March 23, 2003
Waking Up in Nazi AmericaJimmy Breslin said, "I wonder if anybody watching this Shock and Awe bombing Friday noted that Iraq didn't have a plane." Did Americans notice as they played their video war game on TV and watched all the talking heads breathlessly showcasing all the new high-tech weapons that a defenseless population is being bombarded, their homes destroyed and many killed or maimed? Does that matter?
Obviously in the television culture it doesn't matter. I know it does matter to many Americans. Many of them didn't believe that their government would follow through on its threats to shock and awe a population of civilians with what Rumsfeld happily referred to as the most massive attack in history. Now it has happened as they stood BY helplessly. Many have taken to the streets, many for the first time. Many have yet to decide a course of action. But a greater number than ever have reached the point where they can no longer sit back and watch their country become a Nazi empire.
The demonstration in New York yesterday, though it didn't seem to merit much attention in the eyes of the New York Times, was a momentous occasion. Grim as are the circumstances that aroused its participants to action, it was in itself a celebration of freedom, of humanity, of sympathy for a population under siege, and anger against those vicious ones who have pushed the United States to this point.
Besides the warm flowing camaraderie at the demonstrations, there is a tremendous amount of creativity. The signs, the slogans, the chants, even the costumes are wonderful expressions of humanity, proof that human beings can find higher purposes than destruction, signs of resilience and resourcefulness, of the saving grace of humor in the face of murder and destruction.
If you haven't been to one, you have to see it for yourself. It is raw human energy, passion focused and multiplied by hundreds of thousands. Its potential power is awesome. And it may not be realized yet, but those gatherings are proof that if every person there and every other person who cares that much about stopping this evil applies his or her energy and creativity to the task, it can be stopped.
America has sold its soul. For greed it has become a become a tyrant, a plunderer and a mass murderer. Americans must now fight to win back the soul of their country. Power must be wrested from the war machine and returned to the majority of decent, humane Americans.
The maniacal regime has pushed everything to the breaking point, and continues relentlessly in the only mode it knows. As it continues to apply pressure, more and more things are giving way.
The bombing of Americans by Americans in Kuwait is an example of the dangers of mounting force on top of an illegitimate base. The Bush administration seized power illegitimately in the first place, has pushed a right wing agenda that defies the will of the vast majority, and has now pushed the US into a position of international outlaw. The people who are expected to shoulder the burdens of all these activities will gradually fall away. When people's hearts are not behind something, when they do not believe, there is nothing to sustain their efforts. And what is being asked of them requires herculean efforts. Therefore, the plan cannot succeed. Ultimately its success will come back down to the belief of the people who make up the country, on whose blood, sweat and tears the empire is built.
The propaganda machine has succeeded stupendously in swaying a large portion of the population to support the administration's war plans. It has used 911 to justify everything, to frighten people into compliance. But that support is thin. That belief is shallow. It defies common sense. Belief in it requires that people deny the evidence of their own eyes, ears, minds and hearts. It cannot endure.
The administration plans to be finished with its invasion before the population catches on and mobilizes. One reason the blitzkrieg must be so brutal is so it can be over soon because the minds behind Bush know that the public has little tolerance for their wars. They have plenty of wars in mind after this, but they may give us a short breather to calm us down. They can't allow chaos. They can't even allow the consumer confidence level to get too low. They need us all to be full-fledged supporters of the corporate system. It's all hanging by a thread.
The country that has given up its soul in this blitzkrieg on Iraq has taken a blow to its morale that is incalculable in scale, but in economic terms such a loss of morale will undoubtably have tremendous consequences. As the economy continues to deteriorate it becomes increasingly obvious that the Bush cabal doesn't want a flourishing economy. It has missed no opportunity to line the pockets of its rich patrons. The rest of us can go to the dogs. There will be no money for social security, medicare. The system will be set up so that we will all have to get down on our knees to the rich just for the privilege of surviving. We're already like that. No one can dare speak up for peace for fear of losing his/her job, and therefore the right to survive.
But Americans are going to have to move beyond that. We have to build a new society that is not dependent on resources stolen from murdered people in other countries. We have to break our habits, examine our ways and begin to find alternatives. Do you really need that SUV? Is all that opulence worth the blood of so many innocents?