Summer reading

Hi friends!

Sorry I have not posted in quite some time. To make up for it here are links to some essays and podcasts.

I hope everyone is well and healthy. Please be safe and I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/15/will_biden_end_the_us_forever

7/2/21 Matthew Hoh on Veteran Suicides, Afghanistan and America’s Failed War on Terrorism

Was it Just? America and Her Suicidal Combat Veterans

“While there are undoubtedly many causes for veteran and service-member suicide, within the sub-group of combat veterans, we see clearly elevated rates of suicide. The primary reason behind those deaths to suicide may be the guilt, shame, and regret that come home with us after the war. The obstacle, and thus the very thing that will keep these veteran suicides continuing, is the unwillingness of American politicians, generals, bureaucrats, the media, and, yes, the population as a whole, to honestly ask and answer why so many combat veterans kill themselves.”

Mike Gravel and An Ongoing Road to Courage

“This journey towards courage continued until I finally had the strength to confront my own moral and intellectual dishonesty. In many ways it was a breakdown, a collapse of my mind and spirit due to the weight of mendacity, yet it was also a rebirth. To find such courage I needed examples and Mike Gravel was one of them.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/17/opinions/afghanistan-withdrawal-critics-get-wrong-hoh/index.html

“Much of the argument against withdrawal ignores how truly counterproductive the war in Afghanistan has been. Consider just two facts: In the years prior to the US invasion in 2001, Afghanistan and Pakistan were home to four international terror groups. Now, the Pentagon testifies that the number of such terror groups has grown to 20 or more.

“Second, when the US first invaded Afghanistan, al Qaeda counted around 400 total members worldwide. Al Qaeda has since spawned branches and offshoots – including the Islamic State – in dozens of countries, with total memberships in the tens of thousands, and have, at times, controlled entire cities in multiple countries.

Robotic Killing Machines and Our Future: Chris Pratt, Aliens and Drones


“On my TV, I watched Chris Pratt heroically battle aliens 30 years in the future. However, such a war would be fought almost entirely by robots. The idea of robots fighting aliens is no longer a purely speculative one, as the robots do exist. Autonomous robots that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, computerized fire control systems, and amazingly sensitive sensors are machines that do not seem to miss and never hesitate to pull the trigger. It is clear the aliens Chris Pratt fights in the future would not stand a chance against today’s robots. That is Hollywood, though. The question for us, outside of the movie theater and away from our TVs, is what chance we as human beings stand?”

6 thoughts on “Summer reading

  1. Hi Matt,

    You do better than most of us at staying in touch.  Thanks for this summer reading and viewing.

    I’m so pained by the news reports about how bad things are, or are about to be, in Afghanistan.  Do you agree that bringing in a UN Peacekeeping force could help? I’m sure it’s not going to stop a civil war. What could it do?

    While I agree that the US and NATO made a hash of things, there seems to be no doubt that women are in a better, safer status than under the Taliban, and that sharia law is the order the Taliban has in mind for the country.  I keep thinking the U.S. has, or had, some leverage it could have used to ease the transition.  It could have at least cleared the path for evacuating the interpreters.  I’m disgusted with the stories of how long it’s taking to get people their visas and get them out of there.  You say there will be plenty of military support left behind, if not personnel, but A. troops who are in effect surrendering don’t seem to be feeling the support. I doubt if they’re being paid well for their services. Soldiers can’t live on patriotism alone.

    I’ve always hated and opposed the U.S. invasions, bases, and imperialism around the world. But I’ve also thought that once we have our “come to Jesus moment” and get “woke”, we have to make amends for the catastrophes we’ve sewn.  That hasn’t really happened since the Marshall Plan, that I know of.

    Robotic killing machines is the logical next step.  I just can’t believe it’s here already.  I’m really pessimistic about the war machine in general.  It will only collapse when the rest of the capitalist imperialist system collapses and that is not going to be pretty for any of us. Which is my way of saying, I know I’ve benefited from it. I like my coffee, chocolate, bananas, and peaceful little neighborhood.

    On to lighter notes, take a look at this cute routine by Trevor Noah about immigrants.   I just read is autobiography _Born a Crime_.  I was really impressed and learned a lot about S. Africa. Shortly after I finished it, it came into the news with street protests.  That’s usually when we hear about what’s going on in far away places.

    I leave Tuesday for CO for the “celebration of life” of my nephew I told you about. (I’ll be gone a week and then 10 days later we’re going to S.C. to see Charleston and spend some island time with Liz and family.)   I’m looking forward to seeing some sites in Denver, but I’m sad for Rob’s parents and children.  It’s such a mind blower to lose a loved one to suicide.  I’m so grateful you are able to talk about your experiences, Matt, including the deep dark places you’ve visited.  Pulling that into fuller awareness is a step toward detaching from it.

    How are you enjoying your house?  How are studies at Naropa going?

    Stay cool and breathe deep.

    Betsy

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  2. I discovered you and your work by random web search. I’m so impressed! Thanks. Where’s the book(s)? You obviously have several in you.
    Keep up the good work.

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  3. Re your democracy now! interview, I just wanted to fill you in on what i feel is a more proper understanding of “Pegasus”. IMHO “pegasus” wouldn’t be conceivable without the 400+ zero day vulnerabilities Qualcomm puts into its “snapdragon” and other, modem chips. The below is NOT the only article addressing Qualcomm flaws by the way. But hey they get to keep their “street cred” intact along with their market cap.

    http://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities-threats/400-qualcomm-chip-vulnerabilities-threaten-millions-of-android-phones

    IF it were true that NSO was a truly independent firm exploiting American “IP” to openly “sell”/”License” the use of the “Pegasus” tool to perpetrate these abuses, then both you and I know, that the US would have LONG BACK sued or bought international arbitration against NSO to protect abuse of its patents and intellectual property. You don’t “own” your phone. You merely license it, and all the hardware. The modem is especially part of this “Licensing”. You can’t just sell modems without FCC approval and worse. This is a sensitive and government bureaucracy laden cumbersome product to produce, ok? You use it on license, ok?

    I think both of us know a lawsuit v NSO is NOT happening, incredibly. Not only that, there’s NO TALK OF IT HAPPENING. Which should tell you something, ie. more along the lines of how to properly see this issue for what I think it is: “NSO” is convenient cross border dodge (a flag of convenience) for ulterior US Intelligence work. All enabled by US modems.

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