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Linda LeTendre's Waging Peace
by Linda LeTendre

Waging Peace

A Daily Gazette community blog
Linda LeTendre fights for a peaceful world.

Top issues with the local proletariats

I read with interest Carl Strock's column on the top issues presented by Saratogians at the Masie Center during one of the “village green meetings” being held nationwide for ordinary folks to let President-elect Obama know what they think his top priorities should be. They listed health care and the economy as their top concerns.

Strock was struck by the fact that no one mentioned terrorism – and it's only been seven years since 9/11. His suspicion is that this was because these were a bunch of liberal Democrats and they historically have “been inclined to give the Muslim world the benefit of the doubt, even fanatical suicide bombing Muslims.”

Because I live in Saratoga County and wear Birkenstock sandals, I get tarred with both the “Democrat” and “vegetarian” brushes, but I'm neither of those things.

Before I set a couple of things straight, let me say once again that I am a fan of Mr. Strock, who is one of the few real journalists left.

I am concerned about terrorism and the future attacks that will certainly befall us. I probably should have attended one of the meetings.

I see Muslims and Muslim suicide bombers as two distinct and separate groups. I don't lump the two of them together, just like I, as a Christian, do not like to be lumped in with the Christian Right or the Sarah Palins, Oral Roberts or Jerry Falwell (even though he is dead) types.

I do think our policies and treatment of Iraqis and Palestinians have invited the ire and hatred of the Arab world. That is not to say that we deserved 9/11 or that anyone deserves to be attacked, for that matter. That behavior is reprehensible no matter who is doing the attacking or what their motivation is.

There is no such thing as “redemptive violence.” This is just a myth given power and promulgated by governments and groups all over the planet to achieve their own ends. The welfare of ordinary citizens has little to do with it.

I do believe the commandments of Hebrew Bible prophets, Jesus and Buddha to treat people with respect, dignity, compassion and kindness will go a longer way towards keeping us safe from terrorism than the present policies or actions - the so-called "Bush doctrine" - has (or what the Obama doctrine is shaping up to be).

That is not quite the same thing as just being nice to people and singing Kumbaya together around a campfire (and for the record I hate that song), as Carl says. It involves trying to live in a community, and that's real hard work.

Biblical archeology supports my belief. When everyone was doing OK, every one was doing OK. It's like the saying, “We all do better when we all do better.”

The biblical archaeological evidence shows that when folks had food, shelter and their basic needs were met there were significantly fewer wars and conflicts in general.

While adherence to the above will make it dramatically more difficult to recruit terrorists, I know that even if we do adhere to the above we will not totally get rid of terrorism – we'll have much, much less, though. Terrorism is one of the principalities; it will always be around. It is how we deal with it that will make the difference in how many people are killed and/or maimed.

Maybe if Carl's colleagues in the press did their jobs and actually reported what really happens day to day, liberals and conservatives could make better decisions on who to elect and how to told them accountable. For example, here is what was not reported in the “Great Shoe Toss” that Carl refers to in said column: The reporter said when he threw the second shoe, "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." Apparently the second comment didn't make the cut for either of my local papers. The videos of the incident I saw on our national news left that out, as well.

Remember Rumsfeld saying, “We don't do body counts”? A couple of years ago the British Medical Journal “Lancet” estimated about 600,000 Iraqi citizens (translation: the counterparts of you and me) had died due to the war and subsequent U.S. occupation. Maybe if the press brought attention to the body count in Iraq we would place more value on the human lives there and we'd be in the streets demanding - in voices so loud that no politician could ignore them - an end to the Iraq war and occupation.

Ah, but that's exactly why the body count is not reported.

Here's a concern for the Obama transition team that Carl missed: Let's stop the censorship of the press, whether it's self-imposed censorship or from the government – one is as destructive as the other.

And while I'm on the topic of what was and was not mentioned at the Masie meeting, I hope someone mentioned our country's march towards fascism. I'd like the Constitution that the “Foundin' Daddies” (as Molly Ivins affectionately called them) put together returned to me, thank you very much.

As for Carl asserting that Barack Obama would respond to ordinary citizens listing the economy as a priority with “Hey, the economy! Why didn't I think of that?” Even George Bush is smarter than that. It was not one of Carl's finer moments.

Here's my thought on ordinary citizens participation in this transition process:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead (Thanks Ms. Mead!)

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December 18, 2008
10:31 a.m.

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For the past 7 years, I have been regularly reading the English-language, on-line editions of 2 Turkish newspapers (Hürriyet & Zaman) and the Zimbabwe Herald (used to be 2 here also but Pres Mugabe shut down the independent one). I chose the countries deliberately hoping to get mid-Eastern & African points of view on world affairs. It has amazed me how frequently I learn of events days or even weeks before I read them in any AP or other US wire service releases. For instance, 2 days after 9/11, a Turkish paper told about the French Surete having warned the FBI that Zacarias Moussaoui (who had been detained in Minnesota) was a major threat and should be deeply investigated as a highest priority. Of course, that wasn't done and it was many weeks later before an American newspaper got an honest FBI agent to admit this. Another example is the recent rioting in Greece. The Turkish papers say that there were actually 2 groups involved - one, the students protesting a police shooting (which we heard of here) and the other, elements of the thousand or so anarchists who cause disruptions & riots in Greece on a regular basis & have for many years. Has any news source here explained that what is supposed to be a sound American ally has a thousand anarchists routinely operating in that country? Or that this is probably true in many other so-called "friendly countries"? Or that the meaning must be that our American foreign policy is somehow very badly askew or, at the very least, badly misunderstood? Yet another example is the investigation in several European countries over recent years into "deep state" activities in their countries that sound much too much like our counter-intelligence agencies as operating in "Cheney-mode" here.
Hopefully, (even if I'm not 100% certain) our new President will turn the "American Way" back into something to be proud of & not something to be demeaned & hated.

December 19, 2008
10:34 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Thank you for your obviously well researched and thought out comments. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to me.

I can't tell you how much validation from someone like you means to me. It is easy to feel crazy in these times when the culture and media says one thing but your eyes, ears and heart tell you something else entirely.

If Barack Obama does nothing else but restore our commitment to justice and the rule of law as judged by the rest of the planet, he will have done a great deal indeed.

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