The Mall Watchers

‘People, too damn many of ‘em’ he was thinking, turning the corner and at the same time straining to see through and over the hundreds who coagulated the wide concourse. Hesitating in his walk, he kept to the edges of the crowd, and dwelled on a small group of kids who were gathered around a bench. The muffled giggles and  high pitched squeals enhanced their strutting, preening and prancing, evidence that the young still held their youth in high regard.

One stood out. A slight young man topped with dark long hair over soft, angelic features. His right knee shredded with tendrils of string in disarray, and just above a red bandana was wrapped and knotted tight. A mark of who he was. The man winced, knowing they would meet again, sooner than both would like.

But not now. Now there was another and he turned his attention back to navigating the crowd and noted his own reflection in a store window. Turning away, he let his eyes wander, positioning his gaze to float amid the crowd and the countless vendors that populated the center of the mall concourse. Still moving slowly, he knew they were here. In fact, in all his years, he had only been mistaken once, and that was long ago and another story.

A corner of his lip turned up softly when he found them setting on a wood slatted bench. A passing surge of the crowd obliterated his view for a moment and then subsided. ‘Only need one today,’ and he made a conscience decision to take his time. He had the time.

“Wanna go get a coffee?” one asked

“No, had too much already, feeling like I’m gonna be peeing all damn day with my balder the way it is an’ all.”

“What, you’re going to end up like ol’ Voss and piss your pants all the time?”

“That ain’t what I said.”

The first man chuckled, letting his eyes dance in the reflection of a private joke.

The friend noted the look and with a finger splotched with age, nudged his black rimmed glasses up his nose where they would fail to stay. He was irritated this morning. Not at anything in particular, then again, maybe at everything.  He  thought it was somewhat funny, in an absurd sense, his agitation. Absurd because he knew there was nothing at the moment to be ticked about, but he was, and because of that, he actually was making an effort to control it. Controlling his agitation seemed to get harder as the morning along.

“Look at that, Alf,” was partnered with a gentle elbow jabbed against his, “Good God almighty,”

“Aw, wipe that spittle of a smile of your face Pete, she’s just a little girl.” And Alf’s disgust was evident in the tone, aimed more at his aches and pains than Pete’s.

“Little girl my ass, she’s at least 45, maybe even near 50.”

“No damn difference cuz you couldn’t get it up if ya wanted to, could ya? When’s the last time Pete?  With Aggie?”

Pete’s breath fell away. Letting the woman fade away into the moving crowd of color and chaos. Pausing for just the briefest of moments, he then reached into his back pocket and pulled a hanky to wipe his brow.

“What the hell you have to say that for?”

Alf didn’t have an answer and shifted his body uncomfortably,  just a bit away. Unsure why he had mentioned Aggie, her name bought memories abounding in his mind. Memories of a life lived, his life, her life, together, the good and the bad. Seventy years of too much heartbreak and he tossed those aside thinking of the good. “Dunno Pete,  Guess I’m sorry.”  And it seemed to both men, the sentiment was more of an exasperated sigh than an actual apology.

“Look at all these people, Pete,” Alf found he needed to pause, to gather thoughts, “how many of ‘em are going to end up like us, two old friggin’ codgers with nothing to do but set on a bench and watch everybody else. Kinda seems stupid, don’t it? I mean don’t it bother you that we got nothing better to do, like we lived all our lives to end up here.” And he found himself staring at Pete, knowing there’d be no answer. Pulling his own hanky, he coughed and covered his mouth, expelling a fair amount  of phlegm into the material which he then folded over onto itself and placed back into his own pocket.

“Got too damn much of this crap in my chest that just won’t go away.” Alf was saying, clearing his throat as he noticed that Pete had slide closer to him on the bench. “What the fu..” Alf intentionally halted his curse as he noticed a man had sat on the opposite end of his bench, making for a crowded threesome. Wrapping his hand around his cane which had been immobile between his legs, Alf tapped it’s rubber tip  on the glossy Terrazzo floor, leaned over to Pete, and whispered in his ear, “Why don’t you tell our friend to go away.”

Pete answered with a stare he understood as ‘shut up and don’t embarrass us’. He understood the stare as he had seen it countless times over the years, and in fact had used it often himself. Alf floated out a ‘wimp’ under his breath.

“Excuse me, am I bothering the two of you?”  the man asked, leaning just ever so slightly forward, and tilting his head told the two men.

Alf too leaned forward, balancing his weight on his old cane, and rolled his tongue, through a fair amount of phlegm, against the inside of his cheek, held it there for a minute, contemplating, than spat out, “Well, matter of fact, you are!”. Glancing at Pete, Alf’s aggravation ticked up a bit when he saw his friends sigh and roll his eyes, and then added, “We were discussing sumthing, sumthing private.”

Pete glanced sideways toward Alf, who relished in his embarrassment, and started to utter, “We weren’t talking ’bout nothing”, when the man interrupted.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” and then leaned back against the open slats of the bench.

Alf watched, thinking he had made his point when the man rested his back instead of moving, and noticed a smile, a smart alec ass smile cross his face.

“Shi…” Alf hissed, not caring who heard when Pete interrupted his curse with a “lets go get some coffee.” as Alf shook his head from side to side in disgust at the mans intrusion.

“Don’t want no damn coffee.” came full on the back of irritability.

“Too much coffees not good for you.” the stranger said as he loosened his smart ass smile yet stared straight ahead watching a hundred pairs of legs carrying their masters to and fro, back and forth, all going someplace. “Did you know that, Pete?

Seeing an opening for a portion of cordiality, Pete hoped for a parcel of an apology for Alf’s abrasiveness. He had formed the first word on his lips when it hit him, struck him broadside that the stranger used his name and it showed on the quizzical look which formed on his features.

The man looked ahead, still watching, when he abruptly and silently swung  his head over his left shoulder, to stare directly at Pete.

“Don’t be so taken aback, Peter. I know most every ones name.” His breath was soft and cool as it fell against the Peters cragged and dry face, “In fact, I’d be hard pressed to remember a name I’ve ever forgotten.”was heard with a chuckle as Pete turned to look towards Alf, who had remained silent while twirling the crook of his cane between forefinger and thumb of one hand.

Now he squinted in new found curiosity and stared at the intruder, studying him and then with his cup filled filled of question ans attack, asked simply, “You going to a funeral, Mister?”

The sounds of a thousand footsteps slapped against hard polished floor and voices drifted in murmurs towards the high ceiling where the sun outlined the grids of a large skylight which those thousand pairs of feet walked over and through with never a thought to disturb their form.

“No funeral, not today Alfred.” His dark pupils dancing in a bright ocean of white served to bait Alf’s growing attention, holding it briefly, before Alf asked his next question, “How’s Aggie doing?”

Pete winced in the stupidity of his friends question, wondering what in the world possessed him to ask such a question such as that.

“Alfred…” was a sigh of expression on the mans part, “I don’t have the time to concern myself with how every one is doing. Too much work to do, you know.”

Pete arced an eyebrow as he turned to Alf who remained concentrating on the stranger.

 “Somebody tell me what the two of you are are talking about, please?”

Alf was reluctant to turn his thoughts from the man, not daring, not trusting to take his eyes away, but he did so, haltingly, slowly glancing over toward Pete as he spoke. “He’s here for one of us Pete, or maybe both of us…”

“What the hell are you mumbling…” Pete stuttered  but couldn’t finish as Alf cut him short. “Don’t be so god damn assisine, Pete. Look cross the walk to our reflections in the glass. You see him setting on the bench with us in that friggin’ glass? See ya self, dont’cha, see me dont’cha, but ya don’t see him, do ya?”

“Oh for the love of mercy Alf, your minds finally gone, twisted ’round and fell out your big ears. You stop to think the mans dressed in black and might not reflect in the glass like we are?”

Pete had spoke with an air of his own irritability and yet even as he had done so, stole a cursory glance at the window.

“Let me tell ya something else then, you idiot. Last thing Aggie saw was a man dressed in black calling her name. I heard her say it, said he was standing just side her bed, holding her hand. You Gonna hold my hand Mister?”

“Alfred, I wouldn’t hold your hand if I had to pull you along with me, even if you were kicking and screaming.”

Pete stared at the man, unsure of what to say much less of what to believe. “Is what Alf’s saying, true?” was all that came cross his mind, and as he spoke, his words were soft, gentle.

The man started ahead, through the world which walked past him him and answered Pete’s question with a nod that was nothing more than a bounce of his head.

“Why?”

“Because it’ the ways things work. Not my idea Peter.”

“So who ya here for, me?” Alfs words were sharp, “Cuz if ya are, I ain’t ready to go just yet.”

“I understand that Alf, but just for my own curiosity, if I were here for you, what would you do?”

In a single strong beat of his heart, Alf grasped his cane, bringing it up, off the floor and then laid it back down with a loud ‘thack’, which reverberated and caused the walkers to glance their way in a nervous fashions.

“That’s what I’d do first, rap ya ‘cross your head a good one and then mebbe do it ‘gin just for the hell of it.”

“I believe you would old man and I dread the day we meet again,” then switching his focus, “and how about you Peter.”

He had listened to the two of them as he stared at his own shoes. Bringing his eyes up to Alf, Pete ran an old hand thru sparse white tuffs of hair which still sprouted like over grown weeds.

“It’s me he wants, Alf.”

Alf heard the weakness in his friends voice, the surrender which was already there and answered it the best way he could.

“Don’t have to go with him, you know that, don’t you?”

“Peter does have to come with me, Alfred, it is his time.”

Peter’s left arm tweaked with what he thought to be a muscle cramp but knew better as he raised a palm to massage his shoulder.

“This isn’t going to hurt, is it?”

“Just a bit Peter, only at first.”

“Wait a minute here,” Alf was frustrated, “You can’t be going just like that and leave me here.”

Peters cramp worked its way up the length of his arm, spreading out over his chest, gripping his heart, and he winced out the next words in pain, and trying to ignore the pain.

“I’m sorry about everything Alf, I mean Aggie and all.”

Alfs eyes had grown red, puffy as he watched this man whom he had known since childhood place an open palm against is chest and close his eyes.

“Ain’t nuthin’ to worry about Pete. It was long ago an’ nothing but a part of livin…’, wasn’t it? He asked of a man that was no longer there.

“Pete” came as a low shrilled cry as his friend took his last breath while Alf wrapped his arm around his shoulders.

Pete hurried to catch up to the man who threatened to disappear into the crowd. Matching his step, he glanced over his shoulder where he caught Alf with his head hung low, his cane lying on the floor and he heard him crying as they turned the corner.

End.

Pasquat’s Son

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Pasquat was a peaceful little town. I say was, cuz I’m speaking from memory, thinking ‘bout the day I left some thirty years ago. Funny, seems like yesterday. Wish it seemed like it was a thousand million years ago. Coming back doesn’t seem right, but there’s unfinished business, my business.

Thirty years ago there was only one road, over a bridge, that would get you to Pasquat. Visitors would cross over the bridge, and in a minutes time find themselves in the large center, paved roundabout of downtown, ringed by a café, Thrifty White, couple of small bars, a Coast to Coast, Church, and assorted ilk. Visitors, even if they bothered to stop, didn’t stay long, and headed out the way they came, back across the bridge over the Wild River.

Visitors could do that, leave. People like me, born and raised, blood soiled, mixed with the earth couldn’t. We were raised different, raised to believe that where you were, you stayed. Stayed cuz you owed a debt, a debt to your mom, pop, and the community that not only raised, but watched over you. One of the reasons there was never no other road to Pasquat, was by design, to keep people in.cottontree Not that we minded visitors, in fact we kinda needed ‘em, so they had built the old concrete bridge back in the heyday of transportation. Course, there had been an old wooden rickety bridge, but that was before my time. The only bridge I ever knew was the one I was looking at now, or rather what was left of it.

As a youngster, we’d fish off the rock pilings, had an old tire swing off that gnarled, ancient river poplar, and play hide ‘n seek along the sloping, brushed banks. Once, I tied a group of old cottonwood branches together, thinking I’d see how far I could float down the river. That particular day was when I started thinking I might want to leave someday, or better said, was when my natural curiosity of what was beyond the bridge manifested. The fact that I ended up right where I started didn’t do much to quell that desire, and truth be told, made me start to wonder what life was all about.

As a young one, I liked to ask a lot of questions. Mom and Pop, and most of the town, including friends just kinda laughed ‘em away. Never got much in the way of answers other then, ‘just the way it is’. The thing is, I wasn’t satisfied with everything being just the way it is. Didn’t understand why no one ever left Pasquat. We all knew there was a bigger world out beyond the bridge. We were able to view that world in our daily paper, on our televisions, in our theaters, our books and the occasional café stranger.

We just couldn’t cross the river. No one born and raised in Pasquat could! Physically! I guess at some point in time, people just surrendered to the fact. First time I tried was when I was 15. Dad had asked that I pick up a pound of pole barn nails at the Coast store, and as I tossed the paper bag on the seat of the old pickup I got the notion to drive across the bridge. I no sooner got across the bridge, crossing the river when I ended up right downtown, driving past the hardware store, headed toward the bridge.bridge

I came to a real, cautious stop just before the bridge, a fire burning deep within, and I seared a promise deep into my soul, that one day, that bridge would come down. That one day, I would stand on the far banks of the Wild River, turn, and never look back.

That was well past thirty years ago, and here I stand today wondering how to get back cross that river, to Pasquat.

I had spent seven years studying the history of Pasquat, watching, listening to the old timers, reading old, weathered newspapers, some going back a hundred years. Lot of stories, lots of talk about God, demons, time warps and strange things going on in the woods. Lot of plain folk felt we were being punished for some wrong doing our grand daddies did, long time back. Only thing conclusive I came up with is that nobody had a clue why no one born and raised in Pasquat couldn’t cross the bridge. That’s when I figured out my first, real attempt to cross the bridge. Shouldn’t of done it, got some people pissed, and there were some real consequences, specially for the nice family whose truck I hid in. Wasn’t their fault, they just happened to come along, stop by the café, and have a large enough pickup with a bed I could hide in. Long story short, they weren’t able to leave Pasquat either, and their retribution for being unknowing accomplices was the distinguished position of being the first of Pasquat’s new citizens in over seventy five years.

Not long after that, there was headline news about a building being blown to hell and back and that fertilizer had been used in making the bomb. That got me thinking, and it also got me wondering about consequences.

The night was humid, full of insects flirting about under a full moon and cloudless sky. Every breath was a chore as the sweat glistened in the soft spell of the warm moon. One way or another, the bridge would be gone, and so would I, and since the good people of Pasquat were satisfied with their lives, no one would care the bridge was gone. Course, there lives would come to a standstill, no more occasional visitors, no more new books, movies, or news. I figured they didn’t care that much, and if they did, they could rebuild the bridge.

The only thing I struggled with, was quit unsure with, is how it all worked. Not the homespun bomb, I knew that was going to work, but rather once the bridge went down, would I stay on the other side or somehow, be transported magically back to the other side, stuck in Pasquat without even a bridge.

By my way of thinking, I had to be on the bridge when it started to crumble. I needed the explosion behind me, so there was no bridge to cross over and yet I couldn’t be too far along on the bridge where it bought me right back, and I had been proven right with a couple of simple experiments. I knew right where I had to be on the bridge when the damn bomb went off. Question was, could I run the 20 some feet past the supports on the west end before I went down with the bridge.

Turns out I couldn’t!

When I woke up the full moon was setting and the dust of rebar and concrete had replaced the choking mouthful of flying bugs, and it struck me quickly, I was on the other side of the river banks. In the diming light of the moon, figures were made out moving in the dawning darkness across the river, muted voices, questioning, concerned.

I sat up, stood up, climbed the steep bank, over crushed concreted, avoiding spouts of rebar and looked back only once, and then never again.

Not much had changed in the decades. The dust had settled, but that was about it as I walked to the bank. I knew that I couldn’t just wander down over the old broken bridge, swim across the Wild River and walk into downtown Pasquat. I had tried that the week before.

I heard the truck before it pulled up behind my favorite Mustang. I didn’t bother to turn and greet the young man as he walked up to stand right aside me.

‘This it, huh?’

‘Yep.’

‘We start building tomorrow.’

An American Myth

ronnieOriginally published January 18th 2015

Ronald Reagan wasn’t qualified to be governor, let alone president. I was a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild when he was its president. My duties consisted of attending meetings and voting. The only thing I remember is that Ronnie never had an original thought and that we had to tell him what to say. That’s no way to run a union, let along a state or a country.”

James Garner

With in two weeks of being elected, Ronald Reagan removed Robert E. White from his service as Ambassador to El Salvador due to the urging of Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. White was an outspoken critic of El Salvador’s long list of horrible abuses and human right violations. Assassinations and massacres by American trained murder squads, including the rape and murder of four American churchwomen. Why? The Reagan administration, influenced by Haig and CIA Director Bill Casey had decided on a policy of Militarization in Central America.

Five years later, Reagan appeared in a National News conference to the American Nation, telling us that Arms had been sold, but never traded, for hostages in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan claimed he had no knowledge of what top officials in his administration were doing.bonzo

Even Teflon wears thin given time. Ronald Reagan, given his somewhat bombastic and telling way with words came across as a great American hero, a great American President. My truth, he was neither. I see Reagan as a weak man, devoid of serious thought and open to outside influences. His ability was his style of communication, one of being down to earth, honest, and somewhat simple. Yes, he could be eloquent, he could be convincing and I find that surprising given that his best movie was ‘Bedtime for Bonzo

While our media, and especially our conservative media hold Reagan as the gold standard to compare all Presidents against, working class Americans are starting to understand the damage done by the man. Most people I know don’t understand the idolization. Reagan was, if anything, lucky. Lucky that his time in office was accompanied by Russian General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev who understood the political reality in which he lived. It was Gorbachev who dissolved the USSR, not Reagan. Lucky that his term covered a time when the American people had turned to greed, excess, ambition and glamor, sat against a backdrop of a technological revolution. It was the ‘me’ decade, and many were not paying attention.

The true measure of Reagan the man can be seen in his handling of the Beirut bombings of ’83. When confronted with a situation he couldn’t deal with, he ran like a coward with his tail between his legs, than turned and lied to the American population. Reagan turned us from peace keepers in the region, to active participants in the middle east unrest and war, a participant who had chosen a side. We were no longer mere referees in the Middle East, we were now engaged,

In his memoir, General Colin Powell (at the time an assistant to Caspar Weinberger) noted, as Colonel Geraghty had already projected, that “When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides.”[45] Some analysts subsequently criticized the decision to have U.S. warships shell Druze and Syrian forces. They claim that this action forced a shift in the previously neutral U.S. forces by convincing local Lebanese Muslims that the U.S. had sided with the Lebanese Christians

Wikipedia

download6Reagan, calling the acts despicable and vowing to stay in Lebanon, turned tail and withdrew our troops four months later. The perpetrators of the attack were never identified. As a good-bye gesture to the people of Lebanon, the USS New Jersey shelled Syrian positions for six hours. Reagan’s fact finding commission blamed the military for lapses in security. Many will argue that Reagan’s actions, or inaction, emboldened the terrorists.

While Reagan’s foreign policy was militarism and projected threats through strength, his domestic policy contributed to, and laid the foundation for the political and economic divide we see today. Reagan’s trickle down economics were bullshit; rising tides don’t float all boats equally! His handling of the Air Traffic Controllers strike, while applauded by many, forced over 11,300 people onto the welfare roles overnight and demonized unions. There was no attempt to listen to their demands of better working conditions, a shorter work week or their complaint of being in the civil service. It was Reagan’s way, or the highway, and Reagan’s way was the corporate way.

While there are valid commendations to be made for Reagan’s economic recovery early in his term and the consistent dropping of the unemployment rate throughout his Presidency, they came at a cost, a very high cost. The mentally ill were forced to the streets, attempts were made to purge the disabled from the Social Security Disability Rolls and Reagan raised the National Debt from 997 billion to just under three trillion dollars. The National Debt, in Reagan’s own view, was his ‘greatest disappointment’.

Reagan’s ‘Tax Reform Act of ’86, created to simplify our Tax code ,helped in creating an environment that led to the Savings and Loan scandal. Additionally, the top tax rates were reduced and the bottom rates increased, the only time in our history where the trend was reversed. The end effect, is the economic inequality we see today!

In keeping with his militant style, Reagan reinvigorated Nixon’s war on drugs. His Drug Enforcement Bill set minimum penalties for drug offenses, and Reagan must not have understood what Max Lerner was saying when he wrote,

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply

Max Lerner, America as a Civilization

The reality is the law did little toward combating illegal drug use, promoted significant racial sentencing disparities, and helped create a vast and unaccountable federal agency, our DEA.

If given two lists, of the five best and the five worst presidents, I could not place Reagan in the first. I could not say that he belongs in the latter, but given the choice, Ronald Reagan is not the myth that has been built up around him. His views on immigration are substantially worthy of conversation in regards to the American dream, but the download (1)1law has no enforceable funding, or a political will to enforce the law. I see in Reagan a flawed President, one who had a sincere vision for America, unfortunately, that vision was culled from a black and white John Wayne WWII movie. Reagan had no social vision, wasn’t concerned with social justice, and actually introduced the phrase, ‘welfare queen’ into the public lexicon while also referring to young Black Americans as ‘Strapping young bucks’.

When one looks at the enormity of the scandals during his eight years in office, and considering that over 138 top ranking officials were investigated, indicted or convicted, including convictions of his Secretary Of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, two National Security Advisors, Treasurer of the US, and his Chief of Staff were all convicted of criminal behavior. This doesn’t happen under one of the five best Presidents and is indicative of his leadership, or lack of.

Indeed, James Garner had it right!

Isis

ankh Originally published Feb. 22 15

Isis, worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, protector and patroness of nature and magic, was the Egyptian Goddess married to Osiris. It was Isis who restored Osiris to life with her magical powers after he had been murdered. I find it a bit ironic, actually, a bit…weird that our worlds first and apparently formidable terrorist organization has taken her name. Certainly, there’s no clear identification between an ancient Egyptian Goddess and a 21st Century terroristic army. Except location.

Yea, the middle east. That place of shifting sands, despair, conflict, war, poverty, mystery, Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, regional tribalism, nomads, and oil. A vast empire of wealth and desolation that the west has tried to own, to control, to organize in some form and in some fashion for over a thousand years.nomad

Religion, wealth, culture, power, and worldview in the west are vastly different than what they are in the East and it would be easy to ascribe those differences for the problems, and potential future problems the West will find in dealing with Middle East. They would be wrong. In a very real way, the modern horrors of Middle Eastern Terrorism has it’s roots in a simple word, or lack of it.

Respect.

That perspective is also vastly different here in the U.S. than it is in Europe. Europe has neverlawrencetruly respected the people of the Middle East, inserting their dominance over the ages, carving out their own colonial territories and nation states by drawing lines on any given map for territorial and strategic reasons. After all it was just sand. It was their right.  Modern Israel was born of just such ignorance. When we Americans got into the game, we pretty much followed suit, but our motivations were a bit different. We saw dollar signs everywhere, and we were smart enough to know, what England knew, that oil was to be the currency of tomorrow. Our total lack of respect was evident in installing the Shah of Iran. We here in the West, have screwed the Middle East over, and over, and over again, as recently as Bushs war in Iraq.

With all the interference in the Middle East, they are few, if any success stories to be proud of. There are horrible abuses of power, uneven economic disparities, religious intolerance, political divide, sexism, tribal and regional warfare. Things, we here in the west rail against on a daily basis. Is it so hard to understand the hate Isis has for the west? Is it an excuse for their barbarism? No!

Those are the two questions the West must face in countering the growing threat, and those two questions must be framed in the context of respect.

To counter Isis and to frame that respect has nothing to do with acknowledging Isis and everything to do with our allies in the west, and our allies in the Middle East. Respect has nothing to do with power, money, weapons and installing regimes and petty dictators who serve our desires while working against us in the back, dusty streets of Casablanca. The respect I’m writing about is transformative, transformative in the sense that it’s a game changer, a global game changer.

I believe that most people who live in the Middle East are not all that different than you or I. That said, I believe that many in the Middle East look upon us in the West with the same lack of moral and ethical respect as the political  and human lack of respecme3t we give them. We are viewed as outsiders, and we are. We are viewed as untrustworthy, and we have been. We are viewed as greedy, and we have been. We are viewed as being unfair, and we have been. We have been viewed as thieves, and we have been. The west has stolen their history, their land, their wealth and their political independence.

We can send an army ten million strong and crush Isis, nothing will change.

Start changing some of their views of the West, stop treating their land as ours, their wealth as ours.

Our President is correct in refusing to tie the barbarism of Isis to religion. Their behavior is so far removed from any religious precept, that to even call them Islamic extremists is dangerous and condescending, in that we give them value, and acknowledgment for that which they are not. No more than the snake biting evangelists who are self perceived Christians.

The problems in the Middle East are larger than the problems of Isis, and we can not fix them through the use of force. Isis is a symptom, and while in the short term, we’ll address that symptom, the root cause will remain.

I believe a coalition of Middle Eastern Nations with limited western support is the only answer, and after the threat has been diminished, there needs to be a vast reduction in military aid across the board to all nations in the region. There then needs to be a Middle Eastern summit, including Israel and Palestinian Representatives to address and solve the long standing issues. The West should stand back and watch, facilitate, but not participate. And we should leave our agendas at the door.

expWe might not like the outcome, we might lose some friends, we might lose some corporate profits but with Islam mainstreaming through out Europe and beginning to here in America, we don’t have a choice. And it’s the respectful thing to do.

The alternative is global warfare, that no one will win.