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Hoop Hopes, War and Peace

In my home state of Kentucky, most people bleed red, politically. But when it comes to basketball, they bleed Wildcat blue, the color that’s covered the front pages of the Lexington newspaper through rumors leading to the firing of coach Billy Gillispie, the search for an Adolph Rupp clone, and the selection of John Calipari who inked an eight-year, $31.65 million contract plus an additional $2.5 million signing bonus and incentives package. This makes Calipari the highest paid coach in the country. Joyous fans are imagining change they can believe in.

As my mother, who lives in Kentucky, said when I talked with her by phone, “Thousands of troops could have died in Iraq today and you’d never know it here.”

I told her that since news from Iraq is rosy, you know, only a couple of suicide bombings a day, the new thinking focuses on Afghanistan and Pakistan or AFPAK, as it’s called. Combatting al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists is the strategy requiring more troops in Afghanistan, along with a force of civilians to rid the country of narcotics. That’s just the AF part. The PAK component necessitates billions of dollars for Pakistan development aid and the occasional US drone, firing a missile that inevitably kills civilians.

Gen. David Patraeus, Michele Flournoy, and Adm. Eric Olson testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, talking up Obama’s “right war” plans. I told my mother that Sen. Susan Collins raised this very good question: “How will we know if we’re winning?”

“Winning what?” my mother said. “What was the response?”

“Well, there was the usual bullshit about benchmarks.” Then, I gave her my answer to Collins’ question–that we’ll win when more of our troops have committed suicide than have died in battle. We’ll know, then, that the people whose countries we’re occupying really, really like us.

My mother should get a computer. She could read about Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who’s just growled that Israel isn’t bound by the 2007 Annapolis peace negotiations. Here’s more from the Arab-hating racist:

Whoever thinks that through concessions he will bring something, no, he will only invite more pressure and more wars. If you want peace, prepare for war.

What my mother, probably, will hear in the mainstream news is that a Palestinian man just murdered an Israeli child in the West Bank. Of course, this is reprehensible. The death of any child is. But no child or adult should die because of outrage over occupied territory. There should be no occupied territories. Since September 29, 2000, 124 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians. What my mother won’t know from watching television or reading the paper is that 1,487 Palestinian children have died at the hands of Israelis during the same period. Zionists place no value on Palestinian life.

When the Israelis wreak destruction, they have the unconditional support of the USA. Our hands are drenched in Palestinian blood.

Gen. Petraeus told Congress that the Israeli government may attack Iran to prevent the country from pursuing nuclear weapons. If this proves more than just bluff and bluster, we will have Iranian blood on our hands, too. Along with Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani blood.

Some Americans might in Cheney-speak say, “So?”

Because their lives wouldn’t be affected.

In Kentucky, a new savior has appeared to resurrect Wildcat basketball, that stairway to hope and hoops heaven, the NCAA championship. The same exhilaration, like Obamamania, that high brought by the prospect of transformation, is sweeping the state.

In our country, a new president has been elected to resurrect our image with his own stairway to hope and change. As I told my mother, he’s made good on his word. He’s dropped some of the murky nomenclature, the Bush/Cheney concept called the War on Terror. AFPAK just doesn’t do it for me, though.

It makes more sense to call Obama’s foreign policy exactly what it is–the War on Peace.

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

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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