March 6, 2003
Streetfighting for War
One Frontpage website posted an article about how celebs who are allegedly "patriots" because they support Bush's military invasion of Iraq are now "step[ping] up to the plate" to show their support for the war.
It quotes Dennis Miller, "who used to be a liberal," saying on The Tonight Show, "If you're in a peace march and the guy next to you has a sign that says 'Bush is Hitler,' forget the peace thing for a second and beat his ass." Miller's comment was said to have been answered with "thunderous applause."
That's fine, if you're in the TV studio where the audiences are coached to applaud whatever mindless crap the performers hand out, or anywhere in US television land where the information is controlled and the debate manipulated to support the war machine. There are plenty of people out there who believe all the TV propaganda about Saddam Hussein being on the verge of attacking the US, even though there are no facts to support it and the real facts show that he does not and cannot threaten the US or much of anyone else. There is no connection to 911, which is supposedly what has given the Bush administration the license to turn this country into a dictatorship and start attacking and occupying other countries that have not attacked the US. There are plenty of people whose own fears and feelings of inadequacy have been manipulated to get them in line with this war agenda.
But there are also plenty who have been to war who see through this war policy. And there are plenty on the anti-war side of the fence who can make more claims for patriotism, for having made sacrifices for their country than Dennis Miller or any of these other big mouths who scream that anyone opposed to the war is a coward or is "unamerican". And plenty of them, incidentally, could break little Dennis Miller in half with one hand.
None of this has anything to do with toughness. These blowhards who try to frame this Iraq war issue in terms of anyone being "afraid" to take on Iraq are either intentionally manipulating the issue by arousing people's fears and feelings of inadequacy, or they have bought the line themselves.
There is no issue of courage when the world's only Superpower with the mightiest high-tech military machine in history decides to blow a poor third world country off the map. There will be very few American casualties, if any, and the ones there are won't be the blowhards who are talking tough to get other people to go fight the war. They will be people in the low income brackets who didn't have the career opportunities of these big mouths who yell about war all the time.
It's interesting that Dennis Miller advocated street violence against anyone who compares Bush to Hitler because that is exactly how Hitler's Brown Shirts dealt with differences of opinion in Nazi Germany.
The historical parallels with Bush and Hitler have a solid basis and are important to look at before the progression has gone too far to stop. Hitler was not always the caricature that we now remember. It took quite a few years for the fascist state to consolidate power before it could eliminate dissent and begin its conquests of other countries. The fact that Bush has not currently achieved the level of destruction Hitler achieved in his lifetime, does not mean we should sit back and ignore the historical parallels of the build-up of a massive military machine, the turning over of the government to an oligarchy of corporations and a military campaign designed to create a new world order based on dictatorship. It actually has little to do with Bush, he's just a figurehead.
Anyone who advocates physical violence as a response to someone who compares the US today with with Germany in the '30s is acting out what he says doesn't exist. He is either seriously confused, or consciously manipulating others.
Miller is quoted as calling the French "pricks" and "scumbags." Besides reducing the debate to childish name-calling, this is going back to this ridiculous idea that not wanting to bomb the hell out of Iraq is somehow an act of cowardice. Anyone who thinks about the real issues for a moment can easily figure out that this attack on Iraq has nothing to do with courage. In fact, most of the people I have spoken to who oppose the war, explicitly say that they are not pacifists. The issue is not nearly so simple. Being "brave" and "patriotic" and willing to fight to defend freedom is not simply a matter of jumping on whatever war bandwagon happens to be going down that street at a given moment.
The Iraqi people do not deserve to be further pulverized for George Bush & Co.'s ambitions. Americans do not deserve to be pushed into the role of aggressors. And with people like Dennis Miller and Bill O'Reilly explicitly trying to use physical intimidation to win people to their cause, it takes courage to stand up and call a lie a lie. Fighting for freedom, fighting for America, being patriotic and courageous means standing up against this unjust, wrongheaded war.
And if you hold another opinion, if you really believe sincerely that Saddam's chance of getting Weapons of Mass Destruction and coming after the US in years to come justifies the US bombing and occupying Iraq and appropriating its oil supplies, then you are entitled to that opinion. That doesn't make you a traitor. And those who say that opposing this war makes you a traitor are wrong and do not understand American history and what the wars have been fought for. All of us going out on the street and fighting with each other is not going to resolve any of these issues. The tougher streetfighter is not necessarily right. Streetfighting is certainly not the way to conduct a democratic society; though it is a way to maintain a fascist state.
In my opinion, people like Miller who advocate conformism, are much more cowardly than someone who is willing to think these things through and speak up when they come to the conclusion that the war agenda is a lie which they will if they really look at it, because it is.
The war agenda is a lie.