Kathy Kelly transcript

Kathy Kelly came to Kansas City in September. This is a transcript of an interview with her during her visit.

KCOB: I’m interested in your reaction to all the positive news about the way the war is going in Iraq, in terms of security especially.

KK: There is so much that hasn’t been emphasized that I think is crucial ingredients for understanding what has been happening or to be looked at. I still have confidence that when US people know a lot about a situation you see a majority opinion that’s pretty reasonable and there is this constant problem of things that doesn’t get reported and gets eclipsed. This past week I felt so alarmed when I read that Ambassador Ryan Crocker had ask the United Nations to delay until October their humanitarian report and I guess my sense of alarm was the United Nations immediately agreed to it. I think it would have been extremely important to have in one hand the military report General Petraeus had, but in the other hand should have been the humanitarian report because I think people get the idea that security, if you are talking about Iraq is vastly different from the security of if I’m talking about myself here in the United States. I think most people would agree here that we find our security in being able to know that we have food, clean water, electricity, fuel and we have health care available when we want it. We can provide for children and we can have jobs. We probably take that for granted but we feel pretty secure when we have all that. Now each of those things is out of reach, elusive, missing in the very insecure and precarious lives that been forced on people in Iraq. In most places in the center and south Iraq have become even more insecure than they were under Sadam Hussein under the horrible economic sanction So that was attended to. I think if people knew just a few simple statistics that came out in March and April of this year, 122,000 children under 5 didn’t reach their 5th birthday in 2005. From the UN 80% of the families in the central and south Iraq can’t separate their sewage water from their drinking water and 70% don’t have any access to potable water These are statistics that are radically going to affect life and death. So many others could be added, such as road closures and curfews and how that affects any capacity to deliver health care when the Iraqi government insists that oil relief be concentrated first in Baghdad and then can be distributed There are all kinds of problems with that road closures and curfews when relief materials are concentrated in 7 warehouses that sometimes can’t be gotten to because the neighborhoods are not safe for some groups to go into because they belong to a different militia There is also corruption in distribution These are all things that are part of what’s going on in Iraq. To be assuring the United States public that we can predict that putting more weapons, bullets, and ammunition capacities to shred more people’s bodies and destroy their buildings in the hands of US army militia and the by the many other militias, who could predict who is going to work with the US on a permanent basis to route al Quida. That means a lot of what people don’t understand is because they haven’t been told. The al Quida in Iraq is not a huge number. There are not many great threats to the United States military or people who come from Iraq as much as threats coming from groups who want to cleanse people who belong to a different sect. The Sunni tribes, the Sunni militia is of course going to tell the United States they will accept any weapons you want to give us Of course the United States aren’t saying we’ll train your police and we’ll monitor them and equip them with fire power. So here we go again with a new round of police people being trained and equipped with fire power. We have done that already! General Petraeus specifically did that in Russell. That was his job and by all accounts it failed because his new trained militia morphed into either death squads or groups that were fighting to go directly against the United States. They took the uniforms and gave them away. Took the guns and resold them to other groups or used them against others. That was not predictable and I believe General Petraeus may have made it sound as though we’re starting this new strategy and we can predict this is going to work. It seems to me what is predictable is that Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, General Electric, General Dyonamics and major making weapon companies will continue to profit as long as the war continues. They have tremendous sway over all the aspiring presidential candidates and the group that is preparing to take over Washington now. I think the other thing that is predictable is that the proxy wars being fought by other countries inside of Iraq are continuing. Those wars are advantageous to the surrounding countries.

KCOB: Explain that a little more. That’s an interesting idea.

KK: It costs a lot of money to organize an actual warfare. This is not inter-gang conflict or something, this is war. It costs a lot of money to get the transportation, the weaponry, ammunition, paying militias so that they can fight rather than have some other kind of job to support their families. That costs a great deal of money and that money gets invested in banking systems and there are certain groups that profit as long as these margin are processed through various countries. It is also advantages for some countries to have the United States focused on Iraq so that they take a breather from the US focusing on them. It is advantageous for some countries to say yes yes yes we are with you to the United States and then the United States gives Israel 60 million dollars and Saudi Arabia 30 million dollars and Egypt got 12 million so countries are happy to take more military from the United States and then of course there are on going fuel arms race The people who are doing much of the organizing of these proxy wars live in surrounding countries and some of them are living in Jordan where I stayed all of July and August You find quite a well heeled elite of people living in Jordan who have become quite wealthy since the war either because they been able to maybe profit greatly from smuggling operations or because they stole money and left Iraq and came into Jordan or they are still profiting in some way from the on going war. I think it is correct to think about proxy wars (not popular) but I think we have to acknowledge that there are probably benefits for Iran to have the United States in what some people would call a quagmire inside of Iraq. That could change for the groupings of people. I think we have to be very careful as we try to analyze this. This is the first time in a long time that groups of people who lived in sprawling slums and had no one looking after them for garbage pick-up, sewage sanitation, schooling, and health care This is a moment that they may not want to let go of and to be able to have the strength to persist. They are going to have to link with other groups. They definitely are not cookie cutter franchises with the groups of vast differences amongst themselves. Never the less, I think the United States is not going to want to say that because of what it started by waging the war of choice against Iraq it would have helped solidify the kind of crescent to groups of Shiite groupings. So I guess that is what I mean by proxy war. There are many conflicting interests being played out. Some people are profiting but I would say the majority are finding themselves being subjected to utter misery in center and southern Iraq.

KCOB: There is a good healthy debate about the humanitarian response and what to do next when progressive activists say get out of Iraq. Do you think that is the most humanitarian thing for the United States to do? Is that definitely the way we keep a certain number of people who are going to die otherwise from dying, if the United States gets out of Iraq, or is there a formula that blends a couple of ideas together that would be the most humanitarian thing that the United States could do? If there is, how do you package that in a way it could be sold to the American people?

KK: That sure is a tall order. I think that there is a big difference between saying, bring the troops home, bring them home alive, bring them home now and do all that and leave Iraq to fend for itself. I think it would be morally wrong and reprehensible in everyway to say the latter. It’s a cliché it is sort of a good idea to keep in the wings. If all Iraq grew in its soil was asparagus or broccoli you and I wouldn’t be having this discussion. So clearly the United States has gone into this whole miserable affair because it wants to have some control over the pricing and flow of Iraq’s precious and irreplaceable fuel resource at a time when the United States and other countries are just inhaling, vacuuming up the available fossil fuel and energy. The situation in so many areas in central and southern Iraq has deteriorated so badly in terms of groups that desire to exercise revenge against other groups that have lost everything and been forced into new areas because they were ethnically cleansed from the areas they formerly lived and became displaced. It’s almost always an easy availability to glock pistols, AK 47’s and other weapons it doesn’t seem to be able to say we are looking for a bloodless solution. I don’t mean to be callous in my very safe and secure environment here to say that is not inevitable that there will be children and elderly people and sick people and innocent people who will be killed, kidnapped, tortured. There is not a likelyhood at all that can suddenly be prevented. It is my belief that is if the United States or any country continues to put weaponry into this context that it is likely to prolong the violence because the people have the weapons and would be encouraged to use them. … In October the Congress will be examining $145 billion in supplemental spending bills. When you parse that out try to see how that $145 billion will be spent and what’s the time line for procurement and maintenance expenses which is a large chunk of that $145 billion. They’re wanting to purchase Abrams tanks, armored humvees, armored personnel vehicles, striker vehicles for urban warfare. These are all very expensive pieces of equipment. None of them are expected to arrive anytime in Iraq before the end of 2009 and 2010. So that means that United States productivity that could be going toward urgently needed assistance in terms of relief. First relief and then you can start to talk about reconstruction, but talking about relief in the humanitarian catastrophe is instead being hijacked, detoured, waylaid into the pockets of these companies who are making these high level sophisticated vehicles, weapons, and systems and of course the payments for the maintenance of many thousands of United States troops most of whom are on bases. Is it possible that if we had available to other groups for the moment the $145 billion some other groups even if was initially to do what they call remote management say from Jordan as a neighboring country they could begin to send in convoy after convoy with pure water, gasoline, and fuel in the winter months as people are going to need the fuel to heat their homes, medicines that could be made so available to clinics maybe people wouldn’t be feeling like they were at the mercy of the particular ministry that’s controlling health care delivery. If there could be ways to start local projects or reconstruction of housing, roads, bridges, schools and say to the Halliburton’s, Bucktails, and Kellogg you had your chance. You are out. There are no contracts available for you. Start to give some considerable funding to the groups who have been set up as relief groups in earnest trying their best with very meager resources such as the Organization of Migration, the Save the Children group and several of the United Nations agencies, United Nation Development Program, The United Nations Commissions for Refugees, or the Catholic Relief Services. Many of the European groups like the German group Architects for Peace, etc. There are groups who stayed in Jordan throughout this time and done their best to be of assistance. Get diplomatic negotiations going and tell all these countries who have been prospering from these proxy wars let’s come to the negotiation table. But the presumption is your weapon strength is going to be set aside.

KCOB: One of the points you made in the essay we posted yesterday, that if you invest in more weaponry and you sort of spread that around the region you are just guaranteeing the next generation of wars that are going to happen in whatever form. If the next election brings in a very different idea how to approach Iraq, whether it is Republican or Democrat, but a profoundly different, one more toward the line you are talking about, having seen what you have seen, how long would it take for a real effort to rebuild the country?

KK: You know I was in Iraq in 1991 and then left and stayed in Jordan after that war ended in March and I stayed in Jordan until August and them I came back to the United States. I remember that Sadam Hussein regime had put out a call for generators. They would take any beat up, second hand working generator. There was one guy who was kind of a businessman and he rented a little office next to the place where we were being given free office space and he just made it his business to try to find generators. He wanted to make some money off of that and he did. He found generators, and in a matter of months and then electricity was restored in Baghdad. I don’t think Sadam Hussein regime was ever very fair about distributing electricity throughout the center and south Iraq. When I stayed in Basra the summer of 2000 we had four hours of electricity a day and people in Basra were seething with rage over why it was that in that very intense hot climate somehow they were the ones who weren’t suppose to get electricity. What I am mostly getting at is that the rebuilding process could go much more quickly than anything that was attempted under the opuses of the US occupation of Iraq and sometimes Iraq is referred to as a nation of engineers there are many people who have good engineering skills. The repair of the oil production facilities is tricky because under the thirteen years of economic sanctions a lot of the people responsible for maintaining these oil refineries and plants related to oil production were saying that if they had done what they were forced to do under the economic sanctions in terms of Gerri-rigging machinery and risking oil would be mixed with water they would have been executed but they just had no choice because they couldn’t get parts They couldn’t even get manuals and if they did get parts it was very difficult. So there’s been a lot of disrepairment and it will take huge investments to get the oil fields functioning properly. Of course those companies who could make those huge investments are the very well heeled companies who are extremely sophisticated and impose laws that are unfair would accrue so much profit even sometimes like 70% of the profit would go to the foreign investing company for the next 30 years. So people say no one would sign a contract like that in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia unless they had a gun to their heads I think in some ways the caous has been potentially advantageous to the major multi national companies to say, “Well, you just don’t have a choice, so are you ready to deal.” So how long will that take? It is a very wealthy country. You are not looking at a country like Haiti that has been so badly looted and its wayside so denuded of its forests and is ecologically in terrible shape. So it is believable that maybe in ten years time Iraq could be a country that starts to thrive. You look at Kritistan they are building and have built a road that goes right up the mountain side on a mountain that wasn’t even a place where a Kurdish person could approach under Sadam Hussein’s regime They’ve got many companies from countries all around the world investing, building, and setting up banks. I think the determination of the Kurdish people is this time “We are going to make to make it.” It is very strong and a fair amount of unity overcoming some of those differences because they see this as their chance. Could that happen for Iraq in the future? I certainly wouldn’t want to close out that possibility.

KCOB: Do you think that military security is a necessary part of that? Do you think a presence of any sort is needed to assure that that rebuilding happens or how much would moving out the American military presence have to do with the rebuilding?

KK: Now this is an extra complicated situation. You can move the entire US Military out but what are you going to do about Blackwater and DynCorp and Christianson. The missionary’s who are highly paid and I believe there are possibly as many as 118,000. There could be more who are working as contractors and they are not accountable to anybody. So it is a lot more confusing. The oil companies have their security groups and the rebuilding companies have their security groups so there is an awful lot of armed militarized policing security that is not accountable to any government. Everybody staying in Jordan that has gone to the airport have seen people standing with signs that read Blackwater and picking up people from Blackwater and in the Frankfort airport if you go into the coffee shop you are sure to see four or five big opposing guys and wonder where you are going Then they are all on the plane. So I’m not sure what to make of that. It is important to stay in touch with the writing of such people as Jeremy Scapes who exhaustively research and created a book called, Darkwater. People need to start asking, what is the grievance that this person or group has against me and what would be a fair way to adjust that grievance. This to me, would be much more form of security. People are not insane. People are harboring legitimate grievances but retaliation and revenge would seem to me that some kind of truth of reconciliation committee would be very valuable. I was glad to see 2 weeks ago in Helsinki Mr. McGee who was a commander of the Irish militarized forces and another person from the ANC who had worked in South Africa sit down with people from Iraq from various factions in the fighting to see what can we learn together about a way to get past this terrible impassive. .

KCOB: You know you have an interesting perspective having known Iraq for many years now. Just as a consumer of the news when the invasion was tapering down was becoming a police state you heard that there is a sense of Iraqi unity and that was not like what you would not see in Yugoslavia. And of course I think a lot of people knew that wasn’t true. What happened in Iraq?

KK: I taught in a Catholic high school for some years and you are always detailed to lunchroom duty so I was curious sitting in the corner of the lunch room to keep them from killing each other and I used to notice that it was like a strip of bacon. One group of Hispanic at one set of tables, American kids at another set of tables and the Caucasian kids in another set of tables. They separated themselves out. Nobody was telling them where to sit but there would always be one section where you would see these integrated tables and they were actually the kids who came from the wealthier Chicago families. Their families had interacted socially and politically and these kids tended to have later curfews or went to political or family affairs with their parents Anyway those kids quite easily integrated with one another That helps me try to understand what was happening in Iraq. You can hear people say, Oh believe me we were all together. There wasn’t any difference between the Shiite and Sunni’s. My observation is that those were among the wealthier or more privileged classes who were able to interact in educational institutions, able to interact in jobs but as soon as you went down several rungs to what was a class stratified society when you got to the sprawling slums outside of Baghdad that are now referred to Souder City before that it was called Sadam City or actually the people themselves called it Altrough (sp) (meaning the revolution). Those folks had been treated like the dust underneath the shoes of people and a lot of the wealthier people didn’t know what the conditions were inside those slums. The conditions that was in the poorer parts of Bostria. We knew that as voices because we had this catholic worker background We knew enough to know where we belonged was as closely aligned with the people that were experiencing the worst physical and emotionally brunt of the economical sanctions. So by demanding as best we could to go to the worst places and stay for two or three months and the government people had to trot along behind us. Once we got the permission that meant the government people (young girls) working for the poor ministry came down to Bostria and saw this these poor girls were a gasp, it traumatized them. They’d never seen such poverty and the same thing when we went into a lot of the hospitals. Sadam’s people didn’t like us being so exposed to the poverty because we could say, “Hey wait a minute, what happened to the infrastructure?” You’re riding along in Baghdad and all of a sudden you are in this very poor area and there is no garbage pick up and these people have desk drawers for their pharmacies. There definitely was discrimination against the Shiite people under Sadam’s regime and the poorest of the poor bore that with great resentment There were some particular city‘s in the Embar province that gave a lot of support to Sadam when he came into power and he rewarded them. Falugia and Remadia particularly. One time with Mary Kay Meyer we were able to walk large stretches from the border between Jordan and Iraq into Baghdad. We bused most of the way but we did do everyday a lot of walking Then we could tell which villages had been supported by Sadam Hussein and which ones hadn’t.
But when we got to Ramada people were lining the streets and clapping and wanting to pose with us. So there was a lot of reward and punishment that had gone on. I think the Shiite bore the brunt of the punishment. Such that it seemed to us that with Sadam Hussein gone the Shiite people saw this as their chance and they would take it. They wouldn’t say to their children, “Well, we managed so maybe you can manage too.” The other thing that happened was that I saw some people who had had nothing. One room apartments, dirt floors, hungry children and wore the same clothes for years. Then after the occupation, in some houses, money started to rearrange. I don’t know if some money came in from smuggling or from pay offs for various things but suddenly in Jordan these families where doing reasonably well. I could even see myself there were some people who had some immediate benefits coming from somewhere Of course there is always the process of families who go abroad and send back remittances and that kind of thing. It is certainly fascinating among Jordan because for one thing you can’t say lots of family can invest 100,000 denier and have it in the bank for a year and freeze that money and not touch it. That is what you must do to get residency. If you don’t have residency you can’t work. So you’ve got 750,000 Iraqi’s living in Jordan many of them concentrating among very few that had that money to get residency and then the others are illegal, undocumented people who will have to find some way to get by. That is where the Saudi catastrophe comes forth In Syria they don’t have that residency rule and can work if they can find work. Then you’ve got 2 million people to place inside Iraq.

KCOB: I think it is interesting that that kind of economy you see in majorities of very severe, almost ugly idea of what America represents there and then you see them saying we don’t want them to leave. What do you make of that?

KK: Of course it is always a good idea to keep mentioning to ourselves that the upper third of the country, if you divide it into thirds, in Kurdistan they earnestly want to remain alliance to the part of the United States. They want United States bases necessarily but are very conscious of their Verna bile border between Turkey and Iran. If Iraq were ever too decentralize they definitely need some help to keep those borders protected. Although, again investments and negotiations can cause it to go a long way. It is really hard to know. I think of some people have told me that they still like the Americans and even like some of the American soldiers. They have interacted and met nice soldiers. Some say they can tell the soldiers that are really professional soldiers and the ones that aren’t so well trained or educated. I still think that there is necessarily a sense of in average ordinary people in Iraq that all Americans being the ugly Americans. I doubt that and I doubt US soldiers are treated in a kind of monolific way. On the other hand I think Chris Hedges article was very important one to read. He had a cronical building of order of what it meant for soldiers to break into houses and arrest people and man handle them then take them off to detention and then people can’t find their family members. There is a long list of grievances that could be harbored because of the way the occupation was carried out. Then the question is, why would anybody say please don’t go. I think that Amy Goodman’s radio interviews and TV interviews with Rick Rowley are particularly helpful in that. He and a fellow named David Enders in Baghdad found themselves in the summer of 2007 with US troops. They also did make extra ordinary connections with people who said they would give them protection so they could leave the military bases. Well, that didn’t happen. Most of the time they actually got one or two days when they were able to go beyond the military base to an area where people had been pushed out and left to move into its new shanty town These were Shiite people and they were pushed out by tribal Sunni leaders who were now working closely with the United States. These tribal leaders would sign deals and you would see them looking over maps with the US officials and helping US officials understand which roads they can take and where they can go to get protection It’s a very big drama with the US over there for officials working with the tribal leaders but then you go to the place where I think of the 1500 families that had been pushed out of that entire area What are they going to do? These tribal Shakes say no. The Shehiny Grove get organized and get support maybe from the Johnsonian Army or the Brooder Brigade. Some organization weaponry comes into that area and the tribal shakes are in trouble and they don’t want the United States to leave. They might not have check points that can survive the much more populated groups that they have shoved out It has something to do with that.

KCOB: That balance is being held at bay by their presence?

KK: Yes. If you’ve got in Chicago, a presence of Latin kings the heron groups push the Latin kings out of a neighborhood and push them out of the drug dealing just as soon as the Latin kings get a chance to reorganize they are going to come back with real force. Maybe if Chicago police got in the middle of it for a while they might say, alright you better than us.

KCOB: What do feel about the idea of Senator Biden about stratifying the country based on ethnicity as the only realistic way to move forward? What do you think of that and what is an alternative to that idea if you don’t like it?

KK: I heard Senator Biden on TV last night and he was very angry and I was kind of cheering him on. The problem with saying Senator Biden has the answer, is just that. Saying that a white man from the security and comfort of the United States has the answer for another country. Why should we even be asked is one question that comes to my mind It’s true there is caous, disruption, an inability for these competing groups to arrive at an agreement but it seems we are uniquely unqualified to be the ones to offer an answer. I’m suspicious of the interests of political people from the United States in decentralizing Iraq. Only asking a question through the lens of relief then decentralizing makes all the sense in the world. It makes me angry to think that some beuacrosy can say all relief has to come to Baghdad across some of the most dangerous roads in the world and be centralized in 7 warehouses that aren’t functioning. It doesn’t make sense. So I hear the relief workers thinking, Well could we decentralize this and to their credit. They are having internal discuss over there in Jordan saying, Now wait a minute, if we start suggesting the mechoniziums for decentralizing relief that has a big effect on the ordinary rhythms of life are we then contributing toward the decentralization of the country and who are we to do that. I admire that they questioned this but on the other hand you’ve got a humanitarian catastrophe that’s urgent and a mother trying to feed her child who has diarrhea and might be able to save the child if she can get an oral dehydration kit It isn’t that I don’t care. I also hear people saying, I don’t any longer care about the politics. I don’t care about the internist battles. I care about the fact that in my family there is no electricity, my mother died because of an asthma attack and couldn’t get to the hospital and my sister just lost her job and my family has no income. This is what I care about and we are talking about permanent stress for people who have had trauma after trauma. It’s a very difficult question. Also in that kind of environment it seems to me you can predict there will be rising levels of mistrust and antagonism. So I come back to, “Okay, who speaks Arabic.” “Can we get a count of how many people who are commenting about the future of this country speaks the language of this country.” Who’s been living there in the poorest areas and that’s not me either. I would if I could, but you cause more problems because of the kidnappings.

KCOB: It is often forgotten about Iraq and Iran in this matter that these are ancient highly intelligent civilized civilizations who will solve their own problems. They have to at some point. So, I think you are making a very good point.

KK: I think the other matter that is on my mind always is the idea of terrorism. Israel has 240 thermal nuclear weapons and has completely insulated itself from any weapons sanction. They claim we just don’t have any and everybody knows it is a bald face lie because they know they do and they manage to get away with that. Israel showed a disproportionate capacity to kill, and used it in the war with Hashanah. They leveled village after village and no international evaluation was given. The United States has developed more mass destruction weapons of any other group in history and yet we posture as the people who have to identify and catch the people who might have weapons of mass destruction. The hypocrisy is so massive that I think you end up with many people thinking, Well the sun set on the British Empire maybe it will set on this Empire, but of course now imperial minis are so interlinked it is globalized in this huge transactional corporation that I think that have a lot of influence and I think the fear factor is tremendous within Washington DC. You find the people who get in to an elected office very frightened of alienating the defense establishment. The defense establishment knows that these big companies know that, and they crow over it. I read in December 2006 a new article which a military defense establishment company out of area isn’t going to mess with our defense structure. Not what they are facing when on the unions floor. That is their rank and file and they are not going to want that group of people working at General Electric or Westinghouse, or these people in the universities that get the big research grants. They are not going to want to alienate any of those people so they will let this war continue to play and posture. They might stop it just so they can get more electoral points. It is a great hypocrisy. I also think about how easily the Americans are frightened that their assets might be training terrorists in poor countries in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then I think about 21 Jesuit campus’s have ROTC on there campus. They are scaling the walls and having target practice. That is just to mention one entity. I could walk out my door in Chicago and in walking distance there is a military recruitment center, a national guard armory, a new military wing of the local high school dedicated to the Common Naval Military Academy. Our economy is increasingly predicated on military spending. It is like tentacles coming into our lives. It is very hard for us to see ourselves in the mirror and why can’t face based leadership. The corp teaching in our face has to do with love of enemies. Pray for those who can live more simply and share their resources.

KCOB: That leads into the next question and maybe the final question. Looking at the past since the invasion of Iraq and just looking at what was being built up to and looking at what has happened since, is there a new way we can as peace makers make a case to American people to see the world in a slightly different way. Is this spectacular failure, given for people who are advocating for more peaceful approach, a new way to share their message?

KK: I think that there is a generation of people who have in their memory the Vietnam War. They are not people ready to retire themselves from public action. That is very important. I am 54 and anybody my age and up can remember Johnson asking for 500,000 troops to be part of the surge. He was a sharp and shred man but it didn’t work I think the remembrance of truthful evaluations in regard to the Vietnam War is important to what exists in our population. You now have a younger generation that is squarely looking at global warming that is inescapable. They can tell the weather is getting warmer and we’ve got evidence and whether President Bush wants to sign the proclamation or not, this generation can see what is coming. They know there is a depletion of fossil fuels They could be the ones hit by the energy crisis. They can see that there is environmental degradation and that species are becoming extinct and that this is going to affect the food chains All these questions about how to survive ecologically, how to continue to inhabit the planet are questions a younger generation might have a deep desire to solve and then they would want the resources and if the military continues to vacuum up all the resources, will take a hundred forty five billion dollars this season on top of the 624 billion dollars they’ve already gotten I think the younger generation may start to figure out they can’t inherit this mess Our parents have made too many massive mistakes and I think they may find themselves in line with their grandparents who don’t want this for their grandchildren. So that’s my hope, that within faith faced communities there could be an alliance between the younger generation and the wisdom and energy of the retiring grandparents who aren’t really ready to retire anyway. They have lots of smarts and have some money. If the bishops and institutional hierarchy and the university academic structures don’t wish to invest themselves in that kind of alliance for progress, okay so they are sitting on cash and maybe they are selfish and short sighted, but that’s life. I don’t think we should trouble ourselves too much. Certainly not get involved in their questions about which way to proceed Let’s try to stay rational and be rugged. I have a friend who is so sensitive and kindly that after seeing a very heart wrenching situation in Jordan he began to cry and another Iraqi friend of ours took this man by the arm he said what we need from you is to be smart, to be strong, and not to walk away from us. So that is kind of where I am at right now I want to grab us all by the arm and say, be smart, be strong, and don’t walk away. Now certainly we’d be rocks if we didn’t weep It is fine to weep over what has been caused but I think we have to be smart. So I wonder if I’m getting cranky in my old age but I find I don’t have a lot of patience for getting lured into some of these drama queen battles over things that aren’t very important. Even so I want to be careful about it and not be shrill. We do need one another. We need personal bonds and say love your enemy. You have to always be loving and caring toward people who disagree with us. I want to leave room for that, but I also want to think if you are an emergency room a nurse or doctor you are suppose to practice triage and determine what is most important and sometimes I think we get waylaid into things that aren’t that pressing.

KCOB: So is there anything else you would like to leave with us?

KK: People so often and very earnestly ask what can we do and these are the people are already doing so much. I’m very often with the people that have rolled up their sleeves and taking care of so many pressing issues. One thing I’m pretty excited about is something called Direct Aide Initiative. By going to the electronic Iraq website you then can get to the Direct Aide Initiative. It is a way to hear and see people with severe medical crisis in Jordan right now. We hope to maybe activate it in Syria as well for one reason or another have not been assisted by the United Nations Commit ion for Refuges and their medical conditions is so severe that they need immediate help People can help. They can go to Pay Pal and make a donation. This is designated for people to know their money is going directly for help. I am particularly excited about a group that coordinates war tax refusal efforts that has designed a program for this year It is kind of a pilot program inviting people to refuse $100 of income tax and you can do that either by claiming one extra allowance on your W4 form, but should be done with careful counseling, or you could when submitting a return deduct a $100 or perhaps find a way to go under the taxable income and then give $100. All those refused 100 dollar sums would be pooled and half would go to people who survived hurricane Katrina but didn’t get any compensation and half would go to people that are in Amman.


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