Archive for April 2012

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: AFGHANISTAN: AMERICA’S TOTALLY MEANINGLESS WAR – NATO’S ROLE – CANADA’S ROLE – WHAT THE USE OF TERMS LIKE “CUT AND RUN” REVEALS

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

It’s always the same with these meaningless imperial wars of America’s.

After chewing up people and resources for years, leaders are fearful of the notion that it was all to no purpose.

You cannot, no matter how much you bomb and kill, reshape an ancient society to your liking.

Only long-term economic growth does that, and war represents the very opposite, destruction.

The Afghanistan invasion was a pointless exercise in vengeance and American arm-pumping.

The UN and NATO only have their names slapped on the pathetic effort because the United States pressured and threatened and cajoled its way into getting them involved.

To this day, no greater physical evidence of the truth is to be found than in the pitifully token commitments of troops by all the American allies, a thousand or two here and there in specially limited roles – not what you would ever see were America’s extreme and hysterical words on the nature of the effort believed by anyone.

Canadians and others died for absolutely nothing here, but no leader would ever have the courage to say so.

But worse, tens of thousands of Afghans were killed by invaders who never understood what they were doing.
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“Steve, when he made that speech in his fishing vest in Kandahar, said ‘We [Canadians] don’t cut and run’. You mean that now, 158 casualties and ten years later, we should cut and run?”

Very revealing when people use loaded terms like “cut and run.”

Who would ever describe it in that fashion were Canadian troops or police killing innocents in our streets and roads, and people’s revulsion caused them to yell “stop!”

But that is exactly what “NATO” – America’s human shields against world opinion – has done for years in Afghanistan.

If people at home with the opportunity to inform themselves don’t understand what has happened in Afghanistan – and many do not – how are a bunch of soldiers dumped into a hot, confusing, almost totally alien place supposed to know anything about what they are doing?

In the end, Canadian soldiers died because in government it was said “we owe one to the Pentagon.”

And a man like Harper, the most dishonest and manipulative prime minister in our history, can only appeal to the most unthinking, from-the gut responses in our people with his “cut and run” to cover up the waste and shame of the whole sordid business.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE AGAIN DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE – THIS TIME MICHAEL IGNATIEFF ON QUEBEC – TWO PEOPLE WITH PUBLIC POSITIONS DEMONSRATE REMARKABLE IGNORANCE

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Quebec is not leaving Confederation.

There is not the tiniest bit of evidence for saying that.

So why do people keep saying it?

Because it’s such an emotionally charged statement it gets people’s attention, quickly.

Ergo, Ignatieff pathetic comments: words from a man who has proven, over and over, he is not all that perceptive, and a man who sure wants attention.

The man spent most of his life writing books – and as any good professional writer will tell you – that is a lonely business. Indeed Graham Greene wrote of the writer having a splinter of ice in his heart.

Further still, writing books is not necessarily the same thing as either having genuine new ideas or of being a perceptive analyst of current affairs.

The Toronto Liberal Party insiders who lured Ignatieff back to Canada with the promise of his leading the Party never understood these facts.

And, clearly, Ignatieff did not understand them either. He does not truly know even himself.

He has proved a remarkably unperceptive and narrow academic with little ability to relate to society.

It is only natural that Margaret Wente would choose to defend his empty observations. That’s the kind of thing she specializes in.

After all, they are pretty well cut from the same cloth, only Wente has no academic standing.

Two streams of humid air blowing against the realities and subtleties of their time.
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“Get off it Cons, Iggy is not really anti-Canadian in any sense. It is only your stupidity (based on Harper’s 15 sec. talking points) that makes it seem so in your own minds only.”

That would be a laughable comment were it not so sad.

You totally confuse the Right Wing with critics of Ignatieff.

Sorry, but there are many, many genuinely liberal-minded people in this world who do not think well of Ignatieff.

Indeed, there is a strong argument for consigning Ignatieff to the softer wing of the neo-conservatives.

His record during his time at Harvard is quite unpleasant, including, of course, writing in support of our generation’s biggest war crime, the invasion of Iraq, which killed about a million people, destroyed a promising society for a generation, and left about 2 million refugees. He also supported “torture-lite.”

Ignatieff has never qualified as a genuine liberal. He is a special interest man, and his aura of being a significant voice in human rights is just that an aura. His record is a poor one if you scrutinize the details.

Ms Wente’s entire background in writing of world affairs reflects the neo-con position, from endless apologies for Israel’s savagery to her almost putrid embrace of the same invasion of Iraq.

Again, here is a near-demented Ms Wente some years ago on all that death and destruction in Iraq:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/the-iraq-wars-trashiest-piece-of-propaganda/
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“He is entitled to his opinion, but its clear he was never a great choice for Liberal leader.”

But he never was a choice, was he, in the sense of the word choice we assume in a democracy?

He was parachuted into the role by a group of Party bosses.

Just as he was parachuted into his West End riding when he first showed up on stage playing his return-of-the-native act.

Now, what kind of a principled politician, or would-be politician in this case – principled in democratic and human values – accepts such gifts from a group of insiders?

To answer the question is to summarize Ignatieff’s credentials as a principled politician.
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“To be honest, in travelling across Canada, I have found far more of a sense of separation and even hostility in Western Canada. I have rarely heard from a Quebecker the kind of vitriol towards other Canadians as some of the comments/attitudes I’ ve encountered In B.C. & Alberta in recent years.”

Well said.

Your observation confirms my own over some years.

I’ve never heard such genuine low-life comments as I’ve heard in Alberta.

Stephen Harper serves as a kind of bellows blowing on hot coals in this matter.

Wente’s ignorance here is little short of phenomenal, exceeded only by the man of proven poor judgment she’s defending.

Again, here’s what a woman of genuine perceptive intelligence – one of Canada’s best political columnists – has to say:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1167952–michael-ignatieff-s-bbc-comments-on-shaky-ground?bn=1
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The following two postings are mine from the original column by Michael Ignatieff:

Please, go away, boring man.

You were a complete flop as a political leader.

And in your previous efforts to get some attention in the Globe, you’ve demonstrated less-than-Sterling abilities as an idea man.

Indeed, it was your poor judgment and blind ambition which are responsible for the Harper’s licence to act against much of what Canada has represented in my adult lifetime.

Now, you play the old “look out for Quebec” card.

Tiresome and inaccurate.
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“This is what this guy does best. Babble. Of course in their little world he is known as a deep thinker.”

His reputation as a thinker is immensely overblown, as all thoughtful people came to understand from most of what has come out of his mouth since accepting as an inheritance, as it were, the promise of leadership of the Liberal Party.

I cannot believe how trivial and unperceptive he has proven himself.

But, then, he did support criminal invasion and torture when still doing his blubbering in the United States, didn’t he?

Globe, you do readers no service giving this guy free space for advertising himself.

Indeed, there is almost a touch of black comedy here with a man proven to be so out of touch, and not just concerning Canada, still coming back repeatedly to offer views and advice.

The term “idiot-savant” comes to mind here, but I’m not so sure about the “savant’ half of the phrase.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE ENLISTS JONATHAN HAIDT’S UNSUBSTANTIATED NOTIONS ABOUT CONSERVATIVES IN POLITICS – WENTE’S CHEAP TECHNIQUE DEFINED – ROLE OF MONEY – ROLE OF STUPIDITY – INTELLIGENCE AND POLITICS

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED COMMENTS TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Margaret Wente is back with her favorite cheap-trick “analysis” of a serious matter.

She gets one person who has written a book or is known for his/her views on a topic and treats the person’s unproved notions as authoritative research, here that person is Jonathan Haidt.

She did the same thing in Iraq some years ago, quoting the infamously one-sided scholar on the Mideast, Bernard Lewis.

She did it in Vancouver where she was supposed to be studying free-injection sites and sourced a single prejudiced “authority.”

Her method represents hack journalism at its most developed. It just happens to be one of the basic techniques of propaganda too.

It’s all very much like the notorious legal practice of expert witnesses: a single expert witness is brought into the courtroom and paid for his/her one-sided opinion in hopes of influencing the jury when indeed the reality is that hundreds of experts disagree and only their full range of views offers the state of the truth.

Her “authority” in this case just doesn’t begin to get it right, offering a specious notion dressed up as an idea.

The political Right’s success anywhere is not owing to a better understanding of human nature. That’s actually rather a sophism and an indirect way of saying what would read as foolishness were it phrased more clearly: the Right is right.

The Right’s success is owing to a couple of extremely basic factors.

The first is money and lots of it.

We always and everywhere observe the Right pandering to special interests for campaign funds.

Money doesn’t buy a seat in a legislature, at least not yet, but it gives politicians the wherewithal to market and advertise and travel and put on an impressive show (everything from stages and backdrops and music and big flags and the ease to ship them around quickly like a travelling rock band) and just saturate the airwaves with their pancaked faces, fluffed hair, and bleached teeth.

And then there are constant polls to test the effect of statements day by day, sophisticated polls that are very costly to run.

We know marketing and advertising work: tens of billions are spent every year just to sell this versus that soda pop or burger or deodorant, and the companies spending those vast fortunes know they are not squandering their money.

It is no different in politics.

Human beings are highly susceptible to suggestions, only the suggestions must be cleverly phrased and they must be tailored to the needs of the individuals or groups – the job of marketing. It is very costly to create and tailor these suggestions across millions of people.

Genuine issues have long receded into obscurity in elections. Rather we get costly advertising pitches designed to just suggest a position on a matter of public importance, and we get swirling dust about non-issues like patriotism, religious views, families, or flags.

And just whom do you think it is that has the best access to money?

Second, there is what we might call the stupidity factor. It is an established fact that conservative views tend to be correlated with lower intelligence. Like all correlations in statistics this one does not hold in every individual case, but it very much does hold on average.

It doesn’t take a great effort to sell stupid people: just look at the millions who bought books and tickets supporting that total air-head, Sarah Palin.

When you direct your appeal to this group, it doesn’t take much imagination or hard work to come up with the right words.

Witness Rob Ford’s (relative) success: he’s actually convinced that if he asks people in general, people who have no idea of costs or finances or urban planning, about wanting subways, that he has earned a mandate to build them. But it is an illusion, one built on asking a simplistic question of lots of people with no background in the subject being asked. It much resembles asking a very young child whether she wants to be a princess or he a magician or armored knight.

Were the same question put, as it should be: here are the choices and briefly here are the costs and taxes and difficulties associated with each, the results would be quite different.

It is actually part of the approach of genuinely stupid politicians – the Sarah Palins, the Rob Fords, the George Bushes – to elicit public responses with the least possible thought or detail or accountability. That makes their jobs so much easier. And as any good advertising person knows, selling a complex idea is very difficult.
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“Liberal$ have lost the trust of Canadians. The need to learn some lessons about telling the truth from the Conservatives.”

A 39.6% majority represents lost trust in the other side? After all, this is not just about the Liberal Party, it is about liberal views.

This reader brings up, inadvertently, a major factor in our politics: our democratic system is broken.

There can be no mandate to do anything involving great change, change which affects everyone, when more than 60% of voters don’t want you in office.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAEL’S BARAK WARNS NUCLEAR TALKS WON’T STOP AN ATTACK ON IRAN – ISRAEL’S DEPUTY PM CAUGHT IN A MOMENT OF TRUTH: IRAN NEVER THREATENED ISRAEL – HOW TO MAKE A WORD MEANINGLESS : MODERN MISUSE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Israel never ruled out attacking Iran while talks were taking place: defence minister”

This is news?

Israel never rules out attacking anyone it doesn’t like at any time.

It is simply the world’s great pint-sized bully.

Please see this brief and informative item clarifying, from a high Israeli source, the nonsense we see promoted about Iran’s supposed threat to Israel:

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=30317

Of course, those who follow world affairs will know there was never any substance to the big lie that Netanyahu repeats daily, but it’s nice to see that supported, if only by accident, by an Israeli source.
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“Israel is like North Korea. A little, aggressive country where even girls have to serve as soldiers. They both have nuclear weapons, both are governed by extremists. The only difference is that there’s no North Korean lobby in Washington DC.”

That is a perfect comparison, although our governments constantly preach the opposite.

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“It seems there are a lot of Israeli apologists who spew ‘ANTI SEMITE’ every time somebody has the gall not to be sucked in by every Israeli press release.”

‘Anti-Semite’ coming from Israel or an intense Israeli apologist has today become almost a badge of honor.

Criticize the world’s most aggressive and downright dishonest government, and you are, ipso facto, an anti-Semite.

Criticize a government which will not seek honest peace and daily steals what it wants from others and kills those it doesn’t like, and you are the criminal.

It is pure cloudcuckooland.

Such abuse of language can only change the meaning of what used to be a valid meaningful word.

It is much like hearing an angry, poorly behaved child in a store screaming at its parent for not buying what it wants.

If Israel is to be a state like any other state, then it is subject to the same criticisms as any other state.

If it is not a state like any other state, then what is it?

Were all of the world’s 200 or so countries to adopt a pattern of behavior resembling Israel’s, the world would resemble a massive war between ant colonies, just a ball of unthinking, biting, fighting bodies.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HARPER MAKES SHOW OF WARNING IRAN ABOUT CANADIAN-IRANIAN SPY ON DEATH ROW – CANADA’S FOREIGN POLICY DEGRADATION – MORE ON NETANYAHU AS LIAR – SPYING AND DEATH PENALTY – THE ISRAEL LOBBY

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

While I don’t support the death penalty anywhere, I do find it interesting that Harper speaks out so forcefully against Iran in this matter.

I contrast it with Israel’s treatment of a Canadian officer doing his UN observation duty in Southern Lebanon: he was targeted and deliberately killed by Israeli forces during its savage assault of the region.

Harper’s only public response then was the lame asking why the UN had put him there.

In these two events we see with complete clarity the prejudice towards special interests of our foreign policy today.

In one case a man bravely dying at his post in our honorable peacekeeping tradition was not honored by the leader of our country, and, indeed, his killers were never even questioned or in any way challenged.

In the other case, Harper makes big noises about a state which hasn’t yet carried out the verdict of a legal trial.

Unfortunately the death penalty for serious espionage is fairly common practice in the world, so Iran would not be out of line here.

One suspects and hopes they will reduce his sentence, but espionage is not a game. It has serious consequences, and with Iran being unfairly attacked day after day by Israel’s mad leader and by the United States and by a compliant Canada and others under pressure, Iran is naturally more concerned than ever with such acts.

America’s worst modern spy, Jonathon Pollard, who gave away some of America’s crown jewels to Israel, who in turn sold them to Russia – would certainly have been executed but for the Israeli connection.
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‘”…………..Foreign Affairs Department said it is reaching out to “like-minded” countries ….”

‘You mean Israel and the US?’

Well said.

Although I strongly suspect the reaching went in the other direction: Harper is a totally spineless man towards either of these bloody-minded states.
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“But Iran is not a normal country. Think of what Iranians did to the US embassy and its staff.”

The embassy?

That’s a quarter century ago.

Do you characterize any other country by what someone in it did a quarter century ago?
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‘Al Jazeera interview with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Dan Meridor, in which Meridor admits that the Israelis misquoted Ahmadinejad’s supposed quote about wiping out Israel. This is a misrepresentation that Netenyahu has used constantly, including speeches made before US legislators, on US cable networks and while in Canada….

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2012/04/2012413151613293582.html

‘Little wonder Sarkozy was overheard saying of Netenyahu “I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.”‘

Yes, thank you.

Both points are absolutely spot on.

I would add that not just Sarkozy, largely a friend of Israel’s, said that but Obama spoke to the effect: “Tell me about it. I have deal with him every day.”

Obama’s addition is very telling evidence when anyone wants to discuss the inordinate and inappropriate influence of Israel in the United States.

The leader of a tiny country of 7 million gets access to the President “every day”?

And in that access he gets to lie without ever being reproved?

How is that possible?

The Lobby, and its critical campaign finance contributions.

Just the arrangement Harper daily works towards establishing in Canada by making parties more dependent on private contributions – eliminating government support for parties – and by grooming the special interest groups, especially that of Israel’s apologists, regularly.

It’s not a bright outlook for fairness or decency in our policy, two things completely missing from the foreign policy of the United States for some years now.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A STUPID COLUMN DISCUSSES BREIVIK’S COURT PLEA – SOME IMPORTANT NOTES ON MULTI-CULTURALISM AND GLOBAL MIGRATION – ABSURDITY OF DEFINING A COUNTRY BY ETHNICITY OR RELIGION

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Why is the Globe even printing stupid pieces like this?

All thinking people know what happened here, and since when are the words of a genuine madman worth quoting?

Are you planning to do a series, perhaps including quotes from Robert Picton on pig farming and picking up girls?

Stupid and contemptible.
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“The question is not whether multiculturalism is good or bad; that is too simple and too extreme an idea to debate.”

Yes, but what people do not seem to understand is that in a globalized world, it is simply unavoidable.

Movements, across the globe, of resources and people – what economists call factors of production – naturally follow the huge new patterns of world trade in goods and services.

And it is not the first time people have experienced such changes.

Take any old state you care to in Europe, and you will find a complex and rather messy history in these matters.

Britain is a perfect example. Celtic people were overrun by Latin Romans. Latter the descendants of the Romans were overrun by Germanic Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxons in turn experienced the invasions of the Norsemen. Still later, the French Normans conquered and ruled. There were still more disturbances but the facts are clear.

Modern British people, despite our mental image of them as fixed group, are actually a complex hybrid created over centuries of turmoil.

Globalization only adds speed to what has been going for centuries.

Indeed, these very real forces in the world point to the ultimate absurdity of trying to maintain any country according to a definition of ethnicity or religion.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ANDERS BREIVIK – PARANOID COMMENTS ABOUT – RELIGION AND SAVAGERY – NATURE OF PSYCHOPATHS – LUNATIC COMMENTS ON TERROR AND TERRORISTS

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“They should ship him to Islamabad and stone him.”

What can one say but that the comment is colossally ignorant?

Breivik was actually quoted previously on his dislike of Arab people, something apparently he shares with the writer of the comment.

His act, if it has any meaning at all, is in line with sympathy for Israel.

By the way, the person commenting clearly does not understand the origins of stoning. I suggest that he read the book of Leviticus.
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“Meanwhile, any Muslim who dares to convert to Christianity gets a death sentence put on their head. Houston, we have a problem here back on earth.”

Death sentence?

Just look back at Christian history.

Centuries of mass killings, burning people alive, and torture over matters so small as a detail of the mass.

We’ve only been free from such horrors for a century or so.

And actually we are not free of them yet if you count places like Latin America and rural India and Africa.

The overwhelming majority of the world’s more than a billion Muslims do not behave this way any more than we do now.

The ones who do are mired in poverty and ignorance and superstition, and if you will just bother to look at the world around you, you will find uncountable horrors in places of poverty and ignorance and superstition – as in rural India or Mexico or Latin America or Africa.
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“The ugly side of socialism”

And your comment qualifies as the genuinely stupid side of free enterprise.

The man is ill.

He is not a whit different to cases like Charles Manson or Robert Picton.

Indeed, he is not a whit different to the American Marines who killed a crowd of innocents recently.

Or Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli who slaughtered a large number of people in a mosque while they were praying.
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“The man is a terrorist and should be tried as one.”

Terrorist?

Is that anything like a witch?

Or one of Stalin’s “wreckers,” of whom he spoke before starting on a new purge?

Is it a special class of human being?

A sick man is a sick man, although he may well have political views too, and in this case his views are much like those of an Israeli settler.

A certain percentage of such people exist in every human population.

The United States has displayed scores of them in Iraq and Vietnam, not to mention all the mass killers right in the dear old homeland.

Israel was founded on the bloody work of the Irgun and Lehi and the Stern Gang.

Israeli soldiers murdered 400 children during the invasion of Gaza, and there are reliable reports of children used as shields by Israeli soldiers.
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“This coward deserves the worst kind of punishment. Typical of the usual suspects to support his views and actions through some convoluted logic. A mass murderer of children is no hero, unfortunately the chickenshit cowards who jack off to war movies and Fox News feel it’s okay to murder children.”

What are you blubbering about?

The only thing remarkable in your comment is a near complete lack of rationality.

Who on this planet called Breivik a hero?

Who on earth supports his views?

Although I must say that some of the violent voices about “terrorism” here in the comments do come pretty close to supporting his views, only the targets of their hatreds are different ones than his.

Bottom line is that Nature regularly produces all kinds of freaks and failed evolutionary experiments, as it were. He is clearly one of them.

It is quite possible that such heartless killers served a purpose once in early human society. Many of the legendary heroes and soldiers were likely the same kind of psychopaths, figures from Achilles to Prince Vlad the Impaler

Vlad was the origin of the vampire legend, a real historical figure, a ruthless killer who fought against Ottoman Empire expansion.

Closer to our own day, it is widely thought that Stonewall Jackson, the Confederacy’s most ruthless general, was a psychopath.

General Curtis LeMay, who ran the savage bombing of Japanese cities and who later advocated in the Pentagon for a nuclear first strike on Russia, almost certainly also was one.

Quite possibly, “old blood and guts” General Patton of WWII also was a psychopath.

The list is a long one, and we are only lucky early detection caught still another, Canadian Colonel Russell Williams.

Some of these psychopaths like to kill in great masses – hence the name mass murder – while others like to enjoy a long series of killings, as did Mr. Picton.
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“Islam slaughtered, enslaved and raped its way out of Saudi Arabia to the doorsteps of Europe and India but I hardly hear a chirp from you.”

History is full of horrors.

But I do tend, quite naturally I think, to be most upset with that happening before my eyes.

Especially when the horrors before my eyes are committed by peoples claiming allegiance to democratic and human values, such as Israel and the United States.

One expects tyrants and ignorant armies to kill and maim and torture, but there is supposed to be something different about countries claiming Enlightenment principles.

By the way, it is estimated that the United States left 3 million people dead in Vietnam.

It left also countless cripples from the bombing.

And it left still more a sea of Agent Orange to cripple babies for centuries.

It was a true Holocaust, in every sense of the word.

And all done for nothing, no point whatever, just mad impulses and paranoid fears.

Lastly, quoting weird sources from the Internet like the one you do is just that, weird.