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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Little Known Facts About the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall

To most people, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC, is a starkly beautiful tribute to those who sacrificed in the Vietnam War.  While they note with sadness the more than 50,000 names on this simple black granite structure, few know the real history behind this war and this memorial to all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who died in what at the time was one of our most controversial conflicts.

My friend, Joseph Langlois, shared the following email, sent to him by the father of a veteran.  I was so touched by it, I wanted to share it with others.


A little history most people will never know.
>
> Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
>
> There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including
> those added in 2010.
>
> The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by
> date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe
> it is 36 years since the last casualties.
>
> The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth ,
> Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on
> June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine
> Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
>
> There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
>
> 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
>
> 8,283 were just 19 years old.
>
> *The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.*
>  *
> *12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
>
> 5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
>
> One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
>
> 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam ..
>
> 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam ..
>
> 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
>
> Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
>
> 54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder
> why so many from one school.
>
> 8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
>
> 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of
> them are on the Wall.
>
> Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
>
> West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There
> are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
>
> The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school
> football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of
> Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer
> busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail,
> stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic
> camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of
> Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began
> on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
>
>
> The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were
> all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah
> on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart.
> They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to
> Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed.
> LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F.
> Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on
> Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl
> Harbor Remembrance Day.
>
> The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245
> deaths.
>
> The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties
> were incurred.
>
> For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the
> Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the
> families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that
> these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these
> numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and
> daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
>
> Please pass this on to those who served during this time, and those who *DO
> Care*.
>
>  I've also sent this to those *I KNOW* do care very much, and I thank you
> for caring as you do.
 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Visionary Leadership

American Visionary Art MuseumImage via Wikipedia
Recently, I was reading Leading Afrika, by Zimbabwean author and leadership development expert Mandivamba Rukuni, when I ran across the following sentence in chapter four, “It is more important to be a visionary leader than it is to be a leader with a vision.”

I stopped and re-read that sentence several times, thinking that Professor Rukuni obviously made a typographical error and actually meant to write something else.  After all, what’s the difference between being a visionary and having a vision?  I read the rest of the book, still confused by that simple sentence, until, at the last, I had an epiphany; he hadn’t made a mistake; instead, what he’d written made perfect sense.

You see, the devil’s always in the smallest details, and I’d not paid sufficient attention to his sentence; a carefully constructed grouping of words in which every word contributed to the overall meaning; but it was the single word, a single letter in fact, that made all the difference.  He wrote ‘leader with a vision,’ not ‘leader with vision.’  The second construction would indeed have made the sentence duplicative, whereas the way he wrote it carries a whole different meaning.

A leader who has a vision is not necessarily a visionary.  He is just a person who has a specific end-state in mind.  How he sets about achieving that end-state marks the kind of leader he is.  A visionary does have a vision, but it is not of the one-off kind that with some leaders is achieved through force and coercion, or by cajoling people to do what you want them to do.  Rukuni, in his book, was referring specifically to African (or, to use his spelling, Afrikan) leaders; but, what he says, in my opinion, applies universally to leadership.  My own study and experience of leadership tells me that a visionary, instead of seeing an end-state, sees a continually evolving environment; forever striving for improvement; a constant seeking for perfection if you will.

A leader with a mere vision will seek practical ways to induce others to achieve it.  A visionary leader, on the other hand, will instead seek ways to get others to seek to improve themselves and their environment; achieving specific visions or objectives along the way.  Visionary leaders sometimes aren’t practical, seeking others to do the practical things needed to keep the journey on track.

One could say, for instance, as one of my interlocutors on my Facebook page noted, that Hitler was a leader with a vision; a world ruled by a super race; more lebensraum for that super race; and, he adopted practical, though gruesome, ways of achieving his vision in the form of concentration and extermination camps and a dreaded secret service.  He was not, though, a visionary, and in the end, he wasn’t even very practical; leading his country to destruction, and finally ending his own life.  He wasn’t visionary; he didn’t envision a better world, only a world under his control.

The world needs practical people; people who can take abstract concepts and convert them into actions.  But, it also needs visionaries; people who can see a world constantly improving itself.  Practical people without vision too often focus only on the short term; that which can be completed in a lifetime, or an even shorter period, often neglecting the human element in the process.  Visionaries, without someone who can convert their visions into practical application, are little more than dreamers who contribute little to the common good.  Of the two, the most important, though, is the visionary; someone who can help us see that we can be better than we are.

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You Can Try To Deny History, But, You Can't Change It.

An interesting editorial by Leonard Pitts in the February 24 issue of the Miami Herald.  One would think that in the 21st Century we were beyond such nonsense, but unfortunately plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The First Time I Knew I Had to be a Writer

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  Until my freshman year in high school, I was painfully shy and ill at ease around people, so I sought refuge in books.  My mother taught me to read when I was four, and I went through the first and second grade readers at my school during the first month.  Perplexed, my teacher let me sit by myself and read books from the school library’s meager collection while the other kids struggled with ‘See Spot run.’  By the end of third grade, I’d made my way through the entire library, including the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Shakespeare.  The archaic language of the Bard’s works threw me at first, but when I figured it out, the language sang to me.

Throughout my school years, I spent time reading and making up stories about mythical worlds and nonexistent people.  At the age of twelve or thirteen – after over fifty years it’s hard to recall – I won a national Sunday school magazine short story competition.  Seeing my name in print hooked me on ‘seeing my name in print,’ but it didn’t make me know that I wanted to be a ‘writer.’ 

When I turned 17, I joined the army, and six months before my 18th birthday found myself stationed in southern Germany.  I loved reading the Stars and Stripes, especially the “Pup Tent Poets” section, so I started creating poems and submitting them.  I had almost a one hundred percent acceptance rate, and again I was thrilled by the heady feeling of seeing my name in print, but still didn’t think of myself as a writer.  I was just someone who liked to write.

Over the next twenty years, I wrote frequently; contributing travel and historical articles to regional, national, and international publications, and even moonlighting as a free lance newspaper reporter in a few places.  Along with the writing, I also did cartoons and other pictures, and photography for a number of publications and organizations.  I loved doing it, and even made a little money from it, and, of course, still got a kick out of seeing my byline in a publication.  But, I still didn’t think of myself as a ‘writer,’ ‘artist,’ or ‘photographer.’  It was just something I did in my spare time because I loved doing it.  Considering myself a writer would have been a professional, and life-changing decision, so I was perfectly content to leave things the way they were.

Then, I got smacked in the kisser with a lollapalooza of an epiphany, when, at the urging of a colleague, I wrote a little book on my leadership philosophy, “Things I Learned from my Grandmother About Leadership and Life,” which was published in 2008.   It wasn’t, and isn’t, a best seller, but a few people actually bought it and read it, and one of those people sent me an e-mail that changed my perspective significantly.  She said that reading my book had changed her life; seeing what I’d learned as a child from my grandmother, and how I’d applied that knowledge throughout my life, gave her a better sense of herself and a new lease on life.  She then went on to say that she’d given the book to her teenage son to read, and it made an immediate change in his behavior, and caused him to turn his life around, from the self-destructive path he had been on.

As I read her email, I thought to myself, “So, this is what writers can do.  Maybe, this is what I’ve been working toward all these years.”  See, writing and being a writer are two vastly different things.  When you write because you love to write, or even because you’re compelled to write, it can be an exercise to just please yourself.  But, when you consider yourself a writer, you than have to consider others – the readers who will be educated, amused, or inspired by what you write.  It’s no longer just you sitting down with pen and pad, or keyboard, and spewing your thoughts onto the page.  You have to develop a professional attitude about it; learn the mechanical techniques, read with a more critical eye to learn better ways of expressing thoughts, consider the impact your words will have on someone else.  It’s the difference between being a weekend golfer tearing up the landscape for fun, or an aspiring golfer who wants to get a card for the professional tour.  You have to focus.  After finishing that email, my mind was made up.  Not only did I like to write, but I knew that I wanted to be a writer.  That meant that I’d have to do much more than just sit down and scribble my musings into a journal every day – something I’d been doing for over 40 years, but I’d have to do it with purpose.  I would have to work harder at polishing my writing; learning more about effective use of dialogue, character development, plot arc, and the like.

I no longer merely ‘had’ to write; I knew that day that I ‘had to be a writer.’

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Looking at Your Story from the Write Point of View

Looking at Your Story from the Write Point of View

Apples, Oranges, and the Assault on Federal Employees

A January 2012 report, "Comparing the Compensation of Federal and Private-Sector Employees", claims that the federal government pays "16 percent more in total compensation than it would have if average compensation had been comparagle with that in the private sector, after accounting for certain observable characteristics of workers."

The report and a related blog from the CBO director are full of numbers that one has to be a mathematician or economist to follow easily and understand.  The frightening thing is that in today's depressed economy and with many Republicans in Congress having apparently declared war on the federal workforce, this report is likely to be used as the basis for further chipping away at federal salaries and benefits.

The problem with this report is that it is not just comparing apples and oranges, it's comparing apple pie with pineapples (the kind that soldiers pull the pin on and they explode).  The federal government employs 2.3 million civilian workers, which accounts for 1.7 percent of the U.S. workforce.  These employees work in over 700 occupational categories.  In the last fiscal year (2011), the government spent about $200 billion on their compensation.

Just the numbers alone would seem to make comparison almost meaningless.  The government work environment, and that in the private sector, are vastly different.  There are also differences in education and experience.  Government workers tend to be older, more educated, and concentrated more in professional occupations than those in the private sector.  Thirty-three percent of federal workers are in professional occupations, for instance, as compared to 18 percent in the private sector.  At the lower end of the scale, 26 percent of private sectors work in occupations like retail sales, production, or construction, compared to seven percent of federal employees.

So, while the feds are paying more, one has to look at the demographic breakdown to see if this means anything other than providing fodder for political rhetoric.

What are the Real Statistics?

Federal workers with no more than a high school education earn about 21 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.  Keep in mind, however, these workers are only seven percent of the federal work force.

Workers with at most a bachelor's degree in the federal force, earn roughly the same as their private sector counterparts on an hourly basis.

Federal workers with a professional or doctorate degree earned about 23 percent less, on average, than private sector counterparts.

There is an apparent difference in the cost of benefits between the public and private sectors, so things like health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid vacations were considered by CBO in coming to its conclusion.  According to the report, federal employees with no more than a high school education get 72 percent more in benefits than comparable private sector workers, while those with just a bachelor's degree get 46 percent more.  Those with advanced degrees, though, get roughly the same in both federal and private-sector jobs.  The CBO then concluded that government costs for hourly benefits is 48 percent higher than the private sector.

What Does it All Mean?

At this point, you're probably asking, WTF?  What does it all mean, anyway?  As I said at the start, unless you're a statistician or economist, probably not a whole lot.  If, though, you're someone who has had experience with the way our system works, what it means is that during this, an election year, the government bashers will use this report to mount further attacks on the federal work force.  Not that the force couldn't use the occasional refit and upgrade, but to use confusing statistics and this kind of 'apples and oranges' comparison to do it isn't actually playing fair.

How, for instance, do you compare the pay and benefits of a forklift operator in the stock room of a department store with one who is moving spent rods in a nuclear plant?  Should their pay and benefits be the same just because they have the same educational level and job title?  Mentioned almost in passing in the report is the fact that defined benefits plans for federal workers contribute greatly to the difference in cost of benefits, and these kinds of 'protected' retirements are increasingly rare in the private sector.  So, is the answer for the government to screw its employees like many private sector companies are doing?  I would hope not.  Think of the impact of a disgruntled, demoralized meat inspector, or air traffic controller.  A lot worse than a hacked off stock boy at the local department store, for sure.

There's an old saying that 'figures don't lie, but liars do figure.'  I'm not accusing the CBO of being dishonest in its report.  There are, sprinkled throughout, enough caveats that anyone with the patience to go through the whole thing should know that it is at best 'inconclusive.'  But, politicians have never let something like this stand in the way of their campaigns, and that, my friends is what worries me.

After federal workers, who is the next target?

New Trailer for Making the Case, Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law documentary film


http://vimeo.com/36452404

This is the trailer for a documentary being filmed by Laurie Conway.  Riveting, absolutely riveting.

"Child of the Flame" is Hard to Read, But Worth It

"I received the following email from Zimbabwean author Virginia Phiri ("Highway Queen"), and simply had to share it:

Never in my life have I been challenged by a book such as this one. I have been reading serious books since I was ten, thanks to my uncle who read a lot.

"Child of the Flame" is the type of the book that had been long overdue. Yes it is "fiction" but I would like to insist that the way it has revealed itself it is a "non-fiction" in "fiction". This is not an ordinary book, one needs to have appropriate faculties at the time of reading in order to read, appreciate and digest what is being put across.

The medieval setting divided into Land of Fire, Pandara and Barbaria goes beyond that. In fact it can easily be pushed as far back as the beginning of times where there was peace and harmony. The birth of greed, envy, aggression, jealousy and wars that have dogged us to this day are so clear as if one was a witness at that time.

The power of dialogue, craft, patience, wisdom and special powers as reflected in the book cannot be under estimated in handling threats, chaos and confusion. If this could be applied to our present woes, life could be different. It is never too late, this can be attempted if there is will patience and commitment.

The inter marriage of a Land of Fire and a Pandaran bringing the blood of the two together was the best thing that ever happened. This cemented the relationship of the two worlds. As a result the offspring of this union saved the day by reducing the aggressive, invading Barbarians to nobodies through co-operation, sharing of ideas and commitment. This has come to pass in this modern day.

In our present day it is evident that there are those of the Land of Fire, Pandara and Barbaria clearly identified by their actions."

Virginia










 


An Apology to My Readers

In my post yesterday, I mistakenly identified Danny Kemp's new novel.  The correct title is "The Desolate Garden."  My apologies to Danny and everyone.  This is still a great book that I strongly recommend you get as soon as it hits the stores.

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Romantic Ideas Online, Life Can Be a Honeymoon! Romance Ideas and Romantic Tips

Romantic Ideas Online, Life Can Be a Honeymoon! Romance Ideas and Romantic Tips

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Poison Ivy": Great New Book by British Author

I seldom review a book after reading only the first chapter, but I'm making an exception for "Poison Ivy," by British author Daniel Kemp.  This is his first book, so one would expect it to be a bit rough, but I was pleasantly surprised at his deft use of the language, and how he built up the characters with minimum verbiage right from the beginning.  Along with that, he does a good job of establishing the setting without boring with paragraph after paragraph of tedious description; just a few phrases here and there to make you want to know more about the people in the story.

"Poison Ivy" will be published soon, and I strongly recommend it.  For a look at the first chapter that so enthralled me, check out Daniel's website.

What Did Chester Crocker Actually Say About Zimbabwe?

One of the often-flogged propaganda statements one hears from those who believe the U.S. is trying to overthrow the government of Zimbabwe is that former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker said, before the 2001 Congressional hearings on Zimbabwe:  “To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu-PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream, and I hope you, senators, have the stomach for what you have to do."  This is taken as an article of faith by those who utter it, and believed perhaps by many who read or hear it. 

The problem is, Crocker, who at the time was no longer a government official, but a professor of international studies at Georgetown University, never said any such thing.  Following is the transcript of Crocker's testimony at hearings of the 106th Congress on Zimbabwe:

STATEMENTS OF CHESTER CROCKER, PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE FOR THE
           STUDY OF DIPLOMACY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

    Mr. Crocker. Thank you very much, Chairman Royce. Good to
be back here with you and your colleagues.

    There has been a lot said about the trends and the facts on
the ground and there is a lot more that will be said by
colleagues on this panel and I do not want to spend a lot of
time on that, maybe focus a little bit more on what we can do,
what realistically are the options that we face. But just a few
observations, and I have given you a written statement, as
well, but just a few observations on the trend lines.

    I have been a frequent visitor to Zimbabwe for the past 33
years and first went there at a time when it was also a
troubled country, in the midst of its liberation struggle
against minority rule, and I have been many times since.

    Zimbabwe has often seemed a troubled place. Right after
independence there was a period of real troubles when many
people lost their lives. ZANU-PF was consolidating its monopoly
of political control.

    So we have often seen Zimbabwe as a place, I think, where
there were the trappings of a democratic system but behind that
facade, if you will, there was the arbitrary use of official
power, as much official power as was needed to maintain a
monopoly of control, an uneven playing field for opposition and
resort to the tactics of intimidation.

    But until the late 1990's, and is my first point that I
would like to underscore, Mr. Chairman, these practices
remained within certain limits, maybe, in part, because only
recently has the opposition really found its feet. But in any
case, I think we are seeing quite a different situation today
in terms of the patterns of intimidation and abuse.

    This is a dramatic situation now in Zimbabwe. We are 10
days away from one of the most important elections in modern
African history. As has been noted, the opposition will run in
every constituency. Thousands of observers will be there from a
wide range of local and foreign institutions.

    There is excitement in the air in the country politically
because the constitutional referendum process demonstrated that
there really is competition in Zimbabwe. At least there is
competition when it is permitted.

    The upcoming election is taking place against a widespread
campaign of government-sanctioned and sponsored violence whose
dimensions, I think, are generally pretty well known.

    I would like to underscore something you said, Mr.
Chairman. One stands in awe at the courage and conviction of
unarmed oppositionists who are trying to compete in the
political process against a government which is playing by
other rules, other rules altogether, and these leaders in the
opposition have come together from a wide range of
backgrounds--the union movement, the educational profession,
the law, journalism, human rights advocacy, women's groups, and
so forth, united in the belief that it is possible for Zimbabwe
to have peaceful, democratic change. Yet we know how much of an
uphill struggle this is.

    This need not have happened in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a
place, Mr. Chairman, which has many things going for it in
terms of its resources, human and physical, in terms of the
strength of its industrial economy, its commercial agriculture,
which, until recently, has been a key source of regional
dynamism, making Zimbabwe a significant commodity and food
exporter and a key economic partner for all the countries of
Southern Africa.

    I would also say that the leadership in Zimbabwe over the
years has not been all on the negative side. This is not a
country which has been for the last 20 years governed the way
it is being governed today.

    Something has cracked. Something has gone wrong. Something
has gone badly off the tracks. This is a government which, at
times in the past, has been a constructive member of a regional
community. No longer. No longer the case.

    So those legacies have gone out the window and Zimbabwe's
policies of the past of pragmatism and reconciliation and
regional cooperation have been replaced by the political of
greedy adventurism in the region, most notably in the Congo,
and the politics of envy and racial scapegoating at home.

    The real problem, no matter what the government officials
may say, the real problems are of their own making. This is not
about land ownership. It is not about colonial legacies. It is
not about the role of white farmers. It is about power. It is
really about power and that is the long and the short of it.
The primary challenge in terms of power is coming from black
Zimbabweans and I think we have heard that already this morning
from Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues. Everything else is
pure cover story--the playing of racial cards by an embattled
regime.

    The sad part of all this to me, Mr. Chairman, is that this
is not the way Robert Mugabe started out his political career.
It is not the way he was for much of the past 20 years. He has
made contributions to his country's history and that of the
region. While I have often differed with him, I have respected
him as a man of substance, intelligence, and deep conviction.
It is very sad to witness his fears of losing office crowd out
those other qualities.

    So we have a drama. This could be an implosion with broad
regional implications far beyond those of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe
affects an entire region. It is at the hub of an entire region.
It is the Southern African region's second most important
player in many ways, both political and economic.

    So I think we have a lot at stake. This is about our
principles and our interests in Zimbabwe, but it is also about
Africa and Southern Africa quite specifically.

    Just to give one example, the South African currency has
gone down 10 to 15 percent in the past few months because of
Zimbabwe. It is as simple as that and there is no other
explanation for the performance of the rand. I know there are
people who try to give other explanations but that is my
explanation.

    What are we doing about it? My impression is that we are
wringing our hands. We are hoping South Africans will rescue
the situation. We are doing what we can to strengthen the
democratic process and I applaud everything that we are doing
as a government--executive branch, Congress, and NGO's, which
are playing the lead role--to try somehow and make this as
democratic an election as it can be. But we are not doing a
whole lot beyond that to shape events, either by ourselves or
with our partners in Africa and Europe. I would suggest to you
that things have deteriorated badly. There are not any really
attractive options left before us.

    But there are two broad avenues we could consider. Of
course, we do not know how the election will come out. It is
possible that the election will come out better than we think,
that the playing field will be more level than we think, and
that the opposition will come out better than the worst case
analyses have led us to believe. It is possible and we do not
want to prejudge that result.

    It may also be that the opposition would be very pleased,
thank you very much, if they win 50 seats, even if they know in
their heart of hearts that they could have won 90 and therefore
they will say, ``Look, is the glass half empty or is it half
full?'' We have to be a little careful, I think, in deciding
ahead of time what is an acceptable outcome because it is for
the people of Zimbabwe even in these difficult circumstances to
address that.

    But I am not going to bet on an outcome as good as the one
I have just been talking about. If I were a betting man, I
would not bet on that kind of outcome. I would bet this
election is going to go south and that it is going to be
substantially robbed. I am afraid that is the case. I wish it
were not the case.

    So under one scenario, if that is indeed what happens, we
have the possibility, I suppose, assuming that violent
intimidation and police state tactics work, of deciding, ``Do
we engage with this leadership, warts and all, or not?'' And by
engage, I do not mean writing checks for them. I mean using
every element of our actual and potential leverage to try to
pull them back from the edge of this self-destructive orgy they
are now in, and that will not be easy to do and it will not be
pretty to watch, but I think we do have leverage we have not
really used that perhaps could get through in a post-election
environment. The goal would be to salvage a regionally
dangerous situation and move the country's leadership back
within the pale of minimally acceptable conduct.

    This will not be easy, given our political values and our
deep commitment to those values, to engage with a group like
this, but it might be better to do that than to resort to the
kind of petulant self-isolating ostracism which we are all too
frequently applying around the world today and isolating
ourselves.

    The second option, and I speak very candidly, is to work
through all appropriate channels for a change in power in
Zimbabwe, recognizing that perhaps it is destined to become
Africa's Romania and that Mugabe is destined to become Africa's
Ceausescu. It was, though, even in Romania, the people of
Romania who made the change ultimately, not Americans.

    So if we were to decide to try and work for change in power
in Zimbabwe, I would hope that we would have the wisdom to be
discrete, to be low-key and to avoid giving those in power
there the excuse that foreigners are out to get them.

    We would treat Zimbabwe basically like a pariah under this
option. We would disengage from official government-to-
government relationships, programming of any sort, and wait for
the pressures to mount, helping them along as best we can.

    Under either approach, we must recognize that we are only
one country and that we should be in careful, practical and
detailed consultations with the South Africans, with the
Zambians, with the Mozambiquans and above all, with the
British, who know this place and have more influence there than
we do.

    So I hope that our current penchant around the world for
what I would call sloppy unilateralism can be brought under
some semblance of control and that we can actually figure out
how to work with key players in the region who also have
interests at stake in Zimbabwe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Okay, there you have it.  This is a verbatim account of Crocker's testimony.  For a look at the entire hearing, the full transcript is available at
Things get fabricated, and then repeated, and they become part of the urban legends that we're led to believe.  Hopefully, this legend can finally be put to rest.