the meaning of “major,” but the civll-war quagmire that our military has been mired into is anything but a minor irritation. The suggestion that the United States and our allies (a rather select group of the not-always-so-willing) have prevailed has turned out to be premature. Never a competent speaker, certainly not on a par with President Clinton (when he kept his pants on), President Bush may go down in history as the Great Prevailicator. Hindsight suggests his soft landing and hard sell of the Iraq War have turned into a Neville Chamberlain moment. Both predicted “peace for our time,” but time only saw the prediction fall to pieces. The White House leaves in the “applause” sign, but few of us today hear anything but the sound of one spun hand clapping.
And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
What started out as a conservative bandwagon coalition has turned into a two-man band that could be dubbed the Bush/Blair follies. Four years later many in the band have left town (and major parts of the country are still left to insurgents). Since the securing has been a dismal failure there has been little reconstruction. What little there has been is largely crumbling. Not surprisingly ordinary Iraqis are somewhat non-plussed that the world’s great superpower can’t superglue their country back together again.
Today, we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent. (Applause.)
Pottery Barn rules apply. We did indeed break a dangerous and aggressive regime, although one that we now know had nothing at all to do with Bin Laden and the September 11 bombings, but we are leaving it broke. Few Iraqis, apart from those on Saddam’s hate list, find their country less dangerous today. The thousands of civilians caught up in the mopping up operations and widespread insurgency might be surprised, if they were still alive, that there has been no violence directed against civilians. Civilians have become the main target, even in friendly-fired terms, since the start of the war. The “guilty,” whose ranks have swelled since the American invasion, are the ones creating the fear; there is no innocence left in Iraq. We should give pause to the lessons of the last four years, rather than applause for a canned neocon speech.
In the images of celebrating Iraqis, we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear. (Applause.)
If freedom is only measured by the number of purple-fingered voters, then perhaps Iraq has been a shining example of American-styled freedom. The decades of lies and intimidation could be stretched back thousands of years and might be applied to most of the world, no matter how you serve up your ideal of civilization. But if the time span is only decades, then perhaps we should go back to the end of World War I when the British imposed a foreigner named Feisal as a modern-day puppet king of Iraq. Iraqis were stirred after that to overthrow a king they did not choose, but up until the late 1950s they were not allowed to taste a freedom of their own choosing. Yes, Iraqis need liberty like they need food and water, but what good is freedom without enough food and potable water?
We’ve begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.
Oh, yes, those WMDs. What a genius Saddam was to be able to hide those weapons so well that the most sophisticated intelligence system in the history of the world still has not found any.
The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men — the shock troops of a hateful ideology — gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the “beginning of the end of America.” By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed. (Applause.)
The only thing that began on September 11 was a new twist in the anger many individuals and groups in the Middle East feel about previous United States foreign policy in the region. To take seriously the threat that one lucky terrorist bombing could spell the beginning of the end for America is like a man using a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito on his nose. That attack was not about destroying our resolve, but sucking us into a no-win war on terror. And Bush with his bring’em-on swagger took the bait. The War on Terror will need more than one Pyrrhic victory in a bombed-back-to-the Babylonians Iraq. Almost six years after 9/11 Bin Laden is still out there. So who has failed?
The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We’ve removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more. (Applause.)
We removed a dictator, the second time around. But Saddam was no ally of al Qaeda while he was alive and ruling, although now he may have become one in his botched death. More terrorist funding came from Saudi Arabia than Iraq. But Bush was right about no terrorist network getting those WMDs. It is impossible, even in the insular mentality of this administration, to get something that does not exist. And that is logic you can applaud.
Our war against terror is proceeding according to principles that I have made clear to all: Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice. (Applause.)
It seems that over the past four years the war proceeded according to Bush league principles, but not according to plan. One thing is certain: the conduct of this war and the political myopia of the neocon elite under Bush’s banner have created more terrorists than anyone could have imagined. Just imagine if the billions spent in waging this unwinnable war had actually been used to build hospitals and schools.
May such a day come.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 20:03
SOURCE: Foreign Policy in Focus (4-26-07)
The peace movement is a very important part of American life. Much like the labor movement, the racial justice movement, and the women's movement, the peace movement is comprised of an array of organizations and millions of supporters. It maintains a visible public presence through meetings, demonstrations, vigils, leaflets, letters to the editor, newspaper ads, art, music, lobbying, and occasional civil disobedience actions. In addition, it inspires the loyalty of prominent cultural figures, intellectuals, and politicians. And many of its key goals—for example, ending the war in Iraq, fostering international cooperation, and securing nuclear disarmament—have broad popular support.
Why, then, is the peace movement not succeeding? The U.S. public delivered a strong rebuff in the November 2006 elections to the Bush administration's reckless military adventure in Iraq. Yet, the administration is escalating the war, and the Democratic Congress is unwilling to pull the plug on the war's funding.
Nor does this persistent militarism simply reflect "supporting the troops"—whatever that means. U.S. military spending continues to climb, the Pentagon readies U.S. military forces for new wars (as with Iran), and the U.S. government maintains roughly 10,000 nuclear weapons, with thousands of them still on hair-trigger alert. Key agreements for arms control and disarmament—such as the ABM Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty—have been abandoned. Indeed, the Bush administration recently unveiled plans for Complex 2030, a massive refurbishment and upgrading of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. With the prominent exception of Representative Dennis Kucinich, U.S. presidential candidates do not criticize these developments. Instead, they advocate strengthening the U.S. military.
Thus, however vigorous and widespread the American peace movement has been in recent years, it has not developed the strength necessary to prevail. Why?
One explanation for the weakness of the U.S. peace movement, often expressed by cynics about human nature, is that demagogues spouting patriotic propaganda easily hoodwink people. There is something to this contention, but not quite enough to make it totally satisfactory. People can be convinced to rally 'round the flag, but not all the time and not indefinitely. Both the Vietnam War and the Iraq War provide illustrations of how popular sentiment can grow increasingly dovish as a war's consequences become clear.
Another explanation, expressed by Green Party supporters and assorted leftists, is that the Democratic Party is a sort of reactionary vampire that schemes, successfully, to drain the blood of the peace movement and other progressive forces. First it seduces them, and then it abandons them—or so the argument goes.
But this explanation begs the issue. After all, if the peace movement were strong enough, would the Democratic Party dare to abandon it? Perhaps the peace constituency is actually one constituency among many that is wooed at election time, but is too disorganized and ephemeral to have more than marginal influence on public policy.
A third explanation for the peace movement's ineffectiveness is that corporate, communications, and political elites favor policies of militarism and imperialism. Furthermore, as these elites exercise disproportionate influence and power in American life, they can withstand the buffeting of popular pressures against their policies. This explanation has much to recommend it.
But, even if it is correct, what can the peace movement do about it? Progressive organizations have been challenging elite dominance for centuries. Today, certainly, they are working on campaigns to rein in the corporations, establish public access to the communications media, and obtain public financing of elections. But, even if these campaigns succeed, they are not likely to do so for some time. Until then, the movement will have to face the unpleasant reality that simply securing majority support for its programs will not be sufficient to secure victory.
There is another source of movement weakness, however, that the peace movement can control more readily—and that is its own structure and focus. As anyone who has gone to a demonstration or has received numerous mailings for good causes recognizes, the peace movement is not united. Indeed, it suffers from the great American disease of individualism, atomization, and sectarianism. What it needs is collective action and solidarity. And what it has is thousands of groups, mostly small, each pursuing its own projects and going its own way. Not surprisingly, then, the movement is not as powerful as it likes to claim, and politicians do not always take it very seriously.
Conversely, when the movement has been relatively unified and focused on a particular project, it has been effective. During most of the 1950s, about all that existed of the peace movement in the United States was a collection of small pacifist, religious, and scientific groups with their own programs and concerns. But, in 1957, a group of leading peace activists formed the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), and suddenly a mass movement emerged. Focused on halting nuclear testing, SANE quickly became the largest peace group in the United States. And its widespread agitation against the nuclear arms race not only helped pull other peace groups in the same direction, but, in the fall of 1961, led to the formation of yet another mass-based organization, Women Strike for Peace. Working together, they played a vital role in securing the first nuclear arms control agreement in history: the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963. It was a very important victory for the peace movement, and would never have taken place without the popular uprising against nuclear testing generated by SANE.
Another dramatic movement victory occurred thanks to the formation of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. In the late 1970s, Randy Forsberg, a young defense and disarmament researcher who regularly addressed peace groups, was irked by the fact that they were organizationally divided and pursuing diverse agendas. She used the occasion of a Mobilization for Survival gathering in 1979 to propose that these groups get together behind a single issue: a bilateral halt to the testing, development, and deployment of nuclear weapons. The idea quickly caught on, and soon another mass campaign—this one far bigger than its counterpart in the late 1950s and early 1960s—engulfed the nation. During the early 1980s, the Freeze, as it came to be called, developed its own chapters, fundraising, and staff, and transformed public opinion and American politics. It worked with groups like SANE in the United States and with a growing number of powerful peace movements elsewhere in the world, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain, the Interchurch Peace Council in the Netherlands, No to Nuclear Weapons in Norway and Denmark, and Peace Movement New Zealand. Drawing on this strong network at home and abroad, the Freeze effectively reversed the Reagan administration's foreign policy agenda from nuclear buildup and war to nuclear disarmament and peace.
In contrast to the Freeze campaign, the U.S. struggle against the Vietnam War was much more divided—and less successful. Despite the fact that the antiwar movement mobilized large numbers of people, their enormous energy was dissipated in a wide variety of ventures, at least some of them quite counterproductive. For the most part, the movement against the war was leaderless; thousands of small groups participated, but lacked central direction or a common program. Although a number of coalition efforts emerged, they proved short-lived. For the most part, activists "did their own thing." Ultimately, this organizational chaos did not prove a very effective way to end the slaughter in Vietnam. Indeed, that bloody conflict raged on year after year, taking millions of lives. Eventually, it turned into America's longest war.
To some extent, the coalition ventures during the Iraq War have been more successful in providing the antiwar movement with cohesion. United for Peace and Justice, Win Without War, and International ANSWER have drawn together substantial elements of the fragmented American peace movement, especially for mass demonstrations. But ANSWER's left sectarian tone and belligerent style has led to conflicts with the other two groups. Moreover, these coalitions are flimsy structures—national offices with minimal membership participation, grassroots presence, or personal loyalty. It seems unlikely that they will outlive the Iraq War, if they last that long.
Models of Unity
Another, more promising model for greater organizational unity and clear focus is a powerful national organization. The women's movement has achieved this in the form of the National Organization for Women, the racial justice movement in the form of the NAACP, and the labor movement in the form of the AFL-CIO. Each has competitors, of course. And many of these competitors, like the numerous small peace groups in the United States, do good work. Nevertheless, NOW, the NAACP, and the AFL-CIO provide an important degree of organizational continuity, strength, and central direction to their respective movements.
The U.S. peace movement seemed to be heading in this direction when, in 1987, the Freeze and SANE merged to form SANE/Freeze, a powerful national organization later renamed Peace Action. Committed to going beyond the organizational division of the past, advocates of the merger championed forming "one big peace movement." And, for a time, that's what they had.
But, as the overall peace movement dwindled in the 1990s, so did Peace Action. During the Bush administration, it has made a substantial comeback, and can now point to some 100,000 members in about 100 chapters and state affiliates around the country. It also has an appealing program: peace through international cooperation and human rights. Together these elements make Peace Action the flagship of the American peace movement, by far the largest peace organization in the United States. Even so, it does not have the same ability to provide organizational cohesion and programmatic direction that NOW, the NAACP, and the AFL-CIO have within their constituencies.
But what if Peace Action's 50th anniversary celebrations this year, based on the founding of SANE in 1957, could provide the occasion for a very substantial expansion of its ranks? What if many of this country's small, independent peace groups—particularly those on a local level —stopped clinging to their splendid autonomy and joined it as chapters? What if the many, many thousands of independent individuals who have participated in antiwar demonstrations or have just sat home and gnashed their teeth in frustration at the militaristic direction of U.S. foreign policy joined it as members? In those circumstances, Peace Action could easily have chapters in every city and town in this nation, with a nationwide membership of a million or more!
Even with this dramatically expanded membership, Peace Action would still face some difficulties on the long march to efficacy. Ironically, one present difficulty reflects the structural problem that plagues the broader peace movement: Peace Action has minimal central authority. Although the Peace Action national office keeps the chapters and the membership apprised of key organizational priorities and efforts, local chapters and state affiliates enjoy a great degree of independence and flexibility. Indeed, most Peace Action dues money goes to the local chapters and state affiliates, leaving the national office relatively impoverished and scrambling to meet its payroll. Of course, peace-minded, dissident Americans—particularly in recent decades, when the authoritarian structure of Communist parties has been widely discredited—are suspicious of centralized authority and prefer a grassroots emphasis. Nevertheless, Peace Action's loose structure prevents it from realizing the full potential of a national organization.
On the other hand, because it maintains both a well-staffed national office (located in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC) and a vigorous presence in local communities, Peace Action has been able to combine a congressional strategy with a movement-building emphasis on the grassroots level. Operating out of the national office, Peace Action staffers work closely with peace-minded members of Congress, strategizing with them and with members of their staffs to secure cutoffs of funding for the Iraq War, to avert war with Iran, and block nuclear weapons programs. Meanwhile, local activists not only apply pressure to members of Congress in their home districts, but hold public meetings, sponsor demonstrations, stage vigils, organize petition campaigns, recruit new members, and, overall, keep people mobilized in cities and towns across the country.
Another dilemma confronted by Peace Action is how to overcome the peace movement's traditional whiteness. For years, Peace Action has consciously sought to build a multiracial organization, but with mixed results. Its staff now includes a substantial number of people of color, as does its national board, which is co-chaired by an African American. Moreover, Peace Action maintains excellent relations with outspoken African-American members of Congress, such as U.S. Representatives John Conyers and Barbara Lee. Nevertheless, like other U.S. peace organizations, Peace Action has a membership that is overwhelmingly white. With a substantial expansion of membership, of course, the organization might well become more like the overall U.S. population.
Even that expansion might not be sufficient to enable Peace Action to prevail against hawkish elements in the United States. After all, the institution of war goes back thousands of years in human history, and the current military-industrial complex in the United States has powerful supporters and institutions it can draw upon.
But the bottom line is that, if peace activists are serious about reining in the forces of militarism, they should recognize that a movement composed of small, independent peace groups and large numbers of unaffiliated individuals is simply not up to that task. To attain organizational cohesion, strength, and programmatic direction, the movement needs a powerful national peace organization, with a mass membership. Only then will it be in a position to effectively challenge the masters of war, impress the politicians, and set the United States on a new, peaceful course in world affairs.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 19:43
SOURCE: TomDispatch.com (5-1-07)
It had taken much thought and planning that wartime May Day four years ago when George W. Bush co-piloted an S-3B Viking sub reconnaissance Naval jet onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer, had"embedded" himself on that aircraft carrier days before the President landed. Along with Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman and lighting specialist, and Greg Jenkins, a former Fox News television producer, he had planned out every detail of the President's arrival -- as Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times put it then --"even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder and the ‘Mission Accomplished' banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call ‘magic hour light,' which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush."
Before the President could descend jauntily from that plane into the perfect light of a late spring afternoon, and onto what was essentially a movie set, the Abraham Lincoln, which had only recently hit Iraq with 1.6 million pounds of ordnance, had to be stopped just miles short of its home base in San Diego. No one wanted George W. Bush simply to clamber aboard.
Who could forget his Tom-Cruise-style"Top Gun swagger" across that deck -- so much commented on in the media in the following days -- to the carefully positioned podium where he gave his speech? It was to be the exclamation point on his invasion of choice and provide the first fabulous photos for his presidential campaign to come. Only two things about that moment, that speech, are remembered today -- that White House-produced"Mission Accomplished" banner behind him and his announcement, with a flourish, that"major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
If his landing and speech are today remembered as a woeful moment, an embarrassment, if those fabulous photos never made it into campaign 2004, that was, in part, because of another event -- a minor headline -- that very same May day: Halfway around the world, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, occupying an elementary school in Fallujah, fired on a crowd of angry Iraqi demonstrators. Perhaps 15 Iraqis died and more were wounded. Two days later, in a second clash, two more Iraqis would die.
On CNN's website the day after the President's landing, the main headline read:"Bush calls end to ‘major combat.'" But there was that smaller, secondary headline as well:"U.S. Central Command: Seven hurt in Fallujah grenade attack." Two grenades had been tossed into a U.S. military compound, leaving seven American soldiers slightly injured.
In the months to follow, those two headlines would jostle for dominance, a struggle now long over. Before May 1, 2004 ever rolled around,"mission accomplished" would be a scarlet phrase of shame, useful only to critics of the administration. By that one-year anniversary, Fallujah had morphed into a resistant city that had withstood an assault by the Marines. In November 2004, it would be largely destroyed by American firepower without ever being subdued. Now, the already failed American method of turning largely destroyed Fallujah into a giant"gated" prison camp for its residents is being applied to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where huge walls are slated to rise around 10 or more recalcitrant neighborhoods as part of the President's Baghdad Security Plan, or"surge."
Four years later, casualty figures are so terrible in Iraq that the government, locked inside the Green Zone in the capital, has, for the first time, refused to reveal the monthly figures to the United Nations, though figures do show a continuing epidemic of assassinations of Iraqi academics and of torture of prisoners, a steep rise in deaths among policemen, and a rise in"honor killings" of women by their own families. Four years later, those few"slightly injured" men of the 82nd Airborne Division have morphed into last week's 9 dead and 20 wounded from a double-truck-bomb suicide attack on one of that division's outposts in Diyala Province; over 100 Americans were killed in the month of April alone; 3,350 Americans in all (not including hundreds of"private security contractors").
Four years later, the American military has claimed dramatic success in reducing a wave of sectarian killings in the capital -- but only by leaving out of its count the dead from Sunni car/truck/motorcycle-bomb and other suicide-bomb attacks; with over 100 car bombings last month, and similar figures for this one, Sunni militants are outsurging the U.S. surge in Baghdad, making"a mockery of the US and Iraqi security plan," according to BBC reporter Andrew North.
Four years later, not only has the Bush administration's"reconstruction" of the country been a record of endless uncompleted or ill-completed projects and massive overpayments, not to speak of financial thievery, but even the projects once proclaimed"successes" turn out, according to inspectors from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, to be disasters"no longer operating as planned"; the biggest business boom in a country in which unemployment is sky-high may be"a run on concrete barriers" for security, which are so in demand that sometimes they"are not fully dry when military engineering units pick them up"; electricity availability and potable water supplies are worse than ever; childhood malnutrition is on the rise; no one even mentions Iraqi oil production which remains well below the worst days of Saddam Hussein and billions of dollars of which are being siphoned off onto the black market.
Four years later, U.S. prisons, one of the few reconstruction success stories in Iraq, are chock-a-block full, holding 18,000 or more Iraqis in what are essentially terrorist-producing factories; Iraq has the worst refugee problem (internal and external) on the planet with perhaps 4 million people in a population of 25 million already displaced from their homes (202 of whom were admitted to the United States in 2006); the Iraqi government inside the Green Zone does not fully control a single province of the country, while its legislators are planning to take a two-month summer"vacation"; a State Department report on terrorism just released shows a rise of 25% in terrorist attacks globally, and 45% of these attacks were in Iraq; 80% of Iraqis oppose the U.S. presence in their country; 64% of Americans now want a timetable for a 2008 withdrawal; and the President's approval rating fell to its lowest point, 28%, in the most recent Harris poll, which had the Vice President at a similarly record-setting 25%.
During this grueling, destructive downward spiral through the very gates of hell, whose end is not faintly in sight, the administration's war words and imagery have, unsurprisingly, undergone continual change as well. In the course of these last years, the"turning points,""tipping points,""milestones," and"landmarks" on the road to Iraqi democracy and freedom have turned into modest marks on surveyor's yardsticks ("benchmarks"), not one of which can be met by the woeful Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The"magic hour light" of May 2003 has disappeared, along with those glorious photos from the deck of the carrier. The sort of descriptions you see today, as in a recent David Ignatius column in the Washington Post, sound more like this:"Republicans voice the bitterness and frustration of people chained to the hull of a sinking ship." (The USS George W. Bush, undoubtedly.) Oh, and the President and what's left of his tattered administration have stopped filming on a Top Gun-style movie set and seem now to be intent on remaking The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
This White House has plunged Iraq and the world into the geopolitical equivalent of a blood-and-gore exploitation film that simply won't end. Call that"Mission Accomplished"!
The Mission Continues (2003)
Just the other day, with the fourth anniversary of the Top Gun speech looming, Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was questioned at a press briefing yet again about that infamous banner and"major combat operations" being at an end. Here is part of the exchange:
"MS. PERINO: …I think that if you only take the one line, that the end of combat operations -- major combat operations, that's true, but the President also --
"Q: Yes, but the banner is [a] consideration, as well.
"MS. PERINO: Okay, well… And we have explained it many times. And you know what? I have a feeling I'm just on the losing end of this battle because the left has decided to believe what they want to believe, which is that the President was saying that the war was over and the troops were coming home. That's not what he said, and I just told you specifically what he said, and I encourage people to read the whole speech. And that ship… USS America [sic] Lincoln had been deployed for well over its stated period… they were coming home. And it was the ship that -- that['s] mission was accomplished. And the President never said, ‘mission accomplished' in the speech…"
Actually, Perino isn't wrong on"mission accomplished" -- and not just in the literal sense either. It's well worth taking up her suggestion, in fact, and rereading that speech, though in order to do so you have to travel a vast distance, as if through some Star-Trekian wormhole into an alternate universe.
You have to reach across the chasm of Bush administration disasters -- from Kabul and Baghdad to New Orleans and Walter Read Medical Center -- to another moment, another mood in the United States. If you do, perhaps the first thing you'll note about that magic-hour speech is its globally messianic and militarized nature. The President, for instance, congratulated the returning sailors and airmen in this over-the-top way:"All of you -- all in this generation of our military -- have taken up the highest calling of history." It's the sort of line that brings to mind one of the President's favorite hymns,"A Charge to Keep":"To serve the present age,/ My calling to fulfill:/ O may it all my powers engage/ To do my master's will!" It also brings to mind Bush's post-9/11 slip of the tongue when he spoke of his beloved"war" as:"this crusade, this war on terrorism."
And what exactly was that calling, the highest in history, for which they were fighting? A President, just off the plane ride of his dreams, was perfectly willing to spell it out. It was nothing less -- he announced from the deck of a ship whose planes had just pummeled Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- than"the peace of the world." And the"peace" the President had in mind wouldn't be some namby-pamby cooperative endeavor. It would be an armed demand of the rest of the world. After all, the invasion Bush had launched just weeks before, hadn't been an ordinary military operation, a simple superpower " cakewalk" over a pathetic force hollowed out by years of war and fierce economic sanctions. Operation Iraqi Freedom, as it was called, was something"the world had not seen before." Talk about awesome!"You have shown the world," the President assured the Abraham Lincoln crew,"the skill and the might of the American Armed Forces" -- the likes of which, the power of which, it was clear, had never been witnessed on the face of this planet in all of history from all the empires that ever were.
Invoking the American-manufactured image of Saddam's falling statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square, Bush waxed enthusiastic, perhaps imagining Biblical idols dropping before the one true God:"In the images of falling statues, we have witnessed the arrival of a new era." A new era! You can feel that messianic exclamation point embedded in the spirit of the claim. And it wouldn't for a second be an era in which the lion lay down with the lamb; it would be a U.S. military-enforced era of"freedom." In the American military's ability to crush enemies without harming civilians, the kind of war being fought, he swore, was nothing less than"a great moral advance."
The highest calling in history! The peace of the world! Something the world had not seen before! A new era! A great moral advance!
Given all this, Perino was absolutely on the mark. The President didn't consider his mission accomplished -- not by a long shot. That's why he never used the two words together in a speech otherwise filled to the brim with"victory," flushed with success, high on winning. Yes,"major combat" was over in Iraq, but that represented only"one victory in a war on terror." The"mission" -- and it was indeed a mission he was talking about -- was nothing as small as a world historic success against one brutal dictator. No indeed.
True, the regime of the monster in Baghdad had been felled or, as the term of tradecraft of that moment went,"decapitated"; Saddam's program of weapons of mass destruction had been thwarted ("We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated…"); and Saddam's (implied) links to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks handsomely repaid. Naturally, as well, American military personnel wanted to return home after such a successful venture, but that was not yet possible.
The planet must first be set right and the President's speech that May Day four years ago was nothing less than a trumpet call to the troops -- and a warning to planet Earth."[A]ll can know," the President intoned,"friend and foe alike, that our nation has a mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace… We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide." The mission, despite that fatal banner, was not"accomplished." Not in the least. As the President said ringingly, quoting the Bible and thanking God,"Our mission continues."
Looking back across the vast expanse of disaster that is Bush policy in Afghanistan, Iraq,"the Greater Middle East" (aka the oil heartlands of the planet), and elsewhere (including our own country), his was, in fact, a particularly chilling speech -- a ringing reaffirmation that one war was so many too few; a resounding endorsement of what would later be dubbed by Centcom Commander John Abizaid,"The Long War." Our President was already imagining an Orwellian future in which military power beyond compare was to actively remake the planet, cruise missile by cruise missile, under the banner of"peace." Above all else, his speech was a reaffirmation of an American"mission" in which time, maybe even all eternity, was on our side.
As it happens, those Pax Americana pipedreams would never make it out of Iraq. That speech, suffused with George W. Bush's personal sense of pleasure, satisfaction, and all-American war play ("When I look at the members of the United States military, I see the best of our country, and I'm honored to be your Commander-in-Chief…"), would be destroyed by"all the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country." Put more precisely, it would be done in by a ragtag minority Sunni insurgency and a ragtag Shiite government that shared hardly a shred of his particular vision. Perhaps the moral here, if there is one, might be: Beware the man who praises himself and his nation too highly.
"No man is an island, entire of itself," wrote John Donne."...[A]ny man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Unfortunately, our President was, four years ago, already a man on an island, or the deck of an aircraft carrier doubling as a movie set, separated from the mainland of this world. He already had his military outfits to dress up in and his cowboy language ("bring ‘em on") straight from the films of his childhood to wield. Back in those days, he was already favoring appearing in specially tailored military jackets in front of military crowds that would hoo-ah him enthusiastically -- and his handlers and enablers were already making ever so sure that no challenging human ever made it onto that island of his.
When he moved globally, he did so only on his bubble-island, surrounded by specially flown-in protection and entourage. To offer but a partial list from one such trip: armored escort vehicles, the presidential car (known to insiders as"the beast"), 200 Secret Service agents, 15 sniffer dogs, a Blackhawk helicopter, 5 cooks, and 50 White House aides. From London to Manila, his arrival automatically emptied whole central cities of life.
Not surprisingly, then, when the bell first began to toll for him, when those first signs of trouble began to appear in Iraq, he and his aides, officials, and advisors simply dismissed reality. As former CIA Director George Tenet's new memoir evidently makes clear, the island looked so much more appealing. According to New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani, for instance:"Mr. Tenet writes that the C.I.A.'s senior officer in Iraq was dismissed as a ‘defeatist' for warning in 2003 of the dangers of a growing Iraqi insurgency, though it was already clear then that United States political and economic strategies were failing. Although the trends were clear, he adds, those in charge of policy ‘operated within a closed loop.' In that atmosphere, he says, bad news was ignored: the agency's subsequent reporting, which would prove ‘spot-on,' was dismissed."
As a senior advisor to the President told journalist Ron Suskind back in 2002:
"[G]uys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality... That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. ‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality... We're history's actors... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
Four years after the President's smooth landing, it's hard even to express just how unaccomplished their non-reality-based"mission" remains. New Centcom Commander Adm. William J. Fallon is complaining about the use of"the Long War" ("unhelpful") to describe our world and even the President seems less focused on planting the stars and stripes on the heights of eternity. In fact, when it comes to Iraq, administration officials are now reportedly trying to"scale back talk of Iraq progress" -- talk that could not be scaled back much further without ceasing to exist.
No longer is there a landscape of freedom with its milestones and turning points; no longer is the timescale in generations. Now, administration officials are begging, wheedling, or bullying for months, thinking in weeks, worrying in days. They no longer demand several lifetimes' worth of time, but plead for just a little extra bit of it -- a modest suspension of disbelief until September -- to give the President's"new" plan a" chance."
Today, only one image seems to be on official lips in Washington and Baghdad and it's an ominous one: the ticking clock. It combines a complaint, a whine, a weapon against the war's critics, an explanation, a plea, and a mantra of sorts (all we are saying, is give time a chance). It is also a covert acknowledgement of the pressure reality turns out to be all-too-capable of exerting on the non-reality-based community. Time, it says, is no longer on our side; the sand in the proverbial hourglass may be running out. In its present incarnation, the image has been most vigorously championed by Gen. David Petraeus, the man chosen to lead the President's surge in Baghdad. Certainly, in recent weeks, both in Baghdad and Washington, he's been wielding a two-clocks-ticking image for all it's been worth, saying things like:
"…[T]he Washington clock is moving more rapidly than the Baghdad clock, so we're obviously trying to speed up the Baghdad clock a bit and to produce some progress on the ground that can perhaps give hope to those in the coalition countries, in Washington, and perhaps put a little more time on the Washington clock."
Dana Perino seconded him last week:
"Granted… this is very tough going; it is slow going. But we have to have slow, focused, persistent work, and encouraging patience on behalf of the American people. As you said, there's a -- there's this talk about an American clock versus an Iraqi clock, and sometimes the two don't tick at the same time."
As if to speed up the pace of time, she even threw in this twist:
"Q: ...What is a reasonable period of time for the American people to expect the Iraqi government to work out these critical measures of political accomplishment?
"MS. PERINO: I'm not going to start the stop watch on the Iraqi government.."
And the two of them have had plenty of company. Navy Rear Adm. Mark Fox, communications director for the Multinational Force Iraq, upped the number of ticking clocks to three:"It's clear that the Washington clock and the London clock [are] ticking faster than the Baghdad clock."
White House Press Spokesman Tony Snow, on the other hand, reduced the clocks to one, but it was clearly the clock of clocks he was talking about:"The other thing the President wants to make clear is, right now what Democrats are doing is they're wasting time at a time when the clock is ticking."
Vice President Cheney, as he is wont to do, spelled the image out in extreme terms, making a single clock stand in as a symbol of surrender, not to say the ultimate victory of terrorism:"When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that's been called ‘slow bleed,' they're not supporting the troops, they're undermining them. And when members of Congress speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines or other arbitrary measures, they're telling the enemy simply to run out the clock and wait us out."
But no one has evidently heard the clock ticking louder than the President himself. Everywhere he went, he seemed to mention it:
March 28th:"Yet Congress continues to pursue these bills, and as they do, the clock is ticking for our troops in the field."
April 4th:"In the meantime, the clock is ticking for our military."
April 7th:"For our troops, the clock is ticking. If the Democrats continue to insist on making a political statement, they should send me their bill as soon as possible."
April 10th:"Now, the Democrats who pass these bills know that I'll veto them, and they know that this veto will be sustained. Yet they continue to pursue the legislation. And as they do, the clock is ticking for our troops in the field."
April 16:"As Congress delays, the clock is ticking for our troops."
Who knows, of course, what a man who cannot admit to, or perhaps even conceive of, doubt or error, or imagine "significant discussion," no less "serious debate," actually makes of all this. Is anyone there who could say to him: The clock ticks for thee? I doubt it. No man is an island; but, for our boy President, the alarm going off may always be for Groundhog Day.
Whether he knows whom the clock ticks for (other than the Democrats or the troops), we, at least, know that the clock is ticking down on his second term. Unfortunately, by my count, 31,536,000 ticks will only get us to this time next year. That's an awful lot of seconds to pass, given what we know we can expect from our President, Vice President, and their supporters -- more of the same. They've always had a knack, but only for destruction.
In Baghdad, can there be a question that any ticking clocks are attached to bombs? In Washington, they seem to be attached to mouths that never stop talking.
Thought of another way, from the moment those two towers came down on September 11, 2001, our President and Vice President have themselves been ticking clocks. Before their terms are done, before the clock runs out on them, they may turn out to be the true suicide bombers of this era. Already, they have managed to leave Iraq -- a modest-sized country with an immodest pool of oil underneath it -- in a state which we have no adequate word to describe, though when coined it will undoubtedly have a"-cide" at its end.
The clock continues to tick. By January 20, 2009, who knows what destruction they will have wrought; what chaos they will have brought to our world.
Copyright 2007 Tom Engelhardt
Posted on: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 17:15