Note from the Editor

The "we don't do body counts" policy resurfaced this week as images of flag-draped caskets carrying American military casualties were published, resulting in the immediate firing of one photographer and the scrambling of the Bush administration to put forth their position on "respecting the privacy of the victims' families." Fact is, with or without access to these powerful images, we are witnessing the gradual implosion of Iraq, the increasing number of deaths -- both military and civilian, the mounting criticism of America's handling of the war and lack of exit strategy, with little hope that we'll set arrogance aside and leave the destroyed country to rebuild and plan its future according to its own design, while it still can. Then, we'll need to address the implications of our actions and the havoc wreaked by our "War on Terrorism," which is in essence a War of Fundamentalism. As Milo Clark explains, one must consider the respective viewpoints of Ariel Sharon, George W. Bush, and Osama bin Laden, then ask, "is terrorism violence by someone of whom I don't approve?"

Pundits may assert Israel and Palestine are irrelevant to our actions in Iraq, yet the mounting violence and hatred cannot but be influenced by our all-out war on (Arab) terrorists and the behaviors and attitudes condoned by the Western powers. Criticism of Israel's actions continues to be met with cries of anti-Semitism. This is a complex, divisive and deeply emotional topic that Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair have addressed head-on in a collection of superb essays published in The Politics of Anti-Semitism. In fact, because of the very complexity of the issues, we are publishing a review of this highly recommended collection in two parts, the first of which is presented in this edition. In the meantime, read the Letters to the Editor regarding Manual García's Which Holocaust Matters for a demonstration of the sensitivity of the subject and the debates that ensue.

One way out of these political quagmires would be to follow the advice of Phil Rockstroh, who suggests we retreat from humorless, macho, vain narcissism to seditious values, and give our privileged, power-hungry leaders a swift kick in the pants. After all, it will take more than mere techno-fixes and sustainability solutions to overcome the quest for power and its inherent drive toward control of resources. Milo Clark tells us why, and reminds us to use local resources produced by local people. The struggle for control of resources takes place in an imposed system of law and order, which doesn't equate to justice, mind you, as Philip Greenspan illustrates; and it is no wonder that many of us, amidst these struggles and contradictions, end up along with Rockstroh, in a state of experience denied, unknown, and unlived.

It's springtime, and some of our regular contributors decided to play hooky (no one can blame them!); hence this shorter edition. As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Terrorism, Dare We Define It?

In warring on terrorism, who are we fighting? Going into American history, we find that the Red-Coated British mercenaries or Hessians fighting the ragtag American revolutionaries considered them to be terrorists in the present sense. By hiding behind trees and sniping more than confronting, they didn't fight fairly.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Gilles d'Aymery:  The Politics Of Anti-Semitism
Part I: Smear, Slander, And Intimidation

There is no topic on the part of this writer that triggers as much trepidation as that of anti-Semitism -- that is, as it is commonly meant but etymologically incorrect, Jewish hatred -- in the context of the US-Israeli symbiosis with its potential influence on US domestic and foreign policies and its staggering consequences for the Palestinians. To broach it or be brought into it invites passionate reactions, raw controversies, emotional debates, and scorching denunciations. Whatever approach is taken to address the matter makes no difference. One always ends up on the defensive, having to stave off one accusation or the other.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Phil Rockstroh:  Neo-Con Tragedy -- Played As Farce

Time was we Americans would to revel at the sight of witnessing pomposity deflated, the arrogant stumble, an underdog fighting back -- Charlie Chaplin giving authority a swift kick in the pants.... It is high time to say -- The hell with dignity, decorum and Fox Network, faux Patriotism -- Forget so-called traditional values -- What the United States of America needs is a return to seditious values.   More...


More Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Techno-Fix And Sustainability: Grappling With illusions

There are two major illusions clouding reason and hovering over probabilities of continuing human presence on this planet. One says we'll figure out technologies to fix things -- Techno-fix. The other says we'll figure out how to work with it or to restore balances -- Sustainability. Both assume we can fix what we have already done, are doing or will do. Both are significant barriers to themselves. Both depend on believers ignoring or denying evident actualities.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Law And Order

"The first thing we've got to do if we want law and order in the West is to take out all railroad agents and shoot them down like dogs."

The local newspaper editor in the 1939 film "Jesse James" was frequently ordering his assistant to "Set an editorial!" Then he'd repeat the previous sentence substituting some new offending group in place of "railroad agents."   More...



Phil Rockstroh:  The Blur Of Objects Resolves Into Water And Flame

My shoes became stained by the pulp of rotting fruit, as I slogged
through the abandoned orchards of generational imaginings. Stunned by
the magnitude of what was forsaken, I reeled in the direction of the
familiar road.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Regarding Joel Wendland on Bush and the ruling class, Edward Herman on destruction in the name of salvation, Philip Greenspan on a slight error missed by this hapless editor, Gilles d'Aymery & Jan Baughman on Ralph Nader, and Manuel García accused, among other things, of being ignorant, anti-Israel and anti-Semite, and more.   More...



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Created: May 3, 2004