HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

May 19, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


Last Wednesday I drove from Annapolis to Montpelier, and didn't see anything worth reporting on the way. It's a dismally uninteresting 530 miles, at least along the route I take.

I came home a few days earlier than I would have because on Thursday night I had to go to the Waterbury Library and talk about Amed Rashid's Jihad. It deals with conditions in the five central Asia nations -- Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and Tajikistan -- countries most Americans don't know exist. Another thing Americans don't know is that there was anything good to be said about the Soviet Union. Maniacal American propaganda took care of that for well over forty years. But, if you had lived in any one of these countries from the 1930s until 1991, you might have a slightly different view.

One of the better columns I read during the week was Robert Samuelson's article in the Washington Post titled "Truth Serum on the Trail." In it he convincingly makes the case that if any American presidential candidate told the truth about what's actually taking place in the world, he would be sunk. Though the truth is what we most need, we have learned to avoid it like the plague. It's a common theme, but Samuelson spells it out engagingly.

I am seeing more and more articles which argue that the rapid increase in the price of oil is due, primarily, to American military incursions into the Middle East. You can find a strong argument to that effect by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh in Counterpunch for May 14th.

George Bush's remarks about appeasement before the Knesset didn't win him much approval. They were seen for what they were -- raw political propaganda. For the record, it may be worthwhile to note what Neville Chamberlain actually did at the Munich Conference in September 1938. He signed an agreement which acquiesced in the annexation by Germany of Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia which was inhabited mainly by German-speaking people, who had been treated shabbily by the Czech government and wanted to be annexed. Overall, it may not have been a wise thing to do, but the notion that it was the action that allowed Hitler to begin his march of conquests has been much exaggerated.  In any case, nothing that any presidential candidate has proposed is analogous to what Chamberlain did. When you hear people talking about Chamberlain and appeasement, you can be pretty sure they're spouting nonsense. But, then, you can be fairly sure of that every time George Bush opens his mouth.

I learned from reading a column by Tom Engelhardt, that Indiana has 8,591 officially designated terrorist targets, a great number than the targets in New York or California. As a result of this cornucopia of targets, much money has flowed into Indiana, and that raises the suspicion that the flow of money is the reason for official targets. So, get to be a target, if you can.

I notice that Bill O'Reilly has decided that General Electric is very close to engaging in treason. The reason for this attack is that General Electric owns NBC News and NBC News employs Keith Olbermann, who is not a fan of O'Reilly's. In Bill's mind, all issues of national importance revolve around how one views the importance and wisdom of himself. I guess it's pleasant to have an ego of that dimension.

Back here in Vermont, it's chillier than it should be in May. But I continue to have hopes for the future.

............................................................................................................................................................................


Comment On This Article
(Please include your name so that we may publish your remarks.)


Return to the Table of Contents



Home           Contact Us           Mailing List           Archives           Books on Sale            Links



Articles may be quoted or republished in full with attribution
to the author and harvardsquarecommentary.org.



This site is designed and managed by Neil Turner at Neil Turner Concepts