Tag Archives: Peace

Do As I Say

Today the Pentagon announced that it was dropping war crimes charges against five detainees at Guantanamo Bay after the prosecutor who was to try them resigned, and accused the military of withholding evidence that could clear the men. Of course, because our government is making up the rules for the war on terror as it goes along, with little regard for the human rights we supposedly esteem, new trial teams have been appointed for the men while, according to published reports, the military reassert their case. It is likely that the men will be charged later and forced to face the kangaroo court that the current administration refers to as a military tribunal.

Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was declared an enemy combatant after being arrested on U. S. soil. He was held without any charges being brought against him for over three years. After being convicted by a Florida jury he was given a seventeen year prison sentence. When he was eventually charged in a civilian court, none of the accusations leveled against him were related to the alleged, domestic dirty bomb plot he had initially been detained for.

When I visited Gitmo many years ago before the first Gulf War I looked beyond the wire fence that surrounds the U.S. Naval Air Station, and I saw a barren panorama spread out before me. Today there is prison where I stood and looked out through the wire, and the men held captive there are predetermined as enemies of the state.  Like the naked land that stretches out beyond that fence, the future for those being held there is as bleak as the landscape.

In the directive issued March 28th, 2003, that details the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, it specifies that captors should “not relate terrorism to Islam”, and that “it is inappropriate to equate any religion to such heinous activity”. After the Abu Ghraib abuses in Iraq that came after it, the directive has the appearance of being mere lip service despite the fact that Cuba is a long way from the Middle East.

At Republican rallies, back here in the United States; the Democratic rival is announced derisively as Barack Hussein Obama, his middle name making the implicit connection to TERROR. In television ads that are running infrequently due to the McCain campaign’s depleted war chest, republicans continue to infer a link between Senator Obama and domestic insecurity, sticking with dogged determinism to the strategy that got them into such a mess. I guess you dance with the one that brought you.

Believe it or not, all human’s are created equal and are entitled to a speedy and fair trial, and we are all still welcome to exist regardless of what we believe is God. These things aren’t solely an American birthright though, everyone who lives should share these entitlements, and more, simply because we are human. America cannot hold the World up to a standard that values human rights if we think that our citizens have more of a right than people in other countries. Either all men are created equal or not, and if we cannot match our actions with our words then maybe we should be saying something different.

Dark days are ahead if we do not get a handle on the systemic hypocrisy that plagues us after the last eight years of Bush. We could wind up with even more troubles than we already have. No one wants to live in a world where government employees eavesdrop on private phone conversations, and then joke about the strangers personal lives while on a coffee break.

Joe Biden said something I agree with, that growing up in his neighborhood; if you had a problem with someone you said it to their face. I would go the Vice Presidential nominee one further and say, don’t feed me a line of crap and glad hand me to my face, if you know that you are going to turn around and do the exact opposite. Because of America’s diminished standing and influence around the world after the last few years, I hope that everyone feels exactly like me on November 4th when they go out and vote.

Peace.

God Fuck America.

By the time I had lugged this machine up the hill from the ferry terminal, I was dripping sweat from my brow and my shirt was thoroughly drenched. I could not get connected to the web in my apartment by piggybacking because the signal was too weak, and Richard Merrill was my login name and  P.J. the terrier was looking up from my desktop, but I didn’t care. It is not every day that I am handed a laptop with no strings attached, but it is surely a pity that this coveted prize became mine as the result of  another man’s slow and  painful death. With this unassuming machine I might bring glory to an honorable man’s memory. On the flip side, the possibility exists that I could potentially bring ruin upon myself, an individual whose only accomplishment is the completeness of his failures.  Only time will tell.

When we met at the gazebo on the waterfront in faux Scandinavian Poulsbo, it was more for the benefit of the living who had gathered, than for the benefit a dead patriot who could never serve his country again. The allegiance to his country that he had sworn in earlier days had been betrayed and now his remains were merely ashes, to be spread about at the discretion of the living. Though it is said that a memorial serves to celebrate a life gone by, the mood at such affairs is seldom celebratory and people generally do not cry when they are at a party.

The fact of the matter is that our country had sold him out, and now we had gathered in his memory surrounded by balloons and flowers. Asbestos exposure is what gave the man the cancer that took his life and now we were left behind to write our memories of and tributes to the dead man, on little scraps of paper that we would release skyward tied to the balloons that surrounded us. On one of the slips I wrote that; In Heaven It’s Tacos 24/7! Actually, I just thought about writing that, but it would have been much cooler if I really had.

Everyone sitting on those rented, steel, folding chairs could see the smiling pictures of Rich that had been taken in earlier days when he was still alive. On the table before us was a flag that had been folded, neatly and officially, into a triangle and placed inside a glass paned, wooden display case. As I sat there that day I looked around at the wife and children and grandchildren and friends and family members that had survived the man, and I thought that this was not a fair trade. Here was a bunch of people who had given up something irreplaceably valuable and unique, and in return all that they got was a stupid flag, and a worthless atta boy from the country that had exposed their loved one to the mortal danger that would eventually claim his life.

As far as I am concerned, this American empire cannot collapse soon enough. Where others pray for God to bless America, my prayer is that God fucks America hard and without any lubrication. It was almost twenty years ago I had my first taste of the systemic callousness this nation has toward those who have voluntarily chosen to serve in the military. These days a young person who is sent into harms way can easily return a mere shell of their former self as the result of traumatic brain injury or otherwise, and there is no assurance that they will receive the treatment that they require. There is no foolishness is loving your country of origin, but Americans would do well to avoid serving in their military because those idiots will kill you with their carelessness. Enough said. Peace.