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the time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things --

-- of shoes --

you know that squelchy overheated feeling you get in your shoes on a hot day? imagine that feeling multiplied by about 200,000, and you may begin to discern the sick, sinking feeling i have about the state of the world right now. 200,000 pairs of feet in 200,000 pairs of desert combat boots. 200,000 young bodies sweltering in heavy canvas tents in an unforgiving sea of sand. billions of our hard-earned tax dollars spent preparing for this foray.

aren't we supposed to learn from history? how many people around the world have a sick feeling of déjà vu? been there, done that, sure as holy hell don't wanna do it again.

200,000 dollar salaries. million dollar homes with servants and swimming pools. closets filled with armani and silk. italian leather shoes in the shoe rack. politicians pontificating to a public who doesn't know the whole story. here we stand, lemmings united on the edge of the nuclear abyss, and some lemmings are itching to make the leap. watch that you don't get dragged over the edge. maybe we could force the political lemmings to the front of the queue. maybe then they'll feel the icy jolt of history's lessons. or, better yet, maybe they'll just swan dive off the ledge in to the shallow roiling waters below. proceeds from the ensuing estate sales will go to feed and clothe the millions of poor in this nation. on second thought, why don't we just take the ninety-three billion plus (93,000,000,000) dollars this thing will cost and use it to build truly affordable housing and provide jobs, food, and clothes to our poor?

-- and ships --

a few weeks ago the media was all abuzz with news of troop transports awaiting permission to enter the port of iskenderun, turkey. so here we are, all ready to go to war, right? a blip on the news mentioned that terrorist factions have threatened to blow up oil fields in the middle east. is the price of petrol not high enough for our fearless leader? the middle east is now rife with shiploads of troops and materiel of war. and the majority of the world is protesting this, but we don't heed them. the economy of the world is rapidly being flushed down the toilet, and this war will likely do nothing to help the matter.

meanwhile, here at home, the budgets for the nation's school districts are being cut beyond all recognition. the state governments are hard-pressed to afford the services of the army corps of engineers who have long performed dredging operations in our nations ports. so whilst we have hundreds of thousands of troops ready to pounce on various portions of the middle east, we are neglecting our youth (cutting school budgets enormously) and at the same time disregarding the status of our nation's import abilities (cutting state funding for dredging operations). the list could go on for pages and pages, outlining ways in which our federal government is overlooking the needs on its doorstep to address issues halfway around the world.

half a century ago, during the cold war, the united states government essentially made it illegal to express opinions lauding such political views as communism under the guise of "national security", a.k.a. the house un-american committee (huac). we repeat ourselves now. in the news such words have been bandied about as "un-american" and "democratize", but nobody seems to see the connection. the huac is back with a new name (homeland security) and a new agenda (peace in the middle east), and the responsibility to stand against it rests firmly on the shoulders of the people of the united states.

-- and sealing wax--

perhaps one of the biggest mistakes congress has made in recent times was to give up their right to vote in the decision to go forward with war. or maybe we should blame the citizen voters of the united states for once again allowing the bush name to (dis)grace the presidential seal. but of course, it's hard to lay blame on everyone with impunity, for there are those of us who chose not to vote even for the lesser of the evils.

apathy abounds in the hearts of this nation's youth. the call for "food not bombs" doesn't seem to resonate outside the poverty-stricken activist/anarchist communities. so many young people are standing alone in the fight for their rights whilst corporate america votes them away. can't we see that the great standard flying at the front lines of this battle doesn't stand for the common man anymore? there are no winners among the common gentry in any war; all winners of any war, especially in these modern times, are high-end capitalist corporate americans. why do we allow this to go on?

there don't seem to be many options for the masses. our limitations both financially and politically bind our hands from doing much more than, as stated in the film "pump up the volume," to "rise up in the cafeteria and stab them with you plastic forks." not everyone can lace stationery with anthrax spores. maybe we should wrap the leaders and their minions in plastic and seal it with duct tape, citing their recommendations for our security. i, for one, think it might help.

-- of cabbages --

humanitarian aid is en route even as the bombs are falling. ships are awaiting clearance from minesweepers in the harbours. cities under siege by two opposing sides of a battle with their citizens wondering whether the next arrival will bring life or death. death squadrons are out in force punishing those who speak out against the regime, and soldiers disguised as civilians lay in wait. people on our shores wonder from where their next meal will come, and our government requests more tax dollars from the working class to help those thousands of miles away--after we bomb the hell out of them, of course.

this is all highly covered in the media, always so eager to broadcast images and tales of bombs and death. all this whilst people in communities all over our country are keeping their eyes on dumpsters for edible food that may be discarded behind the local grocers or deli. humanitarian aid needs to be lauded on our local cities and towns, but it seems as though our government is blissfully unaware. ignorance is bliss, and our politicians have it in abundance.

our fearless leader has stated that this war will go on until we are victorious. whatever that means to the average person, the bottom line lies in our pocketbooks with higher petrol and food prices, higher costs of living, increased inflations and taxes, and possible loss of jobs. all in all, it doesn't look good for our economy and living here at home. once again, the working class taxpayer pays for the war, and the ceos of corporate america get fatter and buy longer limos.

-- and kings --

disturbing words have been bandied about in the newsreels, and they should make all but the most blindly patriotic blanch with discomfort. such words as "democratize" and "colonize" and "imperialist" ring a deeply saddening bell. around the world peaceful protesters are graduating to riots and police standoffs. beanbag rounds, pepper spray, and handcuffs are once again on the forefront of protesters' minds worldwide. all over, except once again for those blindly patriotic ones, people are cursing the american government and their heavy-handed actions. a resounding cry that almost all dissenters are voicing is that democracy doesn't come at the barrel of a gun.

in some countries, this war has been likened to the holy crusade of the 11th to 13th century. a holy war, jihad, christians against muslims, a sad situation in any century. the nature of these ideas brings the whole thing to an expanding point. american government is openly hated, and americans aren't far behind. neighbouring countries are now being blamed for supplying the defenders with materiel such as night vision goggles and the like. this war is growing right under our noses, and we just keep on waving our flags amid the rising smoke.

the bush administration has laid a plan to maintain troops in the country of iraq to establish peace after the war. this brings to mind the european conquest of africa. it calls to memory the numerous, nearly uncountable, civil wars around the world when the colonized band together in uprising against the imperialist occupiers. doesn't this immutable history teach us anything? our government calls this "operation iraqi freedom," but the so-called coalition hasn't been welcomed with open arms and white flags. this lack of response heaves unrest in the minds of those familiar with the mistakes made in the past. is it possible to believe that, once the regime is "decapitated" of its dictatorial head, the iraqi people will just lie back and allow a bush to grow in its place?

-- and why the sea is boiling hot --

what a pot of boiling water we've put ourselves in. if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump right out, but if you put the frog in cold water and heat it up, the frog will boil to death. this pot has been simmering for centuries, and our country is now thoroughly embroiled. the threat of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in this war ups the temperature of our pot a few thousand degrees. the only consolation, if so it may be called, is that chemical weapons tend to dissipate more readily in sand. that is certainly no consolation to this disgruntled american.

how many people in this country fear reprisal? however large the number, it isn't large enough. with the level of hatred americans have already amassed around the world, it's almost hard to imagine that the abhorrence in which we are held could ever deepen. but it can, and it will. i, for one, have never wished to be recognised as american whilst traveling abroad. if people think you're canadian, you'd be amazed at the different attitude with which you'll be greeted. the xenophobia of the average american is frightening, as is the reluctance of many travelers to learn any language other than english. of course, that's a topic for another rant all on its own.

back now to the thoughts of reprisal and repercussion. the war against terrorism has morphed into the war for iraqi freedom, whilst north korea restarts their nuclear program. nearly everyone despises us, and even if the governments are members of the "coalition," the citizens likely still hold america in low regard. what is there to stop some type of reprisal from one of the many countries that disagrees with our policy? is it worth the lives of our young fighting soldiers, the iraqi people, and, later on, our civilians? there is nothing more valuable in the world than life, and all the oil, gold, and deficit spending imaginable can't bring it back once it's gone.

weapons of mass destruction, whether chemical, biological, or nuclear, all carry with them the promise of death and serious lingering repercussions. the aftermath of hiroshima-nagasaki has been devastating. the results of the meltdown in chernobyl are still surfacing and mutating. the effectiveness of vx gas lingers in the environment after the bombs have been detonated. are we willing to risk such dire repercussions under the guise of freedom for these people? are we willing to risk the chance that reprisals on our soil might include the same dire repercussions?

-- and whether pigs have wings.

the roadmap to peace is filled with potholes. for almost the entirety of recorded time, the people of the middle east region have been fighting over something or other. usually, it's been religion. chances are this battle will come down, in the end, to a fundamental fight over lifestyles: religion. what right does anyone have to dictate how someone else should live? the world is far too big to expect one market, one government, one peace-filled society, one united humanity. hell, this country is too big to make that all a reality. no matter what we do in this world, there will always be someone who will dislike us for who we are, what we believe in, or what we look like. in my opinion, there will always be unrest in the middle east. our "little" foray will do nothing for the region as a whole except cause those who oppose us to hate us with still more vehemence.

america is doomed to be remembered as the jack horner of the world: the meddlesome little boy with his fingers in the pie. we have always sought to control the outcomes of battles in which we may have the slightest interest. the rabid capitalism behind this sickens me. the repercussions of this action will be violent, deadly, and long-lasting. peace will come to the middle east, and indeed the rest of the world, when pigs sprout wings and monkeys fly out of the collective american arse. i don't look forward to the process or to the effects thereof.

may whatever god you hold in your heart protect you from yourselves.

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