By Matthew Rothschild on August 12, 2008

Just back from mugging for the cameras with the bikini-clad U.S. Olympic volleyball team, Bush put his serious face on in Washington and denounced Russia’s incursion into Georgia.

Bush called it “unacceptable in the 21st century.”

He’s right, but who is he to talk?

Let’s see.

If invading a sovereign country that posed no threat to you is “unacceptable in the 21st century,” then Bush himself has acted in an unacceptable way, obviously, for invading Iraq.

And what about kidnapping people?

Or holding people in solitary confinement for years at a time, prior to any trial?

Or imprisoning people for six years without ever letting them see a judge?

What about parading them around naked?

Or about putting hoods over their heads?

Or making them hang by their arms?

Or depriving them of sleep for days at a time?

Or holding them in freezing or roasting temperatures?

Or blasting music at them at ear-splitting volume?

Or putting them in cramped little boxes?

Or sexually humiliating them?

Or intimidating them with dogs?

Or waterboarding them?

These are all actions that ought to be “unacceptable in the 21st century,” but Bush himself is responsible for them.

He’s no one to throw stones.

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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