War: Remember when…

Opinion post by Mark Turner


Yes, I am old, but I remember when

  • The U.S. Constitution stipulated that Congress had the power to declare war. Back then, the U.S. Congress would actually debate sending our soldiers off to war. Now, Congress gives the Executive extraordinary powers to wage war.
  • Covert war.  if we didn’t want to talk about our wars, we called them covert wars.  Really!  Google it.  Search for Covert war Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and you will yield results. Now, we just don’t talk about our wars at all.
  • Images of war were broadcast on television.  We saw lots of blood on the evening news. If you were eating dinner, you had to turn it off. It was ugly. War was ugly. Now, demonstrations in major cities are referred to as war zones. Just ask Bill O’Reilley.
  • Peace Dividend. We were promised a peace dividend when the Cold War ended. We were supposed to be able to rebuild our infrastructure with it.  Instead, we continue our war spending like a crack addict out of control.
  • We fought wars with Boots on the Ground.  We have brought home our surging U.S.  boots on the ground, mostly, from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we still have boots on boats, boots in the air, and boots flying drones, but no boots on the ground.

Many more Americans can name the last 3 American Idols, than can point to Afghanistan on a map.  Does it seem like most Americans just don’t care anymore? It does to me. What do you think?


The Perfect Blind Spot

A piece from 2003

Poetry by Richard Weekley

The Perfect Blind Spot

–General Tommy Franks

Hashim Kamel Radi we do not count you.
But you are gone forever. You were 22 and
on a bus, perhaps thinking of a book to read.

Jalal al Yussuf you were just 17
and perhaps were wondering
what to eat for lunch.

Ibrahim al Yussuf you were only 12.
Perhaps you watched your big brother die
before you eyes that day in Zambrania.

We don’t count you either.

Out of sight out of mind
just like the coffins arriving daily at Dover
no one sees.

There’s Invisibility all around us.
Can you FEEL it?

Can you sense Ahmed al Rahal’s last grimace?
or hear Sufian — the Jordanian student’s scream.

We can calculate every millimeter to Mars
and land a rover
but we can’t count you.

For you are an uncountable.

America sends in great teams and spares no expense
to rescue one lingering soul from an 8.1 temblor

but maybe you heard

we can’t count you.

–the mind’s made up

head in sand

the perfect blind spot

we can’t count you

because: seeing is BELIEVING
–we must keep citizens from seeing
to stop believing–


USA – land of liberty and justice for all
unless you’re
Fateha Ghazzi or Nada Abdallah, 8 and 16 on March 24th 2003
you’re not counted
and nearly nobody knows your name

You died by orders from the top
so it’s okay

and your death won’t upset a single U.S. household
or lose a single vote

and you know
we had to be preemptive:
it was us or them

Your leader was mad
and ready to wipe us out on moment’s notice.
Didn’t you hear?
so I hope you understand

we don’t mean to say one thing but do the other
and we’re sorry if liberation feels like occupation

after all we know we’re right or
it wouldn’t be called: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Please Faris and Saif, 11 year old twins,
please consider yourself
freedom’s casualty

we’re not naming names or keeping real score
and please remember it’s best this way

with no b-o-d-y counting.
first posted: POETS AGAINST THE WAR . Com

Poetry: what if by Jerry Danielsen

What if?

What if we didn’t wage war, no matter what?

If our knee jerk reaction was always peace?

Like a junkie throwing away the needles
we stopped injecting power into the war machine
and we cleansed our spirits with peace –
no matter what –

What wound happen then
to the people who say
our enemies are evil

When it turns out
most of them are just
people too?

To rebuild our economy based on
peaceful activities
and clean energy
and clean living
and chanted the mantra
every time the machine threw
a temper tantum

That world would be better.


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Movie Review: Tomorrowland


imageWalt Disney


Movie Review by Mark Turner

Tomorrowland  feed the peaceful wolf.

4 out of 5 peace signs

Admittedly, I am a Disney fan.  They’ve had me hooked since Mary Poppins.  I really wanted to love this film, but I can only give it a 4 out of 5 peace sign rating.  I recommend this film, but I do have a few issues with it:

  • Extremely white cast: How awesome this film might have been if even one supporting cast member was say, African-American!
  • I felt the property damage and violence was unnecessary for the telling of this story.
  • Perhaps a bit long at 130 minutes.

Despite my complaints, the film ultimately succeeds because it attempts to inspire people to do the right thing.  The film begins with a scene that describes the old two wolves story paraphrased here:

“A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, ‘I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, peaceful, compassionate one.’

“The grandson asked him, ‘Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?’

“The grandfather answered: ‘The one I feed.’”

Although not apparent at the beginning, this becomes the ultimate point of this film.  I found the condemnation of broadcast media, greed, and  climate science denial to be a little surprising for a Disney film, but I guess it is a kids movie, and these are the things that our kids face.  The film inspires the feeding of the right wolf.

Did you like this film? Which wolf do you feed?  What happens if you don’t feed wolves?

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Poetry: War by Jerry Danielsen



Is a mental disease
masquerading as a solutionAnd the addicts
need their fix
no matter what the cost

The taking of what isn’t ours
the belief that since we’re always right
everyone else is always wrong

Them or us mentality

Prevents even a healthy debate of
creating a department of peace

Or helping the world
instead of trying to control it.

For all the cost of bombs and battleships
we could feed the world

Assist with affordable health care
for the world

Then our enemies would shrivel
under the power of love

There would be no reason for all the damage
with hearts and minds in alignment

If we would actually be a true force of good
and put our words of exceptionalism into action


Recognizing the beauty
of cultures different from ours

Making friends
through compassion

If we’re going to perpetually wage war,
the war on poverty here at home
should be the main battlefront.
~ Jerry Danielsen

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Opinion Post: Drones, are we not men?

by Mark Turner

Drones are fun.  The advances in technology have made Un-manned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) almost affordable.  These amazing devices have GPS, wi-fi, HD cameras, and an app.  Yes, drones are here, and they are fun.  If drones are flying in your neighborhood, you might find them somewhat annoying – very much in the way that a 5 pound mosquito might be annoying.


Of course, you may be slightly more annoyed if THIS drone is flying in your neighborhood.



I don’t know from experience, but a Predator drone is probably fun to fly.  They somehow remove the personal element from killing people. If you have lost a home, limb, or family member to one of these 2 ton mosquitos, then you likely don’t ever want to see  one in your neighborhood. They say that 2400 people have died in drone attacks of the past five years.   We don’t even talk abou it.  Drones don’t make the killing invisible!  War is necessarily dehumanizing, but instead of getting better at de-humanizing  war, don’t you think it be better if we could de-war humans?  Can we even talk about it? What do you think?

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