“Shock and Awe”

PRENOTE: Thursday Mar 23 noon to one, Free Forgiveness introduction.  Details here.  I recommend this; a way to get acquainted with an important program..

POSTNOTE: We seem to be on the edge of major developments on the national scene.  A long time ago I said and I continue to say that the legal processes take a long time, and are a hallmark of the best aspects of the “Rule of Law” – expect that.  As for the assorted ideological issues: accusations of “woke”. etc.  The only antidotes are to be well informed first, and then to take some action to make sure your views are known to someone who can make a difference.

My preferred sources for reliable and balanced information are these: Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson; Civil Discourse, Joyce Vance; The Status Kuo, Jay Kuo; The Weekly Sift, Doug Muder.  Check their bio at their site.  Act.

There is so much happening, and I seem to have opinions to express two or three times a week.  Check the archive by the month at any time.


Twenty years ago today (March 19, 2003), the U.S. began the Iraq War.  The bombing began the night of March 19.  Baghdad is eight hours ahead of Twin Cities time.  It was expected, but not announced; it was horrific.  Nothing to celebrate.

I recall going to the local Fitness Center, and folks were watching on the television.  It was deadly serious time.  It will likely never be truly over.  The longest war in U.S. history, by far, even though the famous “mission accomplished” appearance by President Bush on the Aircraft Carrier off San Diego on May 3, 2003, was supposed to signal conquest.  From the beginning it was a war of choice, once in, all but impossible to exit.

A year earlier, in April, 2002, I wrote a column that was printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  It can be read here: Afghanistan colum 4:2002001.  It was titled “9-11 was excuse to go to war”.  Naive as I was at the time, not once was the word “Iraq” was mentioned or even implied.  We were soon to learn this was an opportunity for certain U.S. elements to seek other objectives than avenging 9-11-01,  Al Qaeda was not the objective.

Of course, the beat goes on.  But the drumbeat is a bit different.

A peacemaker (my gig, too) was chastising our country for its support for Ukraine’s effort to defend itself against Russia.  The narrative, easily justifiable, is that going to war is no alternative to making peace, and brought up our involvement in Iraq.  Our efforts should be entirely on negotiating a peace.

We had the following exchange, shared in my post for Feb. 23, the one year anniversary of the Ukraine conflict.  My last paragraph below is my position.  I deeply respect Buddy.

from Buddy: As I read and hear mass media accounts, I find myself substituting “Iraq” for Ukraine and wondering at the comparison.  The human suffering, the atrocities, the pointless destruction, the long-term spread of toxins, the use of depleted uranium…..When the US was the illegal invader, the Ukrainian resistance would have been called insurgents.  War is immoral. War is murder.  We should do nothing to promote further death and destruction — and planetary omnicide.

War is barbaric whoever perpetrates it.  We need an international security order that is not seen as being run by the big bully who breaks all the rules.
I stand with people’s right to defend themselves but not with insisting that they kill until they themselves are killed, leaving the land and climate poisoned.   There really is a better way.
This is the 21st Century.  We’re 21 now.   Time is up on mass killing as “statecraft.”   How long can we avoid the use of nukes— even being urged by a retired US general on Fox last Sunday?  Ceasefire and negotiate.

response from Dick: earlier in this post (the first comment) I said I could probably be identified as “peacenik” and as “war monger” never guessing that Buddy would demonstrate the issue.

I became a peacenik when we bombed Afghanistan in 2001.  In April 2002 a column of mine was published in the Minneapolis paper in which I articulated my position.  I have noted often, since, that the word “Iraq” was not even mentioned in the column, which I add here: Afghanistan column 4:2002.

In Iraq, the United States was the aggressor.  In Ukraine, it is Russia that is the aggressor.  That, to me at least, is the distinction. between the two conflicts.  I have not changed my philosophy.

On this 20th anniversary of an unconscionable act by our country against another, let us take time to not only take positions, but consider ways to get into constructive dialogue in which the goal is to understand, not to dominate.  We are in a complicated world.

I once again recommend, strongly, viewing the film “Beyond the Divide”, and considering how we fit into its powerful picture.  Yes, it is hard to imagine there is another position, whichever side you happen to be on.  Let’s give dialogue a

ADDITIONAL NOTES:  Nothing is as simple as just going out to bomb Iraq.  There is a process.  In this instance, a crucial act was the Iraq War Resolution which was ultimately passed by the U.S. Senate on October 11, 2002.  There were 23 “No” votes on the resolution, including Paul Wellstone of MN (Sen. Mark Dayton voted “aye”.)

I recall the afternoon preceding the vote I made a decision to go to Paul Wellstone’s office to urge a “no” vote.  In was in the afternoon, and when I arrived there was no one there – I had expected protestors.  Turned out that Wellstone had made the difficult decision to vote “No”, which vote took place in the evening.

Minnesotans, especially those who support Wellstone, know the rest of the story: Paul Wellstone was running for reelection to the Senate, October 25, 2002, Paul, his wife Sheila, and others died in a plane crash at Eveleth MN.   Walter Mondale was pressed into service to run at the last minute, literally, in Wellstone’s stead, and was narrowly defeated by the Republican candidate.

One of the main problems with the Iraq War Resolution was that it gave carte blanche authority to the President to go to War, when the right to prosecute war was the constitutional right of the Congress.

Tension between Executive and Legislative Branch of our government is long-standing and misused.  It’s a good time to review the War Powers Act of 1973, which is summarized here.

COMMENTS (more at end of post):

from Em: Your use of the term “Bully” brings to mind the development of the International Criminal Court.  It was developed because of the situation where nations on the UN Security Council (the bullies) have veto power to protect themselves and associated who have committed war crimes.  I am thinking that if you asked anyone about the ICC, you would get a “deer-in-the-headlight” stare from most people.  Give some consideration of doing a write up on the subject in simple terms to help educate the public.

response from Dick:  Good thought; good idea.  I’m active in an organization which has long supported the idea of joining the ICC.  You may find this brief article of interest: Intl Criminal Court Mondial CGS Sr 2022.

response to Dick from Em: Thanks for the added info, Dick.  The article by Byron Belitsos [above link] was of particular interest.  When you Google info on wars, WW II and the Vietnam War are the most highlighted.  Our involvement in WW II was justified and we made useful amends afterwards, but there was no justification for the 3.1 million or so that we killed in the Vietnam War.  It is unfortunate that our support of the British in the wars against Iran are still classified.  It was as bad, if not far worse than our killings in the Vietnam war.  That info will remain classified until somewhere around 2040.

from Brian:  Very moving piece, thanks for sharing!     

And yes, I have my war stories too–avoiding them.   In grade school I was taught by Incarnate Word nuns here in San Antonio.  They saved me.  They taught me Jesus is peace, turn the other cheek.  Be nice.

San Antonio is a military town and later I was an outcast in ROTC, but now my friends who went off to Vietnam to fight are basket-case messes.  They believed our government about war.    Me, I went to Denmark, and had great times with the sexually liberated society there, ha ha.  Actually, a bit too much more me, ha ha.

Oh, here’s a drone video I just made about my grade school.




March 19, 2023

Well, I went to Mass on Sunday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Broadway in San Antonio. And after church I had Super Duper Mavie fly over my grade school, and where the nuns live, Incarnate Word.

This is the video.  [Dick: this is worth the 6 minutes.  Brian’s usual haunt is Brooklyn NY.  The background music is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I wonder who the angels are rooting for!?)


from Barry:

Twenty years ago this month, America was led into a $5 trillion dollar war.  It cost the lives of up to a million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers, and threw that country into mass chaos. The Iraq War was based on the transparent lies of leaders primarily based on weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was somehow connected to 911. Lies supported by most of our major news sources. A war which President Biden (then Senator) endorsed.

With this information, rather than pausing for reflection, evaluating, maybe even admitting mistakes, we sign on to the proxy war with Russian and possibly China with no real questions asked. Wouldn’t this be the time to ask questions. Instead we put on even darker, aviator sunglasses and are provided with even fewer alternative views from our news sources. NYT, WAPO, and government press releases suffice for the range of appropriate discourse. Does this serve well for understanding and offering our consent? 

Now at one of the worst junctures in our worlds history America refuses diplomacy with Russia and continues to escalate what could become a nuclear conflict. We did not listen to that wider voice leading to the Iraq invasion. Will the media change course to provide that wider course today?. 
2 replies
  1. norm westgaard hanson
    norm westgaard hanson says:

    Interestingly, it seems like the MAGA supporters cannot define woke when asked and/or pushed to do so. As such, we can assume that to the knuckleheads who push the woke deal, it really and only really means any one taha they do not like talking about something that they do not like and/or are uncomfortable with or who doesn’t worship the “right way” as God told them when they asked her about what was the “right ” faith or the availability of books or a worshipping and non-critical press that asks too many difficult questions that they don’t like or (fill-in-the-blanks). No sirree Bob! You have to make sure that everyone looks, speaks, worships, dresses the “right” way in you are going to MAGA.

  2. Catherine Rivard
    Catherine Rivard says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Buddy’s remarks. War itself is a war crime. It’s incredible to me that in this century, after thousands of years of warfare, we haven’t worked out a solution. Our peace-loving insistence that dialogue might bring us to peaceful resolutions is correct but its naïveté will never change so long as we face the truth. What we call “civilization” progressed at lightening speed compared to the development of our basic humanity. War is driven by power, control, money. Sacrificing people means nothing to those who want those things. We might as well talk about any ancient war as Iraq or Afghanistan. Until we finally crawl out of our tribe mode, we’re stuck. We must make war a crime.


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