Note from the Editor

Ideologues are not intimidated by the odds of the Iraqi resistance to the illegal and amoral invasion and occupation of a country that never, ever attacked the U.S. They stay the course. Liberal "humanitarians" consider that since we've brought chaos to Iraq, we need to finish the job. Deckchair intellectuals discourse on the merits of building a Potemkin democracy on the Euphrates. They all walk hand-in-hand along the path of destruction, accommodating each other, disagreeing on the edges. Infatuated with power and arrogance they know "the" truth and will impose it at whatever cost, for the end -- which never ends -- justifies the means...any means. Meanwhile, Iraqis are killed and maimed by the thousands and US soldiers by the hundreds. The same argument can be made regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- the imposition of delusional ends by ideologues with powerful armies on, and against the will of, a weaker opponent.

This rendition's "Innocence Lost" was written before the news that a US Chinook helicopter carrying troops preparing for a two-week leave was shot down, killing 16 and injuring 20. (How many Iraqi kids will have died this past weekend?) More and more innocence wretchedly lost... We should not have invaded Iraq in the first place, and the time to get out is now. No greater good has been served by G. W. Bush's lies, argues Gerard Donnelly Smith. No situational ethics are at work here. Mr. Bush's love of humanity does not equal the number of his lies, submits Smith. Even Deck Deckert's Martian friend can see that. As we head down an uncertain path of certain (violent) instability in the Middle East, one should not forget the valiant efforts of a few to reach an Israel-Palestine Two-State Solution through the Geneva Accord. Prof. John Ryan provides a cogent analysis of the options and the pitfalls available to the Israelis, and the prospect for peace. We do expect this piece, which The Nation and other mainstream publications refused, will generate some abuse and hate mail but it is a very lucid and understandable explanation of the Arab-Israeli conflict that both friends and foes should read.

There is little prospect for peace and stability in what's left of Bosnia, and after the recent death of Alija Izetbegovic, The Hague cancelled its investigation of his role in war crimes; a move that, according to Aleksandra Priestfield, essentially allowed this violent man to leave a destructive legacy and yet die a saint. Imperial forces have left a path of destruction from the Middle East to the Balkans to Africa to Afghanistan to, to, Cuba, where Manuel García describes the conditions of the prisoners of the US Guantánamo concentration camp and urges us to help bring accountability to the US government. As Vanessa Raney aptly writes, "To deny one group or person is to ignore our own common interests: life."

In his own apt way, Phil Rockstroh explores the banal life of a mindless minion to professional liars. Unfortunately, the banality of the middle minions is exactly what the powers-that-be play upon. To affect change, one must call upon the creativity at the edges as Richard Macintosh expounds; and if you're still not sure who's colluding to tame the masses, check out Deckert's "More is Less."

Manuel García and Scott Orlovsky are both able to channel their contempt for the "War on Terror" into creative poetry that will speak to your heart and soul.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.


Middle East: From Iraq to Israel & Palestine

Gilles d'Aymery:  Innocence Lost

On Tuesday, October 28, 2003, The New York Times, in a front page article, reported the coordinated attacks that took place in Baghdad on the first day of Ramadan that killed over 34 and wounded at least 200 people. The article related the latest Bushism of the day: "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react." At the top right of the front page was an 8½" x 5" picture by Michael Kamber of an outright terrified young soldier, a MP.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Lies, Lies, Lies

Everyone lies. Well maybe not everyone. Mother Teresa probably never lied. Perhaps that's one qualification of sainthood: to have never lied. However, one must not condemn lying outright. We might argue, as did Episcopalian priest Joseph Fletcher, that certain situations require the bending of our ethical rules.   More...


Deck Deckert:  A Great Man

"Mr. Bush is such a great president," I said to my Martian friend Yyuran. "Such a great man."

"He's a liar."

"Big deal. He told a few white lies to get people to support the war in Iraq. I'm glad he did. Otherwise we never would have got rid of Saddam."   More...


John Ryan:  For Jews The Real Worry Should Be Sharon Not Arafat

The recently released text of the Geneva Accord seems about as good a deal as could be worked out for a Two-State Solution, unless it's already too late for any such venture. Till now almost everything that had been put forward was an "agreement to go on trying to agree," which led to disillusionment and nothing of lasting substance.   More...


Balkans: Rich Past, Poor Present

Aleksandra Priestfield:  It Was A Good Day To Die

It was a good day to die, apparently. Alija Izetbegovic, possibly the main architect of the dog's breakfast that is today's Bosnia, has finally shuffled off this mortal coil. He was in his late seventies. In his wildest dreams he could not have imagined the sainthood that he would be granted on his demise.   More...


Patterns which Connect

Manuel García, Jr.:  Guantánamo USA

Cuba is a US concentration camp. Everyone there is being punished for failure to obey US Imperial authority. The United States enforces an economic blockage against Cuba that aims to starve and deprive (e.g., withhold medicines from) the population until they divorce their national allegiance to their own government and leaders, and give it over to the Imperial center in Washington D.C.   More...


Vanessa Raney:  The Word Of Choice

I recently saw the 2002 Korean spy thriller, Joint Security Area. While I won't go into all the details, what I can say is that I was deeply moved by it. The main theme, connected to the idea that words have the power to change, is important in answering the question: How do we get along as people of different cultures?   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  Work Is Easy -- The Art Of Accomplished Leisure Is Hard

Yes, like everyone these days, I'm overworked and stressed out; I feel a bit lost, baffled and addled -- that events and circumstances are moving too rapidly for me to discern any emergent patterns in the unfolding of events, as, all the while, I suffer this nebulous dread that something essential has been forsaken, because I lack the time to even feel human, to contemplate neither the intricacies of my own life nor those of larger existence, nor be to granted the blind luck to momentarily blunder out of this perpetual state of bewilderment, so that I might gain a fleeting glimpse into how this situation came to be -- and to where its trajectory might be propelling me.   More...


Richard Macintosh:  Virtue In The Margin

As in statistics, the truth is in the margin. These days, those who speak truth to power are marginalized in a variety of ways, not the least of which is calumny, often expressed in ad-hominem statements demeaning whole groups of people and selected individuals.   More...


Deck Deckert:  More Is Less

The more TV news you watch, the less you know. At least when it comes to the Iraq war. A University of Maryland study has discovered that a sizeable number of Americans believes at least one of three things -- Iraq is linked to al Qaeda, Weapons of Mass Destruction were found in Iraq, world opinion favored the US invasion of Iraq. All three things are wrong.   More...



Manuel García, Jr.:  A Chinese-American Muslim Under Detention

Yee, Islam, Guantánamo, Camp X-Ray-Camp Delta, P.O.W.s,
jihad, crusade, oil, empire, liberation,
duty-honor-country, law, power, conscience, God.

Are we back to Wen Ho Lee?,
fifth columnists in our midst?   More...


Scott Orlovsky:  Nauseous

I heard the president read to schoolchildren
over deafening cries of incineration
and witnessed the fundamentalist invocation
of a crusade against an omnipresent demon
that sent all of our defense out of the country
to protect liberated markets   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Rainer Maria Rilke:  Letters to a Young Poet (Letter Seven)

My dear Mr. Kappus, Much time has passed since I received your last letter. Please don't hold that against me; first it was work, then a number of interruptions, and finally poor health that again and again kept me from answering, because I wanted my answer to come to you out of peaceful and happy days.   More...



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Created: November 10, 2003