Links / U.S. Chemical – Biological Weapons Hypocrisy

One of the largest human experiments in history’ was conducted on unsuspecting residents of San Francisco http://www.businessinsider.com/the-military-tested-bacterial-weapons-in-san-francisco-2015-7

Veterans Used In Secret Experiments Sue Military For Answers (Mustard Gas) http://www.npr.org/2015/09/051437555125/veterans-used-in-secret-experiments-sue-military-for-answers

DDT: A Review of Scientific and Economic Aspects of the Decision to ban its use as a pesticide https://books.google.com/books?id=K9XjbKUfYk8C United States. Environmental Protection Agency, ‎United States. Congress. House. Committee on Appropriations– 1975 – ‎DDT (Insecticide)

4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24751351.html

Biological warfare and bioterrorism: a historical review Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2004 Oct; 17(4): 400–406. Stefan Riedel, MD, PhDcorresponding author1 1From the Department of Pathology, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

AND From GPF Global Policy Forum:

US Intelligence Helps Saddam’s Party Seize Power in 1963 | US and British Support for Saddam in the 1970s and 1980s

Saddam Key in Early CIA Plot (April 10, 2003)

According to former US intelligence officials and diplomats, the CIA’s relationship with Saddam Hussein dates back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad that attempted to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim. (United Press International)

A Tyrant Forty Years in the Making (March 14, 2003)

Roger Morris writes of the “regime change” carried out by the CIA in Iraq forty years ago. Among the CIA’s actions were attempted political assassinations and the handing over of a list of suspected communists and leftists that led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. (New York Times)

 

CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath

In this excerpt from his classic study of Iraqi politics, Hanna Batatu discusses how the Ba`ath Party seized power for the first time in a military coup in February 1963. He speaks of lists, provided by US intelligence, that enabled the party to hunt down its enemies, particularly the Communists, in a terrible bloodletting.

 

The Riegle Report (1994)

This report by the Senate Banking Committee analyzes the US’s exports of warfare-related goods to Iraq and their possible impact on the health consequences of the Gulf War. The report concludes that the US provided Iraq “with ‘dual-use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-system programs.” (Gulflink)

Officers Say US Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas (August 18, 2002)

According to senior military officials, a covert program carried out during the Reagan Administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when US intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons against Iran. (New York Times)

Did Saddam Die for Our Sins? (January 9, 2007)

The US-backed Iraq Tribunal sentenced Saddam Hussein to death for his role in the 1982 massacre of nearly 150 Shiites in Dujail, Iraq. But the same court has dropped all charges against Hussein, post mortem, for the killing of 180,000 Kurds during the 1980s – crimes committed with Western complicity. The author of this TomPaine piece concludes that if the tribunal does not look into US and British involvement in the genocide case, it will fail “to educate the world about Saddam and his barbarous regime.”

 

This Was a Guilty Verdict on America as Well (November 6, 2006)

The US-backed Iraq Special Tribunal sentenced the country’s former ruler and “one-time [US] ally” Saddam Hussein to death by hanging – a verdict which came as no surprise to many. The court sought to bring Saddam to justice for crimes against humanity, but failed to acknowledge past US and British administrations’ roles in facilitating these crimes. For decades, Washington provided economic and military support – including chemical weapons – to Saddam’s regime. Therefore, in light of the court’s ruling and its positive reception in Washington, the author of this Independent opinion piece asks, “Have ever justice and hypocrisy been so obscenely joined?”

 

The True Iraq Appeasers (August 31, 2006)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has compared critics of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. The author of this Boston Globe article points out the hypocrisy of such a statement, noting the arming and financing of Saddam Hussein by the Reagan and first Bush administrations. As the article shows, many of the planners of the 2003 Iraq war supported Hussein in the 1980s during his ruthless and genocidal dictatorship.

 

Morality in Iraq, Then and Now (August 27, 2006)

This Washington Post opinion piece criticizes the historically inconsistent US policy towards Iraq. The author tracks US involvement in Iraq from the 1970s up until the trial of the country’s former leader Saddam Hussein, which began in 2005. Although the US helped to set up the Special Iraq Tribunal, contributing to the exposure of some of these crimes, the author warns against overlooking US complicity with the Hussein regime.

US Military Assistance to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War (April 20, 2006)

This material highlights the various military, intelligence, and financial assistance given to Saddam’s regime by the US. In 1986, former Vice President George H.W. Bush traveled to the Middle East, repeatedly encouraging Saddam to step up Iraq’s bombing campaign against Iran. In addition, the US supplied Saddam with several big orders of helicopters and provoked a diversionary engagement with the Iranian navy in coordination with a major Iraqi offensive. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Saddam Hussein Trial: US-Iraq Military and Economic Relations (October 20, 2005)

Saddam Hussein’s trial has prompted discussions about US economic and military support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. This bibliography offers a list of sources addressing US policy towards Iraq from 1979 to 1990. (Global Policy Forum)

 

Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents Show (December 19, 2003)

While the US publicly maintained neutrality during the Iran-Iraq war, it privately attempted to forge a better relationship with the government of Saddam Hussein. This policy did not shift when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran. (Washington Post)

 

Saddam’s Arrest Raises Troubling Questions (December 2003)

For decades Washington supported the regime of Saddam Hussein. US officials responsible for such policies could themselves be guilty of war crimes and might face allegations in an international tribunal. (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus on Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein (March 24, 2003)

This report, by the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, investigates the “revolving door” between the Bechtel Group and the Reagan administration that drove US policy towards Iraq in the 1980s. The authors argue that many of the same actors are back today, justifying military action against Iraq and waiting to reap the benefits of post-war reconstruction.

Britain’s Dirty Secret (March 6, 2003)

Britain secretly assisted in building a chemical plant in Iraq despite being fully aware that Saddam Hussein gassed Iranian troops in the 1980s. The warning about possibilities to make chemical weapons was dismissed by Paul Channon, British trade minister at that time, stating abandoning the project “would do our other trade prospects in Iraq no good.” (Guardian)

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The US Tilts Toward Iraq, 1980-1984 (February 25, 2003)

This extensive report from the National Security Archive uses declassified US documents to illustrate the nature of US involvement in Iraqi affairs under the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

America Didn’t Seem to Mind Poison Gas (January 17, 2003)

As part of his call for regime change in Iraq, George W. Bush has accused Saddam Hussein of using poison gas against his own people. However, in 1988 the US worked to prevent the international community from condemning Iraq’s chemical attack against the Kurdish village of Halabja, instead attempting to place part of the blame on Iran. (International Herald Tribune)

Rumsfeld “Offered Help to Saddam” (December 31, 2002)

As President Reagan’s Middle East envoy in the early 80s, current US Secretary of Defense and leading Bush administration hawk, Donald Rumsfeld, offered support to Saddam Hussein during the Iraq-Iran conflict with knowledge that the Iraqis were using chemical weapons. (Guardian)

 

US Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup (December 30, 2002)

This Washington Post article discusses the US role in the military buildup of Iraq preceeding the Gulf War. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale of poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses such as anthrax and bubonic plague.

 

Iraq and Poison Gas (August 28, 2002)

The US has always known about Baghdad’s deployment of chemical weapons and their use against his own people, especially during the Iran-Iraq War. “What did the US government do about it then? Nothing,” reports The Nation, “until ‘gassing his own people’ became a catchy slogan to demonize Saddam.”

Iraq Uses Techniques in Spying Against its Former Tutor, the US (February 5, 1991)

This 1991 article discusses the deep intelligence link between the US and Iraq in the 1980s, detailing the intelligence assistance that the US provided to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Excerpts From Iraqi Document on Meeting with US Envoy (September 22, 1990)

Former US Ambassador to Iraq Ms. April Glaspie met with Saddam Hussein on July 25 1990, only 8 days before he invaded Kuwait. According to this excerpt from a transcript of their meeting, the two talked about oil prices, how to improve US-Iraq relations, and how the US has “no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” (New York Times)

And so much more: How does the U.S. dare take a “Holier than Thou” attitude toward the rest of the world’s nations?

 

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How much talent is wasted because society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

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In the day-to-day experience of an Asperger child, moments of peace are rare. Whatever you are thinking or doing, someone, either a parent or teacher, or maybe another child, will interrupt you, to ask that you participate in another activity, such as playing a game with a group of children. If you don’t respond, or you resist their prodding, or if you state clear and repeated rejections, sweet tones of persuasion turn to harsh words and insults. An adult will express personal disappointment in your reluctance to obey and will continue to pressure you, as if whatever you are occupied with is not only unimportant, but that preferring to be alone means that you are depressed or unhappy, and that joining the group will cheer you up, which isn’t true. If you persist in thinking that what you are reading, or drawing or building is more interesting than what the other children are doing, you are apt to be yelled at and physically relocated like a disobedient dog. When this happens, the waves of anger that were hidden beneath the adult’s nice words hit like a shock wave. The effect is visceral and devastating.

It is said that Asperger children can’t infer what is going on in another person’s mind, but the message is clear: people, especially adults, will only like you if you agree with their statements, however false or petty, and obey their instructions, and not when you get around to it, but now! Your willingness to conform must be expressed in signs made by body, face and words. It’s not enough that you act promptly as they wish, but a child or grown person must show his or her deference to a person of superior status. It soon becomes evident that no social interaction is neutral: this ‘status thing’ is the point of social interaction. What is often referred to as ‘busy work’ takes place in schools and workplaces day in and day out, simply to prove that a certain category of human is The Boss. Obedience is a social necessity because it demonstrates that a child or adult will subordinate its happiness and well-being to the group. Rules and instructions are often designed to insult and confuse people, to challenge their morality or sense of fair play and for no other purpose than to test their willingness to shed their individual humanity and to become a tool in the construction and maintenance of the Social Pyramid – to blindly believe that The Boss Knows Best.

The Asperger brain simply doesn’t understand this social compulsion, not because we are dumb, defective, dangerous or disabled, but because inequality of status is alien to our instinct for fair play, justice and reason. For us the world is integrated, coherent, and dynamic and is a continuous expression of Nature’s truths: the universe as described by social concepts is a sad and dreary spectacle of human arrogance and ignorance; a childish place maintained by violence, lies and deprivation; established by the denial of human worth and by denial of basic needs: water, food, shelter to those who “don’t count”. Those who are on top must imprison millions of human beings on the low levels of the Social Pyramid in order to feel good.

The Asperger outlook on people is nearly the opposite: people are just people. Instead of a steep pyramid on which millions of human beings struggle for dominance, we have a visual landscape of reality in our minds. Each human, animal, plant, and object in the landscape is distinct and “counts” because our perception of the environment is concrete: humans live with their feet on the ground, not above or below, but as equal agents of Nature. Cooperation, not competition for status, makes sense to us. Let each human fulfill his or her gifts; don’t waste resources. How much talent is wasted because Society doesn’t like the package it comes in?

English Words from Old Norse / Video Dr. Jackson Crawford

One of a boatload of videos by Dr. Jackson Crawford. My question? Why is the Wyoming Cowboy Bucking Bronc on his whiteboard?

Neanderthal mtDNA from before 220,000 y.o. Early Modern Human

Fact or Baloney…read on…

Neandertals and modern humans started mating early

For almost a century, Neandertals were considered the ancestors of modern humans. But in a new plot twist in the unfolding mystery of how Neandertals were related to modern humans, it now seems that members of our lineage were among the ancestors of Neandertals. Researchers sequenced ancient DNA from the mitochondria—tiny energy factories inside cells—from a Neandertal who lived about 100,000 years ago in southwest Germany. They found that this DNA, which is inherited only from the mother, resembled that of early modern humans.

After comparing the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with that of other archaic and modern humans, the researchers reached a startling conclusion: A female member of the lineage that gave rise to Homo sapiens in Africa mated with a Neandertal male more than 220,000 years ago—much earlier than other known encounters between the two groups. Her children spread her genetic legacy through the Neandertal lineage, and in time her African mtDNA completely replaced the ancestral Neandertal mtDNA.

Other researchers are enthusiastic about the hypothesis, described in Nature Communications this week, but caution that it will take more than one genome to prove. “It’s a nice story that solves a cool mystery—how did Neandertals end up with mtDNA more like that of modern humans,” says population geneticist Ilan Gronau of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel. But “they have not nailed it yet.”

 The study adds to a catalog of ancient genomes, including mtDNA as well as the much larger nuclear genomes, from more than a dozen Neandertals. Most of these lived at the end of the species’ time on Earth, about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. Researchers also have analyzed the complete nuclear and mtDNA genomes of another archaic group from Siberia, called the Denisovans. The nuclear DNA suggested that Neandertals and Denisovans were each other’s closest kin and that their lineage split from ours more than 600,000 years ago. But the Neandertal mtDNA from these samples posed a mystery: It was not like Denisovans’ and was closely related to that of modern humans—a pattern at odds with the ancient, 600,000 year divergence date. Last year Svante Pääbo’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, offered a startling solution: Perhaps the “Neandertal” mtDNA actually came from modern humans.

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Strange! Everything I’ve read previously has said the Neanderthal mtDna was not at all similar to any H. sapiens mtDna haplogroups. 

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In the new study, paleogeneticists Johannes Krause and Cosimo Posth of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, test this wild idea with ancient mtDNA from a Neandertal thighbone found in 1937 in the Hohlenstein-Stadel cave (HST) in Germany. Isotopes in animal bones found with the Neandertal suggest that it lived in a woodland known to have vanished at least 100,000 years ago.

Researchers compared the coding region of the HST Neandertal’s mtDNA with that of 17 other Neandertals, three Denisovans, and 54 modern humans. The HST Neandertal’s mtDNA was significantly different even from that of proto-Neandertals that date to 430,000 years ago at Sima de los Huesos in Spain, suggesting that their mtDNA had been completely replaced. But the HST sample was also surprisingly distinct from that of other Neandertals, allowing researchers to build a phylogenetic tree and study how Neandertal mtDNA evolved over time.

Using modern humans’ mtDNA mutation rate to calculate the timing, the researchers conclude that the HST mtDNA split from that of all other Neandertals at least 220,000 years ago. The ancient H. sapiens’ mtDNA must have entered the Neandertal lineage before this time, but after 470,000 years ago, the earliest date for when modern human and Neandertal mtDNA diverged. That’s early enough for the new form of mtDNA to have spread among Neandertals and replaced all their mtDNA.

“The mtDNA of Neandertals is not actually from Neandertals, but from an early modern human from Africa,” Krause says. The researchers speculate that this key mating may have happened in the Middle East, where early H. sapiens may have ventured. Other researchers find the scenario remarkable but plausible. “It seems magical but this type of thing happens all the time … especially if the populations are very small,” Gronau says. For example, the mtDNA in some grizzly bears has been completely replaced by that of polar bears, Krause says.

But some experts say DNA from other Neandertals is needed to prove that their mtDNA was inherited entirely from an early H. sapiens rather than from an ancient ancestor the two groups shared. “Is there other evidence of another [early] mtDNA introgression event?” asks Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

Not yet, Posth says. Pääbo is seeking evidence of early gene swapping by trying to get nuclear DNA from the HST Neandertal and others. “We will learn a lot about the population history of Neandertals over the next few years,” he says.

Posted in: Evolution

doi:10.1126/science.aan70

 

Prose / Old Ladies, Ranches, Dust and Dirt


When I first moved to small town Wyoming, in 1995, I didn’t have much to do, so I volunteered to deliver meals to seniors and disabled people; to private homes and a small apartment building (our version of low-income public housing). It sits at the base of a large outcrop of sandstone. A stand of big Aspen, planted when the place was built, lures deer; the residents can watch them browse on the lawn and to settle in for the night. It’s a decent solution for people living on social security or disability. Quiet, safe, pets allowed.

My challenge was handling the fiendish molded plastic containers that stacked up like legos – slipped apart easily or fell over, even though cinched together by thick nylon shipping straps. How many times did they twist open disgorging tiny potions of chili-mac or chicken tetrazzini, canned pears and cranberry sauce in the icy parking lot or on hallway carpets? I didn’t like going to private homes: my undiagnosed Aspergerness balked at that intrusion: private being the operative negative fact. But, I didn’t have that hesitation within the apartment building.

Two women soon became “chat friends” They were unlike each other; one had been raised on a ranch well outside town. She was in her late 80s; tall, sturdy, healthy and consistent in her lament: she had outlived everyone in her large family; siblings, husband, children. She wanted to die. Life had been wonderful. She was overflowing with memories of a stellar childhood – the ranch, so far from town. Freedom, family; challenges, hard work and material deprivation. They knew nothing else. I could feel the warmth that still glowed inside her, like a campfire burned down to ashy coals.

Her greeting was always the same. “Still here,” she’d say, and I’d steer her thoughts to the “old days” because I liked her stories about the difficult and rare trips to town on  horseback, mule, or in a wagon, eventually an old truck; candy at the store, some provisions, maybe new shoes or jeans, but always the family together fighting dust, ruts, snow, broken wheels, axles, deep in mud, pushing, pulling, dragging and shoving vehicles, depending on Dad and Mom for everything. And the big land that cradled them all.

The other woman? A marvel of endurance. Tiny, crooked, crippled, twisted by  arthritis; confined to a big recliner that swallowed her whole. Each slight move jabbed her body with searing pain. She was fastidious regardless, about herself and her apartment; always “dressed up” in local terms and apologetic about the state of her rooms. A spec of dust, a missed cobweb, drove her mad. It was soon apparent that this obsession with “cleaning” kept her alive – as well as habit and routine and rage against disobedient “stuff” that fortunately for her, is abundant in Wyoming: windblown sand, clay and muck that penetrates all human habitations. One more day to vanquish disorder; that’s how she greeted the morning. It’s how she had evidently greeted every dawn of her long life.

So different, these two. Each with their attitudes toward death. Memories smoothed and sculpted and selected by their personalities, increased by time, and the “whole” of their lives neglected for chosen mythologies. What else had happened to them in 80+ years? It didn’t seem to matter. Their lives, their choices.

 

Prose / Viet Nam Vet in a Chicago Bar

Our fall “season” barely exists: it “slushed” yesterday; icy rain that fell and accumulated in patches that melted away. The end of summer is arbitrary: for me it’s the morning after – the morning after my carefully-coaxed potted flowers have turned to mush in the freezing night and / or have been chopped into salad by hail and wind.  This morning is damp; heavy clouds comfort the southern horizon, above the hills that form one boundary of the bowl in which town rests, just before the river turns south into canyon country. Pale blue sky is gaining on them, as the “late” sun begins to clear the overcast away. The span of daylight is noticeably shorter; incremental, but suddenly profound: my sleep habits must adjust. I am so dominated by climate; by body feels like a substance that is pushed and pulled along with the land and atmosphere by solar change – a strange metamorphosis that has occurred since childhood, and ever since, directed by unseen forces, in the way that the ocean responds to earth-moon geometry.

The dog feels it too; or is she responding to me? My little planet; I am her world. It’s bizarre what we have done to dogs. She follows my intentions, even when dozing in another room; the fridge door opens, a spoon touches china; a cellophane package crinkles and she’s instantly in the doorway with her eyes fixed on mine.

“For me?” they ask. And if I say “no” with my eyes and movements, she says, “Why not for me?” and disappears. So I wait awhile, and give her a bite of something, when she’s not begging, just to let her know that I love her, and all is well between us.

This “fall weather” is a time of visions: not the “spooky” type, but pictures begin to fall upward, the reverse of leaves now descending from trees, from memories ignored, out of reach while summer demands attention. Bits and scraps float by; neither here nor there, important nor unimportant. They taste sweet but bitter at the edges, and an emotion I feel as gratitude wells up with them, like gas bubbles that are released from a lake bottom, rising slowly to join the air: I watch them carefully as they dissolve.

One is familiar, and visits me frequently, arising due to the airing of the Viet Nam “documentary” on PBS. A disappointing work; I won’t go into that now.

In my memory, it’s nighttime in Chicago; a typical Chicago bar. My husband and friends from work are in the crowd, laughing, dancing, replaying the week as usual. I’m standing at the bar; dark wood, crowded bottles, busy bartenders filling beer glasses at breakneck speed, the sweet sticky liquid slopping over onto the wood. I’m wedged between two bar stools; all are occupied. A man turns his head toward me; he looks like a young Teddy Roosevelt; blondish and drunk, holding a shot glass and staring through his eyeglasses; he’s seething at me through squinty eyes.

He turns his whole body toward me, and orders another beer. He grinds out a question that takes me by surprise. It seems that my friends and I are insulting him by having a good time. He’s just returned from Viet Nam: we’re all stupid idiots. Don’t we know how bad it is over there?

My reaction was immediate; not angry, but close. I knew that I would never forget his face and that body; solid, tense, coiled to explode and seething with pain. I knew that if I were a man, one wrong response and he might have punched me. Is that why he chose me, a woman, to confront? Maybe he wanted comfort; maybe he wanted to cry.

“We didn’t send you to Viet Nam,” I said. “No one here sent you: you either volunteered or were drafted. We’re living our lives as we believe life ought to be lived.”

He smirked. “You’re idiots,” he said. And continued along that line of thought. I knew he was in trouble; in an impossible personal battle; changed irrevocably into “seeing” the people, places and homeland he had once participated in, as “unclean” in thought, action and careless adventure. He was angry because it would never be the same place for him again. He couldn’t differentiate between individuals; we were all guilty of destroying his illusions. To be happy and enjoying ourselves was to deny his crisis. But it wasn’t; not really. More joy, less suffering, seemed to me to be the obvious equation. The impulse to make others suffer one’s own conflicts, misfortune and despair reminded me too much of my mother’s perpetual need to “shit on” whatever happiness other people found.

“You can’t bring Viet Nam back here,” I said. “It will never make sense. You made it back alive, without being wounded or injured, from what I can see. You’ve escaped great danger. That’s enough to build on.” In my mind was a picture of Odysseus, Man of Sorrow, Man of War.

I’ve never forgotten that man. My sense was that he was a solid person; capable of finding accommodation within his suffering, for eventually grasping the notion that life begins today as a creative project, whatever has happened in a thousand days, a hundred thousand days, or in all of human history. We’d intersected in a bar, in Chicago, on a Friday night, in a place where people brought all kinds of misery and joy and history to release into the night. But he’s never left my mind.

 

I used to write prose / Inside out, and Outside in

img_0199fbSpent the day on my hands and knees stripping the kitchen floor of wax; don’t think I’ll ever do that again. Now it’s evening, and I pace that floor to the rhythm of worries financial. Tense, restless, wondering what is next, if anything, but more of the same. Caretaking; years pass, taking care of myself and a small house.

The dog comes in, wanting a walk; that’s how she takes care of me.

August is the time of weeds, town taken over, deserted; sci-fi post end-of-the-world deserted. We walk, the dog and I, through town; quiet beyond normal, normally quiet; our town is a rest stop in the wilderness. There are two wildernesses, one of man and one of nature, one inside and one outside: civilization lies somewhere east and west.

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My house is barely a house – it supplies a hot shower, cooking stove, lights, doors and windows. The walls form a blow-through tunnel. Inside out, and outside in; sand, clay, leaves and footprints.

It’s a camp – an old lady camp, with a dry potted garden and laundry on the line; clothes burnt dry, smelling of ozone; the dog lies under the waves of fabric. Breathing dogs and blowing wind are the rhythm of my house. A barefoot house, winter and summer, my feet love my house.

War is a MALE Social Activity / Nukes

Who will be “King” of a dead planet?

My childhood story wrote itself, directed by an impulse to challenge The Official Story, which never did make sense to me. First, there was the story my parents told about their marriage. I would listen to their private histories, both sad and tragic, and wonder why these obvious strangers insisted that finding each other and committing to an unworkable lifelong union was the best of all possible outcomes. Each parent had chosen to add to each other’s suffering by making a brief courtship legal, when apart, each could have pursued happiness. Why would any person do this?

It’s a simple question, but thousands of years of myth, religion, rules and laws, social convention, government institutions, and even reform and innovation in these areas, promote suffering, which has been elevated to the unshakeable position of human destiny. It wasn’t that I imagined a perfect world; I could not imagine why, when suffering exists as an inescapable consequence of being physical creatures, one would choose to voluntarily increase that suffering, and yet, it seemed to me that human beings put great effort into that outcome.

The consequences of choice preoccupied my mind. It took a long time for the reality to sink in: many people don’t recognize that they can make independent choices; their “choices” have been  predestined by a belief system that is so powerful that everything they do is shadowed by the question, What am I supposed to do?” It was shocking to me that people suffered unnecessarily by sticking to roles that had been proven over and over again to result in physical and mental harm to both individuals and groups, and which brought humankind to a state of nearly universal and chronic suffering.

Technology and science appeared as bright spots in the dead gray fog of human behavior that plagued mankind. Radio, television, household appliances, bicycles, automobiles, photography, hot running water, antibiotics, aspirin, eyeglasses – all were advances in comfort, health and pleasure. But! On the new and mysterious TV in our living room, movies were shown that dramatized war and the “wonderful machines of war’ that man had created. Soldiers were happy to be able to help out, as if they were at a communal barn-raising. They looked forward to killing strangers, whether men, women, children or animals, known as The Bad Guys, using guns, knives, grenades and flamethrowers to mangle, maim, and roast people alive. They did this, and then smoked cigarettes. War was fun: a joyful guy thing. The actual horror was ignored, except for an occasional hospital scene where doctors and nurses fixed wounded men so that they could go back and kill more people, or inevitably for some, to be killed. The reward for death and suffering was a cigarette if you lived and a flag and a speech about patriotism if you died.

I couldn’t imagine participating in a war, inflicting pain and death in horrific ways, and also risk my own life – for what? My life was given to me and was sacred. It didn’t belong to anyone else, especially to Big Men who were so careless as to throw lives away so easily.

The usual answer given to children was that there are The Bad Guys, and you have to kill The Bad Guys.

This wasn’t an answer simplified for a child; this was The Answer. It still is.

Soldiers usually do know, once there are at war, that they are being used by the Big Men (human predators) to do their killing.

Many soldiers realize, once they are at war, that they are being used by the Big Men (human predators) to do their killing.

The Korean War began in 1950: we rushed in to "save" Korea from the communists: the country is still divided and 28,000 U.S. troops are still deployed there, 64 years later.

The Korean War began in 1950: we rushed in to “save” Korea from the communists: the country ended up being divided, and 28,000 U.S. troops are still deployed in S. Korea 64 years later.

Few American young people have any idea that the U.S. we invaded Viet Nam, lost, and had to hand the country over to the communist Viet Cong.

Few American young people have any idea that the U.S. invaded Viet Nam, lost the war, with 58,000 dead American soldiers and lost the country to the communist Viet Cong.

Better not ask the question, “How can God be on our side and theirs, too? Everyone says God is always on our side, therefore we are The Good Guys, but The Bad Guys say the same thing. It’s this loopy thinking that keeps people stuck. Why can’t people exit the loop?”

If one pressed the question of war, supplementary answers appeared: the technology developed in war time benefits civilians later. Improved emergency medical techniques, antibiotics, more accurate clocks, fast computers, and many other gadgets were developed to better prosecute war. I found it absurd and shocking that we must have wars in which millions suffer and die so that Mom can cook in a microwave oven and I can take penicillin for a strep throat. Isn’t the suffering brought by disease or accident sufficient motivation to develop medical treatments? The Bull Shit  kept getting deeper.

I lived with a distinct biting anxiety over my obvious lack of sympathy for traditional ideas, which were presented as demands by those who had secured a rung of authority on The Pyramid. Lies were everywhere: in school, at church, at home, on television and in newspapers. I devoured  history books, and biographies of artists, scientists and adventurers – many of whom were people who defied The Official Story, not as bad guys or crusader or reformers, but because alternative explanations made more sense. They often had to hide their work and lived precarious lives, only to have their ideas rediscovered much later, when people discovered profit in their ideas. A happy few gained protection from a powerful patron, and saw their ideas exploited to perpetuate The Official Story that war is necessary, and isn’t it great to have bigger and better weapons, so that our side can kill more and more of The Bad Guys, and whole swathes of innocent bystanders who somehow get in the way.

I listened to educated people make abundant excuses as to why any improvement  is impossible, or must be carried out in the way it has always been done, despite acknowledged failures, as if they were driving forward, but with the parking brake set. “Let’s just throw some platitudes and money at the problem. Maybe it will stick,” is proof that humans are not very smart. Social humans claim to possess all sorts of intelligence and problem-solving skills, and then fall flat on their faces in the same old ruts.

After a lifetime of wondering why humans make life intolerable, I was informed that I am Asperger, which means that I’m not a Social human, but I still have to wait for the nukes to fall, just like everyone else…