Note from the Editor

"There's too much bickering in Washington. Like, it's kind of a zero-sum attitude. No, what we need is to understand that what I'm talking about makes sense." Jewels of patriarchal wisdom from George W. Bush, 22 August 2002, on his new Healthy Forest Initiative. You see, if the forests are healthy, then the economy is healthy, 'cuz by cutting down trees, they won't burn, and if you cut them, you can make boards out of them and sell them, and if you sell them, you have more money to spend, thereby stimulating the economy. A zero-sum game? That, and yet another pre-emptive strike.

Anyway, enough about the environment. While hundreds of world leaders are heading for Johannesburg this week for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, we've got a war to sustain. We'll just send Colin Powell to Africa as a token -- get him out of our hair so we can have a healthy debate about taking out Saddam. (If you cut down the trees, they won't burn...) If you think the current debate is 'healthy,' as opposed to a PR campaign to create the appearance of a debate, then read Gilles d'Aymery's "Gulf War II" for some insight. And if you're still feeling that a good rationale exists, read his dossier on the Gulf War I rationale for a bit of déjà vu. Philip Greenspan gives a peek into Bush's decision-making process, which won't reassure you that reason will prevail. So what to do? Read the open letter by Edward Herman, Anthony Arnove, Rahul Mahajan and David Peterson to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging the UN to take action to prevent a war on Iraq, sign it, and pass it along.

For a case study on the politics and economics behind 'sustainability,' one needs look no further than Zimbabwe. Gregory Elich presents an excellent and comprehensive review of the history of Zimbabwe and its ongoing land reform struggles in the face of drought, starvation and economic disaster perpetuated by Western intervention and demands. Elich's work is particularly timely as Great Britain and the U.S. are considering making the sanctions against Zimbabwe more severe and will be working very hard at the Earth Summit to force African states to also impose sanctions. Colonialism, nationalism, barbarity... Milo Clark reviews this trilogy with a look at Field Marshall Lord Kitchener and the patterns that have followed his savagery. Greenspan, following a second trip to Cuba, writes on America's history of intervention, Castro's survival despite numerous attempts to ensure otherwise and on the merits of the Cuban social system.

In Patterns Which Connect, no efforts to drum up support for war can succeed without an enemy -- the 'us vs. them', good vs. evil approach with which we are sadly so familiar. Alma Hromic provides an illustration that we are all one of us in the end, with four moving vignettes on life and death in war. Deck Deckert encourages us to keep writing our elected leaders, as he's been doing over the years and now more and more, still hoping they'll actually read and respond; and Michael Stowell, looking at world events -- he has his own views of Mugabe and Zimbabwe -- and seeing the forest for the trees, thinks the trees are looking pretty good. (Michael is not good for Bush's economy...) Clark gives a philosophical perspective on perspectives, pleading that we look beyond our perceptions and their self-imposed limits and monochrome thinking, and David Garrett appeals for an end to the war and corruption.

After too much of war, and not enough of poetry, we present part 8: "Ancient Ashes," of Alma Hromic's poem "Going Home."

Enjoy this rendition and, as always, form your OWN opinion. Then, let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.


Back to Iraq

Gilles d'Aymery:  Gulf War II

There, there, oyez, oyez, oyez, at last we've got our smoking gun, at least according to Bill Safire, (1) "a score of terrorists" were captured last week in Northern Iraq, "including [a] Saddam agent, Saad, and [a] Qaeda operative, al-Kurdi." There's even a "Qaeda-Saddam joint venture" to produce "a form of cyanide cream that kills on contact." The ominous news has sent tremors all over the planet and the world trembles.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The 1991 Gulf War Rationale

When on August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, the response of the Bush Sr. Administration was decisive. It would not stand, said the president. A line in the sand had to be drawn. For months the administration worked in the U.N. and with its allies to assemble a formidable force that would eventually defeat the Iraqi army and liberate Kuwait between January 17 and February 28, 1991.   More...


Edward S. Herman, Anthony Arnove, Rahul Mahajan & David Peterson:  OPEN LETTER To United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Although the U.S. government openly plans a war against Iraq, U.N. officials and representatives have neither spoken out in opposition nor taken any actions that might prevent the United States from embarking on this violent course. The United Nations was created explicitly to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" (Preamble, U.N. Charter) and "to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace..." (Article 1, 1).   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Iraq: A Formula For The Future

After being turned down by almost all nations that were asked for cooperation in the coming war against Iraq and hearing the skepticism of top military men, it now appears that the Bush administration is receiving quite a bit of flak from numerous prominent men of the Republican Party.   More...


Colonialism, Nationalism and Barbarity

Gregory Elich:  Zimbabwe Under Siege

As Zimbabwe descends into anarchy and chaos, land is irrationally seized from productive farmers, we are told. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is portrayed as a dictator bent on driving his nation into starvation and economic disaster, while benevolent U.S. and British leaders call for democracy and human rights. These are the images presented by Western news reports, intended to persuade the public to support an interventionist policy. As always when the West targets a foreign leader for removal, news reports ignore complexity and context, while the real motivations for intervention remain hidden.   More...


Milo Clark:  Enduring Enmity, Radio And America
Field Marshall Lord Kitchener (1850-1916)

Few Americans now alive know of the Second African War, Boer War, of 1899-1902. Fewer care. Fewer still may recognize the name Kitchener. Of those recognizing the name, who may remember him as inventor of the concentration camp?   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Seeing 3 C's in the Caribbean Sea
Castro, Cuba and Communism

Earlier this summer, my wife and I made our second one-week trip to Cuba. We were part of a group of 26 that brought humanitarian aid to the island, primarily medicines, totaling almost a quarter of a million dollars.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Alma A. Hromic:  One Of Us

The palisade protected the defenders against the spears and arrows from the outside, but it also limited their vision. In order to get a clear shot at one of them, one had to look out over the top and expose oneself to being shot at. The defenders had heaved more than one body with an arrow through the eye or the heart over the palisade;   More...


Deck Deckert:  Talking Past Congress

I've been talking to my congress critters a lot recently. I haven't done that in years. A few decades ago, when the illusion of democracy was more compelling, I regularly wrote my senators and representatives, sharing my views about the important issues of the day.   More...


Michael W. Stowell:  Tree Folk

Most people don't think about trees much. A while back I was driving through southern North Dakota and stopped at a little 'mom and pop' convenience station for gas. The folks who were behind the counter gave me a skeptical eye; I was still in my Earth First! tee-shirt and had been well received in it at Fort Collins.   More...


Milo Clark:  Relative Value

More than twenty years ago I wrote a paper on relative value. In it I attempted to show that Wittgenstein's concerns with language straddled Popper's perspectives on the propensities dispersed within probabilities. The first question is whether this sentence makes sense.   More...


David A. Garrett:  Strange Times In A Strange World

The country is under weird times. Scientists are being questioned about links to the anthrax mailings, we are deciding whether or not to invade Iraq, the West Nile Virus is spreading, and I cannot find a good a George W. Bush mask anywhere in Knoxville. Yes, these are strange times in a strange world.   More...



Alma A. Hromic:  Going Home: viii - Ancient Ashes

[Ed. eighth part of a ten-part poem]

I come to this place and I tunnel deep
hoping some buried treasure trove to find;
shards of pain, love, joy — pieces of the kind
of thing that made me laugh, or frown, or weep.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Cynthia Rylant:  Short Excerpts of I Had Seen Castles

After three months of combat, my sureness of why I was there and why we were fighting completely disappeared. I had seen too many dead enemy boys, the color drained from their faces, which, even in death, too closely resembled my own; and as time went on I could not kill them for words. Not for democracy, nor freedom, and certainly not for religion. No one I knew fought for these words.   More...



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Created: September 3, 2002