Note from the Editor

What a Sunday! First we were treated to Dick Cheney, fresh out of his bunker, just in time for Meet The Press on NBC. He is in good health, we are happy to learn, for he does not eat French fries! The ever-so-reasonable patriarch was quite reassuring. You see, our great leader, G.W.B., is not a cowboy after all (though, in the West, this is not a bad thing, right?). He just "cuts to the chase;" He is the "right man under the circumstances;" not the man from Providence, mind you, but no doubt the providential man. Too bad the UN -- a good and necessary institution -- is wrong. Too bad world opinion is wrong. Even Brent Scowcroft, a good friend, mind you, is wrong too. They do not understand the new reality. Fortunately for world security and the safety of the nation, the President, a man of uncharacteristic moral clarity and vision, is in the right place at the right time, there, at the helm, thank the lord.

Then we got another treat with the Press Conference in the Azores where the "International Community" represented by four Western, white middle-aged males in dark suits declaimed on the Transatlantic Solidarity, their responsibility "to uphold what the UN has set to go;" that is, for Iraq to "disarm unconditionally...or face serious consequences." Iraq has not "fully disarmed," hence... The logic is implacable. Saddam is an "obstacle to progress in the Middle East." He is "a cruel oppressor of the Iraqi people" ... "capable of any crimes" ... "has a long history of murder" ... "thousands of children die" ... "60 percent of the population relies on food aid" (we'll stop the sanctions, of course). "From our perspective, the perspective of the security of the world" -- four Western white middle-aged men in dark suits, that is -- "tomorrow is the moment of truth" ... "we are out of time." But, "Saddam can leave the country" ... "he can unconditionally disarm" ... "it's his decision to make" ... "thus far he has taken bad decisions." Ultimately, "Saddam Hussein is responsible" for this crisis. "We are going to liberate the Iraqi people." A good people, the Iraqis; well-educated, and it "is their natural resources" (the word "oil" was never uttered)... Tomorrow will see a brave new world. We'll even take care of the Israelis and the Palestinians -- a state for each; secure, accepted... Yes, tomorrow will indeed be a great day. Meantime, "the UN has to be able to function well if we're going to keep the peace." It's time to show your cards," as we say in Texas when "we play poker." The moment of truth, heralded by, again, four Western, white middle-aged men in dark suits, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who cannot fathom building without destroying...

So, this issue of Swans will depart from its usual format. We'll begin with poetry -- five poems that cover these momentous times. We'll start in the Middle East with Eli Beckerman, then move to the nature of fundamentalist providence as well as faulty logic and deadly syllogisms with the help of Jim Craven; we'll look in the eyes with Kahnupad Haider and, finally, the creativity of the peace movement thanks to Sabina Becker. Poetry is a powerful, truly impressive medium to lay out bare the insanities of power. So, it should be of no surprise if even poets are under constant attack lately...

Then, with the "civilizing" words of our Four Horsemen still fresh in mind, we'll take a look at the reality behind those lofty words in the company of Greg Elich who details the Imperial Enterprise. Things, however, do not always go as planned for our civilizers. To wit, read the travails of Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, in Baffour Ankomah's report -- there is a short introduction for readers who are not familiar with the context. (We'll have more on Zimbabwe in the next issue.) And, with Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic's untimely demise, Yugoslavia was back in the news for a day or two. The shameful anniversary of the Kosovo war, on March 24, is a sad occasion to provide important clarifications and explanations that debunk "official" history, a useful exercise thanks to Konstantin Kilibarda. And if you ever were under the impression that war, perpetual war, was good for the economy, read Prof. Seymour Melman's sobering article on US deindustrialization; and if the facts are not compelling enough, or are problematic, one can always resort to lies, as Philip Greenspan describes.

To wrap it up, Richard Macintosh reflects on the ongoing rift between the Great Powers; Scott Orlovsky writes about the political myths that provide the cement for authoritarianism; and Milo Clark offers a Book Review in which he wonders why power people insist so vehemently that cloud is sun and sun is cloud. Last but not least, a word of acknowledgment and thanks to Greg Elich who truly stepped up to the task and provided incommensurable help to pull this edition together. It demonstrates yet again the collective nature of Swans. Enjoy this edition. As always, form your OWN opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.



Eli Beckerman:  Equality In Canaan

Soldiers with M-16s and bulldozers
seek to equalize years of brutality
against the Jews, years of oppression,
years of bottom-dwelling subordination   More...


Jim Craven:  Tautological Hubris

are Americans,
"Number One", you know,
just ask us;
"Number One" in what?   More...


Jim Craven:  Deadly/ Contrived Syllogisms

"Logic" can be benign,
and yet, so deadly,
it can give the illusion,
of structure,
and yet be an instrument
of brutal anarchy;   More...


Kahnupad Haider:  The fractal

Surprises! Typing the title I found
Turning blue
Naturally   More...


Sabina C. Becker:  Different Drummers

The army has its drummers,
but they only know one rhythm.
No pauses.
No rests.
Just a relentless rat-a-tat-tat   More...


Back to Iraq

Gregory Elich:  Imperial Enterprise: War Mongers Run Amuck

Time and again since the Second World War the United States has resorted to warfare. When viewed from that aspect, the looming attack against Iraq is not a unique endeavor for US policy-makers, as many nations targeted in the past could attest. Yet, something has altered.   More...


Colonialism, Nationalism and Barbarity

Baffour Ankomah:  Zimbabwe: What Future For Morgan?

"Morgan Tsvangirai is finished," Dr. Ibbo Mandaza, a former Zimbabwean cabinet minister now trusted political commentator, boldly proclaimed to New African five days before Christmas. There are some brave people in Zimbabwe, and Dr. Mandaza is one.   More...


Konstantin Kilibarda:  US Script For Yugoslavia's Privatization

In a recent Reuters report that came in over the wires, Aleksandar Vlahovic, Serbia's new privatization minister, vowed that "four years from now socially-owned capital be completely eliminated" in Yugoslavia. But who is Aleksandar Vlahovic?   More...


Konstantin Kilibarda:  Distortions about Yugoslavia's Disintegration

My grandparents were Yugoslav communists and we never identified with the ethno-nationalist factions in the former Yugoslav space, but with the still, rhetorically at least, openly anti-fascist and anti-imperialist discourse of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) in Montenegro and Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) in Serbia.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Seymour Melman:  In The Grip Of A Permanent War Economy

Now, at the start of the twenty-first century, every major aspect of American life is being shaped by our Permanent War Economy.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Some Thoughts About Lying

Why do so many throughout the world stagger like robots in their struggle to survive? Why do they accept the myths of the powerful minority? Isn't it tragic?   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Richard Macintosh:  A Geopolitical Tsunami

President George W. Bush has hastened an inevitable geopolitical realignment in world affairs. He gets credit -- wanted or not -- for countervailing geopolitical forces rising sooner than they otherwise would have.   More...


Scott Orlovsky:  Memorylemming

America has undergone a radical change since the events of September 11th, and media trumpeters have hit the bulls-eye when they flooded the air and radio waves with the message, "everything has changed."   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Milo Clark:  The Fourth Turning

Given the ponderous titling, weighty volume, prior collaborations and their draped associations, Strauss and Howe beg to be taken very seriously.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On work published in the previous edition.   More...



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Created: March 22, 2003