FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

High Water Everywhere

by RON JACOBS

 

I’m sitting in my house in Asheville, NC, watching the storm clouds gather. It’s the very beginning of the eastern edge of Hurricane Katrina that I’m looking at. The sky is completely gray, but the rain is still not visible. The forecasters predict three to four inches of rain over the next day or so. Bob Dylan’s song for Charley Patton-High Water..–just came on the radio, appropriately. In the delta lands of the Mississippi River, nature is taking its revenge on one of the country’s most toxic regions. Oil prices will go up. Of course, it doesn’t take a hurricane (or a war) for that to happen. Those things just provide an easy rationale for the corporate shills who occasionally explain the rapacity of energy costs. I wonder if we’ll see an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico before this is all over.

he fact that I am a few hundred miles to the east of the eye of the storm provides me with a luxury that those in Katrina’s center don’t have. Not only can I sit at my computer and muse about its effects, I can take my time making whatever preparations I might need to make just so I don’t have to go out in the pouring rain. Things look a lot different from here than they do to an evacuee heading out of the area on US 10.

Much of the world has been watching the storm raging in Iraq for years. Like me and Katrina, they have the luxury of being far from that storm’s center. Consequently, things look a lot different. For those who agree with the war as much as Bush and Blair claim to, there is no hurricane. Indeed, there is not even a storm, just a bit of an occasional mist falling in certain areas. Nothing that an emergency poncho that looks like a constitution can’t cure. For others in the world who see the situation a bit different, there is a storm, but certainly not a hurricane. In fact, the death and destruction in those countries is what the local weatherman might call a serious thunderstorm. You know, one where you should have a flashlight handy and keep the pets and children inside. Oh yeh, stay away from open fields and trees just in case the lightning gets bad. For these folks, they just want the people in the storm-hit areas to relax and let the US military come in and make everything better, just like they did after Hurricane Andrew back in1992. Don’t worry, they say to the victims of Desert Storm/Operation Iraqi Freedom, the military will be accompanied by a number of private agencies interested in making money from your misery. That’s what makes the American way so wonderful. Everything can be bought and sold.

Then there’s the naysayers like me. Ain’t no glass half full in my mind. That Desert Storm was as bad as Hurricane Andrew, but this Iraqi Freedom thing is the real thing. It’s a serious hurricane complete with shock and awe and everything else that real wars include. You might be able to take away a peoples’ home. You might even be able to destroy their town and their fields. But you can’t strip away their sense of being and give them an umbrella when the storm is ravaging around them-killing their children and their spouse. No you can’t give them an umbrella when they’re standing in the wake of the flood, even if you call that umbrella a constitution. Not even if you give them one you call an election. Once the storm has done its damage, umbrellas don’t work. Neither do the military’s guns that they brought in to keep order. Like the poet says: “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” It seems to me that there are a lot of Iraqis who would agree. Especially those who don’t live in those fine houses in the Green Zone. (By the way, is it called green because that’s the color of the US dollar?)

It’s not my intention with this analogy to imply that, like a hurricane, there is little we can do but get out of the way, because that is ceratinly not the case. In the never-ending wave of destruction and misery that Iraq has become synonymous with, the cause is not some unseen fury called nature or god. It is the policies of an empire so full of itself that it behaves as if it were god. Like any god, those who run the empire are determined to get their way. It is up to those of us who understand this to insure that they don’t. Only then will the Iraqi maelstrom subside.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: ron05401@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
Anthony DiMaggio
Illinois’ Manufactured Budget Crisis
Colin Todhunter
Indian Food and Agriculture Under Attack
Binoy Kampmark
Warring Against Sanders: Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Robert Koehler
Presidential Politics and the American Soul
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: The Banality of Evil on Steroids
Cesar Chelala
In Microcephaly in Children Caused by the Zika Virus or by Pesticides?
February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail