Back Page: March 2003

Simple salesmanship executed with honesty.

By Peter Sills

Things are getting interesting. For the first
time since this war machine has gotten going I
feel like it may stall out. This may just be a
misguided observation but it seems to me that
the British resolution for demands marks the first
break in Tony Blair's willingness to follow the
States into a war against the UN or should I say
the EU. What's the difference, it's all about
pressure. I am still for this war but I am upset
at the way it was presented to the public and
the world. I think the whole mess we have gotten
into here with our inability to form a coalition
comes down to one all important fact that can't
be reversed: Sales. The Bush team can be a very
focused and wise group of policy makers but when
it comes to Sales, they should have had Pete Sills
sitting in the situation room giving Wolfowitz,
Rice and Powel a lesson in presentation.

First of all, the very idea of demanding that
an independent nation disarm itself or prove it
has disarmed itself in order to avoid conflict
is so goofy that nobody in the thinking crowd
believes it, nobody. It's a bad cover story and
a card that never should have been played. Yet
to this moment, the administration wants the world
community to swallow the idea like a blind trout.
It isn't working and they need to fade it into
the background.

The second bad card is the idea that Iraq and
Bin Laden have a connection. The only connection
they have is that they hate Americans and that
they are both Arabs. Well my next door neighbor
and I are both Americans and we both hate Tony
Danza. So What! This is a bit shallow minded.
Their world view of these two infamous fiends
is separated by the fact that Hussein built his
government at the expense of religious fundamentalists
and in order to get the Bath party in power and
keep it in power he has waged a war against religious
fundamentalists inside his own nation. He gassed
the Kurds and tortured his own in the name of
fighting fundamentalism and has managed to keep
a secular government in a region which hates secularism
and wants the Koran to be that law of the land.
When we hear stories about people in Iraq getting
tortured or killed for opposing Saddam what we
are hearing about is people who are demanding
that Iraq become a theocracy not a democracy.
The Koran is everywhere in Iraq but it is not
in the law books. Women hold jobs as doctors and
lawyers and as government officials and dress
as they please. The dominant religion is Islam
but it is dominant in the same way that Christianity
dominates here. Anyway, to complete my point let
me remind everyone that the king of all fundamentalist
Islam is Bin Laden. He is so wrapped up in the
Koran he is convinced it is his duty to clear
the middle east of anyone who is not a fundamentalist
and that means us. Bin Laden has at least twice
publicly called for Hussein to be killed. They
hate each other.

Why then do we Attack Iraq? Because we are at
war against terror and the war is very complicated.
We are not fighting an army as much as we are
fighting ideas and the ideas we are fighting are
the ideas of fundamentalist and militarist Islam.
This war on ideas is not an easy fight for us.
The idea of the Bush team is to take the hard
road and pull the tree of terror out by the roots
rather than trim the tree. The idea is to reshape
the political landscape of the Middle East. Oddly
enough that means changing the regime in secular
Iraq. It makes sense to start with Iraq because
Saddam is a lunatic and won't really be missed
by anyone. By liberating the Iraqis our war against
militant Islam begins in the heart of the region.
by installing a democratic government friendly
to human rights, a dick of reason is jammed into
the mouths of the surrounding theocracies. The
first county to fall irresistibly to the temptation
of unchecked capitalist glee would be Iran, The
most violent and destabilizing transition would
eventually be Saudi Arabia. After Saudi Arabia,
the others would follow suit. Syria and Libya
would be squeezed out and eventually, Islam would
be a religion rather than a government. The completion
of the Bush administrations goal would take 20
years and possibly a half dozen small conflicts
involving the American Military. It's a long shot
but according to most of the policy think tanks
like the council
of foreign relations
, it is the only shot.
Bravely, the Bush administration embarks on the
hard work of building a better world for everyone.

Again, why start with Iraq? The desire to disarm
Iraq and keep it from being a Walmart for terrorist
weaponry is not the central goal but it is a good
goal. Another goal goes like this: By installing
a democracy in Iraq, It will clear the way for
lifting sanctions. The Sanctions against Iraq
have done the United States and its Allies as
much harm as good. They have given the fundamental
and militant Islamic groups a cause for hating
America and they have funneled more money into
the Theocratic governments which fund terror,
Saudi Arabia and Iran. The sanctions will have
to be removed in order to undo the Saudi led monopoly
and keep petroleum prices stable. Stable petrol
prices are needed to keep the world out of recession
not just the U.S.

An attack against Iraq does more than all this
and here is the card that should have been played
by the Bush administration. The card to be played
was the sanction card. The best U.S. argument
is that Saddam is too dangerous a threat to world
peace to remove sanctions and allow him to go
about his business. Next it must be argued that
the Iraqi people can no longer be left to suffer
under the sanctions or his rule. While the Bush
administration has played these cards it has failed
to lead with them. The card they have lead with
was the worst card. It is an easily exposed lie.

Say for example that Saddam was to produce all
the weapons that we believe he has? What then?
Do we lift sanctions and go away? What would keep
him from buying more weapons? Nothing!! Obviously
we have no intention of anything short of a regime
change, weapons or no weapons and the thinking
crowd knows it. That is the basis of why there
is no coalition today: Poor salesmanship.

I am not against the war. I am for it. Maybe
for different reasons but I am for it. Basically
I am for the elimination of any dictatorial regimes.
There are at least nine countries at this moment
I would love to see us invade for the sole purpose
of burning their state capitol to the ground.
The way I figure it is simple. It is the year
2003. We are supposed to be an evolved race of
humans at this point. We need to be launching
missions to Mars, curing cancer, fighting male
pattern baldness, inventing tastier tacos and
moving beyond rap music. Instead we are arguing
whether or not it is ok to insist that entire
nations of people be ruled by dictatorships with
sociopaths at the helm. I think we need to get
past this. It's time for the human race to advance.
The U.S. needs to advance as well. We are not
perfect. We could all use some enlightenment.
A clothing optional society would be a good benchmark
to aspire to.

You cant go back now, but let me just give you
a rundown of how it should have been presented
by President Bush and his team who are now up
to their knees in their own bullshit:

Dear World Leaders: For over a decade, the world
has enforced sanctions upon the nation of Iraq
in hopes that it's regime would adhere to the
demands of the United Nations. It is our belief
that nothing short of a military intervention
in Iraq to change its regime will bring stability
to the region and end the suffering of the Iraqi
people. Our hearts and best intentions are with
the people of Iraq. We respect their brave commitment
to secularism and equality of women. Given the
opportunity we believe that Iraq will serve as
a beacon to other nations in the region that freedom,
human rights and democracy are the minimum staples
of human dignity and to be without them is to
live in slavery to ones oppressors.

It may have not made building a coalition any
easier but at least people would have believed
us.

-Peter
R Sills

____________________

Honey's Ashes

by Richard
Cronn

Honey and I first walked this beach 10 years
after we met. We lived close by, within earshot
of the ocean. It was a charming place. Blazingly
hot during the summer and overrun with Dutch tourists
during the winter. It was here we'd lived under
the same roof longer than any other place. This
was as much our home as either of us of could
have ever hoped.

As we walked tonight under the half moon, the
trade winds blow like they did back then. The
salt water feels the same as it washes over my
toes making my feet sink in the shifting sand.
Still, this place has grown up. There is more
of everything. In season, the lights are brighter
down the beach towards town, but itÕs still
the same sand, the same stars and the same ocean.
That's why we always came back.

Tonight I am full of reminisces. The times we
spent here in heaven. The times we spent apart.
The different places we'd lived together. The
beach is deserted as we wade in the tidal pools
still warm from the mid day heat. It was the same
many years ago.
Honey discovered this place first and then shared
her good fortune with me. She said it would be
good for my asthma and I could find work. The
first place we lived was a rusty aqua trailer
near a lagoon with several crocodiles. The second
was in town over a bar where she worked during
the tourist season. The third and sixth place
was a handsome bungalow on a dead end street.
We lived there the longest of anywhere we lived
together. I was constantly amazed how it had survived
so many storms and high tides on that end of the
island. A young family lives there now with several
cats and a rusty car. It wasn't much different
back then.

We took walks to the beach almost every night
we lived in that house. Nights were not as hot
and there was always a cooling sea breeze, even
in the dead of summer. When the moon was full
and the night clear, it was so bright we could
look for sea shells. Walking barefoot on the beach
was our way to spend an evening out. Before we
got electricity we didnÕt listen to the
radio as much. So we talked, read to each other
and played a lot of gin rummy by gaslight. We
swam, held hands and made love on our walks.

In the light of this waning moon, I wade across
the shimmering pool to the shore break, look out
to sea and whisper a prayer. Tonight will be the
last time Honey and I will walk together on this
thin strip of sand. Possibly the last time we
will ever touch.

Kneeling down, I hold her in my shaking hands.
As she had opened her heart to me, I opened my
cupped palms and let her ashes go out with the
tide.

________________

Don't leave it in the park

by John
Bryan

i think this year is out to get me:

we embark on our bikes
around the lake
which lately we can't complete
avoiding sharp corners
running people off their feet
squashing their pooches

balancing on the swings
to discuss our demise
moon crashing down
on our heads any second
applying mouth to mouth
i resuscitate
revive that naked form
jaws of life
peeling away accidental
clothes from your
body's carnage
on the ground below

but the insects bite us
suck our blood
decide to salvage ourselves
and in retreat
once again not completing
i plead to you
not to leave this in the park
by bludgeoning my head
harshly on the ground
walking off and coming back
in tantrum, not tantric, foreplay

your house:
afterwards
i thought about people
who with mortal wounds
remain conscious up to the injuries
dissolving them & you stated
we should start using lube
because lately you've been dry

now i've got to revisit
every place we went
on my own so i can say
i've been there post mortem since you
there is no part of this world i want
to remain booby trapped
one unsuspecting re-step -

... BOOM! ...

i think this year is trying to kill me.

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