The afternoon news had a shot of a rally taking place at the World Trade Center (I still refuse to call it “Ground Zero”) being held to support our troops. Soon after the news I could hear the roar from home so I decided to walk south along the Hudson to take a look. It was a serious pro war rally. It’s been cold and today was in the low 40’s with a brisk wind but the sun was out. A few joggers were out but the further south I got the cops out numbered the passerby’s. Another good OT day for the men and women in blue. As I got to Battery Park I entered a large group gathered around LED screens and loud speakers showing the dais and the speakers. There were more hardhats, Carhart jackets, steel toed boots and satin union jackets in one place than I had ever seen. The union jackets were from the teamsters, carpenters and of course the steel workers. If they didn’t have an American flag sticker on their hardhats they had “these colors don’t bleed” T-shirts on or they were carrying small flags. Quite a few had full sized flags. There were plenty of the black POW flags in view as well. Then I saw where all the colors were coming from. Venders of the tees, flags and bumper stickers were doing a brisk business. I felt like the mouse at a cat convention.
I got to the first set of speakers and LED screens in time to hear Gov. Pataki in his shrill falsetto proclaim that the war had started here at “Ground Zero” on 9/11 and had ended in Baghdad. A claim that will come back to haunt us. By combining the 9/11 attack with the Iraqi war we carve out a path for Osama (remember him?) to take the defeat of Iraq and make it the basis for more terrorism. He then went on to say the statue of Saddam that had been torn down (see yesterdays blog) should be melted down and turned into one the beams that will become the new World Trade Center, a building to surpass all others in design and height. Yes it’s supposed to be the worlds tallest building. Just like the American troops taking over the tearing down of the statue yesterday Pataki doesn’t get it. It wasn’t torn down to be part of the rebuilding in New York! It was torn by and for the Iraqi people. As he was saying the words I was ahead of him filling the space with “melted into plowshares” or some such rot but I never thought he would advocate melting it down to put into the new World Trade Center. The members of the AFL/CIO thought it was a great sentiment. Actually I don’t think they give a shit. Some one knocked down our building and we are kicking some one’s ass that’s all they need and want to know. And as far as melting down that statue that will be fine as long as the building of the worlds tallest building starts soon. Over time is all that matters. They got a fortune digging out the rubble and they will make another building its replacement. The bigger the better.
The next speaker was Bob Dole and he carried on the theme of the war starting on 9/11 and he had the guts to invoke the names and families of the recently killed soldiers in Iraq. A timeless and shameless practice of politicians past and present. I was embarrassed for him.
Yes it was a rally to support our troops. It was also a rally to slam home the pain of 9/11 and connect it to a despot that had NO hand in that terrible day.
We will never forget 9/11 and those that conceived it should be brought to justice.
The war in Iraq did nothing to bring justice home. It is an insult to everyone who suffered on that day to say that the war in Iraq is the payback.

They say "Paybacks are M.....F....ers" but Iraq ain't it.


"What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." - T.S. Elliot.

It’s a quote that has been floating around the web for most of the day. There was that extraordinary footage of the crowd standing around the statue of Saddam. First a couple of guys tried to rip off the plaque at the base with their bare hands taking turns whipping the plaque back and forth so it would break off, then some one brought a sledge hammer and the men took turns bashing away at the base of the statue. Some of the blows broke big chunks off and some just bounced off harmlessly. I thought if they stayed with it they would work through the concrete and bring the entire thing crashing down. Soon a ladder showed up and three young men climbed the plinth and were tying the biggest rope I’ve seen around the figure and were trying to tie a knot in it. These were heroic acts of plain men doing their best to show they could topple a symbol with what they had on hand and have their day.
Then… Well then the American troops decided to get into the act. They brought up a tank with a crane arm and looped a heavy chain over Saddam’s head and proceeded to yank the statue off its plinth. It was no problem for a tank with a crane. It was America yet again not understanding the moment. If only the Iraqi’s had been left to their own devices I am sure they would have torn the statue from its perch and made the moment their own.
To be fair the soldiers had been fighting and dying up till then and were entitled to the relief of smashing a few things and to howl out loud. At least some one figured out draping the statue in an American flag was a bad idea and the old Iraqi flag took its place.
Each of these moments will be watched by the entire world. Peter Jennings actually got it and told his entire staff (on air) that he wanted no talking during the tearing down of the statue. It was the only footage on ALL the news feeds and he knew the world was watching. From now on the world will be watching the events even closer than the war itself.

“The end is where we start.”

If you are new to this blog you might read from the bottom to the top as the posts are placed in that order.


Cradle of civilization.
Between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates (in Arabic, the Dijla and Furat, respectively), the first writing gave birth to history as we know it. The rule of law was written down and the three great monotheistic religions trace their origins there.
In 1992 Michael Wood hosted a series called “Legacy” on PBS. In the film he is found at dusk perched on a mound with the sun setting behind him, as the camera booms down a plain filled with mounds as far as one could see becomes visible. All of them tells, the first cities. The film carries that archaeological past into the present of Islam, showing the cultural continuity from past to present. Included are scenes from the Gulf War and how Saddam Hussein used the Iraqi past as foundation for his dominance. It leaves the question of what’s next unanswered.

Latter in 1995 after the Americans were long gone he went back. He made “Saddam's Killing Fields” an award winning account of the destruction of the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq and their cultural history. It pieces together evidence of the systematic destruction by the Iraqi government of the Shia Marsh Arabs - whose way of life goes back 5,000 years. “Saddam's Killing Fields” claims that the Shia and the Kurds in northern Iraq were encouraged by the US to rise up against Saddam's regime at the end of the Gulf War and then left with no support. In retaliation, more than 300,000 Shia are believed to have been killed, risking the ruin of an entire culture.

At the end of this war Iraq is going to be a pretty broken country. Between the policies of Saddam and the punishing way the west dealt with the end of the 1991 war with sanctions depriving the people of anything but poverty, there will be a certain amount of anarchy that no one will be able to quell. The surrounding country’s have their knives close at hand if America gets too possesive. America now has it’s hands around a significant part of the Arab world. First “saving” Kuwait from the evil doer and Afghanistan from the evil doers. Pakistan is a wildcard with little control over the fundamentalists and the army. Their hatred for India could be a terrible spark and nukes ARE involved.

Maybe it’s time to look deep into Iraq’s ancient past. King Abdullah !! of Jordan represents the last of the Hashemite Royal Family. A line that leads back to Abraham and King Abdullah II's branch of the Hashemite Family ruled the holy city of Mecca from 1201 CE until 1925 CE. He is a young man but he has his father’s voice.


I know it looks like I posted everything today but I had to rebuild the blog, so I reposted everything after I got this one up and running. I think it’s at the same address so you should be able to find your way. I don’t really know how to write HTML and I destroyed the last one. Besides I like the look of this format better.
Where Everybody Knows Your Name.
I saw an article in the Times, "The Rural Opposition: Protesting Where Everybody Knows Your Name". It's about some people protesting the war in a small town in Minnesota. Here in NYC I marched with 200,000 people and except for running into a couple friends I felt totally anonymous. Standing in a small town dressed in black with candles is an act of bravery that none of the marchers in New York will never know. It's hard to stand up for what you believe where everyone knows you. You could lose friends or be isolated, and in a small town that would be very hard. The article also said they took the signs off their lawns when the bombing started because they had friends who had children in the Army. The woman said "I don't want Lydia to have to drive by my house and see that sign," she said of Mrs. O'Connor. "I don't want to make her daily life any more difficult than it already is." It is after all a small town.
“War! Good God! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!”
Soul singer Edwin Starr, who topped the charts in 1970 with his fiery, iconic, anti-war song "War," died of a heart attack on Friday at his home in Nottingham, England; he was sixty-one. There had been quite a few anti war songs in those years but “War” was powerful, danceable and had a great bass line. Dissent was badge to be worn proudly.
Susan Sontag in an interview with Bill Moyer’s said “United We Stand” is a terrible slogan. Democracy only works with differing opinions coming to a compromise. We are now told that to dissent is to be unpatriotic.
When John Kerry called for a “regime change” here he was and still being called unpatriotic. Well who has a better right than John Kerry. Kerry fought in VietNam and when he got home he woke up. He became co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Every Vietnam vet has the right to speak up when a bunch of ideologues decide to start a war.
Edwin Starr had it right.
“War! Good God! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing!”
The White House has conducted an Easter Egg Roll since 1877. It was cancelled in 1917 during WWI and in 1942 during WWII. This year the Bush’s will only invite families of the troops involved in the fighting in Iraq. Usually there are about 40,000 children and adults involved but this year it will be cut down to 12,000.
Can you hear the speeches? “Kids, this is the man who sent your Daddies off to war. Now have fun finding those eggs!”
Easter is one of the times of the year that points up just how bizarre the Christian religion can be. Just how did the death and resurrection of Christ get to be represented by fuzzy rabbits and colored eggs? I suppose you can blame it on St. Paul. Opening up the new religion to the Hellenistic world brought all the pagan rituals with it. Spring was always a time of celebration of fertility and rebirth. No better time than the spring to celebrate the rebirth of Christ as long as those rabbits and eggs got to be part of the festivities.
The question before us now is will the Iraqi people see the end (death?) of the Hussein “regime” as a time for rebirth?
From the Merriam Webster Dictionary

Main Entry: per•e•grine
Pronunciation: 'per-&-gr&n, -"grEn
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin peregrinus, from Latin, foreign
Date: 14th century
: having a tendency to wander

Welcome to my voyage