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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Tracks of Our Tears

Gainful Employment

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

It is difficult to be optimistic during these times. Especially when you read about a woman with ovarian cancer whose husband has lost his job and, therefore, has no health insurance for his family. With limited options and a wife whose illness requires treatment, the husband makes a decision—to join the military. He enlists in the Army with the certainty of multiple combat deployments, unless he is severely wounded or is killed during his first tour of duty, so that his wife can continue her own battle, against disease.

Call me a cynic, but when the recession/depression descended near the end of George Bush’s eight-year rape of our country’s financial and moral scaffolding, I added the Wall Street debacle to the litany of US imperialist expediencies. One failure to regulate the paper vapor was the contrivance to avoid reinstatement of conscription. So much better to have the out-of-work filling the quotas at military recruitment centers. Let’s face it, a draft just might result in American moms and dads choosing to march in the streets to say no to war instead of hypnotically reaching for the remote to watch the season’s next top something or to listen for the cue of a laugh track. (Yes, we are even prompted to laugh.)

But we should be crying. For those who have to make such a difficult choice, one that demands a lengthy departure, for months at a time, a year or longer, and not just to a nearby location, but a distant separation, thousands of miles away from a sick loved one. And from the children.

We should be crying for those who have lost their jobs (identity) and, thus, their health care, and, perhaps, their homes to this design, a reprehensible scheme that preserves endless fodder for endless war for endless employment with poor pay and a high risk of maiming, traumatic brain injury, and post traumatic stress disorder, if not death. But, of course, there are the benefits, including travel to an exotic land, ravaged and savaged by our weapons of mass terrorism, where babies are born with unthinkable deformities as a result of the chemicals we have unleashed on the environment.

And we should be crying for the displaced, those refugees who have fled for safety in other countries, or those who have stayed, witnesses to the disfigurement of their children, relatives, friends and land.

And we should cry for the dead in these places we invade and occupy under the guise of bestowing freedom and democracy.

We should be crying that our violence brings limitless sorrow, despair, and suffering.

We should be crying that our inhumanity diminishes us, is criminal, and continues in our names.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com