Lie of the Land: The Dark Heart of a Special Relationship

Written by Chris Floyd 03 June 2010 7465 Hits

Israel's deadly attack on the relief boat bound for Gaza almost defies comment. Its wanton criminality is so blatant and its "justifications" so transparently false that condemnation seems almost superfluous; the evil of the action is self-evident. Likewise, the reactions of the American power structure – timorous appeasement from the White House, unhinged bloodthirstiness from Congress – have been so wildly inappropriate and utterly divorced from reality that they can scarcely bear any serious consideration; they are simply roars of meaningless noise, set loose in hopes of drowning out the truth. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the incident (beside the loss of innocent life) is its glaring confirmation of this long-established, deeply destructive fact: there is no outrage that...

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Memory, Meaning, Moments and Madness: Wanderers in No Man's Land

Written by Chris Floyd 31 May 2010 8624 Hits

Zachary Mason's remarkable new novel, The Lost Books of the Odyssey, is based on a grain of fact. Before the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey were crystallized and canonized in the books of Homer sometime in the 8th century B.C., various (and often conflicting) tales of the Trojan War and its heroes had floated around in various forms for hundreds of years. Some of these variants survive in fragments of other ancient works, like ghostly echoes of alternative universes. Mason's intriguing fictional conceit is that he is translating one of these: a "pre-Ptolemaic papyrus excavated from the desiccated rubbish mounds of Oxyrhynchus" which "contains forty-four concise variations on Odysseus's story."

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Note from the Publisher - Richard Kastelein

Chris Floyd 30 May 2010 6600 Hits

While Chris has been away, I went through the latest brouhaha with the Wiki Police over at Wikipedia - there seems to be a right wing contingent there that doesn't like Chris and they finally deleted his Wikipedia entry completely last week citing there was not enough proof and he was a 'nobody' - which enraged me. So I simply built another Wikipedia page today with 30 citations and references. I look forward to see their new arguments.

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Creeping Terror: The New American Way of War

Written by Chris Floyd 18 May 2010 10434 Hits

The American way of war is a marvelously ingenious thing. And thoroughly modern too. No more of that "don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes" jazz; your modern "warfighter" (they aren't called "soldiers" anymore, you know) prefers to view his targets through, say, a computer screen safely ensconced back in the Homeland or thousands of feet in the sky, or else through the unearthly greenish glow of night-vision scopes. And open combat? Forget it. The new American way is the sneak attack on civilian homes in the dead of night. You creep up, you break in, you cap a few ragheads, then you run away. What glory! What magnificent valor! The Washington Post reports on yet another glorious page in the annals of the exceptional nation "intended by God to be a light set on a hill to...

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"Making Friends With Evil": A Fable for Our Times

Written by Chris Floyd 15 May 2010 8028 Hits

Arthur Silber outdoes himself with this one-two punch of an essay. It begins with a tale that pierces to the essence of what we are -- and what we are becoming -- under our murderous imperium. The second half unfolds some of the implications of the fable in the hard facts of the present day, taking off from the almost indescribable depravity of the current "debate" over Barack Obama's open assertion of the power to assassinate anyone on earth at his arbitrary order, and the continuation of torture under the current administration, despite all the bright shining lies to the contrary. Silber ends with an adjuration that encapsulates, with searing clarity, something I have been trying to say for a long time:

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Sympathy for the Oval: Seeking Shreds to Cover the Naked Truth of Power

Written by Chris Floyd 12 May 2010 8203 Hits

The fact that the Obama Administration is operating a secret prison in Afghanistan in which captives rounded up on the usual little or no evidence are being tortured even as we speak -- and even as the president was making his funny-haha jokes about predator drones -- does not come as any surprise. The horror of this reality is by now so routine that it almost defies comment. Or as Arthur Silber puts it in a powerful new essay:

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The Poetry of Death: Patterns of State Terror

Written by Chris Floyd 10 May 2010 9800 Hits

The found poetry of state terror continues its strange mutilations of the English language. The bizarre verbal heavings of Donald Rumsfeld, for example, are rightly celebrated as choice examples of the genre. And noted English playwright David Hare once fashioned a whole play built largely on the "thought-tormented music" wrought from verbatim transcripts of the principal authors of the war crime in Iraq. In this regard, as in almost every aspect of the Terror War, "continuity" has been the hallmark of the Obama Administration. But we would do the progressive, forward-looking president a grave disservice if we were to imply that this dynamic, historic figure has confined himself to mere continuity. No, in field after field of governmental endeavor, Barack Obama has striven mightily not...

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After the Fire: Militarism in Ruins

Written by Chris Floyd 09 May 2010 6400 Hits

Der Spiegel has published a series of striking pictures recently discovered in the forgotten archives of a Berlin publishing house: photographs of city scenes in the immediate aftermath of Nazi Germany's surrender. First, in what the magazine aptly calls a "surreal image," Red Army soldiers gather before the ravaged Brandenburg Gate for a poetry reading, with the city still smoking from its death-struggle.

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Cold Irons Bound: All Together on the Road to Ruin

Written by Chris Floyd 06 May 2010 8716 Hits

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." -- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar "Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand." -- Homer Simpson Our text today is from Tom Englehardt, who is on the case with yet another ignored atrocity by our super-duper Special Ops boys in the goodest good war of them all out in Afghanistan. (See the original for the many links):

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It's Not Dark Yet, But It's Gettin' There

Written by Chris Floyd 05 May 2010 6806 Hits

"Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer...." -- Brother Bob Illness and other aggravations have hindered the blogivating of late, so below are some choice items from other quarters that are well worth your attention. The Children's Crusade Andy Worthington tells the truly horrendous story of Omar Khadr, who was taken captive as a child by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and has now spent eight years in the lower depths of the American gulag. He is now being "tried" in the kangaroo "tribunals" of the Bush-Obama Continuum, under arbitrarily concocted, illogical "laws" whose cruel absurdity would shame a Stalinist show trial, including this arbitary ruling by the Department of Defense: “a detainee may be convicted of murder in violation of the law of war even if they did not actually viola...

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The Revenant: Brief Glimpses of Empire's Reality

Written by Chris Floyd 01 May 2010 8976 Hits

I. The Ghost Who Walks Last week, the reappearance of a figure from the recent past briefly stirred the amnesiac fog that enfolds the brutal reality of the American empire. Former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega was taken from the American prison which has been his home for the past 21 years and flown to Paris, where he is to stand trial for decades-old drug-trafficking charges. The extradition was itself illegal. Noriega, who was captured after the illegal American invasion of his country in 1989, was classed by the United States as a "prisoner of war." In fact, he is the only official POW in American hands today; the empire's innumerable Terror War captives have been denied this designation and its legal protections under the Geneva Conventions. But of course the United States long ...

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