Celebrating death

I learned of the death of Baghdadi late this morning.   I’ve included the wiki article about him under his name.  The Wiki entry acknowledges at the very beginning that this article will be edited as more facts become known.   (Over the years, I’ve come to trust more and more wikipedia’s attention to accuracy and objectivity.)  In my October 19 post, “ISIS” et al, I included two articles by my friend, whose ancestry is Syria, and who is very aware of the regional politics and history.  His articles are worth reading: The Origins of ISIS_Abreviated and Lord Balfour Project Lecture.

If you’ve read even the above single paragraph, you probably have an interest in, and perhaps have some personal knowledge and/or point of view about this matter, historical and present.  This is an open invitation for you to share your opinion.

I have an opinion – in very abbreviated form:  Succinctly, we Americans say we hate war and want peace, but for some perverse reason(s) insist on war (at least our leaders seem to think we do).  And, generally, polling supports the notion that we’re addicted to conflict, in which we assume, erroneously, that we’ll always win.  My opinion: we’re exercising collective stupidity.  Killing somebody like Baghdadi is not going to decapitate anything; only guarantee a response.  Just look at history.  Just my opinion.

As it happens, tomorrow and Tuesday I’m signed up for a long scheduled and large Human Rights conference at Augsburg University in St. Paul.  It is a safe bet that this topic will come up.  I’m glad I’m going.  It’s very timely.

Last Wednesday, we were at a very interesting talk by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Stephane Dujarric.   The nature of his position is representing a diplomat, the Secretary-General, whose job is to work at keeping 193 nations of immense diversity generally working together.  You can watch Mr. Dujarric’s address here.  Saturday’s paper had an opinion piece by John Rash, which talks about Syria, including a couple of quotes from Dujarric.  Take a look, here.

Personal spin: America – this means US (“we, the people”, at least a very significant number of us) – seems to have a fascination, indeed obsession, about KILLING and DOMINATION and CONTROL.  Define the bad one, kill him (in a political sense, almost always a him).  We see this at all levels.  Things like peace and cooperation seem boring to us.  Before Baghdadi (Trump), was bin Laden (Obama); before bin Laden was Saddam Hussein (Bush); before that was general animus towards “radical Muslims” (94% of Americans in Oct. 2001 supported bombs as a response to 9-11); earlier (Reagan) Saddam was our ‘friend’ …one can go on and on and on.  We seem to need an enemy who is perceived to be weaker than us.  But we only weaken ourselves on the world stage.

History is full of examples of foolish decisions: Since Truman, all American presidents through Nixon made policy decisions on Vietnam based on their political belief that disengagement from Vietnam would be a bad political decision – it would cost votes.  We lost.

We’re now in what seems a permanent state of war in Afghanistan.  The current action in the Kurdistan region of Syria/Iraq/Turkey will solve nothing, we will learn.

But, the calculus remains: we seem to prefer leaders who demonstrate a killer attitude.

Of course, along with this is abundant national righteousness.  We are right, they are wrong.  We all must be on the team.

These are my opinions.  I don’t pretend to have answers.

For those in Minnesota, mark your calendar, now, for noon, Sunday December 8, when TPT Life Channel will air the film, “The World Is My Country“, the story of Garry Davis, World Citizen #1.  The film shows that there is room for citizen idealism, and youth action for peace.  Do a home viewing party, if you’re at a place that receives TPT.  The locations are at the bottom of this page: TPT Channel Info001.

Questions?  Ask.   Comments welcome.


from Carol: Have you seen the video of Trump being soundly booed when he was introduced at the World Series game tonight?  Plus they chanted “Lock him up” for some time.  Made my day.  I guess all those red-blooded sports fans weren’t that impressed with his macho swaggering this morning after all.

from Larry: In agreement Brother Dick Bernard.  In total agreement.

from Brian: We just saw the Terra-Cotta soldiers here in China.  We humans have been warring a long time.   The USA was born from gun violence and the West was won by gun violence.   Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même merde.

from Eileen: Agree

from Alan, overnight: “Another Hollywood Story”: Just Above Sunset.

from Molly:  Good Morning, Dick, and I agree 100%. This country has, sadly, disconnected Cause and Effect in its historical perspective and the day-to-day politics which are bringing us such daily disasters…and this just exemplifies another expression of that syndrome…sigh…  I appreciate your comments on issues, via notes & columns, thanks.

from Jerry  Thanks, Dick.  I agree with what you wrote.  My suspicion is that Trump staged the death of Baghdadi to sway the impeachment matter.  We are supposed to be impressed with his actions.

from Roland:   Maybe that is your opinion, however this not the forum… let’s not mix politics.

from Mary Ellen:  Oh so TRUE, Dick.  This has been on my mind for the last couple weeks: As the President screams for attention to Hunter Biden’s involvement in Ukraine, why is no one asking about Ivanka Trump and her involvement in China? Early in this presidency, the First Daughter was denied several trade licenses by the Chinese government. I cannot help suspecting that her father’s trade war with China has elements of very personal revenge for this rejection of his daughter. I cannot figure out why no one is saying this.

from Jane: I very much agree with you.

from E: Lots of interesting comments, but what was missing is that “h” word that has caused me so much agony in attempting my book on religion.  That “h” word being hypocrisy.  That prevalent assumption that we are always the good guys. Like the cowboys and Indian wars, or the British versus the Pirates, and I can go on and on about being taught that the so-called good guys were really the bad guys.


3 replies
  1. MaryEllen Weller
    MaryEllen Weller says:

    Are we not the nation with the words “under God” in our pledge and “in God we trust” on our coins? Isn’t there a commandment that states “Thou shalt not kill?” We have fallen so far from our supposed ideals. What have we become? Thanks for your message, Dick.

  2. Corky Marinkovich
    Corky Marinkovich says:

    Recently we traveled to London,Vienna, Prague & Malta. People seem to be busy going about their business.The media coverage places very little emphasis on politics unless based on economics. Why are we focused on “rock piles?” Are we generations away from peace in some of these countries? Doesn’t Peace have to come from “within these countries?”

  3. Larry Gauper
    Larry Gauper says:

    Good thinking, Dick, and well written, as usual. Over the weekend my wife spent a number of hours in the car listening to CNN and MSNBC on Sirius-XM. We kept hearing the relish in Trump’s voice and the graphic language he used in describing the killing of the ISIS leader. Sure, it’s good that this despicable, evil man is gone. And it’s good the president and all of us recognize and salute the hard and dangerous work of the military, done on behalf of the U. S. and the entire world. But for the POTUS to seemingly “savor” the killing process through repeated tellings of the horror story of his death, is not consistent with espoused American values. Certainly not mine. Although Trump deserves credit for the decision to allow those brave troops to try and then succeed at this mission, I’ve never seen a man needing so much personal credit for something he did not actually do.


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