Saturday, June 05, 2010


George W. Bush has morphed into the stealth ex-President since January 20, 2009, when his presidency ended. He has rarely appeared in public or the media, but he has kept busy giving speeches before friendly only crowds such as the June 2 appearance before the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, MI. Although these speeches aren't recorded least Bush offer a gaffe for posterity, un-contradicted reports have Bush bragging about water boarding terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed, adding he would do it again, "if it would save lives."

This is not new ground for the former President. He and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, have made water boarding, which is torture and a war crime, a badge of honor to garner style points among their political faithful. It doesn't penetrate the Bush mentality that water boarding violates not only international law but the edits of every administration from George Washington during the Revolutionary War through President Obama, who banned such torture in one of his first acts as President.

We should not feel shame for Mr. Bush who doesn't get it and apparently never will. We should feel shame for ourselves and our country for permitting a former leader to to get away with torture as President and then boasting about it as ex-President.

It is tradition to call a former Commander in Chief "Mr. President" when introducing or referring to him. We should make a one time break from this tradition and for the rest of his life refer to the 43rd President as "Mr. War Criminal President".

Thursday, June 03, 2010


The deadly attack by Israel on the flotilla of six ships in international waters bringing humanitarian aid to Gazans suffering from Israel's Barbaric blockade of the 1.5 million Palestinians there, was not the first such unprovoked deadly attack by Israel against against a ship on the high seas.

Most Americans are simply not aware of the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, monitoring events during the Israeli Arab Six Day War, twenty-five miles off the coast of Egypt. The two hour attack began in broad daylight when the Liberty was clearly visible as an American ship, and cost 34 killed, 171 wounded and severely damaged the Liberty.

Although both the US and Israeli investigations chalked up the attack as simply a deadly mistake, many victims of the attack and researchers believe the mistake explanation preposterous, concluding instead the attack was a deliberate attempt by Israel to prevent the electronics gathering Liberty from intercepting Israeli plans to attack Syria and grab the Golan Heights, both of which occurred shortly after the Liberty incident. Another theory attributes the attack as an attempt to blame Egypt thereby drawing the U.S. into the Six Day War.

Israel eventually paid families of the victims and the US government nearly 13 million dollars in compensation for the deaths, injuries and damage to the Liberty. This is a pittance to the nearly three billion in aid the US hands out to Israel yearly, primarily for military gear, some of which figured in this latest violent Israeli episode on the high seas. Regardless, the US has long closed the Liberty case without any significant repercussions to America's special ally in the region.

This time Israel will not so easily escape scrutiny for their actions. Turkey, Israel's strongest ally in the region, has vowed to continue support for the humanitarian relief effort in Gaza, going so far as to warn they will provide military escort for future such voyages. More importantly, Israel's shocking and violent outburst to has called attention to the two year old blockade of the million and a half folks penned up in the world's largest open air prison.

With the US supporting a full and transparent investigation of this latest attack, even the Israel Lobby, arguably world's most effective and influential, will have a tough time spinning away, not only the loss of the aid voyagers, but the larger issue of the endless humanitarian crime perpetrated against the hapless Gazans.

Monday, May 31, 2010


The volcano of oil (it is not a spill) that will now erupt for several more months in the best case scenario, and may destroy forever, the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf region, has not deterred some in the deep water drilling business from howling at the current moratorium placed on such activity.

One local supporter likened the BP made volcano to the airline business, arguing that we don't halt aircraft traffic due to one crash. That person is unaware of or has conveniently forgotten that the worst aircraft disaster in US history, a DC 10 that claimed 279 lives thirty-one years ago outside O'Hare, caused the grounding of the hundreds of DC 10's for many weeks so the government could determine and fix a design flaw and maintenance procedure. The airlines didn't squawk over the economic hardship it posed them because they had the decency and morality to comprehend that the federal government's role in protecting the public was paramount to their thirst for profits.

The unfettered capitalism, small government crowd driving America to ruin should be made to dip their consciences in the Gulf Goo to feel a tiny moment of the pain and suffering that will be a constant companion of the locals there for a long, long time.

Also published in the Daily Herald, June 8, 2010 and the Chicago Tribune, June 9, 2010