Normal reactions to an abnormal event

In her own observations, Marrs noted that Green had abnormal eye contact, including staring, and that his mood was angry. Green told Marrs he was having suicidal and homicidal ideations, especially thoughts about killing Iraqi civilians. On his one-page intake sheet, Marrs noted his wanting to kill Iraqis four separate times. One entry states, “Interests: None other than killing Iraqis.”

She diagnosed him with Combat and Operational Stress Reaction (COSR), an Army term to describe typical and transient reactions to the stresses of warfare. COSR is not a condition recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, the bible of the psychiatry profession, something the Army is well aware of, since it doesn’t even consider COSR an ailment. As one Army journal article puts it, “Those with COSR are not referred to as ‘patients,’ but are described as having ‘normal reactions to an abnormal event.’ ” Thus believing Green’s psychological state to be normal, Marrs prescribed him a small course of Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug that also treats insomnia, and recommended that he follow up with another visit (though she didn’t specify when), and she sent him back to his unit.

—Jim Frederick, Black Hearts, (New York: Harmony Books, 2010), 157-58.

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Had to reread the first few paragraphs of this article several times today. Ray Bradbury, among others, saw this coming over 60 years ago. Each day not only are more Americans getting their view of the world through video, video produced by corporations needless to say, despite the early democratizing promise of the Internet, but those scraps of video seem to be becoming shorter.

Just found out that Saul Bellow was teaching at the University of Minnesota around the same time my father was enrolled there. Going to read Humboldt’s Gift and The Dangling Man. Bellow was born in Lithuania and was in the Merchant Marine in WW II.

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New Use for Old Property

Above a property in Stuttgart that lay destroyed in April 1945, and whose basements once covered four floors that have survived but were closed up and built on at ground level, a technical building was erected to be used by US experts for planning and controlling drone deployments in Africa, mainly in the coastal areas of Somalia, carrying out targeted killings of presumed terrorists. The subterranean vaults still contain now-unreachable supplies of colonial goods from the time before the original building burnt down. It housed a firm that dealt with the import of African products.

—Alexander Kluge, 30 April 1945, (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2015), 275-276.

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Southwest Airlines draws outrage over man removed for speaking Arabic

Finished Darkness at Noon yesterday, started the section of Khrushchev’s memoirs on the peace treaty with Austria, then started Alexander Kluge’s 30 April 1945. Recent articles on islamophobia in the US remind me of the post-9/11 days.

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The Pale

The notion that any political agenda would justify the killing of innocent people like this is, is something that’s beyond the pale.

—President Obama, on Brussels bombings

Was it a mistake of the Brussels bombers to not use drones? If one kills dozens of innocent people from the sky does one remain within the pale?

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How an Uncritical Media Helped Trump’s Rise

From Spiegel:

If Trump actually becomes his party’s candidate or, even worse, becomes the next president of the United States of America, the damage to democracy would be significant not only because it would turn America into an autocratic nation, but because it would mean that, in this election, the principle of public scrutiny and thus democracy would have failed.

This is very strong language. The BBC reports today:

Donald Trump winning the US presidency is considered one of the top 10 risks facing the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

This reminds me of how it felt to be in Germany in 2002-2003, watching Europe try to come to grips with George Bush and the invasion of Iraq, wondering what Americans could possibly be thinking.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court that the Senate won’t consider his nomination

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Barack Obama nominating Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court that the Senate won’t consider his nomination.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart says the Senate’s majority leader spoke to nominee Merrick Garland by phone on Wednesday. Stewart says McConnell repeated his long-held position that the Senate won’t consider a nominee for the high court until the next president nominates one.

 Most Republicans have rallied behind McConnell’s opposition to considering any Obama selection. McConnell and many other GOP senators say they wouldn’t even meet with a nominee.

Stewart says McConnell felt it was more considerate of Garland to talk by phone, and not subject him to “more unnecessary political routines orchestrated by the White House.”

Stewart says McConnell wished Garland well in the Wednesday afternoon call, which the spokesman says did not last long.

I find this incredible. I feel that I am watching the illusion of American democracy that I was indoctrinated with in elementary school smashed upon an anvil of right wing gold.

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Hillary Clinton on Iraq War, Regime Change

This Hardball with Chris Matthews clip  has Hillary Clinton sounding like she voted for an invasion of Iraq because George Bush backed reconstruction funds for New York after 9/11. She says she voted for war because Iraq had nuclear weapons, but admits to there being no evidence for Iraq possessing actual weapons, instead referring to 1990s evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons programs. She then continues on to defend US-sponsored coups and assassinations by comparing Mosaddegh, Arbenz, Lumumba, Allende with Hitler. It’s really rather breathtaking.

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Andrew Bacevich on Foreign Policy in 2016 Campaign

I think the most interesting commentary on the 2016 campaign I’ve seen was Andrew Bacevich on Democracy Now this morning.

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The Sand Pebbles

Watched this again last night and really enjoyed McQueen, Bergen, Attenborough, and Crenna. Picked up more Vietnam references this time, and wonder how audiences in 1966 viewed it. Netflix reviews are generally more interesting for what they say about the writer than about the film, and I am pondering one this morning:

Its a move that needs to be explained to anyone under 17 who is a product of an education system that doesnt teach what the rape of Nanking meant.

The movie clearly takes place a decade before the Japanese invasion, and I wondered about this viewer’s picture of China and what the American gunboat was doing there. The fictional San Pablo being inherited from Spain seems pretty loud. Realized the film portrays Chinese factions as following different “warlords” with Bolshevik inspiration thrown in, there is no real explanation of the Northern Expedition, and I know nothing about Chiang Kai-shek’s campaign. Wonder how many Americans today see China and Taiwan as simply places out there with lots of Chinese making things out of plastic to sell cheaply to American consumers.

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