Later I may add some thoughts about the the social-political lessons I started learning as a 7 year old in segregated Virginia through all too many wars and losses to the present 70 years later.One of the saddest lessons I've learned about us humans is that we mostly react to crises instead of working to prevent them. Another observations is that it is often easier to con people than teach difficult or new things. Add these to the fact that too often there is more profit in breaking than fixing things and you have the chronic condition our country has suffered since it was first started, Imperialism.
Growing up in many different public schools and briefly several private ones, the only time imperialism was ever mentioned was to describe what other countries had done. Even through the US war against Vietnam, to use that word was to be labeled a commie. In the 1950's US few saw the King's nakedness, and fewer saw the blood on his horse's hooves. Only as an adult did I figure out my maternal grandfather led the band while US troops massacred Philippine resisters. My other grandfather, one of the founders of industrial design, hated FDR and after I became active against the war, told his office staff my name was not to be mentioned. A little difficult since we have the same name.
Now I understand much more about why empires are able to force or delude so many to die and suffer for them. Sadly I have lived long enough to see many friends and loved ones suffer and die needlessly. After the recent loss of my partner of 30 years, I will add to my deepest concerns and work what I believe is a major wound humanity suffers. The millions of young children who are traumatized and never given the help they need to recover. I am talking about the many millions who survive the wars, disasters, chronic depravation and all the attendant social ills that so much of the world suffers. While awareness of this suffering is growing, the response is pitifully small and inadequate. This is not only because of economic and political callousness, but made easier because the child's natural psychological reaction is seldom understood.
Think about it, what do we do for these children? If we can, we try help them reach safety and get the basics of health care and some sustenance. Then the response grows weaker. The children are dependent on whatever adult care and love is nearby and all too often these adults are focusing on survival themselves. We 'eve all seen the photos of the children dying by their mothers. And even if the material responses are enough, they are told to be glad they are alive and move on. Yes there are parents and caring people who know instinctively that what these children need as much as food is love, lots of attention and affirmation that they are not only safe, but worthy and care for. The children who receive this healing treatment are more likely to recover from the deadliest wound, the hidden effects of the trauma they neither deserved nor could prevent.
Why is it some people grow up feeling worthlessness, blaming themselves for what was done to them? Literally loathing themselves and hiding this shame as best they can. This happens because young children must do all they can, before 6 or 7 years old to solve the problems of getting cared for - or they feel a desperation that is often real. Without what we adults call love, the child is at risk and it is a healthy instinct that drives the child to reach out. What if there is not one or way to make it right. We adults will say to the child "it isn't your fault." But so many who survive traumatic experiences and did not enough love and attention, are left with the shamful belief that they "failed." In therapy, it is not uncommon for such an adult to say, "I must have been a bad child for God to let that happen to me!" This same person will know that children are only "guilty" of failing to protect themselves, because they could not..What happens next to these millions is that they learn to keep it to themselves and not only do they seldom get any real healing, but their damaged personalities all too often pass on to other children.
I believe this is a mostly hidden and devastating condition that not only harms millions, but weakens us all.
[I welcome any feedback or ideas, and hopefully I will return to make this more intelligible..]
Some Angry Thoughts
Not a VICTORY, but a great American sickness for which the cold hearted decision makers are most guilty, followed by the enthusiastic executioners - who treated the Iraqis as animals to be slaughtered, shooting those fleeing Kuwait "like a Turkey shoot" or "fish in a barrel" by the thousands.
Billy Graham and other notables choose to ignore the 150,000 Iraqi dead when they congratulate themselves with deep satisfaction saying Thank God "so few people [were] killed." Ergo sum, Iraqis are not "people."
As a nation, we are mostly choosing to ignore these immoral and unnecessary deaths caused by our "great" technology. Only a few even mention the mass killing in their glorification of "our Victory," and fewer dare to speak up and warn us of how callous we have become with our neo-nazi like helmets and Desert Storm and aero-blitzkrieg to impose a "New World Order" in which the world is made safe for Robo Cop like decisions as to which despot is off-ed and which is returned to rule in our national and new International interests. Saddam - our recent ally is now the excuse to unleash a revitalized war machine with it's Security Council imprimatur to return an Emir to his throne in "free" Kuwait and to protect the Kings and Princes (no Queens here) in Saudi Arabia...and who knows where next.
Where is the "democracy" now, where right is dictated by "national interests" needs and moral justice is blinded by the triumph of the Victor...
I am saddened and frightened by what the U.S. has done and what this is doing to us, the American people and the world.
If "so few people" were killed, what are all those bodies doing out there?
A Victory for the U.S. military and its suppliers - a great defeat for all the rest of us...
(I wrote this in a moment of frustration on 3/11/1991. I didn't know, but I felt what was coming. Walter Teague)
A sword once drawn...!
Tonight I watched the TV images of horrifying fire and crushing deaths at nightclubs in R.I. and Chicago and like all Americans, was deeply saddened. I wondered at our capacity to grieve when they are people like ourselves, but how callous we can be about the innocent victims of our own military's pyrotechnics.
Shauna Alami of MSNBC news, reporting at the memorial for the R.I. dead and wounded, said it was "something that could have been prevented and shouldn't have happened!" So true, not only about the greed and indifference to consequences that led to such tragedies in the U.S., but also about the far greater deaths that threaten in Iraq.
I couldn't help wondering if other Americans weren't seeing the similarity to the deaths and destruction our tax moneys may wreak within days! I saw the owners of the nightclub crying live on TV, but wondered are they really so innocent? Certainly those in charge of the US war will not cry real tears for the thousands they cause to die and suffer. For years now, they have ignored and still deny the 100's of thousands of innocent deaths their policies caused in Iraq and elsewhere.
But maybe, just maybe, more Americans will get it. After all, suffering and death are not less because they happen to people who are not like us. Maybe in a more global world, we won't be blind to the consequences of our government and military's actions. Maybe that's why even the anti-war organizers were surprised by the millions who protested on February 15th, to stop a war that hasn't quite happened!
When someone next uses the reactionary label "anti-American," you can point out our real fears are not only about the slaughter of innocents, but also the terrifying spread of terrorism a pre-emptive war will feed.
Today, William Raspberry wrote in the Washington Post that the US seems to be saying "I've got my gun loaded and cocked, so I might as well shoot somebody." This reminded me of the story of a US ambassador on Okinawa who insulted his samurai guard. The samurai's code demanded that a sword once drawn, must be used and so he killed himself! Maybe the US administration secretly fears it can't stop terrorism by the sword and so must use it wherever it can!
Maybe the smarter advisers behind the US administration know that the root causes of terrorism can not be undone without undermining their own wealth and power! Maybe for them it is better that others pay the price? But what does an idiot do with his sword once drawn?
Walter Teague, LCSW
[The following was written 11/15/03 to the US Cuba Social Work Group to add to the discussion of how we explain best explain to people why major elements in the US ruling class have really chosen preemptive war and global domination. That is, what drives them to it, what is really behind all the rhetorical excuses of terrorism and freedom. A friend of mine said they originally were going to call it Operation Iraqi Liberation, but didn't because that spells out OIL.]
Social Workers and others,
11/15/2003I really want to be writing about how we might all work toward being more effective social workers [organizers] (US/Cuba Social Work Committee, etc.*), but the war clouds are huge and rampant.
Unless someone thinks it inappropriate, I will forward several emails on the current situation on dissidents in Cuba that I received from Fernando Garcia of the Cuban Interest sections. (http://www.redandgreen.org/Cuba/Why_Garcia.htm) I think they are informative and he is making a sincere effort to understand and explain the issues.
I think there is a real threat to Cuba. US government spokesmen (mostly men in the worst sense of the word) threaten to attack and invade Syria next, are riding high on their new policy of militarily controlling anyone they deem a potential threat - and now is not unthinkable that they could want to finish what previous administrations failed to do in re conquering Cuba.
In trying to make sense of what to me is a form of sociopathic behavior in the extreme, I have begun to wonder if those in the US ruling circles who are so vociferously for this new crusade, have not concluded that given the world realities that cause "terrorism" directed at them, they have have decided they have no choice but to take over in order to maintain their power. From a social work point of view, to adequately remove the basic conditions that fuel extreme reactions such as the desperate acts of poor peoples terrorism, would require a fundamentally different arrangement of economic, social and political investment. This would launch a world wide rearrangement of wealth and priorities, that would reduce the profits and power of those who currently benefit from worldwide inequities. I think that given their barely concealed racism and xenophobia to say nothing of their pathological greed and deceit (evidence for this abounds), they have decided if its a choice between taking care of the poor and oppressed or using whatever means they need to retain their power and privilege, they have chosen war and domination.
Right before 9/11/01, there were increasing efforts on the part of world organizations to address world poverty, hunger, disparity, etc. Figures such as 50 billion as a starter investment were suggested. In my cursory readings, it seemed that it was often the US that had the most to offer and offered the least support.
I realize that explaining this concept of choosing domination rather than loosing power needs work, and many are writing on what is Bush and company's National Security Strategy 2002 and early evidence of their plotting. But if we are to effectively respond, we need a clear grasp and articulation of their true motivations. See Noam Chomsky at: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemID=3450
I hope this won't offend anyone, but I'm reminded of the argument that it took too many, much too long to fully grasp the goals and motivations of Hitler's regime. More recently, the world was slow to grasp the growing pathology of Pol Pot forces.
Just getting back from a conference in the Black area of New Orleans, I was painfully reminded that the whites in the US who most benefited from segregation didn't give up even some of those benefits voluntarily or because it was the compassionate or christian thing to do. They fought like mad to keep whatever power they had and continue to argue the anti-social work view, that poverty is the responsibility of the poor and certainly not their collective concern.
Behind all the threats, is what we are really seeing, a decision by a terrible few to hold on to power rather than losing it in the effort for worldwide human well-being and economic justice? Maybe they are right that a humane solution to terrorism would require the loss of their economic and political dominance and so they have rather chosen war for all of us.
P.S. The DC/VA/MD chapter of CCDS has a web page with a few pertinent writings.
If anyone has suggestions, please let me know.
* See the web site of the Wash. DC area No War on Cuba Movement
Sent out on 8/5 and 9/1/2005.
Friends, I sent this out on Tuesday, before I even saw most of what was out there or what was being done to prevent help from getting in or people getting out!
I think the continuing lies and excuses of most of the officials reveals not only incompetence, but their attitude toward a people they disdain. Why would Chertoff today repeat the obvious lie that "no one could have anticipated" this tragedy. They need to keep people in general from realizing that this disaster was allowed on purpose - and that purpose is ultimately maintenance of profit.
Once again, it's profits not prevention.
The oily managers didn't care to listen to the warnings. Just as experts warned about coming destruction to antiquities and basic necessities before Iraq, experts warned that New Orleans' levees would be flooded and again no plans were carried out - and the people and their city are devastated!
Why were the meteorologists, who warned of the lake waters breaching the
Why were there no plans and equipment in place sufficient to seal breaks and close the canals?
Why didn't they evacuate by bus instead of relying on traffic jams?
Why wasn't there a fleet of small rescue boats ready?
Why did they wait until too late?
Why don't they care?
Do poor people count less?
Could it be because there is more profit in disaster than in prevention?
Small Cuba provided it's people thousands of buses to get out of the way
Even Florida facing elections, better prepared.
And how long will it take for people to see how unnecessary this tragedy is?
Let's call for all the resources causing destruction in Iraq to return to re-build in our own war zones.
As the US press wondered if Fidel wasn't dead already
To No War on Cuba
In our preparations, we need to keep in mind, that as the "Empire" spends lives and our money in the Middle East, it is preparing for new and still secret adventures against Cuba and Cuba supporters.
[Others have] called and I agree, we need to meet. Let's hear suggestions - and priorities.
I'd like to suggest that one of the dangers we in the US must contend with is the way the US media is laying the groundwork and justification for intervention in the public's mind. For example, most of us have surely been appalled at the current Empire's propaganda efforts to exploit Fidel's illness. Have you noticed how this has being joined in and even led by medial liberals who are reflexively reciting the distortions and lies that Cubans are all poor and un-free because of the millionaire Castros, that communism or socialism has failed and Cuba's free education and health care are worthless without the opportunity for some Cuban's to get rich again. There are even examples among Bush critics such as Ed Schultz on our local 1260 AM Progressive Talk Radio who parrots ignorant attacks on Cuba and Jon Stewart on his Daily Show TV show who ridicules Fidel, Raul, Cuba. These liberals sanctimoniously ignore both the gains of the Revolution for the majority of Cubans and the capitalist devastation the Bush administration is seeking to impose once again.
Of course not all liberals are caving into this rejoicing, but even those who know better are afraid to sound too "pro-Castro." So we have much work to do.
On the coming Global Warming Catastrophe:
Where is the Plan to Stop the Global Warming Catastrophe - and why we will fail without one!
8/6/2006 (See latest leaflet on Prevention!)
I occurred to me a couple of days ago that while we are all coming to agree we are threatened by a Global Warming Catastrophe, no one has put out the facts of what we must do, if we are to have a chance to really prevent it.
Of course the educated environmentalists know many things we have to change, but stop global warming before it is too late? It's almost like people have given up.
My brother who lives in Aspen, Colorado and has been concerned about what is happening to our planet for years, told me that at the Aspen Global Change Institute (I think) 30% of the scientists there believe the deadline to prevent global warming and all the terrible consequences was 2000! I suppose the good news is that 70% still believe we have a chance. But I'm not sure. And if we are to have a chance, it would mean that the timeline and work needed would have to spelled out so most of the world new it and their governments and organizations would be compelled to act to try to make it happen!
But, it scares the hell out of me, that I have seen Al Gore's good film and scores of scary news documentaries, but not one specific plan to follow to stop it. Not one time-line saying that if we want to stop it, we need to do this or that, by this date, etc.
Instead, most of my friends and people I'm talking to, agree it is happening, think we might be able to stop it, but mostly are pretty pessimistic. Now Al Gore says he's optimistic, but I don't believe optimism alone is going to do it.
So I want to begin circulating the argument that we need a plan. A plan that gets out to the public. A plan that comes out in time to make a difference. Because I think people need an unavoidable fact staring them in the face, coupled with a way out, before they will act.
Please read the statement below and if you think I'm wrong, tell me. If you think this is worth pursuing and can improve on this argument or it's dissemination, help with that.
Since I am now persuaded that the global warming catastrophe will happen and that the tipping point is soon, and that the consequences will overwhelm all else we do, I think we got a chance and must take it.
At some point, people get it. Then they act. For that reason I believe we need a clear publicly known plan and I think scientifically minded, compassionate socialists have a special responsibility to help make sure there is a workable plan. What do you think?
Metro DC CCDS
More on the Plan
What do we need to do and by when to prevent the coming climate catastrophe? And why is there no plan that answers this? Who is most able to put this out so it would be clear to the world what we must do?
So where is the Plan?
What is the minimum that must be done?
When is the deadline?
And without a Plan, aren't we more likely to fail?
All our good works, great efforts, ongoing struggles and incremental gains for humanity and life on this planet become small potatoes, if we fail to stop the Global Warming Catastrophe (GWC).
Aren't most of us currently avoiding the consequence that, if we fail to prevent it; ...our current problems and struggles will be insignificant, ...our incremental gains won't endure or protect us, ...our virtues will be small forgotten victories once the GWC happens, ...that essentially, our current worries and concerns, personal and political, will become irrelevant.
Imagine if you can, how we, those of us with some passion for humanity and reality, will be considered if we could, but didn't prevent this catastrophe; because no one pointed out what had to be done and by when and so we were too late with too little! Who would be most guilty if we fail to meet this challenge?
Let me pose two slight comparisons to clarify what I see as similar and what is significantly different with this threat.
In the US, Katrina disaster was both foreseen and preventable. The scientists reported their dire findings, the politicians compromised and the public was mostly ignorant of what was needed to prevent disaster to New Orleans, and the rest of the Gulf area. What is most different is that we, the planet and most societies can suffer and survive many Katrinas. It would be terrible, but reversible, whereas the catastrophe, as now predicted with the additional and worsening threats from environmental warming, the melting of land mass ice, the dying of the oceans and now the melting of the permafrost in Russia and Canada releasing millions of years of carbon; causing a GWC far more destructive and irreversible than all we've yet endured. This time it would literally be the end of life as we know it on this planet.
So maybe you can argue that our inability to prevent Katrina suggests that we aren't able or won't get it together to prevent GWC.
Maybe, but consider my second example. We have all seen the movie or read about earth mobilizing to prevent an asteroid smashing into our planet and destroying human civilization and life much as one did to exterminate the dinosaurs. We can believe that if we were told there was a truck size meteor likely to hit us in a year, that we and all our governments and industries would mobilize to send our best and bravest to knock it off course, and save the planet! If the scientists told the politicians and then the governments told us that it would take an effort bigger than the Manhattan Project, than building the Great Wall in China, than World War I and II together, and that we would have to even stop the war on Terrorism for a while, we can imagine that we would somehow do it. We would see that we have no choice.
So if it was pointed out that in one year or two that we would have to take some specific action to save ourselves from a believable and life destroying threat, we might just do it! That is why we need a realistic and clear plan to respond to.
But that's not what we have. Instead, we are being allowed to ignore the imminence and inevitability of the threat, just as young people and some older don't really think about the inevitability of their own death. Oh it will happen, but later and after all what can you do?
But then there is hope. Many of us do get life insurance for our grandchildren and make investments in education and safe places for our valuables. Given a chance, we sometimes take into account that even if we aren't around, others will be and for most of us, it does matter.
So for the oldest of us, maybe a warming planet and worsening civil crises are just a blow to our retirement hopes, but to everyone else and all future generations, whether there is or is not a GWC makes a huge and permanent difference.
So if there still is time to cut the fuse, let's do it. We will need to know what to do and by when, if we have any hope of making it happen. For that we need a Plan. A plan that has a chance to work because its realistic and it got our attention in time.
In writing this, I hope that the Plan has already been created and is being released already. But I think the facts and plan of action need to be known to the public if we are to act and act sufficiently and in time.
Otherwise we are screwed.
So, I call on all who care to call for such a Plan. Demand of our governments, parties and scientists that they spell out what it will take and then let's make sure everyone knows the choices and consequences. Maybe then we will have a chance.
Walter Teague Maryland, USA
Update on why we need a call from the Left
------------------------------------ [Latest Leaflet] -----------------------------------
Why is there no call to PREVENT the coming
Climate Change Catastrophe?
Walter Teague firstname.lastname@example.org
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