Don't misunderestimate him
A couple of my fellow recovering Kerry-voters have by now sent me this wisecrack : "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Sorry, friends. I don't believe G. W. Bush is a moron. He just plays one on TV. It's worked so far, so he has no reason to change. As for Mencken, who was basically a monarchist, his contempt for the American people is equalled only by Karl Rove's. Our people, as a collectivity, may be slow to learn and susceptible to being confused, but as someone wiser than either Mencken or Rove once pointed out, You can't fool all of the people all of the time.
Colombia: the high price (in blood) of inequity
This news just reached me:
Two hit men riding a motorcycle gunned down renowned Colombian sociologist Alfredo Correa de Andreis and his bodyguard Edward Ochoa Martinez on the afternoon of September 17, 2004 as they left a neighborhood supermarket in Barranquilla. Ochoa died instantly of three bullets to the head, while Correa died moments later upon his arrival at the Clínica El Prado a couple of blocks away. The incident took place only a few blocks from the Barranquilla Police Station. No suspects have been apprehended in the case.
So many murders in that country, so little control over the armed bands. It's been going on, with varying intensity, ever since the murder of Gaitán in 1948, though its antecedents are even older, in the wars like the ones Col. Aureliano Buendía fought in the early decades of the 20th century. It's mainly about land and the wealth that can be produced from it. If the pro-land reform forces had been victorious, way back a hundred years ago, the FARC would not be in the field and the landowners wouldn't have the wherewithal to support the paras, and it would be a lot harder to find landing strips for your cocaine exports. Colombia is one of the starkest examples of the high costs of maintaining a system of injustice for so many scores of years. People keep rebelling, or at least protesting, and they have to be killed in order for the big owners to protect their property.


When victory means defeat
The goals are political and economic: a stable and at least superficially democratic order, to allow US corporations to exploit markets and resources. The means are military: tanks, howitzers, aerial bombardment, etc., no longer subordinate to either the political or economic goals. The means defeat the ends. What good does it do American long-term interests -- or even the interests only of our capitalists -- to turn Falluja into Grozny? Next the killing-and-levelling machine is moving to Ramadi, to Mosul, even to Baghdad. We are on our way to producing a nation of Groznys. You'd think that our leaders could have learned something by watching the Russian disaster. But no, they are doomed to following the same path, because, like the Russians under Putin, they do not understand the relationship between their methods and their goals.

(After I wrote the above, I just found these remarks by Tom Andrews, the former Congressman (D-ME) who heads Win Without War and served on the House Armed Services Committee: ‘Successful’ U.S. Incursion in Falluja Is a Major Political Defeat.)


Grim humor
Thanks to Sylvia Holms-Jensen for forwarding The Banana Republican Catalog. We need a chuckle. Meanwhile, Iraq burns. It's just like Vietnam: every step toward victory as our war leaders define it (another town destroyed, another few thousand young men defending their homeland killed, along with uncounted tens of thousands of civilians and lots of our own young men and women), the closer we move to utter defeat of our goals of ending foreign threats, securing resources for US corporations, fostering justice and stability (they are inseparable) in the lands we've invaded.
Recommended reading
Why Bush Won, by Don Monkerud. Don's conclusion: "For Republicans to be patting themselves on the back because of their superior moral values is likewise a big mistake. The country is not as conservative as they think, and they may not always be able to rely upon reactionary Christians and fear to win elections." I think he's right; read his argument to see why.