Friday, January 21, 2005

Apology to the World from a Lone American

Hello world.
First let me begin with
I am sorry......
I hang my head low with shame for what some of my fellow americans have done...
for what they continue to do.....
I apologize that though I have millions of others that feel the way that I do, that we have not had it within our personal power to stop the injustice.
I tell you that I am sorry because even now I cower away at doing my part to fight these crimes of humanity...for fear that they will also turn upon me.
I apologize for the greed that has been bred into my nation....for the over consumption, for the blindness to the needs of other peoples in distant lands.
On this day of inauguration....this rubbing our face in the muck of lies that this nation is mounting before all of humanity.....I stood before the sea and prayed to something larger than all earthly existence.....I prayed that the rest of the world could forgive a nation of peoples whose established hierarchy has been misusing their powers to the effect of ruining and destroying the lives of an entire planet.
I pray to all of you to forgive...I pray that this forgiveness will be the gentle force to collapse these wrongdoings on a level so high that it cannot be refused.
May all positive energy go forth to healing... and refrain from joining their game of hate by hating those that wrong us. It only fuels the fire....a solution? I am sorry ... so sorry.
Forgive me world...
Forgive my people.

wz 1 20 05 5 53pm

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


By Jack Random

If you are going to serve as the president’s point on war propaganda, you have to expect a certain amount of criticism. If you accepted the job of testifying to the American people that no one could have imagined terrorists using passenger planes as missiles when you had in your possession innumerable intelligence reports describing that precise scenario, you have already sacrificed whatever credibility you had and your integrity is as questionable as the president’s intellect.

We cannot pretend that nations do not engage in propaganda; they most assuredly do. There is, however, a distinction between righteous propaganda, which appeals to both heart and mind in the service of a just cause, and malicious propaganda which stirs emotions to a corrupt cause. By its very nature, righteous propaganda adheres to the boundaries of truth while its counterpoint is bound only by the limits of credulity.

Short of kidnapping or extortion, no power on earth could compel an honorable person to serve a dishonorable cause. Likewise, no power could force an honest voice to betray known and acknowledged truths. Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s response to Senator Barbara Boxer’s challenge was a fallback to the oldest trick in the book of rhetoric: evasion by indignation. When the good doctor struck a pose and uttered the words, “I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity,” it conjured the image of Casa Blanca’s chief of police closing Rick’s on charges of gambling before collecting his evening’s winnings.

In keeping with the decorum of the Senate, Boxer was too polite to utter the obvious retort: You cannot impugn what does not exist. Better yet: Welcome to Casa Blanca!

I submit that any analyst or commentator who took the positions advocated by Condoleezza Rice would have arrived at Point Zero on the credibility scale long ago:

1. In reference to a memo on the president’s desk days before September 11, 2001 entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike inside US,” Dr. Rice argued that it was an historical document. Indeed it was.

2. Based on the infamous aluminum tubes and Nigerian yellow cake frauds, Dr. Rice melodramatically warned America to beware the mushroom cloud.

3. Months ago, when the lie of weapons of mass destruction was exposed, it was Dr. Rice who led the chorus in a rousing rendition of “We never said that.” Yes, they did. They just never used the words “imminent threat.” The fact that they carefully avoided that phrase is compelling evidence that they knew it was a phantom all along.

4. As a tireless advocate for democracy in the ever-evolving wheel of war rationalizations, Dr. Rice spoke a little too soon when she expressed satisfaction at a military coup overturning the democratic presidency of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The more we learn, the more certain we are that this failed coup as well as the successful coup in Haiti was the work of this administration’s black ops.

On virtually every issue of substance over the last four years, Condoleezza Rice has willingly danced the dance of smoke and mirrors. Duplicity is her game and, as long as the media is corporate owned and dominated, she will continue the dance as Secretary of State, secure in knowing that she will not be held accountable. In contemporary politics, it is understood.

In the trial of history, however, it remains to be seen whether the truth will hold sway over obstinacy. Like the president himself, Condoleezza Rice is only a mouthpiece in the circle of warlords who run this White House. Thus far, the likes of Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith prefer to be relatively off camera. Cheney and Rumsfeld are up front but they have always preferred to delegate State with matters of official deception.

To those who believe it no longer matters, the damage done, and now is the time to move on, we should all reflect that the recent election was partly a referendum on the war in Vietnam. If the rightwing ideologues can redefine the horrors of Vietnam as a victory left wanting by the weakness of American resolve, little wonder that they hold faith in the virtues of Middle East occupation.

Barbara Boxer (curiously joined by John Kerry) struck a lonely blow for the party of opposition when she challenged the credibility of Condoleezza Rice. As the Senator said, “It is too soon to start rewriting history.” Indeed, it is better to wait three decades. By then you will be able to convince all America that Saddam Hussein was the aggressor, that he in fact did possess weapons of mass destruction, and that America’s decisive action struck to the heart of the enemy that attacked us on September 11, 2001.

Let the record be clear and let the facts be fully vetted by a multitude of independent investigators: This administration deliberately and painstakingly deceived the American public in order to justify a war that could not otherwise be justified.

That concerted effort to rewrite history before it appears on the page continues to this day in the denials of the administration that weapons of mass destruction ever were a primary justification for the war. It continues in the repeated assertions that the entire world agreed that Iraq posed a threat. If you believe that, reread the transcripts of the United Nations Security Council. In all the world, only three nations perceived anything approaching a significant threat: America, Israel and a disingenuous Great Britain (to wit: the dodgy dossier).

History matters and the truth is not negotiable. We have already begun to hear the beginnings of rationalizations for future wars. If we forget or tolerate the lies and deceptions of this war, even as our soldiers are on the field of battle, the price will be more severe than the bruised sensibilities of our future Secretary of State.



Monday, January 17, 2005


By Jack Random

My recent commentary on the case of Andres Raya, the young Marine who lured police into a trap, killing a police officer, wounding another, and resulting in his own death, has triggered a backlash of critical response.

The critics have made a number of points: 1) Raya did not participate in the assault on Fallujah and may not have seen combat in Iraq at all. 2) Raya was a member of the California Latino gang known as the Nortenos. 3) A toxicology report found significant amounts of cocaine in Raya’s blood. For these reasons, it is wrong and somehow disingenuous to suggest that Raya was “a victim” or a casualty of war.

While I sincerely appreciate objective criticism, there is a line of civility which some critics cross all too easily. The mother of a Marine in New Mexico wrote to inform me that Raya could not have been involved in the attack on Fallujah. Her tone was civil and her argument persuasive. Hers is an example of objective criticism. She is proud of her son, as well she should be. Though I oppose the war as immoral, I respect those who put their lives on the line for what they believe. My prayers join with hers in wishing for his safe return home.

Other critics assume a less civil posture. They are quick to use derogatory terms and seem personally offended not only by the argument but by the character of the author. It is generally not useful to respond to such critics but in the interest of setting the record straight, I will respond to the factual bases of their objections.

First, there is a distinction between commentary and news reporting. A commentator observes the stories of the day and makes inferences, drawing conclusions that may challenge the reader’s view of the event. Often, as in the case of Andres Raya, a story’s power is in its immediacy. Unlike the reporter, the commentator has no obligation to report all the facts or to withhold conclusions until all the facts are available.

The Andres Raya story unfolded over the course of several days. As one who has long been on record regarding the untold consequences of war, from the veterans of Nam to the victims of the Gulf War Syndrome, the Raya story struck an immediate chord. My initial response was a commentary entitled “Casualties of War” which was posted by CounterPunch (1/12/05). When more information was available, including the statements of family members, I rewrote the commentary under the title “A Marine Comes Home.” This version was posted by (1/13) and Dissident Voice (1/14). Unlike the first version, this commentary stated, “the military denied he had participated in the assault on Fallujah.” Aside from observing that the statement is factually correct, the readers were right in perceiving the author’s doubt. It is uncharacteristic of the military to issue statements and denials without a comprehensive review. They were apparently concerned that the story would throw new light on what happened in Fallujah – a massacre by any objective standard.

On Sunday, January 15, Andres Raya’s hometown paper, The Modesto Bee, ran three front page stories under the banner headline: Marine’s Gang Ties Revealed. Local law enforcement uncovered evidence of ties to the Norteno gang from a safe in Raya’s room. Toxicologists reported cocaine in Raya’s blood. Raya’s service in Iraq consisted of driving Humvees and trucks in supply convoys. The four medals he received were given to all Marines serving in Iraq. He reportedly bragged to fellow Marines that he was a gangster and had purchased an SKS assault weapon. Authorities also implicated Raya in a break-in at the local high school, in which a flag was cut up and the words F--- Bush were spelled out on the gymnasium floor. The paper also reported that friends and family members, some 600 of them gathered at Raya’s funeral at St. Jude’s Catholic Church, denied the gang charges.

These are the relevant facts as I now know them. Let us each examine them and arrive at our own conclusions. The local authorities and the military would like us to conclude that Raya’s horribly misguided actions were not related to his involvement in the war. They want us to conclude that drug use and gang association are solely responsible.

I believe that is a flawed and simplistic explanation of what happened. It does not explain why this young man volunteered for service in the Marine Corps. Presumably, he could have written his own ticket out by revealing his own past. Presumably, at that moment in time, Andres Raya wanted to serve his country. Something changed. Something clouded his vision and turned his world to darkness. In my judgment, that something was the war in Iraq.

I stand by my analysis and its conclusion: With no apologies for his brutal and misguided act of violence, victimizing two innocent police officers, both Raya and the officers are casualties of the war.

I stand by my point of advocacy: Get the military out of our schools or, at least, give our young people both sides of the story.

As for my reputation as a modest contributor to public discourse, I stand by my words. Having written dozens if not hundreds of essays and commentaries over the past several years, I have made more than a few mistakes. For example, in a published commentary entitled, “Defending Dan? Rather Not,” I erred in blaming Dan Rather for killing the insider tobacco story. It was in fact Mike Wallace’s story and I should have blamed the network.

We all make mistakes. If they are honestly made, there is neither shame nor regret. To the contrary, learning from our mistakes is a measure of wisdom and the greatest assurance that we will not repeat them.

Let the readers draw their own conclusions.