Does President Obama think about what victory means in Afghanistan? Converting Afghanistan to the U.S. order? Or, stopping terrorist attacks against the United States? Either way the military – with its long no-win record – seems unlikely to accomplish the job.
Unlike most Latin Americans, Cubans enjoy substantive rights. Despite the constant refrain, “no es facil,” Cubans don’t work as hard as their neighbours, nor do they suffer anxieties that they’ll have no access to health care or go homeless. Cuba’s transition team of experienced Communists can strengthen socialist institutions by opening up discussion on key decisions to its educated population.
n the faculty dining room at the California State University where I teach, a Mexican-American woman places the thin slice of turkey on the bread to make my sandwich. The stress lines that radiate down from her high cheekbones twitch as she tells me politely that she’s fine. One of her sons is in Afghanistan, she reports. The other will leave tomorrow for Iraq. “I pray every day,” she says, smearing the mayonnaise on the other slice of bread.
U.S. President William McKinley’s words should echo with President Bush and his evangelical zealots. Like the Republican who initiated U.S. overseas military expansion, the current president also talks to God and hears His words. Like McKinley, Bush understands that the stars and stripes stand for inseparable U.S. commercial interests and pious purposes.
After McKinley was assassinated in 1900, subsequent presidents sent troops back to Cuba three times in the next two decades, until finally “losing” the island in the 1959 revolution. Until 1933, 120,000 U.S. troops occupied the Philippines. “Pacifying” those “heathens” took longer than McKinley thought and brought out the brute in the soul of U.S. Christian soldiers. Long before troops destroyed the Vietnamese village “to save it,” and a century-plus before GIs decimated Falluja and killed thousands of its residents to bring democracy to Iraq, their predecessors committed atrocities in the Philippines.
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