WRITE YOUR OWN COLUMN
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- We're having a gorgeous late summer here in southern Vermont. The corn is high, the tomatoes are in and I'm going to Saratoga to bet on the horses. So write your own column.
Here are some of the ideas I'd be kicking around if I was to write a column this week:
First, he downplayed the violence of the response to our invasion and occupation. "You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of 'we're going to stir up the hornet's nest' theory," the President said. "It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East."
Then a reporter asked the same question I've been asking since early 2002: "What did Iraq have to do with that?"
And the President answered - wait for it! - "Nothing!" He added, "Nobody has ever suggested in this Administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack."
With fully 50 percent of the trusting American population believing - for some reason, Mr. President - that Saddam Hussein was part of the Sept. 11 attacks, how hard can it be to write a column proving that our deluded president is lying? (Hint: Google Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and WMD. You get extra points if you tackle that "hornet's nest" thing, too.)
On Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" on Monday, Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi architect, peace activist and blogger who now lives in this country but travels extensively in the Middle East, estimated that al-Sadr is leading about five million Iraqis.
How many soldiers must we send in to kill five million Iraqis, Senator McCain? And where will we get them?
"The only way out of Iraq is to depend on Iraqis and believe in the right of Iraqis in ruling themselves, to believe in democracy for Iraqis, for real, not the American way," Jarrar said.
You could easily get a column out of this, but you get extra points for doing a comparison with the bright idea the Israeli's had of invading Lebanon and killing Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. Start by pointing out just how well that worked out for Israel.
"Why don't you go and talk to any Iraqi in the street or talk with Iraqi leaders, elected officials or civil society leaders?" he said. "All of them blame the occupation for the current sectarian violence, and all of them realize that Iraqis have been living in harmony and peace for the last 1,400 years. And none of these incidents used to happen before the occupation started in Iraq. So people blame the occupation there, and people say, 'The day that the occupation will leave Iraq, this sectarian violence will go down. We know how to deal with our problems by ourselves."
I don't know if this is true - the Iraqis certainly couldn't get free of (American-supported) Saddam Hussein - but it's interesting to think about.
When Goodman ("Democracy Now" is a veritable gold mine for columnists) read the paragraph to Jarrar, he said that from the beginning, Iraqis have expected to be turned into "yet another dictatorship in the Middle East that will be - that will listen to what the U.S. will be saying, another dictatorship like Egypt or Jordan or Saudi Arabia... So they want to insert yet another dictatorship regime in Iraq and forget about all of these big slogans of democracy, because, you know, it doesn't work for them."
In columnist terms, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Go for it!
In Canton, Ohio, a school board decided to expand sex education to allow for discussion on contraception after realizing that 13 percent of one high school's female students were pregnant. There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.
Again: Gun, barrel, water, fish, splash!
Here in Vermont, we have two strong candidates in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. One worked hard on health care reform all year, compromised his butt off, and came up with a program that insures more people but is far from what is needed - which is a single payer health plan, damn the insurance companies and full speed ahead.
The new plan is so lame that even our Republican governor signed off on it, but yet is so "radical" to most brainwashed Americans (who have been taught that "single payer" equals "communism") that now Vermont, along with Massachusetts, is leading the country in health care "reform."
The other candidate is brave enough to call for a single-payer system now.
This is like those old Ralph Nader/Al Gore crisis-of- conscience fights we used to have back in 2000. Do you support the one who actually brought about incremental change, or the one who's calling for radical change just because it's right.
Come to think of it, leave this one alone. I'll write about it when I get back from the track.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at email@example.com.