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February, 2003

Dreadful Times

Neither war nor peace do we have, but a "possible war" and a highly improbable peace with constant, repetitions of warnings, threats, insults and ultimatums, over and over and over. Troops are moving, warships sailing, the reserves are mobilized and it is ominous and unnerving!

The President's language is that of a small town tough and bully, "My patience is running out," "Time is running out..." he is "sick and tired of games and deceit ..." negotiations are "... like an old movie I don't want to see again." It seems he can hardly contain himself. His Secretary of Defense too, seems barely able to control his hostility and indignation. The official spokesman for the president has even suggested assassinating a head of state, "just one bullet," as an inexpensive way of averting war.

Ramadan is over, so is Christmas and the Super Bowl and as "D-Day"--- whenever that is--- approaches, the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor call on the people of Iraq and the Iraqi government to overthrow their leader. They suggest, reassuringly, that he might be permitted refuge in some unspecified place, and, perhaps, if he is good, he might even be shielded from international prosecution for war crimes. How these vaporous promises might be accomplished is not revealed.

This violent, strident propaganda is inescapable. Does the reader have any confidence that the Bush Administration has any intention of patiently consider peaceful options before military action?

This deafening chorus for war is like some kind of primitive incantation, witch doctors juju spells to frighten and sicken an enemy, reassure believers and silence any opposition. Joshua fighting the battle of Jerico.

"Everyone I know is shaking their heads" a non political, non activist friend said recently. The economy is depressed and the threat of war is depressing it more. A 100 hour war might not prove fatal to it, but what does any reader think a 1000 hour war would do to, say, the airline or tourist industry? Wars are dangerous, very easy to get into and hard to get out of. They rarely go as planned. You wonder how world leaders could have been so stupid as to start World War I, or how they could have failed to prevent World War II. Why are the wisest and brightest of men so consistently stupid?

"We are sleepwalking into a dangerous war," a friend said recently, "And now I feel differently about the German people and World War II. I used to think they could have done more and they deserved what they got. Now I am not so sure."

We are witnessing the resurgence of militarism as the solution to all problems and as a distraction from reform of economic corruption at home.

The nature of war changed in Alamogordo, New Mexico in July 1945 and that lesson now seems to have been forgotten. If nothing else, the United States is setting a bad example.

 

 

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