Saturday 31 July 2010

The United States, Israel, and the Failure of the Western Way of War

I think this essay is very important reading. Professor Bacevich - a retired colonel in the US Army - synthesizes the macro, the big picture of where the American empire has now arrived (or descended, depending upon one's point of view!)

He concludes with a very crucial question our leaders in Washington DC, and other collaborators in London, Canberra and Jerusalem, etc, seemingly refuse to ask (regarding the "utility" of war and other opportunist demonstrations of military superiority) even after it has become obvious to everyone that a military "solution" is almost always impossible:

The End of (Military) History? The United States, Israel, and the Failure of the Western Way of War - By Andrew J. Bacevich - currently a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

The role of the nonviolent peacemaker, grounded in faith and conviction, is crucial now more than ever.  So how long will "the beat" go on?

Today I received a fresh report circulated by CPT News - another striking example of the systemic barbarism Professor Bacevich critiqued above.   It's a good illustration of blatant apartheid policies officially condoned by the State of Israel and continuously enforced by Israel's military (IDF) with apparent American support for this sort of "democracy."

Keep in mind this is not a response by the IDF trying to control violent action.  In contrast, it is the IDF's own violent action taken against NONVIOLENT local and international activists in Hebron.  If this happened in America today it would, without a doubt, resurrect distinct images of hateful and racist actions taken by officials in the Deep South prior to and during the Civil Rights marches in the 50's and 60's.  Here is the story along with a link to some photos of what happened. 

-Clair Hochstetler in Canberra

Monday 12 July 2010

Summing Up: The The World Cup

Congrats to Spain for sure, but this is commentator pretty much sums up how I felt about the overall tournament: Jesse Fink (SBS TV) Evaluates The World Cup in South Africa


SubversiveVoices: The poor will suffer - again

My friend Doug Hynd has posted an excellent piece over at his blog called Subversive Voices which I think all Aussie readers would do well to absorb and discuss:

The poor will suffer - again


Sunday 11 July 2010

I'm officially a granddad now!

Presenting my first grand child - Benton James Boley - arrived just after noon on Saturday the 10th of July, Chicago time! (3:28 am Sunday, Canberra time.)

Justin, the proud daddy, reported shortly thereafter that my daughter Megan and their new little guy whom I had been referring to as the "rolly poly baby Boley" (due to the SIZE Megan got during the later stages of pregnancy - witness this photo at her blog here) were both doing quite fine in the hospital there in Chicago.

Women reading this may be interested in knowing that Benton came quickly, so his mom had a short intense labor. Megan arrived at the hospital already fully dilated. The birth was attended by a mid-wife and doula and didn't require any medical intervention, so we are all very thankful for that. He looks just like his dad. He loves his hands and likes to keep his fists by his face.

Benton starts a whole new generation on both sides of the family among the Boleys and the Hochstetler's - so this is indeed a momentous occasion!

Since his birth actually came two weeks early, this finally relieved Megan from being so vastly pregnant while enduring the current heat wave in the eastern half of the country. However, it's going to be interesting to see how Justin deals with all this while taking his Illinois bar exams around the end of July for final certification as an attorney. He graduated with a JD in law about seven or eight weeks ago.

Megan documented her entire journey through pregnancy at that very interesting blog of hers.
(Update: she added this post-birth "review" column on the 15th of July, which is generating some amazing comments from other readers.)
I cannot describe this wonderful feeling of being a new grandfather...

Carole Anne and I have been planning to include part of a week near the end of my holiday leave (mid-Sept to mid-October) to actually hold him and spend some quality time with Benton and family.
Here's a copy of the card I've sent them containing one of my favourite quotes about a baby being born.

Oh, by the way, Megan has a penchant for "twittering." And she continued to do so - even right through labor and after this birthing episode. I found some of her comments rather humorous, especially this one just a few hours after Benton's arrival! (And if you want to read any of her recent updates just click on her name at that entry.)

Doin' "the Dance of Joy in Canberra!"

-Grandpa Clair

P.S.  Click on his name under the photo above for more pics!

Wednesday 7 July 2010

America's Tragic Descent...Into "Empire"

Below are the first two paragraphs of an excerpt from an important new book: The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's by Tom Engelhardt (Haymarket, 2010)

It illustrates American "Full Spectrum Dominance" - the U.S.'s jaw-dropping transformation into a global military empire. Not really news to anyone who has been paying any attention at all for the last ten years, but still....


"War is peace" was one of the memorable slogans on the facade of the Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue in "Newspeak," the language invented by George Orwell in 1948 for his dystopian novel 1984. Some sixty years later, a quarter century after Orwell's imagined future bit the dust, the phrase is, in a number of ways, eerily applicable to the United States. On September 10, 2009, for instance, a New York Times front-page story by Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger was headlined "Obama Is Facing Doubts in Party on Afghanistan, Troop Buildup at Issue." It offered a modern version of journalistic Newspeak.

"Doubts," of course, imply dissent, and in fact just the week before there had been a major break in Washington's ranks, though not among Democrats. The conservative columnist George Will wrote a piece offering blunt advice to the Obama administration, summed up in its headline: "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan." In our age of political and audience fragmentation and polarization, think of this as the Afghan version of Vietnam's Walter Cronkite moment.