The Kiss

of Democracy



The Living Legend Of

Jesusita & Padre Gallegos

by Cloyd Campfire

El padre of 
La Villa de 
   Albuquerque ~ 

Padre Gallegos 
was he 
   was he ~ 

mucha bonita 
   widowed & free ~ 

of Padre Gallegos 
   was she, was she ~ 

Together they lived 
in thee adobe 
   labyrinthine rectory ~ 

And together 
they lived happy 
   & comfortably ~ 

Isolated & 
surrounded by 
   wild hostility ~ 

Was the humble 
a-crumble New Mexico 
   community ~ 

   of years ~ 

There were 
   folk cures ~ 

When Jesusita 
took a 
   spoonful of one ~ 

She become beautiful 
forever like the 
   rising & setting sun ~ 

She never cried 
she never died 
   now she do abide ~ 

In the world of 
today ~ el diablo's 
   delectable bride ~ 

Padre Gallegos 
like everyone else 
   sooner or later died ~ 

Padre Gallegos though 
his soul wouldn't go 
   to el grande other side ~ 

   a ghost ~ 

   The Host ~ 

But most 
of all 
   he haunts the trail ~ 

Of the eternal beauty 
whom he loves 
   Jesusita his holy grail...

 Capt'n Jesusita quothes:

"You've got to admit, the crafty, brash, Bush Bunch has definitely got some balls. Sail on, sailors!"


The ghost of Padre Gallegos quothes:

"Oh Jesusita, God giveth & God taketh away ~ not the deceitful, conniving, U.S. Presidente. Please come back into the fold of those who walk hand-in-hand with peace instead of with death-dealing folly!"


Padre Gallego's church in old Albuquerque NM.


 Bush Recommends Troop Drawdown, Longterm Commitment

by Ross Kaminsky 
(September 14, 2007)

In last night’s Oval Office speech President Bush offered his vision of a “return on success” in Iraq. The President sought to make it a dramatic moment, and may have succeeded. Momentum created by the testimony earlier this week of Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker created the moment the president wanted to seize. 

The President focused on three themes: progress in Iraq (especially in al-Anbar province), his plan to reduce troop numbers in Iraq before the end of the year, and the plan to continue involvement in Iraq beyond his presidency. 

Bush began saying, “In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people. We are now at such a moment.” 

The longest single section of the President’s speech was used to describe successes in Anbar Province (site of Ramadi and Fallujah, places notorious as exceptionally hostile and deadly for American forces), including the alliance between local people and our soldiers in joint opposition to Al Qaeda forces. 

“Today, a city where al Qaeda once planted its flag is beginning to return to normal. Anbar citizens who once feared beheading for talking to an American or Iraqi soldier now come forward to tell us where the terrorists are hiding….And with the help of our Provincial Reconstruction Teams, new jobs are being created and local governments are meeting again. These developments do not often make the headlines, but they do make a difference.” 

The slim line between success and death was apparent when the President acknowledged that earlier the same day, one of the leaders of the local Sunnis instrumental in defeating Al Qaeda in Anbar was killed by an IED. 

The President acknowledged that the Iraqi government “has not met its own legislative benchmarks” but spent more time discussing some progress the government has made, such as sharing oil revenues and working to reintegrate former Baathists into the military.

Bush also repeated a key point made repeatedly by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in their testimony early in the week: the way to change Iraqi national politics is one neighborhood or one province at a time. 

The President then said that because of the success of the surge and of our troops “performing brilliantly”, he felt able to accept the recommendations of General Petraeus to begin modest reductions in troop numbers. Initially, this covers 2,200 Marines leaving Anbar within about two weeks, and another 3,500 Army soldiers by the end of the year. The larger troop reduction, “from 20 combat brigades to 15”, representing about another 20,000 troops, would come by next July. 

Additionally, beginning late this year, “our mission in Iraq will evolve”, meaning that Iraqi troops will lead more missions and our soldiers fewer, allowing greater US focus on counterterrorism and training of Iraqis. 

While the first major troop drawdown will not be completed before July 2008, the President is instructing General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to give another report to Congress in March 6. 

In the last major part of the speech, President Bush addressed other audiences, prefacing the comments by trying to breach partisan lines, suggesting “The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together” and describing what he believes are or should be common beliefs even among those who disagree on tactics. The lynchpin of these beliefs is that “the success of a free Iraq is critical to the security of the United States.” 

After noting that he would like Americans to come together on the issue, the President made what may have been the most important, albeit subtle, and likely controversial statement in the speech, saying that Iraqi leaders “understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my Presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America.” In other words, the President is suggesting a very long term involvement in Iraq, though not necessarily one which includes large numbers of US troops. 

The President thanked Congress for funding the troops and asked for support for General Petraeus’ recommendations. Interestingly, the total number of words he specifically addressed to Congress was the shortest part of the speech, and he never used the words “Republican” or “Democrat.” 

Bush told the Iraqi people to “demand that your leaders make the tough choices needed to achieve reconciliation”. Conspicuously absent was any direct statement of encouragement or support to the Iraqi government itself; instead the President offered the Iraqis a promise that “America does not abandon our friends, and we will not abandon you.” 

To the countries which border Iraq and “who seek peace”, presumably Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey (and explicitly not Syria or Iran), the President pointed out that “The violent extremists who target Iraq are also targeting you”, using that as the basis to argue for those governments doing everything they can to support a stable and strong government in Iraq to prevent that country from becoming a terrorist haven. 

And to the rest of the world, Bush said that “a free Iraq matters”. 

The evening’s address ended with the President noting that “It is never too late to deal a blow to Al Qaeda. It is never too late to advance freedom. And it is never too late to support our troops in a fight they can win.” 

All in all, despite the objections of the Democrats as registered in their rebuttal the speech, combined with this week’s testimony by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker likely bought the President until their March report to hope that recent apparent successes in Iraq can be repeated in other areas of the country, with the hope that the province-by-province improvements will cause positive change in Baghdad and for the national government.


Iraq, Deep In Your Bones

by Mark Morford 

The San Francisco Chronicle 
(September 14, 2007) 

We are, of course, mostly fighting against ourselves. 

It must be repeated every so often, just as a painful, necessary, ego-tweaking reminder: Iraq was never a war. Not really, not in any sense that mattered or that we could actually define and understand or to which we could truly submit ourselves or our national identity. 

It never mattered how many little American flags appeared on how many bloated Chevy Avalanches, how many right-wing radio shows found a new reason to pule, how many furiously blindered uber-patriots happily ignored all the harsh words from all those naysaying generals or even all the “turncoat” anti-war Republicans and insisted we’re really over there to fight some sort of great Islamic demon no one can actually see or locate or define but that we must, somehow, attempt to destroy — even though doing so only seems to make the situation far, far worse. 

There was never any coherent, justifiable heroic cause. Indeed, the truth about Iraq, as evidenced by Gen. David Petreaus’ muted, bleak testimony before Congress just this week, is much more simple, nefarious, pathetic. Iraq is, was, and forever will be our very own massive strategic blunder, a failed land grab for position and power in a tinderbox region defined by furious instability and corruption and death. 

It’s the great unspoken subtext. Iraq has always been a war between our dueling national identities, a battle over how we are to move and breathe and behave in the new millennium. Are we really this violently paranoid bully, this rogue pre-emptive screw-em-all ideological war machine defined by the dystopian Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld vision of permanent, ongoing global conflict? 

Or do we try, instead, to move forward and reinvent ourselves over and over again as the world’s most commited, forceful peacekeeper, ever striving for balance and cooperation and tact, even in the face of hardship and fundamentalist rage, refusing to be taunted and dragged down lest we take the bait and lose our minds and engage in torture and misprision and ultraviolence and become little better, ideologically speaking, than our taunters? Have we already made our choice? 

Because the truth is, we are well past the point of salvaging anything noble or honest from Bush’s massive, historic debacle. We have only this brutal reality: Iraq is, and forever will be, one of the most extraordinary wastes in all of American history. 

A waste of money. A waste of time. A stunning, almost unspeakable waste of life. A waste of resources and intellectual capital and a massive waste of national spirit. A waste of energy and hope and a giant squandering of any goodwill or empathy our former allies might’ve had for America in its post-9/11 state. Heard it all before? Sure you have. 

Some scenes remain almost comical in their absurdity. Perhaps you saw that money, those enormous, ridiculous piles of American cash, the photos floating around of American soldiers guarding giant, shrink-wrapped pallets of U.S. currency known as “cashpaks,” each reportedly containing about $1.6 million in stacks of $100 bills, all airlifted by the ton straight from the Federal Reserve and set down in the Iraqi sun like rotting fruit, small mountains of your tax dollars earmarked to buy off various warlords and pay for covert, unauthorized operations all over the Middle East in an attempt to buy our way into some sort of impossible, forced stability. Right. 

Or maybe it’s the bodies, the sheer waste of American flesh, not merely the thousands of U.S. dead or even the countless tens of thousands of dead Iraqi citizens but also the lesser-known horrors, like the epidemic of brain-damaged U.S. soldiers, thousands of them, so many that they’re becoming their own category of study in medical textbooks given how they’re beginning to exhibit combinations of trauma doctors have never seen before. 

What a recruitment poster this is. Come fight in the American military. We’re exhausted, overstretched, bewildered, have lowered our entrance barrier to accept D-grade students and former inmates, have almost zero idea what we’re actually fighting for, and serve under a Commander in Chief who cares more about trying to shore up his wretched legacy than for the loss of American life. Oh and by the way, odds are extremely high you will return home permanently wounded, traumatized, or brain damaged. How very proud we are. 

We all know the current reality: We are not safer. We are not better off in any measurable way. We are not stronger or more unified or prouder or more respected or healthier or wealthier or wiser and we have done exactly zero to stem the flood of radical Islam or the general outpouring of global disgust at what America has become under this president. This is our scar. This is our great American shame. 

So, what do you do with it? Or with the prospect of still more weeks, months, even years of this dull slog of war? Because the fact is, as Petreaus’ testimony essentially confirmed, we will be in Iraq at least through the (blessed) end of Bush’s nightmare term, and likely well beyond, given how entrenched and ensnared our forces have become. 

Perhaps we can take the long view, the wide view, the spiritual or karmic view, even, insofar as the short and linear view has become so stifling and deadly and useless. Perhaps this is the only way. 

Because truly, many in the alternative set, the light workers and the gurus and the healers and the deep teachers, those who think outside the war room and beyond the bland academic platitudes, these people tend to see Iraq, BushCo, the American right and all the sanctimonious bleakness surrounding them as merely the inky remnants of a passing disease, the last, vicious gasp of a dying ideology, the violent struggle of resistance that always erupts before any great cosmic shift. 

Which is to say: The screeching of the Christian right, the shrill alarmism from cultural conservatives regarding everything from sex and drugs and music to gays and nipples and creationism, the rejection of science, the attacks on women’s rights, the abuse of the environment, all the way up to the bleakest and ugliest manisfestation of all, a brutal and unwinnable war — taken as a whole, these can, if you so choose, be seen as merely the embers of a hugely failed — and yes, nearly extinct — worldview. 

Here is the hesitant optimism, the hint of the new, the tentative suggestion that all is not lost: By many measures, the worst of it is over. There really is light coming, a new awareness, a shift away from the bleakness and the rot and the wallowing in bland violence. Perhaps you can feel it. Or perhaps you need to be ready to feel it. Either way, it’s there. You have but to do the most easy/difficult thing of all: you must look behind the veil, see the two dueling Americas, and make your choice.


The most tasteful Iraq War lowdown:

~ Operation Iraqi Freedom Official Website ~

The most poetic:

~ Why are we in Iraq? ~

And the enemy's lowdown:

~ Jihad Unspun ~