Very talented, with fine music, good lyric sense and decently political; a
combo rare indeed. Never had the chance to see him, until now.
And it's free, or donate what you can. Join me. -Ed
We Owe the Troops an Exit
NY Times Op-Ed: August 31, 2010
At least 14 American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan over the past
We learned on Saturday that our so-called partner in this forlorn war, Hamid
Karzai, fired a top prosecutor who had insisted on, gasp, fighting the
corruption that runs like a crippling disease through his country.
Time magazine tells us that stressed-out, depressed and despondent soldiers
are seeking help for their mental difficulties at a rate that is
overwhelming the capacity of available professionals. What we are doing to
these troops who have been serving tour after tour in Afghanistan and Iraq
Time described the mental-health issue as "the U.S. Army's third front,"
with the reporter, Mark Thompson, writing: "While its combat troops fight
two wars, its mental-health professionals are waging a battle to save
soldiers' sanity when they come back, one that will cost billions long after
combat ends in Baghdad and Kabul."
In addition to the terrible physical toll, the ultimate economic costs of
these two wars, as the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and his colleague
Linda Bilmes have pointed out, will run to more than $3 trillion.
I get a headache when I hear supporters of this endless warfare complaining
about the federal budget deficits. They're like arsonists complaining about
the smell of smoke in the neighborhood.
There is no silver lining to this nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan. Poll
after poll has shown that it no longer has the support of most Americans.
And yet we fight on, feeding troops into the meat-grinder year after tragic
year - to what end?
"Clearly, the final chapters of this particular endeavor are very much yet
to be written," said Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of American and NATO
forces in Afghanistan, during a BBC interview over the weekend. He sounded
as if those chapters would not be written any time soon.
In a reference to President Obama's assertion that U.S. troops would begin
to withdraw from Afghanistan next July, General Petraeus told the
interviewer: "That's a date when a process begins, nothing more, nothing
less. It's not the date when the American forces begin an exodus and look
for the exit and the light to turn off on the way out of the room."
A lot of Americans who had listened to the president thought it was, in
fact, a date when the American forces would begin an exodus. The general
seems to have heard something quite different.
In truth, it's not at all clear how President Obama really feels about the
awesome responsibilities involved in waging war, and that's a problem. The
Times's Peter Baker wrote a compelling and in many ways troubling article
recently about the steep learning curve that Mr. Obama, with no previous
military background, has had to negotiate as a wartime commander in chief.
Quoting an unnamed adviser to the president, Mr. Baker wrote that Mr. Obama
sees the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as "problems that need managing" while
he pursues his mission of transforming the nation. Defense Secretary Robert
Gates, speaking on the record, said, "He's got a very full plate of very big
issues, and I think he does not want to create the impression that he's so
preoccupied with these two wars that he's not addressing the domestic issues
that are uppermost in people's minds."
Wars are not problems that need managing, which suggests that they will
always be with us. They are catastrophes that need to be brought to an end
as quickly as possible. Wars consume lives by the thousands (in Iraq, by the
scores of thousands) and sometimes, as in World War II, by the millions. The
goal when fighting any war should be peace, not a permanent simmer of
nonstop maiming and killing. Wars are meant to be won - if they have to be
fought at all - not endlessly looked after.
One of the reasons we're in this state of nonstop warfare is the fact that
so few Americans have had any personal stake in the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. There is no draft and no direct financial hardship resulting
from the wars. So we keep shipping other people's children off to combat as
if they were some sort of commodity, like coal or wheat, with no real regard
for the terrible price so many have to pay, physically and psychologically.
Not only is this tragic, it is profoundly disrespectful. These are real men
and women, courageous and mostly uncomplaining human beings, that we are
sending into the war zones, and we owe them our most careful attention.
Above all, we owe them an end to two wars that have gone on much too long.
David Rovics USC Fundraiser Concert
With Spoken Word Artist Saria Idana
Thursday, September 2nd, 7:30 PM
USC UNITED UNIVERSITY CHURCH
817 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles 90089
Concert is FREE & Open to the Public. Refreshments will be Served!
$5 DONATIONS are Encouraged, and All Proceeds will go to PALESTINE
CHILDREN'S RELIEF FUND
DAVID ROVICS is a folk singer/songwriter and outspoken grassroots political
activist. His songs speak of the struggle for peace and justice in the
Middle East. Intricately crafted, raw, and original lyrics touch upon a wide
variety of subjects, including the Bush Administration's "War on Terror,"
labor laws, guerrilla warfare, global justice, and gender relations. His
2008 release of "The Commons," includes the song titles: "Who Would Jesus
Bomb?," "Halliburton Boardroom Massacre," "Falluja," and "Jenin," named
after a Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank. Amy Goodman has referred
to David Rovics as "the musical version of Democracy Now!" Cindy Sheehan has
called him "the peace poet and troubadour of our time"
SARIA IDANA is a talented, local interdisciplinary performing artist
dedicated to the arts as a space for social transformation. She holds a BA
in Arts and Social Change from Hampshire College and has recently produced
her own one-woman show "Homeless in Homeland." In Los Angeles she has
performed with Contra-Tiempo, Great Leap and is a current member of The
Moving Torah Company.
Concert begins THURSDAY, Sept. 2nd, at 7:30 PM at UNITED UNIVERSITY CHURCH
(on USC's campus), is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Refreshments will be
$5 DONATIONS are encouraged, and all proceeds will go to PALESTINE
CHILDREN'S RELIEF FUND. P.C.R.F. is a registered non-political, non-profit,
organization in the U.S. established to address the medical and humanitarian
crisis facing Palestinian youths in the Middle East. It has since expanded
to help suffering children from other Middle Eastern nations like Iraq to
locate free medical care for children in the case that they are unable to
get the necessary and specialized treatment in their own homeland.
Brought to you by Students for Justice in Palestine, Middle East Studies
Student Association, and Student Activists for a Beloved Community.
Original Message Sent From: Marwa: firstname.lastname@example.org