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Congressman Juan Vargas On Syria, Immigration and Filner

Evening Edition

Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) shares his take on Syria, immigration, jobs in the Imperial County and the resignation of Mayor Bob Filner.

Aired 8/29/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Juan Vargas, U.S. Representitive, (CA-51st)


Congress is on recess and KPBS has invited each of San Diego's congressional delegation to join us in studio for an update.

Today we're joined by Congressman Juan Vargas, representing San Diego's 51st Congressional District.

Vargas, who was elected this year, is the first Latino represented to the district which covers portions of San Diego County, Chula Vista, East County and Imperial Valley.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 31, 2013 at 1:51 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

American military commanders planned to use poison-gas shells fired from warships to flush out and destroy the Japanese soldiers dug in at Iwo Jima (Feb. 19 - Mar. 24, 1945) but FDR forbade it. Iwo was a fortress of caves, tunnels, bunkers, trenches, pillboxes and artillery, all skillfully arrayed. "I was told not to stand there like the fool I unquestionably was," Edward G. Seidensticker wrote of his Iwo experience as a Marine Corps Fifth Division Lieutenant in his memoir (Tokyo Central, University of Washington, 2002) "but to get to work on a foxhole. Only a few feet away was a conspicuous and macabre object: a bare Japanese arm, raised from a heap of litter as if in some last gesture of exhortation and defiance. The rest of the corpse was under the heap."

Twenty thousand Japanese defenders were killed; the remaining one thousand were too wounded to resist capture. Lieutenant Seidensticker's translating work at Iwo was therefore rudimentary -- "Bazooka wa doko desuka? Where is your weapon now?"

Yet, Seidensticker (February 11, 1921 – August 26, 2007) was to be decorated by the Mikado with the Order of the Rising Sun because the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Yasunari Kawabata "for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind." Seidensticker -- who had translated Kawabata and several other Japanese novelists -- read the English version of the acceptance speech in Stockholm.

Sargon, who died in 2284 BCE, had a standing army of 5,400 soldiers with which he conquered Ebla in Syria; his empire survived 125 years. Badger Clark, poet laureate of South Dakota (January 1, 1883 – September 26, 1957) wrote:

Since the days that Lot and Abram split the Jordan range in halves
Just to fix it so their punchers wouldn't fight,
Since old Jacob skinned his dad-in-law for six years' crop of calves
And then hit the trail for Canaan in the night,
There has been a taste for battle 'mong the men that followed cattle
And a love of doin' things that's wild and strange,
And the warmth of Laban's words when he missed his speckled herds
Still is useful in the language of the range.
Singer 'er out, my bold coyotes! leather fists and leather throats,
For we wear the brand of Ishm'el like a crown.

From April 1915, during The Great War, poison gas (including chlorine, cyanide, and mustard gas) was used by both sides. Gas was responsible for killing 91,000 soldiers. "If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud." ~Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum est, 1918.

Arab cavalry occupied Damascus on Oct. 1, 1918. T.E. Lawrence had been instrumental in obtaining Allied support for Feisal Ibn Hussein. Many Arabs felt betrayed by postwar arrangements in the Middle East which saw Syria under French control.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | August 31, 2013 at 1:53 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

B. Hussein Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961. Russia, China and Iran have issued warnings in the past few days that any strike against the Assad regime for the suspected Aug. 21 use of chemical weapons runs the risk of igniting a wider war in the Middle East. French President Francois Hollande said that British recalcitrance wouldn't weaken his government's commitment to sanction the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"The chemical massacre of Damascus cannot and must not remain unpunished," Hollande said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde.

Nearly 170 Japanese parliamentarians paid homage at Yasukuni Shrine Apr. 23, 2013. The museum emphasizes that the number of American casualties (28,700) far outnumbered the Japanese at Iwo.

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