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Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Guest Contributor | 5 comments

Remember the Mayaguez!

Or don’t. I do. (Alas.)

Rather than throwing in my 2¢ worth on the vast, vociferous verbal volley and melée known as the “Great Syria Debate,”  here’s some pretty pictures for you to look at. I remain stubbornly agnostic on this topic and subject.

beauty strip

beauty strip

I haven’t heard anything that sways me one way or the other, BUT I have seen one thing that makes sense, although I do not agree with all of it, nor necessarily its conclusions: Your Labor Day Syria Reader, Part 2: William PolkThe Atlantic (online)

As usual, click on the picture to enlarge.

No fancy java-script zoomy things. Sorry. Flash and other coding are prohibited by WordPress®.

the view from the bridge

the view from the bridge

welcome to waldo

welcome to waldo

the working coastline

the working coastline

the doors of perception

the doors of perception

the dawn patrol

the dawn patrol

prairie at night

prairie at night

downtown hays, kansas

downtown hays, kansas

dew drop inn

dew drop inn

pacific costal lowlands

pacific costal lowlands

acres o tires

acres o tires

a bench in the (olympic national) park

a bench in the (olympic national) park

runner on the beach

runner on the beach

lake crescent near port angeles, wash

lake crescent near port angeles, wash

bridge and gull and sky

bridge and gull and sky

base of the dam

base of the dam

towers o tires

towers o tires

olympic peninsula clearcut

olympic peninsula clearcut

Ghod* bless America.

Courage.

* Ghod, n. A peculiar spelling indicating the use of the concept in literary, historical or cultural terms, without necessarily embracing any belief in monotheism, polytheism or atheism. My version of the B.C. versus B.C.E. and A.D. versus C. E. non-controversy controversy.]

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A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • KP

    Remember the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution:

    The Bush administration increased pressure on Congress for a quick resolution authorizing virtually unrestricted military action against Iraq. Sadly, most members of the House and Senate were ready to acquiesce, eager to support a popular president before going off to face the voters in November.

    Only a brave few in Congress seemed to remember the last time a president asked for such a carte blanche — in 1964. The president was Lyndon Johnson. He got what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and it led to full-scale U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

    Like President George W. Bush, Johnson was frustrated with a long-standing American adversary — Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam. As with Saddam Hussein, Ho Chi Minh had started out as an ally of convenience. In the 1940s, Ho Chi Minh sided with the United States in World War II against the Japanese. However, by the early 1950s, as American leaders backed French colonialists in their war against Ho’s Vietminh, he had become a bitter U.S. enemy. Over the next decade, Ho frustrated American designs in Southeast Asia. By 1964, communist guerrillas, aided by the North Vietnamese army, were on the verge of toppling the pro-United States regime in South Vietnam.

    Like President Bush, Johnson tried to justify offensive military action as the means to prevent future aggression. He seized on a murky series of clashes in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 between U.S. navy vessels and North Vietnamese torpedo boats as a pretext for American action. The U.S. ships had been supporting South Vietnamese commando raids into North Vietnam. However, a patriotic U.S. press accepted the government contention that the attacks by the North Vietnamese were unprovoked.

    Shortly after the events in the Gulf of Tonkin, Lyndon Johnson met with congressional leaders and lobbied them to grant him broad powers to respond to the supposed provocation. Eager to stand with Johnson in a cause as popular then with the American people as the War on Terrorism is now, House and Senate leaders quickly acceded to his request. Within three days of the meeting, Congress voted nearly unanimously for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Only two members of the Senate voted against it. The resolution granted Johnson the authority “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”

    The resolution led almost immediately to a U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam and, in 1965, to the introduction of ground troops into South Vietnam. Americans were hoping for a quick capitulation by the North. When that did not occur, Johnson repeatedly escalated American involvement. By the time he left office in early 1969, about half a million U.S. troops were in Vietnam. By 1973, more than 58,000 of them had died there.

    Congress later recognized the mistake of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. In 1973, it passed the War Powers Act. This edict required the president to report to Congress within 48 hours any U.S. combat operation and limited any such deployment to sixty days without congressional approval. Passed over the veto of Richard Nixon and never formally recognized by any of his successors, including George W. Bush, the act has not achieved its stated aim of ensuring “that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”

    Her we go again. Almost unthinkable.

  • I like to remember Rwanda.

  • KP

    We could collaborate on a long list that might cover hundreds of years.

    Hart, do you think there is more value when we focus our attention on our communities, our local schools, local health issues, local politics … or is our energy better directed on a national or global stage?

    I have been more globally focused in the past. However, I am leaning inward, more local. I can make a difference in my community. I can help a local homeless person. I can shop my neighbor’s market. I volunteer at a local cancer center, donate blood, see patients pro bono, spread health related literature, etc.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    • Shannon: Your statement is a paraphrase of Luke 12:48. Whether it is true or not depends on your faith, I suppose.

      KP: I am a pragmatist. I believe that politics is the art of the possible, so I cannot actually answer your question in a reasonable manner.

      I am happy for reforms to happen whenever they’re possible and WHEREever, but there is something called institutional inertia that generally tends to make such discussions of sunlight, peace and love absurd.

      For instance, we often hear the complaint that we’re spending “OVER A BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN MILITARY AID TO EGYPT!!!!!”

      OK: We virtually NEVER “spend” money overseas. Like space, it’s all spent HERE.

      Military aid to Egypt, for instance, consists of giving them a credit card to buy US weapons systems. Not a nickel of that ever gets to Egypt. And this is where most “universal” debates go: fine in theory, instantly grounded by practical realities.

      What I believe in is practical reality.

      As far as where we put our efforts, I don’t think that categorical thinking is the answer. You do what you can, each and every day. You confront what you are faced with. Sometimes it’s local; sometimes it’s national; sometimes it’s a world problem, like global warming.

      The only insanity is when, confronted with a homeless person collapsed on the street, weu complain that we have to step over them on our way to the big anti-war rally.

      But this is very often the case: tilting at windmills becomes more real than practical reality, and is used to AVOID practical reality.

      Nobody has the ability to affect universal change. But we all have the ability to act as a moral agent. And it does have an effect.

      Unless we get caught in our own Universal Questions and don’t do ANYTHING at all while we’re waiting to sort it all out.

  • ShannonLeee

    To those who much is given much is required

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