FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

High Water Everywhere

 

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

 

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail