Speaking of Iraq…by Theodore Hamm
Summer in New York City and its environs is always festive, a reminder of why it’s worth living in a place where four ounces of cold coffee can run you three bucks. What is more distant from our collective mind these pleasant summer days is the fact that the disastrous war in Iraq continues unimpeded, our tax dollars subsidizing the folly every step of the way. I’m not trying to be the guy who gets heavy on you at the bbq, but at the very, very least, revivifying local discussion of the war is way, way overdue.
In an ideal world, such talk would flow upwards from the grassroots to influence our elected leaders. Yet one local elected official who clearly hasn’t been listening to the vast majority of New Yorkers against the war is Mike Bloomberg. Though hailed by pundits far and wide as a new breed of “non-partisan” politician and embraced by many in progressive policy circles for promoting an eco-friendly agenda, the mayor’s stance on the war has been anything but nonpartisan or progressive. A month prior to the U.S. invasion, the mayor’s denial of a permit left New York as the only major city without an antiwar march during a worldwide day of protest. During that little gathering he hosted for the Republicans at the end of August, 2004, Bloomberg prevented the Great Lawn in Central Park from being used for an antiwar rally. Meanwhile, he partied hard with all of the GOP scoundrels while the NYPD illegally detained anti-Bush activists.
After helping re-elect Bush, the mayor’s next foray into national politics came just last year, when he vigorously campaigned for Joe Lieberman, whose rabid stance on the war makes Hillary Clinton look like a peacenik. The war is without an end, costing U.S. taxpayers $275 million a day. Just imagine if one of the government’s domestic programs operated with even a small fraction of such inefficiency. Would someone with such sound business sense as Bloomberg support it? His pals at the New York Post/Wall Street Journal wouldn’t let him. As Ed Koch famously observed, New York is the only city in the U.S. where the mayor is expected to have a foreign policy. It is the capital of world, after all. And on the not-insignificant issue of Iraq, Mayor Mike has shown anything but leadership, flying with the hawks every step of the way.
With this issue, we bid a fond farewell to Kiu Yi, whose stellar design work helped keep the Rail rolling over the past two years. We wish Kiu many good tidings. We are also very pleased to welcome some very talented new designers to our layout crew: Nadia Chaudhury, Anna Hurley, and Graham Misenheimer.
It will take Rail readers a while to make it through this issue, so we’ll back in September. Meantime, have a good summer—and don’t forget about Iraq!