Friday, April 20, 2007

Peacetime?

This week's Economist says of the shootings in Virginia: "It was the worst peacetime shooting in American history." Peacetime? We're in peacetime? Has the Bush administration been that successful at fooling even the top newsweekly into thinking the war is something happening way over there and doesn't concern us?

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What I thought about during the minute of silence

Along with what I suspect were millions of others, I just observed a minute of silence for the victims of the massacre this week at Virginia Tech.

I thought of the parents and the survivors.

I thought of the broadcast of the killer's "martyrdom" tape, how sickening it was, how little I think of NBC News for broadcasting it -- and how essential it is to our democracy that NBC News be permitted to broadcast it.

I thought of how the nation came to a halt this week as a result of the shootings.

I thought of Iraq, where these type of massacres happen every single day, thanks to the intervention of our government. However horrible the shootings at Virginia Tech, however I want to stand aside the friends and families of those whose lives were ended there this week, I thought of how this is happening, many times, every single day in Iraq. It's a nation of Virginia Techs. I paid my taxes this week. I'm paying for the war. You're paying for it, too.

I thought of the American soldiers dying in Iraq, and how they're the same ages as the kids who died at Virginia Tech, and how they should have gotten a chance to go to college, not to war.

And then I thought of the parents and the survivors again.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

A thought on the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war

Yesterday we held a birthday party for Grace, who's now seven. The theme was American Idol, which was interesting, since none of the girls at the party, including Grace, appeared to have ever seen the show.

Over Oreo cake, two sisters at the party were showing the other girls how they could speak Arabic. Now I haven't set foot in Israel since 1978 and I haven't set foot in a shul except for a family event in almost a decade and I was never that good at Hebrew even when I studied the language three decades ago -- but I was surprised and thrilled at how much I could follow what the girls said. I'm no expert, but it appears that some parts, at least, of Arabic and Hebrew are quite similar. Maybe, if we stop for a moment, we can see how much more similar we are to even those we call our enemies. Today, in particular, it reminds me how all of us are closer than we think, something we should think about before we pick up any weapons.

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Monday, January 8, 2007

In only the second week of its existence, "Jewels and Binoculars" takes a break from snarky music postings to acknowledge the broader world

Just heard on the radio that President Bush will give a televised address Wednesday night unveiling his plan for an escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Like many others who voted for John Kerry in 2004, I did so holding my nose. But there is one famous question of Kerry's, spoken when he was a witness in front of the Senate in 1971, that echoes loudly this week:

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

full text of Kerry's testimony

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