By The Progressive on November 07, 2007
November 9, 2007 By Matthew Rothschild

Here’s how out of it Bush is.

At a press conference earlier this week, he was asked about the Iraq War, and this is what he said: If you’re an Iraqi, “you’d be saying: ‘God I love freedom.’ ”

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what most Iraqis are saying to themselves right now.

Certainly not the 75,000 to more than a million Iraqi civilians who’ve died as a result of Bush’s reckless war.

Certainly not the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who’ve been wounded.

Certainly not the families of all those killed or wounded.

Certainly not the two to three million Iraqis who’ve been rendered into refugees.

Certainly not the 20,000 Iraqis that the U.S. and the Maliki government are holding without charges.

And certainly not those who’ve been tortured.

And certainly not the women of Iraq, who are much less free today than they were under Saddam.

But Bush is beyond callous to the casualties in Iraq.

For he thinks he’s doing God’s work, which he says is to deliver the gift of freedom around the world.

And if some people die under the wheels of the delivery truck, well, that must be part of God’s plan, too.

Thus does he sleep at night, untroubled by the wailing in Iraq.

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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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