The Japanese national government (particularly after the recent Cabinet
shuffle) represents little more than the aspirations of a conglomeration of
power elites. America seems to be in line to follow this excellent business
model. Unfortunately, generating profits in a debt-ridden American economy
seems to depend on endless war. Cheer up, that's what's on offer when Bush
The problem is finding enough people to go out and fight these wars (you
can't keep sending the National Guard, and the Neo-cons and other politicos
are certainly NOT going to send their own kids) so it seems that all
American expats with US passport-holding kids approaching military age will
have to figure out what to do when the draft notices come.
And they will come. Get your heads out of the sand, chaps. Bush will put a
lien on your kids (want that passport renewal?) and send them off to war. Do
you have enough money and influence to buy your sons out?
-------- dedalus -------------------------
>And they will come. Get your heads out of the sand, chaps. Bush will put a
>lien on your kids (want that passport renewal?) and send them off to war. Do
>you have enough money and influence to buy your sons out?
You're heading for a hand slapping lad! Might even get tossed off the
list! I'm going to enjoy seeing how D handles this one...
Made my day!!
A hand-slapping is a local thing. I can live with that. Getting your kids registered for the Army (with the clear prospect of getting called up) is going to affect a lot of people we know. LC has young sons in their early 20s, so has GVT. There are others. I'm not trying to score points off D or anybody else. I think it is should be fairly obvious what is going to happen if Bush gets re-elected. And, yes, it will affect our American friends with teenage children in Japan. I'm just stating the bloody obvious, so let D do as he likes. How else can Bush carry on his wars?
PS - Less glee, pal. I know the Yanks are in it up to their armpits but these idiotic imperial fantasies (Bush & Co.) are going to have an effect on a lot of people we know before long.
------------- dedalus --------------------
>PS - Less glee, pal. I know the Yanks are in it up to their armpits but
>these idiotic imperial fantasies (Bush & Co.) are going to have an effect on
>a lot of people we know before long.
Glee about America?? That's one thing I don't have... they scare me
shitless. Watching Bush's UN speech left me stunned, and closing it
with 'God bless you all' -- I'm sure all our non-Christian friends
REALLY appreciated that one.
And he's just one of them...
Yeah, I do despair... and just take each day as it comes.
The Moslems are moving into Europe and have been for years. Now there are more and more of them coming and not just to the obvious colonial heartlands such as Britain, France, Italy, and Spain (not to mention Germany). We have new communities in such unlikely places as Norway, Portugal, and Ireland. Nobody wants to Christianize them -- we are barely Christian ourselves these days -- but we do want them to integrate into the local community, learn the language, send their children to the local schools. The great danger is when they stay aloof from the host country and look for their political and intellectual allegiances overseas. The immigrants (for the most part economic refugees) are not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that they are a natural target for Islamic fundamentalists who play on their sense of alienation. This is why the French put a ban on headscarfs, just to give you a recent example.
We are trying to deal with this new phenomenon in Ireland as well. The government is well-meaning but they don't really have a clue. When immigrants and asylum-seekers are forbidden to work and get dumped into low-income areas you can almost guess what is going to happen -- they undercut the locals for wages on the Black Economy and then the locals get pissed off and start beating them up. The middle class is then shocked at working class "racism". Think of the millions who went to America, blah blah. They are wrong on 2 counts. First, it's a simple competition for jobs and Second, the Irish had a very tough time in America, probably worse than what happens to some of these people now.
Bush is trying to push us all towards a confrontation. We don't WANT a confrontation. We are trying to deal with the influx of immigrants in our own way (limited, stupid at times, but learning as we go) and we honestly believe we can end up with black or coffee-coloured Irishmen and Irishwomen who will play on our national teams (they do already) and contribute something to the life of the nation -- THEIR nation as well as ours. That's the whole point, to get the kids to identify with the country they live in. The breeding grounds for Al Quaida are not only in the frustrated misgoverned lands of the Middle East but also in the countries of the West in which the religious minority (Moslems, previously Jews) feels alienated from the life of the society around them.
I think we can deal with this. Bush and his "Clash of Civilisations" is not making it any easier. Quite the opposite.
This is too long for a letter. Should post it on the Blog -- it has become the literary equivalent of a compost heap: whatever seems halfway good, stick it on. Every time you cut your finger, bleed on the Blog -- organic, you know. Your reply also, goes without saying.
But I'm not finished. This is just the first half. The second half is the weird peculiar mindset of isolationist Americans -- not, by God, their government!!
Been another long day. Get back to you later.
----------------- dedalus -----------------------------------
> American expats with US passport-holding kids approaching military age will
> have to figure out what to do when the draft notices come.
> And they will come. Get your heads out of the sand, chaps. Bush will put a
> lien on your kids (want that passport renewal?) and send them off to war. Do
> you have enough money and influence to buy your sons out?
You are right and your comments pulled my head out a bit. Last night the
Mrs and I talked. Since my boys have both passports, if the call ever comes
we might tend to let our oldest (21 and in Australia on a Working Holiday
visa on a Japanese passport) just give up the US passport. This would be
his own choice but we would go along with it. (Actually, I never formally
registered him for the draft at the US Embassy. It never seemed pressing.
But the world is changing...) Both of my boys think of themselves as
Japanese. It has evolved like that. I wrote an article about it in the
Bilingualism SIG journal. Are you a member of that SIG? If not, I could
send a copy. Interestingly, JS has a similar situation and I based
some of my article around comments he made at a presentation.
If you travel today be sure to carry your St. Christopher medal.
P.S. Next Wednesday I'll probably visit the Detention Center again. I'm
prepared to be depressed so perhaps I won't be so depressed this time. When
Father introduced me he said, "This is M-----" and sometimes the
prisoner/detainee offers their hand but there is a glass so you can't touch
so you just put your hands in the same place and say, "Nice to meet you."
We're living in dangerous times, since America - the most powerful country in the world these days (but watch out for China) -- is not under adult supervision. It's time to start thinking ahead. I'm not sure if your sons would want to forgo their right to American citizenship (in a normal world) but there's no point either in setting them up as cannon fodder for a rabidly aggressive US regime. It can't last forever, but that's not much consolation at the moment. I would be very suspicious and distrustful if I were in your position -- after all, we know they tell lies whenever it suits them. My daughter is in her senior year in a Quaker school in Pennsylvania (I have a lot of respect for the Quakers who tend to quietly go their own way) but she tells me she wants to come back to Japan for college. In her own words, "This country is just getting a little too strange for me, Daddy."
Bush & Crew have STOLEN the country. I think Americans who believe in the Constitution (Patriot Act???!!) and the Bill of Rights and the bloody Declaration of Independence should fight tooth and nail to get this country back to where it was -- a beacon of freedom and opportunity in a pretty sorry world. That was then. We have more (measurable) personal freedom in the EU these days. Europe is aghast at Bush and his antics. This is seen as a joke in America (well, we all love to trash the French, even in Europe!) but you are painting yourselves into a corner by extending the reaction to Al Quaida into a free-for-all against the Muslim world in general.
I have been reading James Carroll's new book "Crusade: Chronicles of an Unjust War" which has just come out. It comprises a series of articles in the "Boston Globe" from 9/11 on to September last year. Carroll is a strong Catholic (an ex-seminarian by the sound of him) and he brings a moral dimension to the American reaction to 9/11 which is notably lacking in the "kick ass" pronouncements of the current administration. It is a very chastening read. The guy could see it all coming because he is steeped in the history of the original Crusades. He puts an historical overlay on current events and you can see quite clearly how short-sighted and ignorant (historically speaking) Bush & Crowd, plus the Neo-cons really are. Carroll doesn't say "I told you so" because he is writing as he goes, as events occur. It amounts to a prescient and damning condemnation of the assumptions which underlaid the American attack on BOTH Afghanistan and Iraq.
You can get it on
Yes, I would like the article from the Bilingualism SIG, because I am not a member. I am no longer a member of JALT, come to think of it, because I resent and procrastinate over these direct assaults on my beer money.
I admire the fact that you visit the Detention Center. It's a difficult thing to do. Don't fool yourself by thinking you are in any way morally superior to the people on the other side of the glass. The only difference is that your crimes (as my own) are not on the statute books: they fall into the categories of COMMISSION and OMISSION, mainly, perhaps, the latter.
Cowardice is endemic, but it is never an excuse.
(I am going to post this on the Blog. Your identity is safe if that is a source of worry. Everybody else seems to be keeping their heads well below the parapet these days which is probably quite sensible. )