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Heat and Light On War

The war in Iraq is painful in so very many important ways. Today’s post is meant to shed a bit of light on specifics, and to put heat on those who can change it.
The war is painful for the people of Iraq, more specifically for children – A favorite blogger, who was born in Iraq and now lives in Texas, Fayrouz in Beaumont, always writes with great heart and insight. Her recent post, “Painful Smile” is enlightening. To quote,

Iraqi children suffered the most from the current war in Iraq. Iraqi children in “the new Iraq” aren’t fortunate enough to enjoy a normal life. I’ve yet to see an American or Iraqi politician considers the miserable life of the Iraqi Children when (s)he makes a decision related to the future of Iraq.
. . . Every Iraqi, excluding the crazy folks fighting for power and destruction, are psychologically injured. I left Iraq 13 years ago. But, I still have nightmares of war and missing peace in Iraq. I can’t even imagine what goes in the mind of an Iraqi child these days.
Despite the pain of severe burns, Saif is able to smile. Maybe our politicians can learn to become passionate by looking into Saif’s burned eyes. A wall can even learn from the cries of miserable children while politicians won’t.

Important new media voice sheds light on anti-war movement’s challenge – The beltway is buzzing about the new media launched on “the streets, the airwaves and the Internet,” according to LostRemote, on January 23: The Politico headlined, “Anti-War ‘Silent Majority’ Can’t Make Itself Heard.” Quoting from the article,

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 65 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, 59 percent would support an attempt by Congress to block a troop surge and 52 percent are ready to leave before the situation stabilizes. Almost two-thirds now say the invasion was a mistake, the highest that number has been since the war began.
So where are the riots? The marches? The sit-ins? The arrests?
Organizers of Saturday’s march on Washington are genuinely puzzled that those outside of the effort can’t hear the noise. At the National Press Club yesterday, march sponsors said the majority has, in fact, spoken loudly and clearly. Now the mainstream media and politicians need to listen.

My S/SW posts spotlight activism on Wednesdays – The South by Southwest (1/3/07) post talked about “. . . Activism, Citizenship and the Environment.” To quote,

Citizen action means in some cases getting on your feet, putting one foot in front of the other, footing the bill, and never sitting at the feet of power. There is an opportunity for many feet to march in Washington at the end of the month. This story about the potential of activism comes from a website called the Baltimore Independent Media Center . The headline reads,”MASS DEMONSTRATION IN WASHINGTON DC ON JANUARY 27.” To quote from the story,

United for Peace and Justice (1500 organizations) is teaming with over 500 additional groups to march on Congress to insist the US get out of Iraq. Massive numbers are expected to rally and to march around the Capital on January 27 at the start of a 3-day event.
. . . More than 70% of the American public is opposed to this war, but it doesn’t matter to this President. You voted in November — but your vote apparently didn’t register. This time, vote with your feet, vote with your airfare, vote with your bus ticket. Vote with your presence in the streets of Washington DC on Saturday, January, 27th. The stakes have never been higher.

Biden committee leads in putting heat on the current Bush administration – Some may think I am being inflammatory by linking to an Aljazeera story. I do not mean to be so. I have often found that source to provide perspective, but read it for yourself. The headline, “US panel votes against Bush plan,” begins this quote,

A US senate committee has rejected the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq, sending the measure to the full senate for a vote which is expected next week.
The vote by the foreign relations committee is not binding, but supporters hope that it will convince the president to reconsider.
. . . Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, dismissed the congressional objections. During an interview with CNN he said “it won’t stop us”.
He said: “It would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.
“We are moving forward. We are moving forward. We’ll continue to consult with the congress. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get the job done.”

Light on Lebanon – Another favorite blogger was born in Lebanon, and recently returned home to the U.S. after a trip to her homeland. Her blog offered a number of her very fascinating posts while traveling in Lebanon. Her blog post of today at Margaret’s Wanderings in titled, “Not being in Lebanon.” I quote from it:

I know people mean well when they tell me that they are glad that I am back in the States and am not still in Lebanon. They are trying to tell me that they care. I know this but I do not like the assumption that their good heartedness is based on: that Lebanon is dangerous and unsafe. Sure some parts are unsafe, they may have been especially unsafe this past Tuesday, but how is this different from living in certain parts of the U.S., say New Orleans for instance? Quite frankly, I felt safer in Lebanon than I have felt almost anywhere and I have done my share of traveling.
. . . Some of my feelings of discomfort are also my own. There is a side of me that wishes I was there yesterday and today expressing solidarity and living through this difficult time too.
I know that this isn’t realistic. I have a job and a life here. I am doing good work and am learning many skills so that I can continue to help others as life goes on. I can also use my resources to become more informed and to possibly even influence U.S. policies towards Lebanon and Palestine. This is what I tell myself.
And in case you follow the news, yes, the U.S. is planning to offer $770 million dollars and other countries plan to offer additional support. I just ask you to remember that many of the weapons that the Israelis used on Lebanon this summer were supplied by the U.S., that the U.S. dragged its feet this summer and let the Israelis destroy Lebanon for over a month, and that the U.S. publically supported Israel. In addition, this money will not be used to reform the Lebanese sectarian system or to decrease the disparity between those that have and those that do not. If Lebanon is ever to know longterm peace, these two things need to happen.

New heat from the Military* – Here is what we have to look forward to in 2010! The BBC News carried this story headlined, “US military unveils heat-ray gun,” from which I quote:

The US military has given the first public display of what it says is a revolutionary heat-ray weapon to repel enemies or disperse hostile crowds.
Called the Active Denial System, it projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling, but is said to be harmless.
Military officials believe the gun could be used as a non-lethal way of making enemies surrender their weapons.

Talk about heat and light! There is no way I can top this last item. All I can do is sit down, take a breath, and hope my head will stop spinning.

References:
Baghdad Burning a very popular “fiery” Iraqi blogger
*U.S. Department of Defense this site is worth a visit because it sheds light on an important center of power.

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