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Working with Afghan organizations I've learned that allied/U.S. air strikes killing civilians and U.S. support of Hamid Karzai are the two issues that anger Afghans the most.  This is a personal-experience diary; there is much written that reflects what I've heard.  

Most Afghans I have talked to want the U.S. and its allies out of their country.  They consider U.S. involvement to be the main reason for whatever strength the Taliban has, and U.S. withdrawal would weaken it as well as give the majority of Afghans the opening to oppose it themselves in a number of ways.

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I've had a couple of cold-water-in-the-face encounters with the reality of politics and although they won't be news to anybody here (and really weren't to me--I just had persuaded myself beforehand that I would hear something different than what I did) I thought I'd post them as a reality check, in print, principally to myself.

First, there was a local "town hall" meeting with Pete Stark.  Then, a World Affairs Council event in San Francisco with Mark Halperin and John Harris.  Both events drove home to me how much work there is to do in winning hearts and minds if we ever hope to restore the Constitution, stop this war and the next, and deal with poverty.  Basically, create justice.  

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Because I sometimes stay up all night, I'm one of the first to read emails from someone else that stays up all night.  He's a former Marine, Vietnam veteran, civil engineer, and dedicated anti-war everything. Zero four eighteen hours this morning, he wrote:

Code Pink . . . protests of the Marine Officer Recruiting Office in downtown Berkeley . . . have drawn fire from the right wingnuts such as Move America Forward, Michelle Malkin, and Melanie Morgan, KFSO AM 560 squawk-show loonie, who are calling on all Good Americans to show up at noon on Wednesday at the recruitment station, (Shattuck @ University--Downtown Berkeley BART station) with flags and other patriotic-appearing shit to give Code Pinkos what for.

So, on Wednesday morning I will go to the streets of Berkeley with many other true patriot dissidents, to demonstrate determinedly non-violent incredulity to whatever form of uninformed war apologists show up.

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Everything is making me cry.  Not having a place to live, being accused of something bizarre by my daughter-in-law (wife of my Navy son, soon to deploy), 3,455 dead American soldiers in Iraq and then Afghanistan . . . that's as far as I got yesterday--the list in the Baltimore Sun.

Because the front page was a beautiful picture of two beautiful young people getting married, and the whole romance of it was that the groom had just graduated from Annapolis and was looking forward to his military career.  In the corner, news of a local man and father of five just killed by an IED in Anbar Province.  The list was on the editorial page, you know.  And now Cindy Sheehan is burnt out and I'm wondering if I am too, because I just cry all the time.

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There's not much original in my reaction to the SCOTUS decision on Gonzales v Carhart--an attack on women's autonomy and power, a relegation of women to subhuman vessels for procreation, a callous ignorance of and disregard for the tremendous responsibility, pain, and risk that women are heir to simply because they are born female.  I also hope that women of all ages who react with "Eeeewwww," when asked if they are feminists will begin to get a glimmer of what our foremothers fought for--and what we STILL have to fight for.

Feminisms is a series of weekly feminist diaries. My fellow feminists and I decided to start our own for several purposes: we wanted a place to chat with each other, we felt it was important to both share our own stories and learn from others’, and we hoped to introduce to the community a better understanding of what feminism is about.

Needless to say, we expect disagreements to arise. We have all had different experiences in life, so while we share the same labels, we don’t necessarily share the same definitions. Hopefully, we can all be patient and civil with each other, and remember that, ultimately, we’re all on the same side.

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On this 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade I abandoned my original research into the origin of male-to-female courtesies that some of us find unnecessary, baffling, and silly.  Lord Chesterfield, an influential 18th century Brit, found them necessary because they were " . . . the only protection women had against a man's superior strength."  In other words, without social restraints the bigger guy would walk all over the littler ones (women).

Feminisms is a series of weekly feminist diaries. My fellow feminists and I decided to start our own for several purposes: we wanted a place to chat with each other, we felt it was important to both share our own stories and learn from others’, and we hoped to introduce to the community a better understanding of what feminism is about.

Needless to say, we expect disagreements to arise. We have all had different experiences in life, so while we share the same labels, we don’t necessarily share the same definitions. Hopefully, we can all be patient and civil with each other, and remember that, ultimately, we’re all on the same side.

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I'll start by asking everyone to imagine that for millennia female babies have been born with a unique birthmark:  a target.  It appears in conjunction with female reproductive organs, female body configuration, and/or female identification of queer and transgender people.  It appears regardless of race, ethnicity, geography, or century.  The target mark has been accepted for thousands of years as feminine a characteristic as the ability to conceive and bear children.

We have to imagine, because humankind would have died out long ago with this encouragement of those who consider women to be targets even without the permission of biology. There's a point to this. Read on . . .
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Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 10:49 PM PDT

A Katrina Diary: Rico's Story

by Boadicaea

A few months ago I met a young man from New Orleans who swam for three days through unbelievable filth to find his family. And didn't.

His name is Rico.

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Mon Aug 07, 2006 at 12:45 PM PDT

What I Did In The War

by Boadicaea

I didn't serve in Vietnam, and thankfully I didn't lose any of those close to me that did.  I sent others to that war; no matter how far down the line of diminishing responsibility I worked, that is what I did.  My part was small but veterans tell me, "You were there," and some say "Welcome home."  

Veterans give me a place to be, but there is no forgetting the enlistees and draftees whose entry into the military and the nightmare of war I was a part of.  I am writing to illustrate how widespread and long-lasting the damage of war is, even for someone who was never in danger, never saw any of it first-hand.

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I am agog at the number of people without any understanding of just why the flood of immigrants, especially from Mexico and other points south, keep coming into the U.S.  If death in the desert, repeated deportation, and being designated "wetback" once they're here doesn't discourage the travelers, they must be leaving something worse behind.  And, handily enough, U.S. economic policy and corporations have been major players in creating that something worse.
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