April 14, 2003
The Next WarAccording to the UK-based Times Online, the Bush administration has warned Syria that it "must co-operate" with Washington or risk attack. Now, our media tell us, it's Syria who has the Weapons of Mass Destructions, perhaps the ones that never appeared in Iraq.
Now the killing in Iraq has subsided -- not stopped -- the media is hysterically trumpeting victory. But the Bush Administration and its media can't stop for a minute. Their war agenda is full and they have to get onto the next step as quickly as possible.
A USA Today front-page story on the weekend edition said, "Intensive efforts to find Saddam and his inner circle continued. US troops probed tunnels beneath Baghdad and prepared to search a residential area tunnel Monday in an effort to kill the Iraqi leader."
As Michael Moore pointed out recently, that sends the message that it is okay to kill someone you don't like. In the past wars at least maintained some pretension of men adhering to some sort of principle, behaving like civilized people. Now with Bush we have descended to utter barbarity -- with high tech weapons of course. Now our family newspaper talks about hunting down a man to kill him and if no one flinches, this country is in worse trouble than I thought.
The same USA Today front page had a banner that said, "Where's Saddam? Leading theory: he's under the rubble". Of course if this precision smart bombing was so smart they might have a little better idea who is under the rubble. We know there are plenty of people who shall remain nameless who have been obliterated by bombs aimed at a man no American seems to even know the location of.
Reading the print press and seeing TV news one could think one is insane. It would appear that everyone who opposed the war is now shamed, including the anti-war protestors, France, Germany, China, etc. The UN is irrelevant and in future the US won't worry about its "approval". A couple of days away from the Web and you can lose your mind.
I was afraid that Bush might parlay this victory into a second term. By the polls -- even in the same evil mass media like USA Today -- the people do not want or expect another war. By waiting a little, Bush might secure his election, then return to his war games. As much as I hoped for the momentary cessation of war, I feared it would lead to an extension of his term, and more damage in the long run. But he can't do that. He can't wait. He's too rabid, to hungry for more conquest. His continuation of war by turning to Syria without even a short break, is more evidence that he does not intend to stand for election. It is a frightening and disturbing time.
Here are some readings to help return to sanity after a prolonged dose of corporate war propaganda.
Vanishing Civil Liberies, by Nat Hentoff. The Supreme Court has indicated it will support Bush's cutting civil liberties because of "the war," Bush's justification for everything, as if the war is not solely a matter of his own choice. Since the court is providing no check on the usurpation of power by the illegitimage executive installed by its own corrupt decision, where will the check come from? From the people, ideally, who would put pressure on their representatives. But according to James Madison, author of the Constitution, this requires that the people know what is going on. And that requires a free press. This is the missing link in the process now, or should we say our last hope to prevent a total seizure of power by the junta and a destruction of democracy in America. See The Village Voice. See BBC for the story of the looting of the Baghdad Museum. You know how the Sphinx has a messed up face? That was because Napoleon's soldiers used it for target practice. And the Parthenon in Athens was blown up by the Turks. War is the enemy of mankind. It destroys culture and history, the things that provide the basis of human self definition, what keeps us from falling back into the darkness of pre-civilization. Now the Bush mob has succeeded in the ambition it nurtured for a decade like a festering wound: the bombing Baghdad "back to the stone age." This is as good as the Bush boys can come up with for "the vision thing." Their vision of conquest, power and plunder may push us all back to the stone age before Bush is through.