Note from the Editor

The notion that one has to destroy a village to save it, put forth repeatedly by the United States to justify its long history of destructive and self-serving military endeavors, revealed itself most recently in Iraq. If history is a guide, we'll fulfill our end of the destroying bargain, as we're currently demonstrating, and disappear when the time for the saving comes. It's no wonder the administration is adamantly opposed to the phrase "Nation Building" -- it doesn't want expectations to be set accordingly. After all, a simple expression, if adopted, can shape perception. Just look at the Dems' increasing use of "Vietnam," as in "Iraq is Bush's Vietnam." And Iraq is but a grain of sand on a long list of countries -- just fill in the blank, as Ed Herman aptly points out. To the question, how do we win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, the same old answer comes forth with typical bipartisanship: Send more troops! Shall we have to wait another 10 or 12 years till we bring our troops home and stop the madness from spreading to the next village, the next country? Haven't we learned from the previous holocausts, from the Indian Nations to WWII? Manual García provides chilling statistics.

Once more, this is tax crunch in the U.S.; a good time indeed to examine the hard figures behind the Administration's policies and consider just how stimulated the economy has become thanks to Mr. Bush's compassionate tax relief. First-time Swans contributor Joel Wendland, managing editor of Political Affairs, provides a staggering analysis that you won't see on the campaign trail, but may want to take with you to the voting booth. Philip Greenspan looks at the variations-on-a-theme candidates and enjoins us to make our voices heard. Says Greenspan candidly: "Get off your butt. Join a progressive movement in your area. If there is none, form your own with like-minded people." There's not a moment to spare either considering the rise of censorship. We cannot afford to focus solely on the presidential election and ignore the insidious attacks on, and chipping away at, the Bill of Rights. Efforts to legislate morality are reaching new heights.

To understand all of this, one need only look to Phil Rockstroh and his sardonic analysis of the "Uneasy Soul Of Contemporary Conservatism," and to Milo Clark for a reasoned chronology of ethics and morality. John Blunt skeptically searches for some "actionable intelligence" to uplift him from the existing state of ethics... Well, we always have poetry to do just that, and we're very pleased to present for the first time the sensitive poetry of M. Shahid Alam whose subject, Alberuni, was according to George Sarton "one of the very greatest scientists of Islam, and, all considered, one of the greatest of all time." Indeed, Islam has much to teach us all.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Patterns Which Connect

Edward S. Herman:  We Had To Destroy [Fill in Country Name] In Order To Save It

The classic Vietnam War statement by a US officer explaining the need to destroy a town in Vietnam in order to "save it" still resonates in left analyses, in part because it captures so well the self-righteous US brazenness in rationalizing its devastation of its victims.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Hearts, Minds, And The Military in Iraq

Once more, the powerful remarks of Sen. Byrd will resonate with those who opposed the War in Iraq in the first place, and have, ever since this gruesome disaster began over one year ago, principally and courageously ("It has been suggested that any who dare to question the President are no better than the terrorists themselves," says Sen. Byrd.) advocated to bring the troops home.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  Which Holocaust Matters?

Which Holocaust should Americans be most concerned about: the WWII Holocaust of European Jewry, the American Back Slavery Holocaust, or the North American Indian Holocaust?   More...


Countdown to 2004

Joel Wendland:  Bush Is The Stick-up Man For The Ruling Class

Get out your checkbook, people. According to the National Priorities Project (NPP), a think tank that examines the effect of federal spending policies on state and local communities, each person in the US would have to make out a check for $1,776 in order to balance Bush's budget.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Who Will It Be: Coke, Pepsi Or 7-Up?

The quadrennial charade has broken out early. The conventions have not been held but the electioneering is coming through hot and heavy. Many people have been waiting anxiously to dump the incumbent imposter; some since the day the Supreme Court couped the country. Their war cry: "Anybody But Bush!"   More...


Jan Baughman:  Say No To Censorship While You Can

From the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 to the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004, to the myriad laws that are chipping away at legal abortion (e.g., the Unborn Victims of Violence Act signed by the president on April 1), and the potential Constitutional amendment to define marriage, efforts to legislate morality are on the rise. And what can't be legislated is being censored.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  Liturgies Of Hate And Longing: The Uneasy Soul Of Contemporary Conservatism

The term "conservative" has become a misnomer. What exactly is being conserved by policies of expansive militarism and environmental plundering? That is -- other than conserving policies of expansive militarism and environmental plundering?   More...


Milo Clark:  Progress Overwhelmed Reason

Somewhere back there in time, Dark Ages messed it up with Medieval and Medieval gave way to Renaissance and Renaissance gave way to Modern. Along the way, came The Age of Reason.   More...


John Blunt:  A Scotch, A Cause, And A Ditch To Dig . . .

I imagined last week in my sleep how I might explain to the cops how I had bludgeoned to death the two crackheads who have lurked four months on my street corner, under my living room window.   More...



M. Shahid Alam:  Alberuni (973-1048 CE)

It was my master, Abu Sahl, who led me on to it.
"Write what you know about the Hindus," he said,
"There are people who want to converse with them,
To understand their religion, science and literature.   More...


Alfred, Lord Tennyson:  The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
      Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
      Rode the six hundred.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Regarding Phil Rockstroh and Mel Gibson's "The Passion," (again!), Manuel García's "Election 2016," and "Safer, Stronger, More Democratic: Kosovo, Iraq, And The Heavens."   More...



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Created: April 19, 2004