I Am Now War Weary

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military PowerDrift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book about America drifting toward continual military engagement.

A good book but in telling the tale it meanders around in a somewhat anecdotal fashion.

First there was the founding father's intention to make war something difficult to pursue, especially by the president. But as time marches on the country grows accustomed to war to the point that the state of war becomes a habit.

Except it was actually pulled back after the Vietnam war with the War Powers acts restricting presidential use of force and the Abram doctrine of setting things up so any military action will require the American people be invested in the adventure.

Amazingly things change and after some pretty sensible talk by Carter, then come Reagan and things start to change in the other direction. A fair amount of the books involves recounting Reagan's sales pitch to increase military spending. Pretty depressing stuff since it is mostly based on lies, exaggeration and such.

For example there were completely wrong statements of US vs Soviet military strength and then John Wayne was so incensed about his lies about the Panama Canal treaty (not about war but about American might)...

"Even after John Wayne sent Reagan a private and personal note offering to shoe him 'point by goddamn point int the treaty where you are misinforming people'...Ronald Reagan doubled down." Pg 33

And as president he makes a dramatic speech about a WWI solder buried at Arlington Cemetery where a patriotic and inspiring diary was found on his corpse. Long story short, all lies and Reagan was told about it but went ahead with the speech.

Then there is the quote to justify his Iran Contra actions where he quotes Lenin, except Lenin nobody cant find where he said it except for the reference in a John Birch society book from a Russian who was 3 years old when Lenin died.

Well...it goes on and on. Basically Reagan was a liar of amazing regularity in order to grow the military, And it is a one way ratchet pushing to ever higher levels.

I suppose I get hung up on the out and out lying stuff more than I should, since later presidents managed to achieve the same goal but with less obvious deception (why lie when you can just redefine what true actually means). And in a way the lies are really just a small means to an end, so why should the means bother me more than the end? I suppose it is just that Reagan is so deified now and nobody else points out that he was full of it, and I am just a neurotic contrarian.

I need to just let it go. Really I do.

So it paints a sad picture of a people willing to be manipulated, especially when it has little cost to them.

Yeah, it is all bad.

I need a drink.

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A Polished Picture

I bought a $3 camera from a thrift store, painted clear nail polish on the lens, and took some pictures. This is what I got


Polaroid 340

I snagged a Polaroid Land Camera 340 camera off of ebay for $12.50 (plus $12.50 shipping). It took a few tries to figure out some of the settings but so far I am pleased.
The same photos found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeppomanx/sets/72157632033925867/



CeremonyCeremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do I think of this book?

That is hard to say. It is simultaneously real, symbolic, metaphorical, painful, inspiring and confusing. But I kind of thing that was the point.

To go all 9th grade level lit analysis...I thought the troubled outsider Native American returning WWII vet was not an example of a unique sociological type, but rather is a version of that part of us that quietly and perhaps painfully, lives with the repressed alienation that comes with being human in the “modern” world.
Sometimes maudlin literary criticism can say more than a more distant mature and measured approach.

So, I may have loved this book.

I wonder what the more scholarly view is, in that this book spoke about that super cool part of the Native American soul, the idea that there is Unity between us and the Universe.

"He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together...to become the story that as being told. He was not crazy.; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the word Pg 246

Story also reenforces a notion that has bugged me off and on my whole life, that the way we live our lives is fundamentally flawed. Yet there is a “right” way to live. And one part is to be careful about words.

...no word existed alone , and the reason for choosing each word and the reason for choosing each word had to be explained with a story about why it mus be said this certain way . That was the responsibility of being human , old Ku'oosh said, the story behind each word must be told so there could be no mistake in the meaning of what had been said; and this demand great patience and love. Pg35

Key to the tale is the belief that the modern disregard for the natural world is caused but destroyers that tricked the white men into pursuing their march of destruction thinking it a virtue while actually killing our souls. These destroyers were created and use “witchery” to carry out this plan. And part of this evil is founded on an approach that view the world from a static, maybe you could say scientific perspective and not a more ambiguous in its essence.

She taught me this above all else: things which don't shift and grow are dead things. They are things the witchery people want. Pg 126

There is a poem describing the witchery world view

They see no life
When they look
they see only objects.
The world is a dead thing for them
the trees and the rivers are not alive
The deer and bear are objects
they see no life
pg 135

Oh yeah, the “Ceremony” is more than pretty cool I think but to find out what it is, you will have to read the book yourself!*

*I slipped back into 9th grade book report model

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