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"They looked like ghostly sheep flushed from a pen - Iraqi infantrymen bewildered and terrified, jarred from sleep and fleeing their bunkers under a hellish fire. One by one, they were cut down by attackers they could not see or understand. Some were blown to bits by bursts of 30-millimeter exploding cannon shells. One man dropped, writhed on the ground, then struggled to his feet; another burst of fire tore him apart…Even hardened soldiers hold their breath as the Iraqi soldiers, as big as football players on the television screen, run with nowhere to hide. These are not bridges exploding or airplane hangers. These are men."

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My office in Wilmington had a sound system that played mellow music at low volume during the day. It was a pleasant background to work to. The men who ran the bank were fervent military boosters, and their office walls were adorned with photos of friends and relatives in uniform. The day after the bombs began dropping, the music was replaced with a news/talk show played at high volume. The night before, as we began bombing them, ex-generals and other hawks dominated the USA's media as they rhapsodized over the bombing. I heard one ex-general on the radio exulting over the air show over Iraq, calling it “a great day to be a soldier." The next day at the office I was treated to the loud blast of war coverage. During that day, the radio announced that America had destroyed Iraq's air force, so there was no air resistance from Iraq, and one of the bank's owners came running out of his office, listening raptly to the announcement, nearly thrusting his fist into the air. It was a struggle to maintain my composure and difficult to get any work done.

During 1990, I moved to Ohio and experienced the first official war that our nation waged since I became an adult. Bombing Libya and invading Grenada and Panama were unpleasant for me, but what happened in Iraq was on a vastly larger scale. In 1990, I was also recovering from my experiences with . I went from having idealistic to the harsh realization that the energy industry was essentially run by criminals. The energy industry probably does not deserve to exist, but by suppressing all viable alternatives it keeps raking in the money. It also is a valuable lever for manipulating the world economy, as the "" during the 1970s demonstrated. The USA "needs" Middle East oil only because the energy industry has .


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Tyler was another slave-owning Virginian plantation owner who believed that the landed aristocracy should run the nation. As a congressman, Tyler was against the Missouri Compromise, not wanting any restrictions on slave ownership. Another slave-owning president was an embarrassing anachronism in the West during the 1840s. The abolition movement was strong by that time. The British Empire passed laws to free all of its slaves in 1833, and by 1838 ended the “apprenticeship” program for “ex-slaves” that permitted flogging. France was forced to by the European revolutions of 1848, leaving Latin American sugar plantations and the USA virtually alone on the world stage. About the sole feat of Tyler’s administration was bringing Texas into the national fold in 1845, which he did in cahoots with the next president, Polk, who was yet another slave-owning aristocrat. A treaty to annex Texas was defeated in the Senate in 1844 due to the slavery issue, then Tyler and Polk fabricated a legal end maneuver around the abolitionists so that only a majority vote was needed, instead of the two-thirds majority that the Constitution required for treaty-ratification. Tyler pushed through his strategy and signed the measure a few days before he left office.

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Native Americans were virtually extinct by 1900, as were many of their fellow creatures. The period from 1700 to 1900, when the English/American Empire expanded across North America, is arguably the most single-minded and sustained effort of environmental destruction that any species has ever inflicted upon this planet. John Adams wrote that his family cut down more trees than any other family in America. As one author wrote, the ax was the appropriate symbol of the early American attitude toward nature. North America likely had , and the English and Americans ruthlessly . Eastern North America had the world’s largest temperate forest, and the old saying that a squirrel could have run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, without ever touching ground, was not very fanciful. Eastern North America was almost completely deforested by those “pioneers.” The passenger pigeon, which may have flown in the greatest flocks that Earth has seen, , in capitalistic fashion. Expanding railroads in the 1850s allowed for a short-lived industry of killing pigeons in the Midwest and transporting them to East Coast markets. Passenger pigeons numbered in the billions, and migrating flocks turned day into night, but by the 1880s their populations had collapsed and the last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914. The woodland bison, which roamed today’s Eastern USA, was rendered extinct by the early 19th century.

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In 1840, there were about 17 million Americans, as compared to less than four million in 1790, when the first American census was taken. The 1840s saw the USA in the midst of trends that define its character today. Between Napoleon and World War I, European soil was largely free of warfare. That was partly because the USA acted as a safety valve for poorer Europeans. British subjects and Germans were the most common immigrants, and the Africans who came against their will as slaves. Early industrialization in Europe was a hellish experience, and the UK led the way. British factories were known as “satanic mills” and dismal British urban life of the late 18th and early 19th century is epitomized by the work of Charles Dickens. His was published in 1843.