His most memorable statement:
In early 2003, during the rush to invade Iraq, Powell was told that then-president George W. Bush slept like a baby.
Powell’s response was:
In February, Powell read a speech at the U. N. Defending the invasion, a speech which was full of lies.
What is missing: any clear acknowledgement, apology, or any atonement from him.
What was lost (not a complete list):
1. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, killed.
2. Millions more wounded and/or made homeless refugees.
3. Thousands of U. S. troops killed; tens of thousands wounded.
4. Powell’s reputation, credibility & integrity.
5. His future, and that of so many others.
6. Trillions of American citizens’ tax dollars, lost, wasted, stolen and diverted from the humane purposes and constructive needs of two generations, and counting.
May he and all the others rest in peace.
Especially the others.
From a letter to a friend:
They’re talking and talking about the 20th observances for the 11th,
with Biden going nonstop,
and there’s an article in the Times or somewhere
about a bunch of the books which supposedly show
all the ways we totally screwed up the impact & aftermath of all that.
Which is all true enough,
But I can’t bear to read it, though I have read a stack of such titles.
And I don’t want to hear all that retriggering retraumatizing stuff on Saturday, or today either,
Tho I know they have to do it.
I think I’m going to hide out that day.
Oh wait — I’m already hiding out. So where do I go from here?
Continue reading Reflecting on 9/11: My Other Lost Cause
A substantial Holiday Weekend Read:
I always feel uneasy when finding myself in agreement with rightwing Catholic pundit Ross Douthat. But in his August 31 NYTimes column, he nails it, mocking the spectacle of :
” . . . generals and grand strategists who presided over quagmire, folly and defeat fanning out across the television networks and opinion pages to champion another 20 years in Afghanistan. You have the return of the media’s liberal hawks and centrist Pentagon stenographers, unchastened by their own credulous contributions to the retreat of American power over the past 20 years.
“Our botched [Afghanistan] withdrawal is the punctuation mark on a general catastrophe, a failure so broad that it should demand purges in the Pentagon, the shamed retirement of innumerable hawkish talking heads, the razing of various NGOs and international-studies programs and the dissolution of countless consultancies and military contractors.”
But I’m not nodding to Douthat today about Afghanistan. It’s more the “general catastrophe,” or cascading crises, that have been similarly botched and booted by our rulers and most of our reigning “elites.” And rather than piling on, I’m looking for some help in getting through and making some hopeful sense in the aftermath, if there is to be one. Someone outside the discredited mainstream pundits and bemedaled poseurs.
Which brings me to Jim Corbett.
Continue reading A Quaker Theologian for Our Hard Times.
Eleven years ago, I was nearing the end of my time as Director of Quaker House, the Friends peace project in Fayetteville NC, near Fort Bragg. Our newsletter for that summer devoted most of its front page to Afghanistan, and the seemingly “invisible/forever” war there.
That war is no longer invisible, and at least the U.S. part in it is now ending, in a calamitous shambles, portending worse.
As we watch and listen in these days of disaster for those who depended on American promises of safety, perhaps this brief glimpse from a decade-plus past can be fodder for contemplation and calls for more action to help save those still crowded in the Kabul airport.
Quaker House Newsletter, 2010 – Summer
Keeping Up With the Invisible War(s)
It’s not easy doing peace work in the United States today.
Recent polls indicate that Americans dislike the Afghanistan war – as many as 53-56 per cent oppose it in the latest surveys. Yet the same polls show that citizen attention to the wars is low, lagging far behind domestic concerns such as jobs, health care, government debt and fear of terror attacks inside the US.
From our vantage point, this public indifference has helped usher in the age of the invisible wars. That is to say, the wars have become largely invisible to the general public here.
This invisibility is fed in part by sheer weariness – the Afghan conflict is almost nine years old.
But it has also been carefully cultivated: Continue reading Deja Vu All Over Again: A Glimpse of Afghanistan in 2010