Monday, June 11, 2007


Hey there, readers! Are you an African American? Are you, perchance, from one of the key "swing states" (Florida, New Mexico or Ohio, for example)? Do you have a friend or relation (brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild) who is a person of color and is now serving in uniform, risking his or her life on a daily basis in the atrocity that the Bush administration is now committing against the men, women and little children of Iraq? If so, please forward to him or her this little posting of mine. It was written for them....
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Dear Sir or Madam,

First of all, at the risk of sounding trite, thank you for your service to our country. There is something awe-inducing to witness a group of people who have been largely excluded from the so-called "American Dream", putting their lives on the line for their once-great nation.
By now, I am sure that you've figured out that the scam your civilian leaders were able to hoodwink most of the American people into believing - that this stupid and irrational war was about ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and keeping the United States free and safe - was nothing more than a blatant lie. Saddam Hussein's WMD program was non-existent and your leaders knew it. I'm sure it dawned on you a long time ago that the criminal occupation of what was (like it or not) a sovereign nation that your government has forced you to take part in never had a damned thing to do with "bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people". By now you're probably cognizant of the fact that the motivations of these despicable bastards and bitches (Hi, Condi!) was primarily to seize what is generally believed to be the second largest oil reserves on the planet. It is also a fairly safe wager that you've noticed that the work which used to be done relatively inexpensively and competently by the military has been contracted out to politically connected (read: "Republican connected") corporations - with blatant disregard for legally mandated bidding processes - and that they have been able to loot untold billions of dollars from the national treasury in doing so.
I have no doubt that you're aware of all of the above. But were you also aware of the fact that when you cast your vote for president in 2004 - after all of the blood, sweat and tears you've shed - that your vote wasn't even counted? The Republican party's political machine, with Karl Rove in charge of the entire operation, conspired to have your vote tossed to the wind. They knew damned good and well you wouldn't be voting for the GOP that year. How did they know that? Because you're Black! They knew you couldn't possibly be that stupid! How could any sane and rational African American vote for a party that is dedicated to keeping them under the boot, so to speak?
Oh, sure! In recent years they've tried to give an appearance of "inclusion". At any GOP gathering, the "token Negroes" can always be found in strategic places - just for show, mind you. Their conventions of 2000 and 2004 looked so much like an old time Minstrel Show with all of those smiling and pathetic, slap-happy Uncle Toms shuffling across the podium, I half expected Al Jolson, resurrected from the dead (in black face) to descend the stage:
Mammy! My little Mammy!
I'd walk a million miles
For one of your smiles
The entire spectacle was so transparent and demeaning, it would have even embarrassed Stepin Fetchit! "Yassa! Whatever Massa wants, Massa gits! Hee! Hee! Hee! Oh, Mistah White Folks, YOU SHO IS SLY!!!"
Where the hell do they find these people?
But, really, all of that silliness is irrelevant and beside the point. The fact of the matter is this: if you're Black and the native of a state where a Bush victory was not at all a foregone conclusion, a so-called "Swing State", it's a very good possibility (in fact, it's more than likely) that your vote was given the old heave ho! How were they able to do this, you may well ask? They were able to do it through a process called, "vote-caging". In his excellent book, Armed Madhouse, Greg Palast explains in detail how they were able to pull it off:
"The Bush/Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "DO NOT FORWARD" to voters' homes. Letters unreturned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were these evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and - you gotta love this - American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are black voters. Why weren't these African American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation [or away at college] - and the soldiers were oversea".
Does that make you angry? Yeah, I understand totally. I'm in a blind fucking rage over the whole matter and I'm not even black! But you really shouldn't be all that surprised. The Tribute to Scatman Crothers spectacle at the last two Republican National Conventions was nothing more than a sick and cynical attempt to deflect the undeniable: the GOP is the party of power, the uber rich, the elite - the White Man, Buster! - And you folks had better dammed well know your place if you know what's good fer ya! This nasty and obvious truth was driven home with a gut-wrenching vengeance two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While Bush was posing for the photographers playing a guitar at a two-thousand dollar-a-plate fundraiser somewhere in California (a scene which - so help me - reminded me of Nero fiddling while Rome burned all around him), thousands of the citizens of New Orleans were left to die in a raging flood that consumed the most poverty stricken part of that city. I don't need to remind you that the overwhelming majority of those citizens were people of color, do I? I didn't think so. Do you think for one moment that the government they claim you are fighting to preserve would have exhibited such base and blatant indifference to the suffering had the disaster occurred in...say...oh...I don't know...Crawford, Texas, maybe? No, neither do I.
Given all that you now know, the question is just screaming to be posed:
Just thought I'd ask.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY.
Armed Madhouse
by Greg Palast
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I just recieved this e-mail from Charles Moore of Chicago, Illinois:
House Speaker Pelosi's office is taking calls voting for impeachment of Cheney and Bush at
FAX 1-202-225-8259

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At 3:39 AM, Blogger Bijoy said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,

This piece cuts like a knife right through the lies of the Bush government AND the lies some soldiers are telling themselves about why they are willing to go to war. If they don't face the truth now they will certainly face it in Iraq, but it may be too late.

I lack the words to adequately describe the tragic betrayal of Americans who love this country by this government. Neoconservatism has twisted and manipulated the loyalty and love and pride of Americans who are willing to sacrifice everything for the country they love, thinking they are spreading goodness in the world. How sick at heart they will feel when they figure out the truth.

I encourage anyone who loves this country to express it not by going off to fight this war, but by getting involved in fighting the corrupt government we now have in place of the one our Constitution was formed to frame and protect. Get involved in taking back our government through peaceful protest and organization and seek to rebuild the democratic nation that we can be proud of!

Black Americans have a special contribution to this nation. Not only did their labor physically contribute to America's development, but they are as a whole a very religious, family - oriented people. The dysfunctional, broken ghetto family is a stereotype! Their history of suffering has nurtured a deep heart as individuals and as a group. I feel sorry for any white person who has never encountered it.

Years ago in New York City I had to rely on the subway for several months for transportation when I was very pregnant with my first child. Sure, I sometimes overheard complaints about whites from blacks on the train. But INVARIABLY, it was a black man or woman who would offer me a seat if they saw me standing there in my condition. Young able-bodied white guys in business suits would pretend they didn't see me or turn the other way in their seats. I never forgot that experience.

Your point is made well here, Tom, that this war is an even more profound tragedy for the Black soldiers who are involved. Courageously and beautifully written!

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

An absolutely searing article. Thank you for speaking up.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican Party, The Bush Familia, Darth Dick, and KKKarl Rove have hijacked America and sold it to the highest bidders: swine like Rupert Murdock, companies like Exxon and Blackwater, and other assorted hairballs and scumbags. But the worst theft is the theft of our vote. The Supremes under the Ridiculous Rehnquist(I mourn not his passing) assisted in this travesty.The Sheeple stood by in their TV induced comas and let it happen. The first time was bad enough in Florida. No coincidence there. But, it happened AGAIN in Ohio. This time you can bet the farm the voting machine companies were in on it. I have read Palast's book. It will curl a crew cut. Yet, it has not received the publicity it should from the Media. No investigative journalists from the major newspapers or networks have joined in looking into the Great Vote Theft. Instead, they focus on Paris Hilton's misadventures and Brittney Spear's butt.KKKarl Rove belongs in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. He is a caricature of Goring. I just read "Garden of the Beasts" by Jeffrey Deaver. It is an action thriller set in pre-war Berlin in the 30's as Hitler planned his war. The actions of the Third Reich are frighteningly similar to the actions of the Bush Administration. Demagogues are demagogues, no matter the time or place. If I had a son or daughter considering joining the military, I would organize an "intervention" to stop them. Oil and war-profiteering are not worth the sacrifice of a young life. Any armchair "warrior" who thinks so, can get off their hind end and work for a contractor in Iraq. I won't mourn their passing, either.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Hiroshiman said...

Dear Tom,

I have been reading and admiring your comments on Alternet for many months, ever since i was turned on to Alternet. Kudo's dude you have been the voice for many of us who don't have the time due to our being wage slaves to write and let our thoughts be known. Anyway, I come from a fairly privileged home and did not need to enlist but I did back when the All Volunteer Army was first concieved back in 1974. Even then recruiters spoke very little of the "Patriotic" reasons for joining and it was all about bonuses, VA Educational benefits, etc... I was lucky even though I saw some nastiness, most notably my comapany commander and Platoon leader getting beat to death on Augustb 17, 1976 in Pan Mun Jom Korea, I didn't go through a fraction of what these "kids", and make no mistake they are kids,It is a crime the way these bastards prey on the economically disadvantaged. Bring back the draft or "national service" whatever, I say.



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