Thursday, January 11, 2007

Peace Surge


There was a city on a hill, a magnet for religious exiles,
bone headed and strict, tough and resilient in a new world.

There was a surge — immigrants from everywhere
trading anything they had for a chance at a new world.

There were cities, and more cities, hills and more hills
the sky black with smoke, streets slick with mud
and carriage wheels, then trains, and cars.

There was a surge full of fury and hunger, insistence
on warm shelter, a good fire, a place where children
could learn to read.

There was an enormous threat to the common person,
to the new world —
kings thought they were gods,
made people’s lives

There was a surge — a revolution,
because people wanted a warm fire, education
for their children, said these rights were inalienable,
natural rights, said the right to revolt was a divine right,
said the right of each person to life, liberty,
the pursuit of happiness was set by God.

Coal blew out of mountains, crops leaped up
from fields, sweat poured from the backs of slaves,
and farmers, workers, workers so hungry you’d bet
another revolution would manifest.

It did. The sky grew black. Blood clotted the earth.
Slavery ended. But worker rights never rooted here.
The schools weren’t good enough, the fires were too cozy.
The revolution sold out. Oil poured out of sand.

There was a surge, too many cities, too many hills —
houses were warm enough, society threw out safety nets,
the poorest died in silence, too many silent gods.

America is over, Annie said tonight.
We had our chance to right the world, and blew it.

The question is, Will we stop this President, this
corporate owned government in time?

Are we cold enough? Or hot enough? Or smart enough?
Will the planet finish civilization for a species
that couldn’t fix itself?

There will be a surge all right. And it will come
directly, at us, because our government is unjust,
is owned by multinational corporations who profit
from war and have no minds, or souls —
a few centuries ago they were called, royalty, feudal lords.

The question will be, as it was for the Germans
who disapproved of Hitler, Did we resist seriously enough?
Did we even get it?

Are our fires to cozy? Are we content to say,
The president has the authority to sucker the world
into an endless war, into annihilation.

Today American soldiers invaded an Iranian embassy
in Iraq, confiscated computers, records, imprisoned
diplomats. Last night President Bush told us,

in front of a cardboard library, he has ordered —
did he say two (?) — new battleships into range of Iran.

The Archduke is on the bridge.
Are we poised to careen to world war? What are
we doing to stop it?

There will be a surge all right. If it’s not a Peace Surge —
we’ll hear, feel, the sucking pull of annihilation.

Do the corporations own so much, they can buy
another revolution, another Islamic revolution,
another American revolution? Is government

There will be a surge all right.
Or have we gone back to snug fires? Smug minds?

Bruce said tonight,
It’s ok, when it’s over, we’ll have nice
big SUV’s to live in.

The thing is, American’s are honest people,
not idiots. We want our troops out of Iraq.
We want this president impeached.

We just have to find the courage
to do the right thing, stop blaming the victims —
(We have to let Iraqis know we're not going
to help them indefinitely???) Help them?

Cut the lies. Stop buying war.
Bring the troops home now.

©Susan Bright, 2007

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

*Pics by SB. This demonstration was one of three demonstrations in Austin on 1/11/07 against the troop increase announced by Bush. Everyone let your legislators know you expect them to cut the purse strings. Tell them to support Sen. Kennedy's bill to stop the troop surge.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This from Cindy Simington -- noticing how handily close Somalia is to Iran --

Who is planning our next war?

By Patrick J. Buchanan


As George Bush reflects on his legacy, an urgent question must be pressing in upon him each day.
Will I leave here as the man who launched failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost thousands of U.S. dead, to no avail? Or can I yet enter history as the Churchillian statesman who used U.S. power to save America and Israel from the mortal threat of atomic weapons in the hands of the Iranian mullahs?

Which legacy would Bush prefer? Or Cheney?

As Americans await Bush's address announcing a "surge" of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq, we may be missing the larger picture. The War Party is turning its attention from Iraq ˆ to Iran.

Nor is it simply an analysis of the character of George Bush that causes one to so conclude.

Tehran is now two weeks into a 60-day deadline to answer a Security Council resolution directing it to cease enriching uranium. While the sanctions are mild, the resolution passed unanimously and gives Bush the U.N. cover he used to wage war on Iraq. If Iran defies the United Nations, Bush will demand further sanctions. Up the escalator we go.

Moreover, a second U.S. carrier battle group is heading for the Gulf. More interesting, the new CentCom commander, replacing Gen. John Abizaid, is no soldier, but Adm. William J. Fallon, commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific. What Fallon does not know about securing streets, he does know about taking out targets from the air and keeping sea lanes open in a time of war.

Bush may be sending signals, but the Israelis are preparing for war. The London Sunday Times reports that Israeli pilots have been making the 2,000-mile run to Gibraltar to train for strikes with bunker-busting nuclear bombs on Iran's heavy water plant at Arak, the uranium hexaflouride facility at Isfahan and the centrifuge cascade at Natanz.

Israel angrily denies the report. But, on Dec. 30, retired Gen. Oded Tira, who headed up all Israeli artillery units, burst into print with this admonition:

"As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help (Bush) pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure."

"Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," writes Tira. Thus, Israel and its U.S. lobbying arm "must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran."

"The Americans must act," Tira concludes. "If they don't, we'll do it ourselves ... (and) we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack."

According to UPI editor-at-large Arnaud De Borchgrave, Tira's line tracks the New Year's Day message of Likud superhawk "Bibi" Netanyahu, the former prime minister.

Said Netanyahu, Israel "must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the (U.S.) government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel."

Israel's war, says Bibi, must be sold as America's war.

We are thus forewarned. A propaganda campaign, using Israeli agents and their neocon auxiliaries and sympathizers, who stampeded us into war in Iraq, is being prepared to stampede us into war on Iran.

We are to be convinced that Iran, with no air force or navy to speak of, an economy not 2 percent of ours, which has not started a single war since the revolution, 27 years ago, is about to give to terrorists, to use on us, a nuclear bomb it may be 10 years away from even being able to build.

Will Congress be duped again into giving Bush a blank check for war? Or will this new Congress summon the courage to take the war option out of Bush's hands, to decide itself, for the nation, when, where and whether America should ever go to war against Iran?

Every presidential candidate should be asked: Does President Bush have the authority to attack Iran without specific congressional authorization? And would you support giving him that authority?

Needed today are courageous men and women of both parties who will introduce and pass a congressional resolution stating, "In the absence of a direct Iranian attack on U.S. forces or personnel, or an imminent threat of such an attack, President Bush has no authority to launch a pre-emptive strike or a preventive war on Iran."

If we are going to war, let us do it constitutionally, for once, and not leave it up solely to George W. Bush and Brother Cheney.

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12:58 PM  

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