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Karen Kwiatkowski

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An Age of Innocence, in Retrospect

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Ahmed Chalabi, age 71, has died of a heart attack in Baghdad. As a close observer of his unique role in provoking the Iraq War – a foreign policy and strategic military disaster 12 years ago – I can’t help but look back on that time as an age of innocence. That may sound ironic, but I think it’s true given that many Americans now see that even elections don’t change much.

As painful as it was to watch the US government plunge into the Iraq War based on false WMD warnings – raised in part by Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress – there was still a sense of hope back then that the truth could be told and the culprits could be held accountable. That seems now to have been a naïve dream.
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Nevada: Early Lessons of Bunkerville

Bundy Protest

The rush and rapidity of events in Bunkerville, Nevada surprised and cheered many, and there is a lot to learn from this case.

It’s too soon to know the long-term impact of people standing up against armed federales last week, but here are some early takeaways.

Location matters.  This insurrection, brought on by federal government arrogance and greed, happened in part because people could get there, physically and intellectually.  Wide open rangeland (for hardy cattle and 100 year old turtles) physically and visually juxtaposed with the artificial stupidity of “free speech zones,” domesticated citizens penned in by red government tape, tell a story without words, history lessons, or politics.   The imagery brings to mind the words of one of my favorite heroes, “[T]he truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.”
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