January 25, 2003
Pentagon Plans to Bulldoze Dead American SoldiersAccording to the Denver Post, "The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in Iraq or future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon."
Now think this over. Let it sink in. We are talking about the lives of young Americans, our families and friends. Sure the phony-tough guys like Rumsfeld justify every barbaric and murderous act on the basis of something like, "Well, war is not a nice thing. Sometimes in war you have to do things that aren't nice."
This is fine if you are talking about a scenario like the Battle of Britain where the Nazis were bombing the country in preparation for an invasion in which they would to take over the country, turn its people into slaves or corpses and systematically rob it of all its resources indefinitely.
When Churchill said we will fight them on the beaches and we will fight every step of the way and never give up, he was articulating the only acceptable response to the situation that was then facing the nation. His call resonated in people's hearts because it was what they all believed and what they all knew they had to do. It was that spirit that won the war and will always win wars.
That spirit was not present in Americans in the Vietnam War because it was not a war for freedom, or for the protection of the nation, though it was falsely touted to be. It was an imperial war, a war of colonial empire. That kind of war runs counter to the American spirit, the spirit that underlies the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. America is not an empire. America's founding documents do not lay a groundwork for empire, they lay a groundwork for a democratic republic.
When your country is being attacked you do whatever is necessary to protect it. That goes without saying, and I think most Americans, just as most people in most countries, would make whatever sacrifice is required to protect their families, their communities and their homeland. But that sacrifice -- the ultimate sacrifice -- must never be taken lightly. Even the most hardened of military leaders -- if they are real leaders -- regard that sacrifice with a kind of reverance, and don't take it lightly.
This is no doubt underlying the conflicts we are now seeing between the group of war mongers who have never participated in war themselves and the military professionals who are urging restraint and are being accused of treason by the gang in possession of the presidential palace. (See Rumsfeld criticizes top staff", Role reversal: Bush wants war, Pentagon urges caution or Dubya Clashes with Military Leaders)
When you are talking about a military action like what is now being pushed against Iraq, we are far beyond the kind of clearly justified military action that is worthy of asking someone to make the supreme sacrifice. As many have said, including many Republicans, Bush has yet to make this case to the American people.
George W. said in a recent interview in US News that he fully intends to ask Americans to continue put their lives on the line for him. He spoke of it in terms of how he was going to use his "political capital, and made clear that he was going to use it to get people to fight wars for him. "You know, when you've got kids off in Afghanistan," he said, "the remote regions of Afghanistan, hunting in caves for al Qaeda killers, you're asking a lot of people. And we'll continue asking them to make that sacrifice."
Now consider the betrayal this represents. Young Americans who are blocked out of the kinds of educational and career opportunities that were handed to George W. just for being born into the right family are choosing to go into the military based on hype about career training. And of course they are making a commitment to defend their country.
But they are not making a commitment to fight George W. Bush's oil wars, or to fulfill his crowd's dreams of world domination. That is not the way the contract reads. That is not a legitimate requirement of these young men and women. And sooner or later they are going to figure that out. Hopefully they will figure it out before they are permanently damaged or destroyed. Hopefully it will be before they sully themselves with complicity in the murder of innocent women and children.
If George W. believes the hype about himself so much that he thinks people are going to willingly throw their lives on the line for his personal ambitions, he is deceiving himself. He is an even bigger fool than he has yet revealed himself to be.
He is deceiving himself if he believes that his charisma, or his supposed popularity, or what he calls his political capital is powerful enough to dupe people into sacrificing their lives for an unjust cause, for oil wars, or wars of conquest. Americans do not need that kind of war and will not dedicate themselves to such a hollow cause.
Dubya has been so isolated from the real world and the real concerns of real people his whole life, he is believing his own PR. He thinks he's Lincoln, he has practically said as much. (Read the whole interview, or see a commentary, "The Mind of Bush".) He thinks he's going to inspire a generation of young Americans to make the supreme sacrifice for his causes. And even with the horrifying spectacle of 911 to strike fear into the hearts of Americans, Bush's wars are transparently not for the nation, they are for the oligarchy.
So I hate to tell you, George, and I know it's going to be hard for you to break it to your "supporters," who expect results from you, but the nation is not going to rally around you and your wars of empire. It ain't happenin'.