| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Early in my stay I visited with Eydun Dal-Christiansen, an artist and a stonecutter whose torso is so huge I thought he had to be wearing a chest protector beneath his shirt. (He wasn’t.) Dal-Christiansen lives on the main island of Streymoy, a short drive outside of Torshavn, at 18,000 inhabitants Europe’s smallest capital. Dal-Christiansen builds sinewy lamps out of stones he quarries while hiking alone in the mountains. Sitting in his kitchen, over instant coffee and diced-up candy bars, he told me that he considered his stones to be living things and added slowly, in halting English, “Here in the Faroes, we live close to nature. Up in the mountains, in the fog, nothing can harm you.” I had been struggling to understand the Faroes, and then one thing occurred to me: for being so unapologetically sexist, Faroese culture permits an immense and spiritual tenderness on the part of Faroese men. And for being so isolated, the Faroes may be the last place in Europe where you can still succumb to a mystical Yeatsian reverie, and without so much as a hint of kitsch.
A tale of a good soldier who couldn't -- to quote a favorite line of mine from Cities of the Red Night -- "take a broad general view" of the tour he volunteered for in Iraq
When he was in Iraq, Westhusing worked for one of the most famous generals in the U.S. military, David Petraeus. In January, Petraeus was appointed by President Bush to lead all U.S. forces in Iraq. As the head of counterterrorism and special operations under Petraeus, Westhusing oversaw the single most important task facing the U.S. military in Iraq then and now: training the Iraqi security forces.
Two years before Westhusing left for Baghdad, he had finished his doctoral dissertation in philosophy at Emory University in Atlanta. The focus was on honor and the ethics of war. Westhusing wanted to understand arete—the ancient Greek word meaning virtue, skill, and excellence. His quest for understanding the concept was, he believed, a central part of his existence. “Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge,” he wrote.
Westhusing did not find excellence or virtue in Iraq.
That fact is evident in a two-inch stack of documents, obtained over the past 15 months under the Freedom of Information Act, that provides many details of Westhusing’s suicide. The pile includes interviews with Westhusing’s co-workers, diagrams of his sleeping quarters, interviews with his family members, and partially redacted reports from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command and Inspector General. The documents echo the story told by Westhusing’s friends. “Something he saw [in Iraq] drove him to this,” one Army officer who was close to Westhusing said in an interview. “The sum of what he saw going on drove him” to take his own life. “It’s because he believed in duty, honor, country that he’s dead.”
[Westhusing's suicide note:]
Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name]—You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff—no msn [mission] support and you don’t care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied—no more. I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential—I don’t know who trust anymore. [sic] Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it.
COL Ted Westhusing
Life needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq.
25 movies that worked me last year, whether or not they were new
The Bad Sleep Well & The Lower Depths (1960 & 1957, Akira Kurosawa) Vital (2004, Tsukamoto) Cafe Lumiere & Three Times (2003 & 2005 respectively, Hou) A History of Violence (2005, Cronenberg) My Mother's Smile (2002, Bellocchio) Coup de torchon (1981, Tavernier) Transamerica (2005, Tucker) Kingdom of Heaven - Director's Cut (2005, Scott) Brick (2005, Johnson) A Scanner Darkly (2006, Linklater) Gilda (1946, Vidor) 12 and Holding & L.I.E. (2005 & 2001 respectively, Cuesta) Andy Warhol -- A Documentary Film (2006, Burns) Edvard Munch (1974, Watkins) Ce jour-la (2003, Ruiz) The Squid and the Whale (2005, Baumbach) Burst City (1982, Ishii) The Death of Mr Lazarescu (2005, Puiu) Late August, Early September (1998, Assayas) Tickets (2005, Olmi/Kiarostami/Loach) Grizzly Man (2005, Herzog) Triple Agent (2004, Rohmer)
"America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment."
-- Gen. Tony McPeak (retired), member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War [Doonesbury]
In Crash, there is neither fiction nor reality—a kind of hyperreality has abolished both… After Borges, but in a totally different register, Crash is the first great novel of the universe of simulation, the world that we will be dealing with from now on: a non-symbolic universe but one which, by a kind of reversal of its mass-mediated substance (neon, concrete, cars, mechanical eroticism), seems truly saturated with an intense initiatory power.
In January 2005 the DOJ-IG released an unclassified summary report on Edmonds’ case which concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program, and that many of her allegations were supported by other witnesses and documents.
The issues that were reported by Ms. Edmonds include: • Cases of espionage activities within the FBI, DOD, and the Department of State
• Cases of cover-up of information and leads pre and post 9/11, under the excuse of protecting certain diplomatic relations
• Cases of intentional blocking and mistranslation of crucial intelligence by FBI translators and management
• Cases of foreign entities bribing certain government officials and elected representatives
Edmonds filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Department of Justice, but the government successfully argued that the state secrets privilege was an absolute bar to her suit going forward. She was even barred from the courtroom during the argument of her appeal! The Supreme Court declined to review the case. The government's invocation of the state secrets privilege in a motion to dismiss her case contradicts the core idea of judicial review and essentially allows the Executive Branch to dictate to the federal courts what cases they can and can’t hear.