Blowing In Wind In Background Of

Blowing in the Wind

In the background of today’s entries, Bob Dylan’s “blowing in the wind” is playing.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

In response to the call for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by a retired marine colonel, decorated Vietnam War veteran and Democratic Congressman, John Murtha, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan implied that Murtha was advocating a “surrender to the terrorists.” McClellan is not a veteran of any war, and nor are his bosses, George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney (the latter actively sought 5 deferrals from serving in Vietnam).

Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

Peace activist and mother of a GI killed in action in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, was fined $75 for demonstrating without a permit outside the White House.

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?

The US military is puzzled about the outcry over the use of white phosphorus at Fallujah. After all, a 500-pound bomb is also destructive. My guess? You can’t go to war against Saddam on the grounds that he has stockpiles of chemical weapons, and then turn around and use incendiary bombs of a sort that much of the world regards as a form of chemical weapon. It is the hypocrisy factor. Not to mention that the international community is trying to get such weapons banned.

. . . Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

Over two hundred years after the Founding Fathers banned “cruel and unusual punishment,” the Congress is considering banning the use of torture on detainees of the US. A no-brainer? Sure. But George W. Bush is threatening to veto the measure.

Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

Some 62 percent of Americans think Bush is doing a poor job in Iraq. In another poll, A majority of Americans gives Bush a “D” or an “F” for his handling of Iraq, and only a third thinks he is doing an above-average job there. (What would establish the “average” for the US running other countries? The Philippines? Vietnam? Central America? In which of them has US imperialism not been a disaster?) A majority of Americans now wants a timetable for US withdrawal (this is the stance of the Sunni Arabs in Iraq!), while 41 percent are willing to stay “for as long as it takes.” That number will shrink.

Revulsion at the quagmire in Iraq is producing a new isolationism in the American public rivalling the mood in the post-Vietnam period, according to a Pew poll. A good sign: Two-thirds of the respondents felt comfortable with the US acting in concert with international partners.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?

Bush’s approval ratings are in free-fall! He is down to a 34 percent approval rating. Only Nixon in the last days of Watergate was doing worse. Seriously, I am worried about these numbers. At some point, the executive will stop being able to govern. Bush has been a disastrous president, but a country without any executive at all can be in real trouble (ask the Iraqis). It raises the question of whether the Dems can pull off a miracle and take the House of Representatives in 2006 (not at all likely, but not impossible), and whether if that happened there would be an impeachment.

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free? . . .

The US has detained around 83,000 persons during the four years of the “war on terror,” most of them in Iraq. Some 14,500 remain in detention there. Many detainees are not actually guilty of anything, but have difficulty obtaining their release once taken into custody. There have been many instances of torture or at least of cruel and unusual punishment while these persons were in US custody.

The US is probing Iraqi-run detention sites, including Ministry of Interior secret jails where mainly Sunni Arab detainees have been tortured by Shiite special police, some of them from the Badr Corps, a Shiite paramilitary trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind . . .

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