I praise those ancient Chinamen
Who left me a few words,
Usually a pointless joke or a silly question
A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick
splashed picture—bug, leaf,
caricature of Teacher
on paper held together now by little more than ink
& their own strength brushed momentarily over it
Their world & several others since
Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it—
Cheered as it whizzed by—
& conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars
Happy to have saved us all.
— Philip Whalen (Shambhala Sun)
Xeni Jardin: ‘Most interesting infographic of the day, via the Washington Post, which also published an even more detailed breakdown by county… Larger size here.’ (Boing Boing).
‘John McCain says the released Gitmo prisoners are historically dangerous. Records tell a slightly different story…’ (Salon).
Also includes a discussion on what for me is the more interesting question, of the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture:
By all accounts, Bergdahl was a troubled young man, with naive and very unrealistic views on his service in Afghanistan. He thought he was joining “the Peace Corps with guns,” going over to help Afghans. What he found instead was an ugly, brutal war.
Rolling Stone quoted emails he sent to his parents:
“We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks … We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them.”
Bergdahl called the US Army “the biggest joke the world has to laugh at … the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies.” He said he was ashamed to be an American.
Disappointment in America’s flawed efforts in Afghanistan is not a sign of mental illness. But, as journalist Matthieu Aikins, who reports regularly from Afghanistan, tweeted: “Does running unarmed into Taliban terrain seem sane to you? Maybe Bergdahl’s act should be seen through PTSD/mental health prism.”