Friday, March 23, 2007

"My Views" by Col. Charles F. Hurlbut

Col. Charles F. Hurlbut (photo), a retired U.S. Army Security Agency Provost Marshal, expresses his views concerning an ABC News Report of May 1, 2001, that has recently resurfaced. The Report said that documents, hidden for more than 40 years, exist which provide evidence that, in the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. Military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.” The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show. Conspiracy theorists are now relentlessly constructing a picture of a historical pattern of the sacrifice of our own people, orchestrated by the United States, to rally the American people to fight wars, citing the Maine, Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, and 9-11. Because many of those making film documentaries about these events happen to be Liberals, some Conservative groups, believing that this is an attempt to discredit the current administration have labeled this as a Liberal Conspiracy. Most of us make the mistake of thinking that all our military leaders are paragons of virtue and equivocate their rank with the man, fallaciously assuming that they're all better men than most. It's not always easy to step outside the parameters of preconceived notions; particularly when inculcated with respect for authority. Col. Hurlbut’s very insightful and informative commentary, which follows, should be read and digested because it is both untainted by emotionalism, and free of prejudicial opinions.

PRINCE GEORGE, VA, Col. Charles F. Hurlbut: "I don't see it as a Liberal conspiracy at all. If the documents in fact exist, they speak for themselves and all the efforts to refute them, or besmirch those who uncovered them, are meaningless. I spent a career in the Army, enjoyed it immensely and would do it again, but I, and most of those I knew, thought our mission was to deter war and, if unable to do so, defeat any adversary who would wage war against us: not provoke one.

Unfortunately, as our Vietnam experience demonstrated (false bombing reports, embezzlement by senior officers and NCOs, war crime cover-ups, etc., etc.) there are people in our military, probably always have been, of questionable moral character and judgment. But then why should the military be that much different than any other major institution in our society? However; I will say with complete confidence, and conviction, that the percentage of “bad apples” (people of low moral character) in our military is much lower than that of any other institution, including the judiciary. I believe it's both dangerous and naive to think that just because a man wears the uniform and has ascended to lofty rank that he's somehow a model of moral righteousness. Because of the enormous power that high ranking military people have, it's imperative that they be watched closely, and that’s one of the critical roles of Congress.

I don't believe the sinking of the Lusitania, the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the attack on 9-11, and the roles those incidents played in the conflicts with which they are associated, have ever been in serious dispute. The same; however, cannot be said for the sinking of the Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Historical analysis seems to suggest that both were trumped up. It's bad enough when young lives are lost and bodies irrevocably shattered in just wars, but it’s unforgivable for them to be lost in conflicts that never should have occurred.

It's unfortunate that contemporary political discourse is so short on reason, civility and subtlety and dominated by crudeness and name calling. We desperately need, if we are to remain a healthy democracy, a well reasoned Conservative vs. Liberal debate on the important issues of the day; but that's not what we’re getting. Those on the right have sullied the name of conservatism by being ideologues and not true Conservatives. After all, I always thought that a basic tenet of conservatism was a limited role for
government and that government should stay out of our personal lives, but the current political right wants to use government to impose its agenda on everyone else. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what Liberals stand for these days; for they haven't publicly articulated their political philosophies for so long I don't know what they believe in. We need to begin solving our problems and challenges by doing what makes sense, and what the American people support, and not look at every issue through the prism of partisan politics."

Friday, March 16, 2007

JUST MY THOUGHTS by John Gonzalez

John Gonzalez (photo),gave this response to Charles Sullivan's controversial article: "What if they gave a War?" Sullivan is calling for Global Solidarity with working class people everywhere against what he perceives as a common enemy - Corporate Plutocracy.

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PACIFICA, CA: War is, in fact, a class confrontation. From time immemorial, war has torn at the fabric of society and kicked its heels at the oppressed. Sadly, it will continue to do so. It will continue to do so as long as there is a living being who believes that his faith, his ideology, his very existence is superior to another.

What if they gave a war and no one went? Who will be the first to say, “Not me!”? Will it be the "oppressor" or will it be the "oppressed?" Who will make that determination of right or wrong? Will the oppressor, who devalues life's existence while relegating others to the depths of despair, be the one to forego the very action that fills its belly? Or will it be the oppressed, whose souls are filled with the desire and the fire to burn through their despair and torment to regain their right to human dignity?

History has shown us many conflicts among men of good will and men whose ideologies are the crust covering a cauldron of despair. In modern times, we have seen the rise of Hitler who fed his fanaticism on the embers of societal discord; embers that gave way to the fires of hell; fires that consumed life’s treasured dignity and left as its trail the ash of hope, love and beauty.

Peace unfortunately is not the natural order of things. Peace is the order that is brought about by courageous souls who dare to say, “Enough!” “Enough of the oppression!” “Enough of the denial of the intellect that God has given mankind!”

As long as we have disharmony among men; as long as we harbor the thought that "man has an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," then we must be willing to answer the call of Freedom. Freedom's call must beckon, and be answered to, by the souls of all would yearn for it. Freedom must not and should not be won solely on the backs of the underprivileged. The quest for freedom must be borne equally by all who would savor its sweetness.

While the quest for freedom must be an inherent responsibility of all, we must beware of those who would distort the truth to the benefit of their exclusivity. General Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex. And so we must not bind the fabric of our society solely with the threads of an institution beholden to corporate profits and greed. Instead our societal fabric should be held together by the threads of education, prosperity, hope, and dignity.

The military institution is an honorable one. It is in this institution that we place our faith and trust to safeguard our way of being. We must hold to the highest accountability those whom we entrust the moral and equitable use of this institution. As we are willing to wield the sword of might to the oppressor, we must also be willing to wield the shield of protection to the oppressed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"THE DAY AMERICA'S FATHER DIED" by Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"

Thursday, April 12, 1945, sometime around 6 P.M., EST, it was announced that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died at 3:45 P.M., EST, in Warm Springs, GA.

Though I was only 2 weeks into my 8th birthday, I remember that evening as clearly as though it were happening now. If the greatness of a president is measured in terms of how much he is loved by the people, I can't imagine anyone more loved than FDR.

Because school was called off for Friday, April 13th, I reported to our local newspaper, The Long Branch Daily Record, to "hawk" a special morning edition outside Newberry's 5 & Dime with the men who were either too old or physically or mentally unqualified to serve in the military. I paid my penny for my first paper which I would then sell for 2 cents. I checked the headlines to see what my "hawk" would be. The headlines read: "Our Father Has Died."

I was unable, because of my youth, to comprehend the unbelievable amount of anguish that held everyone in its grip. All about me, people were crying unashamedly, clinging to one another. Automobiles by the dozens were pulled over to the curbside, their drivers unable to negotiate the road through their tears. I sold more newspapers that Friday than all I had ever sold since I was 7 years old and first eligible to sell.

I don't know when the selling frenzy ended, or even if it had subsided, but it was nearly dark and time to go home. It was a strangely different world I experienced as I made the long trek home to 226 Edwards Avenue. My pockets were bulging with pennies; their bulk mimicking the weight of the grief that seemed to press down from some unseen place.

Flags everywhere were at half-mast. But what I remember most is the sound of deep sobs that surrounded me every step of the way, through a Valley of Tears, from Broadway to Seventh, to Joline, to home at Edwards Avenue where my heart broken mother cried alone. I remember wishing that my father could be there to comfort her, but he was fulfilling his role in the Greatest Generation, serving with General Patton's 3rd Army in Europe.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

"HELLO DOLLY" by Steve Savage "King of the Beasts"


I awoke in a large stark room - no rugs, no furniture. Nothing! Across from where I was, was a large opening, an entrance into the room. I was in a reclining position on the floor, in the far corner. Everywhere in the room, there were ropes or lines, criss-crossing like a "3-D" laser security system in a Mission Impossible movie, except that they were tangible.

As I looked across the room, I saw what appeared to be a little girl, all alone, having difficulty climbing up from below, into the room, and onto the floor, from the large entrance. I don't know why but, as the father of six boys-only, I thought that she was my little girl. I started across the room climbing over and under the criss-crossed lines to get to her. I managed to reach her and picked her up in my arms.

I wanted to ask her where her mother, my wife, was. When I did, I saw that she wasn't a beautiful little girl at all, but some really ugly, strange, alien, doll-like looking thing, dressed in little girl's clothing. The hair on her head looked like a wig.

Somehow, she slipped out of my grasp and ran out the large opening, easily negotiating the crossed lines. I tried to follow but I couldn't move through the lines fast enough.

I am always in the same quandry in these experiences, totally disoriented, somehow lost in a humongous, super-colossal Hotel Portmeirion-like setting that has stairs leading to nowhere, a labyrinth, no way out, no matter how hard I try.

On this occasion, for the very first time, I walked down a hallway and came to someone sitting behind a kind of lectern, in front of a door, with a sign that said "EXIT" above it. I asked the girl[?] if this was the way out. She nodded affirmatively.

I went out the door, into the night. I couldn't believe the joy of freedom I was experiencing, breathing the freshness of the cool night air, immersed in a recognizable reality. Looking to my right I saw, in the distance below, a row of houses alongside a railroad track upon which I saw a Steam Engine pulling a line of railroad cars.

I thought about the trains in my recurrent dreams that never make connections, and also about the roads that never get me to "where I don't know where I want to go;" streets leading to "no way back" in paradoxically familiar, "unfamiliar cities." Somehow, I was on the rooftops of the houses, easily leaping, jumping, doing half-gainers, then falling, but never hitting the unseen ground below.