dao solutions


Aretha chicken, black and white mottled, views her barnyard

Don't be afraid to explore;
Without exploration there are no discoveries.
Don’t be afraid of partial solutions;
Without the tentative there is no

Indecision and procrastination are corrosive habits. Those who wait for every little thing to be perfect before they embark on a project or who dislike the compromise of a partial solution are among the least happy. Ideal circumstances are seldom given to anyone for an undertaking. Instead there is uncertainty in every situation. The wise are those who can wrest great advantage from circumstances opaque to everyone else.

Wanting everything in life to be perfect before you take action is like wanting to reach a destination without travel. For those who follow Tao, travel is every bit as important as the destination. One step after another: This is still central to the wisdom of Tao.

Every day passes whether you participate or not. If you are not careful, years will go by and you will only have regrets. If you cannot solve a problem all at once, at least make a stab at it. Reduce your problems into smaller, more manageable packages, and you can make measurable progress toward achievement. If you wait for everything to be perfect according to your preconceived plans, then you may well wait forever. If you go out and work with the current of life, you may find that success comes from building upon small things.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
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©2005 lisbeth west

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I am proposing to refine a traditional account of the character of Daoist thinking that I take that tradition to have mistaken for a meaning change. The refinement does not deny that they may give accounts of the nature of dao. To the degree that we consider such an account metaphysical, Daoists may be said to address the metaphysics of daoguide, but the "metaphysical" viewpoint is of a metaphysics of action, not a way of turning their backs on the philosophical issues of ancient China to talk about a religious view of supernatural creation and divine nature. Rather than asking, "What is, such that we may know it?" the Daoist asks, "What is, such that humans can act in it?" His answer does not use the familiar concepts of Western sentential philosophy--no propositions, truths (including moral truths), beliefs, practical reasoning, or most of their close and distant conceptual relatives. Nor does a Daoist conception of either language or mind shift focus to the experiential or entry side of meaning. It does not start with mystical experience, consciousness, evidence, or either a successful or failed attempt to picture some ultimate being.

The elevator terms of this conception include this-not this (right-wrong) (of actions of contextual selections), distinctions, discrimination, desires, deemings, and dao itself. Dao is the main elevator term but is otherwise close to 'way' in English--a term that never had been a dominant elevator term of Western philosophy. Chinese meta-ethics uses a radically different conceptual scheme in a different philosophical agenda, and with different ways of setting of its problems. I have not, as I predicted, provided a definitive individuation of this confused practical concept, but we can begin to appreciate why (a) Daoists express the view that the subject matter leads to obscurity and paradox and (b) why their conclusions cover the range from monism to relativism and skepticism.

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Bush and Cheney: 22 indictments

Bush—Cheney CIA/Plame case indictments released this morning

Bush orders Fitzgerald fired and espionage indictments quashed

by Tom Flocco

Washington, DC—October 21, 2005—12:00 EST— exclusive—
Today Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald handed over 22 indictments to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, accusing President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney and others of espionage, obstruction of justice, perjury and a variety of other charges in the matter of the CIA/Valerie Plame leak-gate case.

According to intelligence sources who spoke with federal whistleblowers Thomas Heneghan and Stewart Webb, Bush then ordered Gonzalez to fire Fitzgerald and have the indictments quashed and sealed.

Gonzalez refused to release the indictments which have been handed down by the grand jury and ordered served by a judge, subjecting the Attorney General to additional charges of obstruction of justice, the sources said.

The indictments confirm our original “Bush-Cheney indicted” report on August 2, 2005.

Gonzalez was Bush’s former personal White House counsel before receiving a presidential appointment as U.S. Attorney General.

The move is reminiscent of the “Saturday night massacre” when President Nixon fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in an attempt to save his presidency and obstruct justice.

Intelligence sources added that Bush tried to delay publicity about his attempt to fire Fitzgerald and quash the indictments this afternoon by ordering a diversion regarding a “Capitol Hill police attempt to disrupt a suspicious package in a car near the U.S. Capitol.”

The move to distract attention from the indictments occurred not long after the receipt of process by Gonzalez, according to intelligence sources with knowledge of the events.

While Gonzalez received the service of indictments, Bush was in California this morning and was scheduled to speak at the dedication of the new Air Force One pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

It can be assumed that Bush’s orders for Gonzalez to refuse receipt of process and fire the prosecutor in the CIA leak case were discussed over the telephone since Bush was to speak at the Reagan Library just a few hours after the indictments were served.

Bush should have finished his speech at approximately 2:30 pm Eastern time, and it is probable that presidential strategy sessions regarding how to prevent the indictments and their criminal contents from becoming public have already commenced.

It is open to conjecture whether Bush could be arrested in California before even returning to Washington, given the criminal nature of the indictments.

An attempt to quash indictments and to fire Fitzgerald may also cause a constitutional crisis if Bush and Gonzalez continue to obstruct justice and defy U.S. law and constitutional legal process.

Intelligence sources told that the military or U.S. marshals should arrest Bush, Gonzalez, Cheney and others immediately for their criminal acts in keeping explosive espionage, obstruction and perjury indictments hidden from the American people, all of which affects U.S. national security.

dao sitting (from the January Project)


beautiful abstract of turkey, with great heart

Cat sits in the sun.
Dog sits on the grass.
Turtle sits on the rock.
Frog sits on the lily pad.
Why aren’t people so smart?

Those who follow Tao are fond of pointing out the wisdom of animals. When they see a cat sitting motionless in the sun or a turtle who stretches her head upward in a still pose, they say that these animals are meditating. They know how to be still and conserve their internal energy. They do not dissipate themselves in useless activity but instead withdraw into themselves to recharge.

It is only people who label meditation as some sort of odd religious activity. This is not the actual case. Something like meditation happens when we sleep, or when we are absorbed in reading a book, or when we “daydream” and become so lost in a thought or an image that we do not notice what is going on around us.

There is no reason to think of meditation as something out of the ordinary. Quite the opposite. Meditation is the purest and most natural expression we can have. When you next look at a cat or a dog sitting still, and admire the naturalness of their actions, think then of your own life. Don’t meditate because it is a part of your schedule or is demanded by your particular philosophy. Meditate because this is natural.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9


Motorola 220 Camera Phone
©2005 lisbeth west

(The January Project)* this is available as a card with the caption "I don't eat your family, please don't eat mine!"
at my special holiday shop

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original photo used for design

*(The January Project was created to show that the photographer's eye is the most important "tool" in creating a great photo. All shots were taken during the month of January, 2005 with a Motorola camera phone.)

original photograph of Thelma

Two philosophical "dead ends."

The history of Daoism in the Zhuangzi mentions neither Mencius nor Yang Zhu. It places two other developments between Mozi and Laozi. We will discuss only the second here. Shen Dao represents a stage in the dialectic that Zhuangzi comes to view as a reductio of the Mohist appeal to nature--as well as the consequent intuitionism. Shen Dao's doctrine and the mature Daoist rejection of it are crucial steps in the meta-ethical dialectic in ancient China and the ultimate complexity of the metaphysics of dao.

Shen Dao coins a term, 'Great dao' to refer to the actual, total process--i.e., the actual history of the world. Then he observes that we do not have to "know" any guidance to follow Great dao. We can relax and mimic him in "floating like a leaf on the water." I have been suspicious of the common analysis on which Shen Dao's doctrine represents a kind of fatalism. His importance, I believe, lies in revealing that the Great dao, as he conceives it, has no normative force. The history in the Zhuangzi puts the point by saying that Shen Dao's is a dao that is not dao--a dao for the dead.

The important point about the nature of dao is that token performance of itself has no normative force--offers no guidance. If we take the sum of all actual performance of all things (the great Dao) as a normative guide, we have no guide. To get guidance, we need some other source of normative direction that guides us in selecting a performance. That meta-ethical insight clearly would also undermine the idea of a natural constancy. The injunction to conform to natural constancies gives us no guide. There is a dao of nature (the course of nature), but it is not one of the options among which we are to make a dao choice. I interpret the opening of Qiwu Lun as expressing this insight. All the normative daos that compete for our real choice as guides are similarly "pipes of tiannature:sky." They are natural by virtue of being "puffed out of us" by our nature, i.e., it is our nature to generate these ways of speaking and making distinctions to guide our behavior. The appeal to nature does not settle anything once we have noticed that the problem is a choice among rival actually occurring daos.

Thus, there is insight in the traditional assertion that Daoists take daoguide rather than tiannature:sky as the guide. Without some dao other than natural constancy, we have no guidance. However, as the reflections so far have shown, without "reading nature" accurately as we execute or perform some dao, we also don't get any guidance. Extracting guidance always requires a mixture of nature and "discourse." Themes in the Zhuangzi develop this insight into an extended reflection on the complex and puzzling inter-relation between the natural and the social--the discussion of tiannature:sky and renhuman. It expands on the point we noticed earlier in discussing Mozi, that anything we do with a dao presupposes some other dao --of interpretation, or of evaluation. In any dao activity, we depend on some meta-dao.

A similar line of reasoning yields the Zhuangzi's rejection of intuition. We could undermine Chinese versions of intuitions as we do Western ones by noting that the intuitionist owes us an account of why we should care about the "simple moral property" grasped by the intuition. That an object possesses that property makes it analogous to any other natural property--potentially irrelevant to our practical concerns. The Zhuangzi expresses this point by noting that we have to choose the intuition as a guide--from among alternative potential "ways" of guiding our behavior and we have to choose which intuitions (of the conflicting kinds available in any medium sized community) to grant this authority. His conclusion, as in the case of nature and the Great dao is that we cannot get a shithis:right out of our 心xinheart-mind without presupposing one.

The Daoist theme clearly cautions against choosing daos that conflict with nature -- "do not let the human harm the natural" but it otherwise removes the authority of tiannature:sky and intuition. Ultimately our authority for choices and interpretation are some presupposed dao. Tiannature:sky by itself makes no choices. The Zhuangzi tries to balance its emphasis on the theme of the dependency of social daos on nature with the insight that when we use any dao, our dependencies are on dao all the way down. We can't escape presupposing some guidance that is not fixed by nature or history.

The insight, I argued, is expressed negatively in the Laozi in the famous opening passage. Any dao that can dao is not a constant dao. I believe it surfaces in many of the allegedly metaphysical passages precisely in the insistence that dao is somehow like a thing but not a thing--not a natural kind. Many of the allegedly "metaphysical" passages in both texts read better as denials that dao is a natural kind than as affirmations. That daos guide our language (stereotypically in guiding our classification of features that we count as constituting a thing-kind for the purposes of acting) together with the observation that natural kinds have to do things in certain ways to live, usually makes as much or more sense of any alleged "creation" passages than does an Indo-European story of supernatural creation. This view of the nature of dao has trouble neither with passages that deny the "visibility" of dao nor with those that note that dao can't be exhausted in language or ideas.

The skill passages fit this account better than they do those that portray dao in terms of supernatural perfection. A recurring theme in these passages is how someone having the skill might fail at teaching it to others. That yields a far more plausible sense in which dao cannot be "captured" in language. The famous "difficult" part of the Cook Ding story illustrates how dao outruns any content we acquire in past practice--not only in language.

Finally, though we did not find a straightforward metaphysical solution to the problem of individuating dao, we can make sense of its nature. Much of the account comes via negation. Dao is not simply an object, though aspects of dao may take the form of a road, a map, or a written score or book of instructions. Process objects, such as the Great Dao are daos in one sense, but are irrelevant to our living choices--not daos in another. Similarly Natural processes are daos but represent mainly the limits on our possible choices, not guidance in making them. Dao is not limited to language or discourse except in an extended sense -- where we consider as "language" everything that is interpretable into xingbehavior performance.

Dao always involves a mix of nature but can never consist in mere "receptivity."[25] Social or explicitly discourse dao always requires interpretation in ways that entail reading some natural dao along with it. Natural and normative dao are inextricably blended in all dao guidance. The normative side does not follow from the mere existence of a social practice--nor does it require one. When social practice is an aspect in dao, it is subject to interpretation in some act--including the speech acts that constitute pronouncing dao. These speech acts can be evaluated as correct or incorrect as performances of a dao of advocating or pronouncing (writing) dao. Choice of which dao to perform, qua act, can also be evaluated as a performance of some dao of choosing a dao. Interpreting a chosen dao is itself an action, for which there are several ways among which we may choose. The we should choose among them is a dao and so forth. Dao questions require dao answers all the way down--they do not come to rest in either history or nature.

The picture could be a counterpart of McDowell's claim that humans experience the world conceptually. Our rephrasing of his Sellarsian picture using a normative conception of concepts translates it into a claim that humans encounter a world via dao. Zhuangzi's picture of humans being in dao in the way fish are in water starts to seem fully apt. To be human is to be in a reality viewed as open invitations to ways to "carry on."

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CALL THIS NUMBER 1-800-488-1363

AFWAT Hacks Cincinnati, OH National Alliance Hotline Thursday, October 20th, 2005

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 20th, 2005 the voicemail belonging to the Cincinnati, OH chapter of the neo-nazi National Alliance was hacked and dedicated to the anti-fascist political prisoners in Toledo, OH. As this is a toll-free number, expenses are incurred on a per-call basis. Therefore, we encourage all anti-racists to call toll-free 1-800-488-1363 and listen to the new antifa intro message on this now formerly fascist hotline.

This attack on the National Annoyance comes during a time when the Annoyance is facing a major organizational demise. With no solid leadership, financial scandal, and bizarre relationship drama, what was once America's largest neo-nazi organization is now becoming a shambling wreck of its former self. The decline of the far-right is coming at a very appropriate time, when revolutionary leftist organizations are making excellent strides in the education, organization, and mobilization of working people, as was recently seen in Toledo, Ohio in the riots which shook the city in a day of anti-fascist spirit against neo-nazis and racist, violent cops.

This most recent attack is dedicated to all our brothers and sisters presently incarcerated in the state of Ohio due to charges stemming from the Rebellion against the fascists in Toledo on Saturday, October 15th, 2005. We would like to thank all our comrades in the struggle against the far-right. In the memory of our fallen comrades, and in the spirit of victories to come, we continue our work and make sacrifices everyday to combat systemic and fringe hatred - be it racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, classism, or xenophobia. Stay true, stay antifa! ¡Venceremos! We will win!

Anti-Fascist Weapons And Tactics - (AFWAT)

San Francisco Measures Voters to decide on banning guns, military recruitment

CAMPAIGN 2005: San Francisco Measures
Voters to decide on banning guns, military recruitment
Ballot also addresses firehouse hours, mayor's authority

- Cecilia M. Vega, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, October 20, 2005

From banning firearms and keeping firehouses open, to opposing military recruitment in public schools, San Francisco voters will decide on a variety of measures on election day that keep true to the spirit of San Francisco politics.

A coalition of anti-war groups placed Proposition I on the Nov. 8 ballot, which they say would make San Francisco the first city in the country to have a policy that opposes military recruiting in public schools.

Supporters hope to continue the momentum of last year's Proposition N, in which San Franciscans voted overwhelmingly to call on the U.S. government to withdraw all military personnel from Iraq.

"We see this as a way of ending the war," said Ragina Johnson, spokeswoman for College Not Combat. "If they don't have new recruits to join the military, ultimately in the long run they won't be able to continue the war."

Though the measure is largely symbolic and would not forbid recruiting, opponents say it ends the wrong message to young people.

"This measure would bring the erosion of respect for our military armed forces, and I don't want to entertain one change," said Gail Neira, president of the San Francisco Republican Alliance.

Another hot-button issue on the ballot, gun control, is sponsored by four members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Proposition H would make it illegal for city residents to possess handguns and would ban the manufacture, distribution, sale and transfer of firearms and ammunition within the city.

The National Rifle Association has spoken out against the measure, though local opponents say the group is not part of the official opposition.

"The possession of firearms by law-abiding people is not the problem," said Mike Ege, a board member of the Coalition Against Prohibition, who said crime rates would rise if handguns were banned. Criminals will know people are not armed and protecting themselves, he said.

Supporters who want San Francisco to join the ranks of Washington, D.C., and Chicago, the only cities in the country with such a ban, say too many innocent people die as a result of gun violence.

"Banning handguns alone is not gong to stop the violence, but it's a big step," Supervisor Chris Daly said.

Voters also will decide on Proposition F, a measure backed by the politically powerful San Francisco firefighters union that would end the brownouts that closed firehouses on a rotating basis during tight budget times and require all 42 firehouses in the city to stay open.

The brownouts began under Mayor Gavin Newsom, who nonetheless supports the measure that would forbid them.

"It's a dense city built of 150-year-old wood, and these fires engulf structures very, very quickly," said Eric Jaye, a spokesman for the Yes on F campaign, who also is a political strategist for Newsom. "It's not just an issue of minutes that matter in response; seconds matter. These brownouts have affected response times."

The city controller estimated that implementing Proposition F could cost up to $6.6 million a year in firefighter salaries and benefits. And opponents say that's money that could be used on other expenses.

"Proposition F is not going to protect public safety," said N'Tanya Lee, executive director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. "It's an effort to distract the public from the inefficiencies in the fire department that would justify reducing the number of fire houses permanently."

Six other measures are on the ballot, including two bond measures.

Proposition A would allow the San Francisco Community College District to borrow $246.3 million by issuing general obligation bonds to pay for capital improvements. Proposition B authorizes the city to borrow $208 million by issuing general obligation bonds to pay for major street and sidewalk improvements and to add bike lanes.

Proposition C would give the city's Ethics Commission, which is responsible for enforcing local campaign and lobbying laws, more independence in setting its own budget and limit the mayor's power.

Another measure, Proposition D, takes a stab at mayoral authority by rescinding the mayor's ability to appoint all seven members to the board that oversees the Municipal Railway.

Proposition E would change the election date of the city's assessor-recorder and public defender from the statewide primary election in June to the municipal election the next November.

Proposition G gives city voters a say in the politically charged issue of traffic in Golden Gate Park. The ballot measure, sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and his 10 colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, seeks to restrict traffic to one lane in each direction on Ninth Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive within the park between Lincoln Way and Concourse Drive.

If approved, the measure would permit an entrance and exit for an underground parking garage being sought by the Golden Gate Concourse Authority to serve visitors to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.

E-mail Cecilia M. Vega at

Page B - 4

©2005 San Francisco Chronicle


[[3 parts to this email: a. noborders info, b. swarm campaign, c. minutemen demos in california]]


Hello all,
The gathering on Tuesday was great and it was really good to see the mutual aid offerings and all. I was the one who brought up the noborders/migration working group idea, and i got a lot of good responses, tips, emails, and the like. I'll be sending out an email to all who were interested and all who gave me their email soon, perhaps to share/talk/strategize about the rising noborder actions across the country that anarchists are doing, and what that means for nyc.

Also, I'll be doing a short presentation at Bluestockings in mid-november about the anarchist organizing against the border and minutemen happening in san diego/campo/mexicali/calexico/ca/mx, with a little video too.
I'm more than happy to talk with anyone about the noborder work in southern california, and more than happy to listen to anyone who could fill me in about it here.

For some more info on noborder work in the u.s., california/mexico, anti-minutemen activities, etc, please see: - A colloborative website with postings from california, mexico, spain/morocco, greece, and canada and more. It is an open space for people to publish and share their stories and struggles against borders and for Freedom of Movement. PLEASE USE! - electronic warfare against minutemen - noborders anarchist collective in san diego, CA - sf bay area group working against
minutemen - Canadian coalition of self-organized migrant groups and solidarity groups. - No One is Illegal, Vancouver - Noborder network, europe - Info on Operation Gatekeeper

If you want to see what the minutemen are saying, check out their forums and websites here:

If you want to follow their news, you can do that here:

B. From SWARM:

The Minutemen are really ramping up their media campaign, including a major rally in Sacramento to promote their California Border Patrol initiative, an attempt to further militarize the border and our communities at the cost of more people's lives. Recently, they testified before congress to ask that congres declare a state of emergency along the entire border. Clearly, they want more policing of our lives and communities, they want unrestricted fascism on the border. Still, resistance to the Minutemen has been powerful and is still growing, all across North America.

Here are the phone numbers they're providing for media access in their press advisory. Do you have any interesting ideas for phone jamming? How about txt messaging? Is there an automated way to do it, or is just calling them and giving them a piece of your mind the best strategy? In the past, the imitation factor has been effective, pretending to register as a volunteer. Maybe pretending to set up lots of interviews around town is a good idea. Have fun, and we'll see you in Sacramento on October 29th at 10am to disrupt the Minutemen rally!

MEDIA ACCESS will be facilitated at the rally and at film showing on Oct. 29.

In the meantime other availabilities can be arranged with participants.

Minuteman Civil Defense Corp: CONTACT: Connie Hair 703-822-4665
9-11 Families for a Safer America: CONTACT: Peter Gadiel, 860-927-3822
California Border Police Initiative: CONTACT: Assemblyman Ray Haynes, 916-319-2066
Gilchrist Campaign: CONTACT: Tim Bueller, 949-588-8683.
Friends of the Border Patrol: CONTACT: Andy Ramirez, 909-613-9211
“Cries From the Border,” CONTACT: May Kolbe 520-366-5779
Doug Alan: CONTACT: Thomas Sapper 415-898-5078.
Dan Sheehy: CONTACT: Dan Sheehy, 310-544-1918

and Roger Canfield (the main Sacramento rally organizer) can be reached at 916-961-6718

C. From The Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen

RALLY Against the Minutemen!
DISRUPT the Minutemen's Rally!

Saturday, October 29, 10am

On the steps of the State Capitol, Sacramento, California

The Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen is mobilizing an action to oppose the Minuteman Project's rally to gather public support for their attempts to harass poor, undocumented border-crossers and to announce their support of a new initiative that would establish a state border police in addition to the existing federal border patrol. This rally will take place in Sacramento on the Capitol steps on October 29th from 10am to 12:30pm. It will feature the founder of the Minuteman Project, Jim Gilchrist, and the legislative sponsors of the California Border Police Initiative, amongst others. Governor Schwarzenegger has also been invited to speak.

The Minuteman Project is seeking legitimization from the public and state lawmakers to give them authority to patrol the border with guns and they want taxpayers to pay for it. We at BACFM are outraged at the Minuteman Project's attempts to push their trigger-happy, racist ideologies that deny people their human rights to dignity, food, water, security and freedom of movement because of their class and skin color/nationality. We believe the Minuteman Project is a symptom of the problem of having borders between nations.

BACFM is calling on all groups opposed to the Minuteman Project and the Governor's support of the Minutemen to gather at the Capitol Steps to tell them that their vigilanteism will not be tolerated on the state border or in the state legislature.


To subscribe to our event lists email:

To find out about transportation to Sacramento and/or to get involved in organizing an action send an email to:


amor y chelas,
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Cutting veterans' benefits shows society's lack of respect

This story was printed from Daily Toreador.LUBBOCK TEXAS
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HERSHBERGER: Cutting veterans' benefits shows society's lack of respect

By James Hershberger/Columnist
October 19, 2005

I never knew my grandfather. He died nine years prior to my birth, and yet he always has been present in my life. I would look at old pictures of him and try to detect my own features in his face and retell his heroic war stories my mother had told me around the lunch table at my elementary school.

My grandfather was a career Army man and though, after much consideration, I chose not to follow in his footsteps, I always have held men and women who wear the uniform in very high regard. The fact that people are willing to sacrifice their lives so America can be safe touches me, as it should all citizens.

For this reason, I have been very disappointed with President Bush as well as former President Bill Clinton. Both presidents have been responsible for massive decreases in spending for veterans.

During the presidency of Bill Clinton, veterans lost quite a bit of the medical benefits they had in previous years. According to the Vietnam Veterans of America's newsletter the VVA Veteran, the funding for specialized staff such as mental health and acute care professionals drastically was slashed. Clinton also proposed a bill to Congress, which was passed, increasing the co-pay veterans had to add to the cost of their medication.

President Bush also has tremendously cut funding for veterans health. His 2004 budget called for cutting $30 billion in programs for veterans including disability pay for wounds sustained during battle and pensions for low income veterans. As a result, 1.7 million vets currently do not have health coverage, an increase of about 235,000 since 2000, according to USA Today.

The protest from veteran organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion was so great that the president's 2005 budget restores much of the money that was lost, but it leaves out the $1 billion that the Department of Veterans Affairs requires to meet veterans needs.

Though I usually am a big fan of Clinton, and I like some of Bush's policies, I am horrified by these facts. Clinton bragged about leaving a $230 million surplus in 2000. Why couldn't some of this rainy-day money be used to meet the needs veterans face everyday? Bush asks for more and more money for the Iraq War. Why not take care of the disabled veterans living in America before creating more in a war that has no consistent motive?

I suppose funds allotted for veterans are easy to dip into. After all, they have sacrificed so much for the country already; why not ask them to give up a little bit more? I think this attitude demonstrates just how little gratitude society has.

People say the Pledge of Allegiance and study about foreign conflicts, but I don't know if most of us appreciate the sacrifices soldiers make. We've all see the films that are poor recreations of the hell many saw firsthand. Does it occur to us that these terrible events actually occurred and that people who live in our town experienced them?

One interesting aspect of this whole debacle is how partisanship blinds many Americans, including active servicemen and women. Clinton was very unpopular among the military, which he deserved. When he would pass soldiers exiting Air Force One, many were caught on camera dropping their salutes as he walked past.

But Bush enjoys support from many soldiers and their families despite the casualness with which he approaches veteran's issues. His budget is responsible for the medical attention many do not receive, yet he has not been criticized for it.

My guess is that many military families share in the conservative values of the president and the Republican Party, and therefore refuse to believe the truth about what he has done and continues to do.

Of course people should hold on to whatever they believe in, but at the same time those who are pro-military should hold leaders accountable. If the leader has as shoddy a record as Bush does in caring for veterans, then he has not earned their support.

My research has made me realize that it is very wise to elect veterans to the presidency when possible, or at least someone who has demonstrated sympathy towards the military. It is similar to the idea of a guy who washed dishes for a restaurant chain in his youth growing up to be the company CEO. Though he is at the top, he understands what it feels like to be at the lowest level.

As Commander in Chief of all American armed forces, the president should know what it feels like to be at the bottom. Clinton was a confessed draft-dodger, and while Bush's service to the Texas Air National Guard is shrouded in controversy and mystery, it is at least known he did not see combat. I do not think this lack of service and lack of commitment to veterans is a coincidence.

I now am and always will be proud of what my grandfather did for this country. Anytime I see someone in uniform, I reflect on the brave commitment they have made and appreciate it. I don't think it's too much to ask for a president who feels the same way.

The Aesthetics of Resistance

The Aesthetics of Resistance
Thinking in Public
October 20, 2005
Danny Pearlstein

I have a draft card. If the government wants, it can call me up and send me off to die. When I turned 18, I got two gifts by mail. The first was a complimentary Gillette Mach3 razor. The second was a form on cardstock from the Selective Service System. In the corner, removable by perforation, was a wallet-sized draft card printed with my name, social security number and other identifying information. As the military remains a bastion of sexism, all American males over the age of 18 are required to register with the Selective Service. College-bound men are automatically registered when they fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s that simple.

Right now, there are a number of bills before Congress that would reinstate the draft itself, which was last in effect during the Vietnam War. Favored mostly by Democratic representatives and senators who want to demonstrate their opposition to the United States’ occupation of Iraq by exposing the hypocrisy of armchair warriors who won’t risk sending their own loved ones into battle, these bills have gone nowhere.

But a so-called back door draft has been underway for years. Troops supposed to be eligible for discharge are now routinely compelled to remain on active duty because of stop loss orders that prevent them from returning to civilian life. Just like those drafted to serve in Vietnam, these men and women — though they initially enlisted, often lured by promises of job training and free college — are now being impressed into service against their will. Though frequently intimidated into silence, many of Iraq’s supposed liberators hate and fear their absurd task, which has killed approximately 2,000 of them in the last two and a half years.

Operation Iraqi Freedom, a mission allegedly accomplished on or before May 1, 2003, has sentenced to death well over 100,000 of the to-be-freed. Add these deaths to the over 500,000 perpetrated by economic sanctions in place from late Bush I until early Bush II and United States efforts to oust our former business partner Saddam have cost the lives of upwards of two percent of the Iraqi population.

It is as if six million Americans were killed to in order to get rid of our president — even Bush’s removal from office would not be worth any fraction of the carnage. In Iraq, we have exchanged so much blood for a civil war and an anti-feminist theocratic movement. As of yet, this war for oil has consumed far more than it has produced for American markets. And following the destruction of its infrastructure, Iraq now also imports petroleum.

War presents the hideous proposition that we may well lose our lives and that others will definitely lose theirs. So we oppose it, much as we oppose any lethal disease. From history, we know that war inevitably reestablishes deadly social orders, and so are also obliged not to participate in it on that account. This means in part that we cannot make war on war, but must wage peace instead in opposition.

Despite the best efforts of many of our ancestors, none of us were born into peace. The lucky among us know warm, caring, loving, friendly relations with other people, but are still entirely unfamiliar with exquisite peace on a global scale. We are unable to detect peace’s sight, smell, sound, taste or touch. So we dream about it instead.

We also resist war, peacefully, nonviolently. Just before Shock and Awe, the Saint Patrick’s Four resisted the imminent slaughter of Iraqi people by pouring their blood and reading a statement of principles at the military recruiting station in the Cayuga Mall. Following sentencing by a federal judge in January 2006, they are likely to be jailed for their resistance.

Resistance takes tamer forms as well. Throughout Ithaca, and in some other parts of the country, many people wear orange to signal their desire to end the occupation of other people’s countries and homes. The bright orange of resistance against aggression complements the deep blue of peace.

Though we the people of the United States are said to be sovereign — we supposedly comprise our own government — the fact that a majority of Americans want our troops out of Iraq is unlikely to interfere with a small minority’s determination to keep them in harm’s way. The continuance of the war — especially when coupled with the deception required to initiate it — represents the failure of democracy. We are not in charge of ourselves, our homes or our nation.

Yet we resist and work for peace in different ways as we learn and think of them. In part, we do so on the off chance that our efforts may succeed and save countless lives. But we also resist because it is beautiful. People, communities and regions in resistance to something awful look far better to us than complacent ones. We see an intense beauty in peace and in the resistance that represents the path toward it. For some, that peace is gorgeous is reason enough to oppose war and let others know how we feel. For other people, that war is grotesque wins them over from passivity to resistance and the pursuit of peace. We begin to resist when we realize that selfishness no longer seems beautiful.

Danny Pearlstein is a first-year master of regional planning student. He can be reached at Thinking in Public appears Thursdays.

AWOL Soldier Caught After Kidnapping His Wife

from the desperation-leads-to-violence department:

Melvin Alexander was found late Wednesday night after a massive manhunt near the Tennessee/Kentucky border.

Alexander was accused of kidnapping and beating his wife, who is also a soldier, from Texas and driving all the way to Kentucky.

His wife escaped after she alerted a worker at a rest stop near I-65 on the Tennessee/Kentucky state line. She told the worker that she was being held against her will by her husband.

Police responded and, after a short chase, Alexander pulled over, ditched his SUV and ran. He was eventually caught and arrested near Franklin in Simpson County, Kentucky.

"He was driving very reckless. He was weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the shoulders and actually entered some of the grassy portions on the state right of way as he was trying to evade police. We thought that he was going to continue and hurt somebody," said Lt. Bruce Patterson of the Kentucky State Police.

Melvin Alexander is a communications specialist at Fort Hood, Texas.

His wife was treated at a local hospital and released.

Researchers: Pornography in ads can lead to violence against women

by Lee Hurwitz
Published Thursday, October 20, 2005

In a society where pop culture and advertising have continued to push the envelope through their use of sexuality, Matt Ezzell and Natalia Deebs-Sossa of the University of North Carolina, are doing what they can to push for sexual equality.

Ezzell and Deebs-Sossa presented "Talkin' Ads and Porn" Wednesday in the Whittenberger Auditorium to a relatively full audience. The goal of this presentation was to inform students about society's perception of women as sexual objects and how to correct this perception.

"Since most women are kind of different from the top-model image, there is a constant losing battle of self-image," said Douglas Hofstadter, who organized the event and is a professor of cognitive science and computer science at IU. "It's damaging when every woman that's portrayed in the media or who are on the covers of magazines are part of a stereotypical form of beauty, whereas the average woman is not."

The two-hour presentation began by describing the relationship between violence and sexually explicit advertisements and ended with a slide show of sexual images in the media and pornography. In order to make their points, Ezzell and Deebs-Sossa showed common advertisements that can be accessed virtually everywhere. These ads generally viewed women in sexual positions and tended to focus on certain body parts, they said.

The portrayal of women as sexual objects in advertising and pornography is what troubles Ezzell and Deebs-Sossa because this depiction produces a general harm to women, Ezzell said.

"We think that there is a connection between pornography, advertising and violence towards women, but it's not a direct causal link," Ezzell said. "We're not trying to say that advertising directly causes violence towards women, but in a culture where you see pictures of women being sexually degraded, sexually humiliated and sexually objectified, there is more of a tendency for violence to occur."

The presentation also included the harm toward men in instances of pornography because it suggests the way a man should act sexually and it limits a man's sexual expression.

Deebs-Sossa said advertisements are not just degrading women as a whole, but there are sub-groups of degradation because minority women are portrayed differently than white women, which can lead to certain consequences like racism.

Even though Ezzell and Deebs-Sossa see advertisements and pornography as a way of degrading women, they stressed that they, in no way, wanted to encourage censorship.

"Everybody has the right to produce what they want within the First Amendment," Ezzell said. "That's not where our critique comes, though. We're saying that they have this right but rather they need to look at the consequences of their actions."

Ezzell also believes that if society censors pornography, it will be in a worse position than he believes it already is because of the possibilities of a black market. He also believes the amount of sexual violence probably wouldn't decrease.

"Part of our presentation is how the advertisements and the commercials are so similar to some of the images we see in pornography that part of what we need to change is the idea of what we consider sexy or attractive in our culture," Deebs-Sossa said. "Until we change that, we will create some injustice in this world."

She believes the increase of women who are considered beautiful in advertisements also leads to health problems with teenagers. The number of girls who have anorexia and strive to obtain the bodies of these women has gone up, and she thinks advertisements play a major role in that.

"I think that the main question that we need to ask ourselves is why a woman taking her clothes off is what we need to use in this culture to sell things," Deebs-Sossa said.

Even though the presentation strongly depicted advertising and pornography as negative, both Ezzell and Deebs-Sossa believe society can improve the degradation of women in those areas.

"There's a lot of ways to be sexual, and pornography only tells one of them," Ezzell said. "We can be much more creative in the ways that we express ourselves sexually and there's a lot of hope to expand our ability to be intimate with one another."

"Researchers: Pornography in ads can lead to violence against women"

U.S. war resister hopes to stay in Canada

U.S. war resister hopes to stay in Canada

Darrell Anderson may only be 23, but he’s already travelled halfway across the world to Iraq with the American army, been injured in combat and fled to Canada to avoid being sent overseas again.

Students at Sudbury Secondary School listen to American Darrell Anderson about the war in Iraq and why he has taken refuge in Canada.
Last January, he became one of about 20 young Americans to seek refugee status in Canada as conscientious objectors to the war in Iraq.

If Anderson ever decides to go home, he’d likely be arrested, tried in military court and sent to jail for one to five years.

The young man joined the military in 2003 because he wanted to earn enough money to afford health insurance and an education. This was several
months before Bush ordered troops to invade Iraq, said Anderson, who spoke to students at Sudbury Secondary School Tuesday morning.

“I did a lot of negative stuff, and I learned a lot from it. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the tragedies and harshness of war,” said Anderson.

“I would just be another kid with a toy gun saying ‘Rah, war!’ Now I realize what war is. There’s no benefit from war on either side.”

Anderson was deployed in Iraq from January to July 2004. He quickly realized his country was there to gain control over oil reserves, not to get rid
of weapons of mass destruction or spread democracy.

The military used brutal force to combat Iraqi insurgents, said Anderson.

Darrell Anderson
If one person shot at a tank, the soldiers were under orders to spray everyone in sight with bullets. It sickened his heart when he was forced to kill innocent people.

But one day, Anderson saw one of his friends die after being hit with an explosive. He was filled with rage, and actually wanted to kill Iraqi people, even if they hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I point my weapon at the first person I see, and I go to fire my weapon, but it’s on safe. So I put it back on fire, and I aim again, and it’s a 14-year-old kid just running from the violence. I realize that, but I still want to kill. He runs away,” he says.

“You feel a sense of kill and rage. That’s what being in that environment breeds.”

On the same day his friend died, Anderson received a severe flesh wound when a bomb blew up and a hunk of metal became lodged in his side. He was bandaged up and stayed in Iraq for a few more months.

When he finally got home to Lexington, Kentucky, he made the decision to apply for refugee status in Canada. Right now, Anderson is living in Toronto and working as a carpenter’s assistant while awaiting a hearing.

He hopes the Canadian government will grant asylum to all conscientious objectors to the Iraq war.

The NDP and several unions already support their cause, he said.

He was joined by Lee Zaslofsky, who fled to Canada in 1969 after being drafted to fight in Vietnam.

The war resisters were also scheduled to speak at Laurentian University and the Sudbury Arts Council later in the day.

Zasolfky, 61, says talking to Anderson immediately brought him back to the early 1970s when 60,000 Americans fled north to escape the Vietnam draft.

If the war in Iraq continues as it appears it will, many more young Americans will follow Anderson’s lead, he says.

“I’m saddened that, once again, we see American young people having to knock on Canada’s door because America is doing something that’s really evil, and they don’t want to be part of it,” he says.

“The thing that I’m concerned about now is that Canada (continue to) open that door, and make it possible for them to stay here as I do.”


Issue Brief No. 19PDF Version. »
October 19, 2005


Each year thousands of women come to the United States through International Marriage Broker firms (IMB s). Many refer to these women as “mail order brides.” These women travel significant distances from their families and communities to enter into marriages arranged by IMBs. They are especially at risk of abuse, including violence and even murder. Most enter into marriages without knowing their spouse’s prior criminal record, which may include domestic violence, assault, and murder. Many victims resist seeking help, fearing further abuse or deportation.

Inspired by the case of a client who was paired with an abusive spouse and was misled by the IMB in order to keep her in the marriage, the Tahirih Justice Center has spearheaded efforts to curb abuses related to IMBs. They report that many of the men who use IMBs intentionally seek women whom they believe they could dominate and control, either because the woman does not speak English, would be legally and economically dependent, or is marketed by the IMB as subservient. They also note that some of these men are violent predators who return to IMBs repeatedly to find their next victim.

Domestic violence is a serious abuse and violation of human rights. Immigrant women are among the most vulnerable because they are less likely to have knowledge of legal protections and services available to them. A 2003 survey found that over 50 percent of the providers of legal assistance serving battered immigrant women had helped women who met their abusive husbands through IMBs. As victims in a foreign country, many are afraid and unaware of the rights and protections that US law affords them. Additional safeguards are needed to regulate these businesses and require them to disclose information about their customers to prospective brides.

Washington state responded to the brutal murders of two women by the husbands they met through IMBs, Anastasia King of Kyrgyzstan and Susanna Blackwell of the Philippines, by passing state level regulations. Texas, Hawaii and Missouri followed suit. The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005 is the first piece of federal legislation and represents a strong step toward enabling the US government to protect the rights and safety of immigrant women who contract with IMBs. IMBRA enjoys strong bi-partisan support and would provide critical information to all women who come to the US on fiancée or spousal visas. Specifically, the bill would:
  • Prohibit IMBs from revealing the personal contact information of a foreign national client to US clients until the foreign client receives the marital and criminal background information on the US client and knowingly consents to having her personal contact information turned over.
  • Require IMBs to give foreign national clients information on the illegality of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, as well as information on the legal protections and services available to victims of such crimes. It would also require the State Department to distribute similar information to all women immigrating on a fiancée or spousal visa.
  • Prohibits U.S. citizens from applying for multiple foreign fiancée visas at a time.


  • The U.S. Congress should pass and implement the strongest possible protections for women arriving to the United States on fiancée or spousal visas. As the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) goes to Conference Committee, Conferees should be urged to support the greatest possible protections for battered women, trafficked women, and women and their children who are exploited and abused through the international marriage broker (aka, “mail-order bride”) industry. An indispensable element of the human rights protections needed for such women is to promote accountability of the IMB industry through regulation.

Israel accused of 'road apartheid' in West Bank

  • Army seals off main route to Palestinian vehicles

  • Opponents say plan is to carve out new borders

The Israeli military has blocked Palestinians from driving on the main artery through the West Bank in a first step towards what Israeli human rights groups say is total "road apartheid" being enforced throughout the occupied territory.

The army sealed off access to Route 60 after the fatal shooting of three settlers near Bethlehem on Sunday. No private Palestinian cars are permitted on the road although public transport is still allowed.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv yesterday said the government quietly gave the military the go-ahead earlier this week for a plan to culminate in barring all Palestinians from roads used by Israelis in the West Bank. "The purpose is to reach, in a gradual manner, within a year or two, total separation between the two populations. The first and immediate stage of separation applies to the roads in the territories: roads for Israelis only and roads for Palestinians only," the newspaper said.

The Palestinian leadership and others claim the separation plan, and the road network to make it possible, are elements of a wider strategy to carve out new Israeli borders inside the West Bank alongside the 420-mile security barrier under construction and expansion of settlements. The plan for the occupied territory reserves the main roads for Jewish settlers and other Israelis while Palestinians will be confined to secondary routes, many little better than dirt tracks or roads which have yet to be built. Palestinian vehicles, including heavy lorries, travelling from Bethlehem to Ramallah, for instance, will be forced to take a lengthy route on a narrow road through the hills while Israelis driving between settlements near to each of the towns will travel on a highway.

The Israeli government is building a number of new roads for Palestinians in areas where there are none, and plans 18 tunnels under or around roads or areas from which Palestinians will be barred. Israel is seeking foreign funding but the EU has said it is not prepared to pay for roads used in a parallel system. Israel has also built new roads in the West Bank, exclusively for non-Palestinians. "The separate roads are only one part of the separation plan," said Maariv. "One major goal of the plan is to turn the separation fence into a line to completely prevent Palestinians from entering Israeli territory."

Israeli human rights group BTselem said Palestinians are barred from or have restricted access to 450 miles of West Bank roads, a system with "clear similarities" to South Africa's former apartheid regime. Sarit Michaeli, of BTselem, said: "Israel is cynically manipulating the security fears of ordinary Israelis."

by Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Thursday October 20, 2005

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005,2763,1596168,00.html?gusrc=rss

Guardian journalist abducted in Baghdad

The Guardian's Iraq correspondent, Rory Carroll, was last night missing after being kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad. Carroll, 33, an experienced foreign correspondent, had been conducting an interview in the city with a victim of Saddam Hussein's regime. He had been preparing an article for today's paper on the opening of the former dictator's trial yesterday.

Carroll, who was accompanied by two drivers and a translator, was confronted by the gunmen as he left the house where he had been carrying out the interview. He and one of the drivers were bundled into cars. The driver was released about 20 minutes later.

Carroll has been in Iraq since January. He volunteered for the assignment and his coverage has been critical of the US-led coalition. Before Iraq, he had been the paper's correspondent in Africa, based in Johannesburg, since 2002. In the previous three years he had been based in Rome, where he covered the aftermath of the Kosovo war.

He was born in Dublin, attended university there and worked for various Irish papers before moving to London. He has an Irish passport. The Irish government was last night in contact with its embassies throughout the Middle East to try to secure help in finding him.

Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian's editor, said: "We're deeply concerned at Rory's disappearance. He is in Iraq as a professional journalist - and he's a very good, straight journalist whose only concern is to report fairly and truthfully about the country. We urge those holding him to release him swiftly - for the sake of his family and for the sake of anyone who believes the world needs to be kept fully informed about events in Iraq today."

Ewen MacAskill Thursday October 20, 2005 The Guardian

Guardian journalist abducted in Baghdad (full story)
20.10.2005: Fears over Guardian journalist
19.10.2005: Guardian statement on Rory Carroll
Guardian statement on Rory Carroll (in Arabic - pdf)
Hear the Guardian statement on Rory Carroll (in Arabic)

Pyrrhic Victory in Iraq

The approval of the Iraqi Constitution in the October 15 referendum is another Pyrrhic victory for the Bush Administration in its effort to salvage its failed Iraq project. Like the January election and the other so-called democratic landmarks before it, the ratification of the Constitution may momentarily slow the erosion of domestic US support for the occupation. But also like the January election, the Constitution is almost certain to exacerbate sectarian divisions in Iraq while doing little or nothing to undermine popular support for the insurgency.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has taken the lead in spinning the outcome of the vote, arguing that the referendum has brought the Sunnis into the political process and suggesting that the Constitution now provides an accepted legal framework for governing Iraq. But evidence on the ground rebuts these claims. By international standards, the process for drafting and approving the Constitution was flawed from the beginning. In part because they boycotted the January election, the Sunnis, who make up about 20 percent of the population, were badly underrepresented in the National Assembly and thus were largely frozen out of the decision-making. Not surprisingly, the document reflected Shiite and Kurdish domination of the government, especially on questions relating to the federal structure of the country. Last-minute amendments, reportedly engineered by US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, including limits on de-Baathification, did soften some of the more offensive parts of the Constitution but did not alter the features most unacceptable to the Sunni minority other than to permit further revisions after the December elections. That's why they took part in the vote--not, as Rice implied, to approve the political process but to register their profound disagreement with the Constitution and Shiite dominance.

The underlying cause of Sunni rejection remains the issue of federalism and the desire of the Shiites and Kurds for regional autonomy. The Constitution would permit the establishment of a highly autonomous nine-province region for the predominantly Shiite south as well as a three-province Kurdish region in the north. Many Sunnis, along with Shiite nationalists loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, oppose such a loose federal structure because it would severely weaken the central government and exclude them from a share in Iraq's oil resources, which lie in the southern and northern parts of the country.

There is also the sensitive issue of the role of Islam. The Constitution declares Islam to be a primary source of legislation and calls for the appointment of experts in Sharia (Islamic law) to the Supreme Federal Court; this has sparked concerns among women and among Iraqis who favor a secular state. Moreover, the Constitution does not address the most explosive issue of all--the presence of foreign troops and foreign bases on Iraqi soil--and tacitly accepts many of the laws relating to the privatization of Iraqi industry imposed on the country by the Coalition Provisional Authority in the first days of the occupation. Occupation and the privatization of industry are anathema to most Iraqis.

Given the country's internal divisions, the overall effect of the referendum's approval may be to accelerate Iraq's "descent into civil war and disintegration," as the International Crisis Group warned before the vote. That outcome is even more likely if the charges of fraud and ballot-stuffing lodged against the Shiite-dominated government are shown to be true. In short, rather than bringing more Sunnis into the process, the ratification of the Constitution, along with widespread accusations of fraud perpetrated by the Shiite-led government, could fuel more Sunni anger and disenchantment, prompting more support for the insurgency.

Even more worrying, there is growing evidence that Iraqis are losing patience with the "democratic" process as well as with the occupation. As recent interviews by various journalists have shown, Iraqis are increasingly angry at the growing corruption, the lack of electricity and water, and the widespread anarchy. They blame the current government and, above all, the US occupation for this deplorable state of affairs. For these Iraqis the Constitution is at best irrelevant and at worst just another US-imposed measure that will only increase the violence and make the country's problems more unmanageable. The only democratic landmark that really matters to them--the only one capable of reversing the spiral into more chaos and war, the only one that would create the conditions for real compromise--is an end to the occupation. Yet this is the one step the Bush Administration is unwilling to consider. Until it does, there is little hope that the deepening violence in Iraq will end.