Note from the Editor

What's all this fuss with the pictures of inhuman treatment of Iraqi prisoners? Nothing that has not happened before; whether at Guantánamo Bay or in Afghanistan, back to Vietnam, the Philippines, chattel slavery and all the way to the Indian genocide -- and in US prisons whence some of the perpetrators came -- torture has been an integral part of the American Ethos. Historically, this has also been a method the civilizers, whether French, British, and all, used to win the hearts and the minds of the natives. The difference possibly is that it is documented faster -- hard to keep these digital cameras and camcorders out of the hands of our navel-centered the chagrin of Rambo Rumsfeld. A few people will be punished, long reports written, a commission formed, sanctimonious excuses provided, a few defensive punch lines uttered (it ain't as bad as Saddam's torture)...till the next time. In this light and amidst the escalating violence since the anniversary of the "end of the war," our collection of 19 essays on Iraq published in early February 2004 is worth revisiting. In it you'll read Ed Herman's conclusion: "It will be interesting to see how the Bushies work for continuing domination, and how the media in this country put a positive gloss on it, as they have always done and are likely to continue to do." Three months later, it is interesting indeed!

As America exposes its naked hypocrisy and alienates itself from the entire universe, we remain, to paraphrase Phil Rockstroh, an empire of sleep-walkers trudging toward the precipices of the plummeting realities of the larger world, led by a born-again Christian waging a time-ending war that will forever banish all traces of evil from this sin-sullied earth... In the institution of "Evangelical Democracy" described by John Blunt, our president is, of course, accountable to no one but his Holy Father, world opinion be damned! Milo Clark provides a chicken parable to human history to remind us that "Bush, too, will pass..."

Other important issues in the Middle East include the vital efforts by Iraq's labor movement to rebuild itself while rebuilding the country, described by Joel Wendland; and the ongoing effects of American oil interests on Middle East politics and the fate of Palestinians, analyzed by Manuel García. And in Part II of our review of The Politics Of Anti-Semitism, we challenge the stereotypes and faulty logic that too often frame the issue.

Latin American literature graces us with a review by Louis Proyect of Robert Bolaño's masterful novel, By Night in Chile. Gerard Donnelly Smith makes a poetic plea that we raise our voices against the violence -- each voice does, indeed, count. Philip Greenspan, a tireless activist who raises his voice day in and day out, shares his memories of World War I songs; in particular, "There'd be no war today, if mothers all would say, I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier." Concludes Greenspan: BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

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


Iraq: Invasion, Occupation, Resistance

RESISTANCE: In The Eye Of The American Hegemon
A Swans' Special Issue

Edited by Gilles d'Aymery and Jan Baughman

A collection of 19 essays on Iraq by among others, Justin Alexander, Anthony Arnove, Naseer Aruri, John Catalinotto, Milo Clark, Sara Flounders, Denis J. Halliday, Edward S. Herman, Rania Masri, Thomas Nagy, Louis Proyect, John Sloboda, and Gerard Donnelly Smith.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  Nappytime Of The Gods: American Somnambulists In The House Of Death

Ten years ago, after a standoff with adversaries that they believed were evil emissaries of the forces of darkness, members of the highly armed, extremist religious sect, the Branch Davidians -- led by a fanatical leader who believed he had been anointed by God to bring to fruition a holy war that would usher in the Kingdom of God on earth -- perished in a conflagration of smoke and flame inside of their isolated compound located near the wastelands of Waco, Texas.   More...


John Blunt:  Evangelical Democracy: What Gunboat Salvation Won't Fix . . .

The president has asserted that it is the "duty and calling" of our nation to bring "freedom" to the oppressed people of the Arab world. This view has been cited in recent books by Bob Woodward, Richard Clarke, Paul H. O'Neill, as well as in numerous speeches, interviews, and as recent as the president's April 16th news conference, as a primary underlying justification for his administration's war on Iraq.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  Robert Bolaño's By Night in Chile

While most people might feel the need to confess on their deathbed, the Opus Dei priest of Robert Bolaño's By Night in Chile does just the opposite. Over the course of this intense novella, Sebastián Urrutia Lacroix attempts to justify his collaboration with the Pinochet regime to his readers, yet seems determined above all to convince himself that he was without sin.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The Politics Of Anti-Semitism
Part II: Stereotypes And Other Canards

In the wake of the second conference on anti-Semitism, held in Berlin on April 28/29, 2004 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Abraham Foxman, the director of the always vigilant Anti-Defamation League (ADL), declared that, in light of a survey released by the ADL, anti-Semitism had decreased in most of Europe over the past two years. "The good news is that regardless of the methodology we use, there is a decrease in anti-Semitic attitudes in eight out of the 10 countries surveyed," Mr. Foxman said. "The bad news is it seems to be open season on Israel and the level of criticism is almost beyond reason." (1) But, the Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, Israel Singer, said in an interview with the German ZDF TV: "Anybody in a democracy can raise criticism -- this is not anti-Semitism."   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  The Chicken Parable

Out here in the rainforest of nontourist Hawaii, feral chickens have us as friends. A couple years back, a neighbor moved away leaving behind some hens of unknown provenance. About then the high decibel Coqui tree frogs imported from Puerto Rico multiplied exponentially with vocal prowess to match. Anti-Coqui pundits insisted that chickens would eat the little frogs or, at least, their eggs.   More...


Manuel García, Jr.:  The Palestinians Versus The SUV

Palestinian nationalism stands squarely between an American's SUV and a cheap supply of gasoline for it. The Palestinians may be doomed if America remains addicted to petroleum. The overwhelmingly powerful Israelis are taking Palestinian land with the aid of the weapons they have been given by the United States to act as its local enforcer of political stability in the Middle East. For American interests, this stability is defined by the dependability of oil production and export, and the capture and recycling of petro-dollars.   More...


Joel Wendland:  From the Ashes Of The Old

While startling revelations about atrocities committed by US occupation forces in Iraq have demolished the credibility of the Bush administration's handling of the transition to sovereignty and threaten to throw the country back into chaos, the Iraqi democratic and working-class movements continue to search for a peaceful and unifying end to war and occupation. An important but under-reported element of this struggle is Iraq's growing trade union movement.   More...


Poetry and Antiwar Songs

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Weight of One More Voice

What difference the voiced opinions over those never expressed,
those silent alibis that could have changed the world,
saved someone from the gas, or the noose, or the lead
that flattened against the stone wall, passing clean
through the poet's head?   More...


Philip Greenspan:  I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be A Soldier

When I think of Mother's Day with troops being killed daily in Iraq and Afghanistan I recall Alfred Bryan's lyrics of the popular World War I song, "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier."

My father, who had enlisted in the US Army, would often relate what the country was experiencing before, during, and after the U.S. entered the war.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Why is Swans not asking for donations yet? -- About the last issue -- and works regarding Gilles d'Aymery's book review on anti-Semitism, Phil Rockstroh, Phil Greenspan, and more.   More...



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Created: May 17, 2004