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.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Martha Durkee-Neuman
Millennial Organizers Want to See An Intersectional Understanding Of Gun Violence
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail