Monday, December 31, 2007

The Wind Farms Are Coming

Like machines in a Star Wars movie emerging from their lair on the Columbia River bank, wind powered turbines are advancing across the hills in Eastern Washington. I had business at the Grant County Courthouse recently and drove from Seattle to Ephrata to attend a hearing for my client, a mechanical contractor from Moses Lake. I drive Interstate 90 frequently and maybe they were there before, but I did not notice them until this last summer when, as I drove over the hill from Cle Elum toward Ellensburg, I saw the machines silhouetted on the distant horizon.

Our geography is like no other in the world, from temperate rain forests in the west to high desert plains in the east, with glaciers in the mountains feeding our great rivers, and the visual landscape is beautiful. Highway 2 from Wenatchee to Davenport is one of my favorite roads; the fields come right up to the two lane roadway, and abandoned farm houses, barns and wind mills at the old well stand still. On the highway from Spokane to Colfax, near Sprague, you can see an old railroad bridge that spans several hills; the tracks have been removed and from a distance its magnificent stone arches look like an old Roman aqueduct. Billboard signs along the way say “Leave the Dams Alone.”

It is a classic, Western, geography where you can see Indian Tribes, hard rock miners, 4-H champions, ropings and rodeos, a steady wind pushing tumbleweeds across the road and, best of all, vistas wide open as far as the eye can see. Drawn to Gonzaga Law School at first by the fishing, camping and skiing nearby, I lived in Spokane for four years and learned about some of the geography in courses on mining law and water law. The rest I picked up at barter fairs in Ione and Tonasket, hiking in the Selkirks, fishing on the Snake River at Penawawa, driving down a frozen Highway 395 from Ritzville to Tri-Cities on a gray zero degree day thankful for the studded tires on my rear wheels, and an estate auction at an old farmstead near Lind. We bought an old ironing board with a floral print cover at the auction, and after we got it home we found it had nine covers, one on top of the other. What is old is good, what is very old is even better and some of these landscapes are as old as the hills.

Eastern Washington’s Western outlook includes a healthy skepticism about the power of government. Without forgetting that government built the dams that provide irrigation and power, or that government subsidized the railroads that helped populate the region, or that government is trying to protect the aquifer, or that government can do many things well, government also too often intrudes in ways that a Westerner resents. And these new wind farms set the stage for a reevaluation of the values that we hold dear.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2004 (the year the most recent data is available) Washington was a net exporter of electricity. That means we generate more electricity than we use. Most of our electricity, naturally, is generated by the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Eastern Washington with smaller contributions from the Skagit and Elwa Rivers in Western Washington. But new wind farms are being approved in Eastern Washington as fast as Governor Gregoire can say “yes,” and in many cases, such as a recent approval for Kittitas County, approval in Olympia comes over strenuous objections from local residents who don’t want their horizons blotted with large lifeless machines.

But why shouldn’t a rancher with thousands of acres of otherwise unproductive land where the wind blows all day be allowed to harvest the wind? Isn’t that what property rights are all about? The electric power grid is national and the largest importer of power in the Western states is California. Would it matter if corporate interests seeking to export the power for profit were the developers of these wind farms? Don’t we need more energy and not less, especially if it can be acquired without burning fossil fuels?

Or should the value of a wide open horizon on a clear day outweigh these other interests?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Anna's Goth Phobia

My son, Eddie, and I went to the Peace March in Seattle Saturday; most of the press called it an Anti-War March, although from the quantity of signs being carried around it looked more like an “Impeach Bush March” or “Impeach Bush and Cheney March” or “Impeach the Whole Administration March” – he does draw out certain emotions. From one point of view there were many points of view displayed, including "Jena 6" "Don't Bomb Iran" "End the Palestine Occupation" and "Code Pink for Peace"; a student group organized the march but there were plenty of us older folk, too. I think my favorite among the marchers’ signs was “Why Not Try a Friendly Foreign Policy?”

Yeah, why not?

My daughter, Anna, didn't want to go to the march – she feared there would be some of those Goth people there. We didn’t see any Goths, but there was a group of scary looking dudes dressed in black from head to toe with their faces covered up; Eddie said he wasn’t picking up any peaceful vibes from these guys. The children have senses we used to.

I learned about Anna’s Goth phobia last April while visiting London. I had business in Vienna and she said she would go with me this year, but only if we could spend a few days in London; and how could I say no? On a prior trip I learned about a place called Camden Town, which is a short train ride north of the City, and packed with great restaurants, live music venues and lots of energy.

So we took the train to Camden Town looking for something to eat and some music. The crowd and energy had grown quite a bit since my last visit, and as far as you could see shops and vendors lined both sides of the main street that runs through town. London must be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and Camden Town brings it all together in one swirling cacophony of sight, sound and smell.

As we walked up the street, I was intrigued by the shops selling leather coats, boots with spikes, wild dark looking things, and heavy metal music booming out the front door. But try as I might, Anna would not let me enter any of them. We saw a small group of kids dressed in black leather with spiked mohawk haircuts sitting on the bridge on the other side of the street, and I didn’t realize then what it meant, but she hugged me close as we crossed the bridge and I told her the police, who were keeping an eye on them, would protect us.

Later we found a terrific Caribbean restaurant for dinner, and after we ordered our meal, Anna said: “Dad, aren’t you afraid of them, too?” She was talking about the Goth people, and Camden Town had more than its fair share of them out and about that evening.

I said, “No, I think they are funny. They mean no harm. Why are you afraid of them?” She replied in all seriousness, “I am afraid they will eat me.”

I immediately called my wife at home on the cell phone and told her, “You didn’t tell me about Anna’s Goth phobia.” And I could hear her laughing all the way across 9 time zones.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Let the People Decide Where the Truth Lies

Four Justices of the Washington Supreme Court, the print media, the bloggers and, most if not all of the Seattle Times letter writers have incorrectly characterized the issue decided in the case of Rickert v. State of Washington, Public Disclosure Commission, which was announced on October 4, 2007. The contention that the Supreme Court declared that politicians can lie with impunity as Justice Madsen’s dissent alleged is simply wrong; the Court said no such thing. Unfortunately, the headlines picked up Justice Madsen’s over-statement, few people appear to have actually read the decision, and none of this serves the public interest.

In Rickert, the incumbent and victor in a State legislative race complained to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that his opponent, Ms. Rickert, made false statements about his record in her campaign literature. Under the relevant Washington statute, the PDC had authority to examine the complaint, decide what, in fact, was the truth and, in the event of a lie, impose punishment on the perpetrator. The PDC is a commission composed of men and women appointed by Governor Gregoire; they are unelected and unaccountable to anyone. And the PDC concluded that Ms. Rickert’s campaign literature contained false statements and they imposed a $1,000 fine.

The legal issue in the Supreme Court was whether the PDC’s statutory authority to censor political speech ran afoul of free speech rights under the Washington and U.S. Constitutions. In other words, the legal issue was whether the governor’s appointed commission should be allowed to decide for the voters who is telling the truth. The issue was not “can politicians lie” as Justice Madsen’s dissent framed it; the issue was “who gets to decide”.

Our state’s political system has four branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial, and the people. The first words in our State Constitution, Article I, Section 1 say: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.” The inherent sovereign power of the people to decide what is best is reflected in the people’s power of referendum and initiative and, ultimately, in the power to elect the judges of our trial courts and the Courts of Appeal and the Justices of the Supreme Court.

In our system, the people will decide where the truth lies not some governor’s appointed commission. And in the race at issue, it appears that the people had little trouble figuring out who was telling the truth – the incumbent was re-elected by an overwhelming majority of 79%.

The headlines missed the point of the Court’s majority decision, which was only that liberty and free speech are at risk when we are compelled to rely on the government to tell us what is the truth, and the dissent’s hyperbole lead the media astray. Justice Madsen wrote that “the majority’s decision is an invitation to lie with impunity” and “honest discourse and honest candidates are lost in the maelstrom.”

Framing the issue in those terms must mean that politicians who lie will always win because the voters are incapable of figuring out the truth. But that was not what happened in this case and it gives the people too little credit to see through the maelstrom and decide for themselves who is telling the truth and who is not.

Let’s let the people decide where the truth lies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My First Job as a Lawyer

My first position after I became a lawyer was as a Judge Advocate with the Marine Corps. If you’ve seen the movie “A Few Good Men”, in my last year of service I had the job played by Kevin Bacon, and I had a case very similar to the one portrayed in the movie.[1]

I went to Officer Candidate School during the summer of 1975 and then on to law school that fall. Before I graduated from law school, during summer breaks I went on active duty and worked in the legal office at the 3rd Marine Air Wing Air Base at El Toro, California. Because I had not yet gone through The Basic School, I didn’t have any uniforms, and I wore a suit when I reported for duty the first time.

The Orders always say: “Report to the Commanding General” and, unaware there was another protocol for it, I found my way to the building with the sign out front that said: “Commanding General.” I walked down the hallway with a crisp determination until I saw a door that said: “Commanding General,” and I walked right in. I found working at his desk a ram rod straight guy with a grey crew cut flat top haircut, a bronze, weathered face featuring sparkling blue eyes and a chiseled chin, a stack of ribbons on his chest that went to his shoulder, and two gleaming stars on his shirt lapels. He seemed a bit startled when I burst in the door but, fearing nothing, I walked up to the front of his desk and in my best parade ground voice said, “Lieutenant Bond, reporting for duty, Sir!”

The General was actually a little amused by this apparition that had suddenly appeared in his office through a door that was never used, and after inquiring into exactly who the hell I was and what the hell I was doing here, he hollered for the First Sergeant to come take care of me. Outside, the First Sergeant took me aside and gently told me that next time I could just come through the front door to the front desk and check in with the Corporal; and it would be best if I got over to the supply building ASAP and got some uniforms, too, Sir!

After graduation, passing the bar exam and about 8 months of training at The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia and Naval Justice School at Newport, Rhode Island, I reported for duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) boot camp in San Diego, California. I was, as we learned to say at OCS, a high stepping, highly motivated, highly educated, hard charging soldier of the sea, and in this case I was burdened with the added disability of being a full fledged lawyer eager to get my first client out of some jam.

In those days, when a Marine was to be brought up on a minor offense that his Company Commander would deal with, the Marine had the right to consult counsel before the Commander could hold his “non judicial punishment” hearing. And it seems that the only soon to be Marines who were ever in that situation at MCRD were recruits who decided shortly after getting off the bus after flying all night from the middle of America, a good haircut and the first seriously loud yelling at, that they had made a real big mistake and would just as soon prefer to go back home. But they had signed a contract and the government had spent a little money on them so far, and it wasn’t as easy as raising your hand and saying, “Excuse me, Sir, I think I’ll go home now.”

I was always intrigued by the difference in training philosophy between officers and enlisted. From the minute we got off the bus at OCS, our drill instructors were in our faces challenging us to go home just as soon as we asked – they called it “drop on request” or DOR. It seemed like an effective way to challenge a young man to reach a little higher in life and not take the easy way out. After all, who wants to be a quitter? But for reasons I hope are well thought out, the enlisted recruits were never given an easy way out.

So these kids would create some disturbance or be disrespectful or try to get in trouble and they would be brought up on some charge under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). My father, who was a Marine Corps officer, too, and one time Executive Officer of the Marine Barracks at the U.S. Naval Brig at Yokusuka, Japan, told me that in his day they referred to the UCMJ as the Uniform Coddling of Military Juveniles. But, thanks to some enlightened thinkers, in my era they got a free lawyer before they were to be convicted and punished.

In the first few months of my first real job as a lawyer, I would come to work in the morning and find 6-10 freshly shorn young men lined up outside the door to my office waiting the see “their lawyer.” And I would bring them in one at time, sit them down, and try to listen – through torrents of tears – to their tales of woe. It seemed like every one of these big and strong guys and a few little and weak ones, but tough guys all, would just cry their eyes out, begging me to do something to help them get home. Instead of doing any real legal work, I was a camp counselor and psychologist who provided a safe place of refuge where, in as calm and unthreatening a voice as I could muster, I would try to reassure them that it wasn’t so bad, there was a reason why they wanted to join, and in a few months they would be glad they stuck it out. And more often than not it worked.

[1] In my case, a platoon drill instructor was convicted of battery at a General Court Martial. He had ordered two of his recruits to “straighten out” another recruit who was caught with chocolate cake from the mess hall in his foot locker, and the end result was they ruptured the kid’s spleen. Although a senior officer did not commit suicide as in the movie, the day before the trial began Marine Commandant General Barrow arrived at the depot and spoke to all officers and NCO's about recruit abuse. This was the jury pool and it made for a very interesting jury selection on the first day of trial. Every one on the panel said: “Yes, Sir, I was there and I recall the Commandant said something about disloyal, stupid, cowards and super-cowards and how he wanted none of those in his Marine Corps and no, Sir, it will have no impact on my decision here.”

Thursday, September 20, 2007

International War Crimes

Outstanding Seattle lawyer and advocate for victims of sexual abuse, Rebecca Roe, deserves our praise for helping to train court personnel who work with victims of abuse who seek justice at The Hague’s international criminal courts. See“The US Should Embrace the International Justice System” Seattle Times, September 20, 2007. Several Seattle lawyers and counsel, judges and academics from across the US have also lent a hand in the difficult work at these courts. I studied at The Hague in 2003 and met a young Washington, D.C. lawyer who prosecuted one of the perpetrators of the horrific events at Srebrenica; Dr. William Haglund from the King County Medical Examiner’s office was a forensic pathologist on his team.

But her argument that the US needs to formally join the standing International Criminal Court now at work rings hollow. If the argument is that we can be moral leaders by “participating” in the international justice system, then we are doing just that; we provide significant resources to these international war crimes efforts. If the argument is, instead, that we can be moral leaders only if we agree to submit US citizens to the jurisdiction of international criminal tribunals, then that is an entirely different issue and one that deserves a robust debate.

One place to begin that debate is my February 4, 2004 article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer entitled "ICC Rules Not Subject to Review" and you can read it at:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Professor Peña asked us, “Is there an ecological explanation for the September 11 attack?” He posed this question in the final few moments of our first Environmental Anthropology class meeting. I was about to get my first exposure to the post-structural analysis with which deep thinkers use deconstruction to convince themselves that all values are situational. It came as a surprise to me. I left college for law school in 1975 thinking that Sartre was correct; we choose who we want to be.

Shiva, an engineer and city planner who was born and raised in Kerala, India said, “Well, it was clearly a response to the Crusades.”

Melissa, who most recently worked for a high adventure eco-tourism company that takes wealthy clients to exotic places and was conflicted about its impact on the life ways of simpler people, said, “Any explanation must take into account the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Vannia, convinced that Western patriarchal military industrial hegemony was to blame said, “It was a reaction to globalization.”

Wondering how ecology might explain why airplanes fly into buildings, I asked, “Professor Peña, does your question assume the complete absence of the element of human choice in explaining the attack?”

He said, “Absolutely, what do you mean by that, Michael?”

I said, “It seems to me that this event demonstrates only that evil exists and some people choose to commit evil acts.”

Sharon, who uses only lower case letters when referring to herself, asked, “How do we identify evil?” I protested that evil was a universal value and even Islam as I understood it would call the attack evil.

Peña cautioned us to be careful, and he launched into a speech about the relativity of evil. I would soon learn that there are choices, and then there are choices.

A few weeks later, California Governor Davis called the alert, claiming there was a terrorist threat to several prominent bridges in the Western United States. Of course, he was most concerned about the Golden Gate Bridge, which is as much an icon to American success as the World Trade Center. But we have bridges in Seattle, too, and I watched the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington sink one stormy Thanksgiving weekend ten years ago.

When I got home from work the day Governor Davis said our bridges were at risk, my wife told me she was waiting at the children’s school bus stop when she saw a Middle Eastern looking man park his car in an odd place near the bus stop, walk down to the lakeside and look at the I-90 bridge with binoculars while speaking to someone on his cell phone. She called the police to make a report as soon as she got home.

Everybody was on edge. You may recall that anthrax poison was passing in the U.S. mail during this time, a tabloid newspaper's office in Florida was contaminated and nobody knew where it was coming from.

The next day, I was returning to my office after a meeting north of the city when I saw him. Certainly, it wasn't the same fellow my wife saw. Looking back on it, I recall that he looked like he had been sleeping in his clothes.

I was stopped at a traffic light, and I noticed a Middle Eastern guy who was waiting to cross the street in front of a rental car lot. He had three gym bags with airline claim check stickers that made me think he just got off an airplane. I don’t know why, but I watched him. He was a small guy with an unkempt beard and he didn’t look at anybody. He didn’t look at the traffic, he didn’t look at the women standing next to him, he looked down. He looked guilty. I couldn’t not look at him.

When the light changed, he picked up his bags and they were obviously very heavy. I drove ahead and then I pulled over and stopped and I watched him in my rear view mirror as he walked down the street. There was a mailbox at the next corner and he stopped. I watched him reach into one of his bags, take something out of the bag, put it in an envelope and put it in the mailbox. Convinced that I was witnessing a terrorist anthrax attack in the making, I had to call the police, and I reached for my cell phone.

As I was telling the police dispatcher what I had seen, a motorcycle officer came down the street, and I jumped out of my truck and flagged him down. He pulled over and said, “What can I do for you?” I told him what I had seen, I said something was very odd about this man’s behavior, and I gave him my business card and I left. I was terrified and shaking with fear.

About an hour later, Officer Mike Henry called me and asked me to repeat exactly what I had seen. He said the fellow admitted putting two envelopes in the mailbox, they had called the postal inspector, and they were going to check some things out. He called me back at the end of the day.

He said they had to let the guy go. The man was a U.S. citizen from the Middle East who has lived in the U.S. since age one. The postal inspector opened the mail box and, to be careful, she seized the two letters for inspection. Officer Henry said, “It got real interesting when I asked him for his identification and he handed me a Florida driver’s license.” Some of the 9-11 hijackers had lived in Florida.

I asked him, “What was in his bags?”

Officer Henry said, “All his life’s possessions.” The fellow was on hard times and he was on his way to Alaska, looking for work.

He said, “You did the right thing.”

I think I had no choice.

And now I’m sure that the reason this fellow looked so guilty and the reason why he wouldn’t look at anybody is that for the last six weeks, everybody around him had been accusing him of being a terrorist. He probably couldn’t even get a room to rent and was forced to sleep in shelters or outside in the elements. I wish I could find him and give him a hundred dollars and say I’m sorry. I’d like to tell him that sometimes we make choices and sometimes whether we like it or not the choices are made for us.

Michael J. Bond

Friday, June 15, 2007

Michael Moore's Medical Morass

I am no fan of the film maker Michael Moore. I thought his takes on Columbine and 9-11, although admittedly provocative, were unfair and misguided. But he can connect the dots any way he chooses as this is a free country. And when the other side can do no better than poke fun at his girth, you know they are losing the argument. Hey -- the guy likes to eat; what's wrong with that?

But yesterday on the Amy Goodman radio show, she played a tape of some of Moore's speech to the California Legislature about health care reform, and what he said made sense to me. Goodman's radio show plays in the afternoons in the Seattle area on KBCS 91.3 FM. Of course, Moore is also touting his new film about sick folk, but ---.

Moore was arguing for universal free health care and the jump off point for his argument is the undeniable fact that health insurers are legally bound by their fiduciary duties to the shareholders to make a profit. There are only two ways to make a profit as a health care insurer: 1) raise the price of insurance or 2) deny treatment. As a small business owner who provides health insurance for all our employees, I can tell you that raising the price of insurance leads to reductions in the benefit and that leads to denial of treatment. So ultimately the issue is this: is there anything wrong with denying medical treatment because it costs too much? And the answer to that question is without question, in Bond's opinion, "of course it is wrong".

Moore argues, correctly I believe, that making health care a for profit venture is a bad idea. Health care should be right up there with the other human rights, rights that all civilized people acknowledge as just and humane. Sick people should get medical care no matter what their financial circumstances might be. Medical care should be provided at no direct cost to the person seeking treatment just as we expect the police, firefighters and functioning courts to provide those services at no direct cost to the victims of crime or someone whose house is burning down or those who seek justice in our courts.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dogs I Have Known

I like dogs, I’ve always had a dog, and now I have two. Betty and Wilma are purebred black and tan dachshund sisters and completely, untrainably, unrulely.

They came after Coco, another dachshund who fancied herself a bird and squirrel killer. Sam, my blind Syrian Muslim friend, looked at Coco like she was Count Dracula; Sam’s mother asked me to put Coco outside because he was “allergic”.

The one before that was Rosie, a champion English Springer Spaniel that died peacefully in her doghouse outside the kitchen window where we live now.

Before that I owned Primo; she was a mutt we rescued from death row at the dog pound and she turned out to be the best dog I ever had. I had Primo for 17 years, all through college, law school and beyond.

Before that we owned Fantan, a champion Bassett Hound.

And before that we owned an energetic and frisky Dalmatian named Pooch. I lived in Turkey when we owned Pooch. I am reminded of Pooch when I see the photographs of the dogs snarling at the prisoners at Abu Grahib prison in Iraq, and it’s not a happy memory.

We moved to Turkey in 1958. My father was a Marine Corps officer and we were posted to a U.S. Naval Base outside Yalova where Dad was the liaison officer between the U.S. Navy and the local civilian community.

We spent the year before at the language school in Monterey, California, where Dad learned to speak Turkish and I learned how much fun it was to kiss a girl.

Before that we lived in Yokusuka, Japan, where Dad was second in charge at the Navy Brig and my sister was born. We briefly had a dog there, too, a large snarling German Shepard; but he came on Christmas Day, made a very large pile of dog crap on the kitchen floor and then disappeared. I remember when I saw the pile I hoped my father’s hands were big enough to get it all when he cleaned it up. I was happy to learn the dog ran away; I never knew his name.

I loved Turkey. We traveled there by ship and visited Barcelona, Naples, and Tripoli on the way to Istanbul.

Upon our arrival in Istanbul, Dad put us up at the Hilton Hotel until he could arrange to rent a house in Yalova. There was a minaret outside our balcony and my earliest memories of Turkey are hearing the call to prayer. It is a sound that resonates with me even now whenever I hear it. In those days the mosques did not use amplified speakers; instead, men came out and sang the call, and the men on the street carried little rugs to kneel on when the call came. We lived in three places in Turkey.

Our first place was a two story house on a creek, and the landlord lived upstairs. This house had no electricity, running water or toilet. We had kerosene lanterns for light, a kerosene stove for cooking and heat, a hand pump in the kitchen for water, and a bomb-site hole in one small room instead of a toilet. I now realize that my Dad expected far more of my Mom than was reasonable, although at the time, I didn’t see a problem. I watched the men drag two wheeled horse drawn carts up the creek and shovel sand out of the creek bottom for use as building material, and my brother and I ran in the wilderness all day imagining we were Romulus and Remus.

Our second place was a penthouse apartment on the beach of the Straits of Dardanelle. There the landlord lived downstairs, and we had electric lights, running water and a toilet. His son built a wooden boat under my supervision out back and on Saturday mornings he would take me to the market on his motorbike. I learned to ride a bicycle and one day brought home a flea infested feral kitten I found in a huge litter under a bush. But the roof of our spacious apartment leaked when it rained and we moved once more.

Our third place was the ground floor of a three story apartment building. It was protected by a large gate that led us to call our home “Fort Apache”, but I really don’t recall why we believed we were in hostile territory.

Within days of our move into this neighborhood somebody sacrificed a ram and what I remember most was a stray dog dug up the ram’s guts and dragged them down the dirt road we lived on. A soccer field was at the end of our street; beyond that the Anatolian Plateau went all the way to the Caspian Sea; and I played with Candace in the haystacks.

My friend Izet was a Turkish boy who was a little older than me. Izet’s family lived at the end of our street and I was forbidden to play with him, but that was all the more reason to hang out with him. One morning his mother cooked me a scrambled egg; even then I knew this was a special honor as they were poor and lived in a house with a dirt floor and I was well fed. Izet was so strong he could pull the old wood wagon loaded with all my American playmates.

Twice a Gypsy came out of the hills with a bear on a leash and they danced and wrestled for us. We lived there during an attempted coup when martial law was declared; Dad was called to the base, and tanks in the streets kept order.

Not long after we moved to Fort Apache one of the neighborhood dogs was poisoned. Some of the Dads put the suffering animal in a bag and took their rifles out past the end of the street and shot the dog and buried it. We heard the gunshot but, despite many earnest searches, never could find where they buried the dog.

I think the Turks didn’t like dogs, and Pooch didn’t help the situation. I should have known there would be trouble when he chewed the head off my favorite large teddy bear. Once he came home sick and threw up for several days; Dad said he thought Pooch might have eaten some chicken bones.

I don’t recall how it came to be, but one day out at the soccer field my friends and I were on one side and a group of Turkish boys were on the other. I had Pooch on a leash and he got away and ran across the field and bit one of the Turkish boys. I was horrified and ran home; and I still feel shame about it. It happened so fast.

A few days later Izet came to our front door and asked, “Was your dog white with black spots?”

I said, “You mean Pooch?”

Izet reported, “Your dog is dead. It looked like he was poisoned. I saw him lying in the street when the garbage man threw him into the back of his wagon.”

It was not a happy few days in our house after that. I don’t remember crying then, but seeing the photographs of the dogs terrorizing the Iraqi men in the Baghdad prison makes me want to cry now.



Welcome to my blog. I plan to use this space to discuss international and domestic politics and to share along the way some of my own experiences. The times they are achangin and those of us who care about what is happening need to get involved. So let me know what you think.