Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet

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Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetaur adipisicing velit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Yes, it's meaningless, dummy or placeholder text used to display print fonts or layouts without distracting the viewer with content. It probably dates back to the 16th century when printers started putting together sample books for prospective clients, and needed something that had about the same word lengths and letter frequencies as Latin. It has survived in 21st century desktop publishing software.

The alert reader (who is unfamiliar with publishing customs) will suspect there's a story there somewhere, and try to make sense of it, usually picking up on the suggestion of pain with love of something.

Apparently adapted from Cicero, it did have pain and love: Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit...' translates as "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it ..."

Human storytelling, poetry, drama and history have always been about pain - primarily the pain of war; about heroes who suffer and die for glory, honor, power or nation. Ancient epics and modern histories are about wars; bravery in battle and ferocity in vengeance are basic themes of ancestral legends, FPS video games and the GWOT. (Global War On Terror)

The GWOT will apparently be the grandest drama ever performed - if not in heroes, pain and glory, at least in money: two to five trillion dollars.

Our nation is now investing heavily in autonomous robot warriors - mechanical devices that are described as "cost-effective and risk-free." Also, according to expert Ronald Arkin: "Robotics systems may have the potential to out-perform humans from a perspective of the laws of war and the rules of engagement. ...And there are no emotions that can cloud judgement, such as anger."

We've been filling pages and minds with stories of heroes and wars for almost 3,000 years. Our drama, poems and stories try to tell useful truths about the real world, but we all know that to make an effective, reasonably truthful story some things have to be left out and others added. Reality - truth, if you will - is vast, complex and ambiguous, especially today with our technical ability to measure parameters unknown even 100 years ago. Just as a comprehensive map would have to be as big as the territory it represents, no single story, however epic or grand, can describe reality in all its complexity. Our stories are versions of truth; and all we have of truth is in these versions.

We don't - and can't know the whole story of anything - not global warming, not the events of 9/11, not even the predicament of the Palestinians in Gaza.

This week, for example, we have Israel clinging to its story that the killing of Palestinian children in Gaza is the consequence of choices made by Palestinians, and Palestinians trying to tell their story that their children aren't making those choices.

Most media reports still state that Hamas staged a violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007. But another story is emerging, that Bush covertly planned, provoked and armed Fatah to start a civil war to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government. However instead of driving Hamas out of power, the Fatah fighters lost the battle and enabled Hamas to take control of Gaza.. The involvement of Elliott Abrams (pardoned for his role in Iran-Contra) has prompted a bit of comic relief as the scheme has been dubbed "Iran-contra 2.0."

Peter Dale Scott, in "The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America" (2007) suggests that the epic of the GWOT is not the triumph of Dubya but the victory of a wealthy covert elite taking control of the world.

If Scott is right, is it possible that Bush was powerless to wrest control from Cheney and the cabal of corporate princes seeking world domination?

And if Scott is right, will Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama be able to contain and control them? With the vast wealth of our nation already committed to military outlays for brutal weapons, will either of them be able to overcome the momentum of the great GWOT machine and return sovereignty to the American people?

Five years into an unjust war we are still reading the same old epic poems about glory, war, power, heroes and terrorists, good and evil which are essentially the same old nonsense as the dummy text of Lorem ipsum dolor ...

Will future poets sing of the heroism and self-sacrifice of brave robots, vengeful drones, crafty cluster bombs, and patient land-mines? Will historians praise the awful power of nuclear weapons, the weaponization of space? Will future Muses (still playing lyres) replace Lorem ipsum dolor with:

Sing, Muse, the gwot of Dubya son of Haitch-Dubya, the destructive gwot that brought a thousand griefs upon the Americans, the Iraqis, and practically everyone else on Earth ...

Caroline Arnold

Caroline Arnold retired in 1997 after 12 years on the staff of US Senator John Glenn. She previously served three terms on the Kent (Ohio) Board of Education. In retirement she is active with the Kent Environmental Council and sits on the board of Family & Community Services of Portage County. Her Letters From Washington has been published as an e-Book by the Knowledge Bank of the Ohio State University Library.  E-mail: csarnold@neo.rr.com

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