End the War: Begin the Peace
By Frank Scott
When millions of global citizens demonstrated against attacking Iraq on behalf of Big Oil and Little Israel, our worthless opposition party supported the president's war. When groups called for impeaching him for his criminal lies, this same cowardly caucus was silent. Now, with the release of the Downing Street Memos, a minority of our dismal democrats are expressing shock and awe. This smoking gun has outraged them, after a towering inferno of murderous deceit that's been going on for years had left them patriotically comatose. We may be close to the beginning of the end of this criminal war, which has seen support from possibly the worst congress, and surely the worst president in history. But given the snails pace of change in our two branches of the ruling hypocritic party, don't hang by your lip waiting.
This wretched war should justifiably top the political agenda, but in finally waking to what most of the world has known for years, our spinally challenged opposition must also confront other serious issues threatening our nation. The neoliberals, perversely obsessed with our private parts, continue attacking anything that smacks of government service for people. If it doesn't lavish enough wealth on our corporate royalty, it's gone. Among the numerous goals of these market fundamentalists are the obliteration of public media and public rail service.
The long abused Amtrak rail system faces drastic cuts that would throw it to the total mercy of private forces, and thereby deny citizens any alternative to gas guzzling autos, and even more gas glutinous airplanes. And proposed cuts to an already muffled voice of public media would destroy many local public affiliates and do the same thing; force them even more firmly into the grip of market forces.
In these and other cases, the march toward total market domination would return us to the conditions of 1929 that led to the Great Depression. This, even as we're endlessly told that we live in a bold new future of globalization. That modern euphemism for the same economic system that nearly destroyed the west, is reshaping the entire world in buzzword fashion that hides its regressive nature under progressive language. But the cosmetic terminology of youth cannot revive, but only disguise the terminal rot under all that verbal makeup.
The old days of capital depended on, produced and distributed great wealth and poverty, while the updated version has enlarged the middle class, but with horrendous gaps between the top 20% and the rest of the world. These gaps are wider and deeper than at anytime in history. Without credit cards and mortgages that have us floating on a sea of trillions of dollars in debt, there would be more poverty now than there was then. Progress? Only if you're part of that minority not sinking into the sea of usury, described as luxury.
Our 21st century technology is helping revive 20th century political economics in a backward and downward race that threatens far more than it could ever benefit. While its short term profits make more millionaires than previously existed, its long term devastation of social and natural environments invites disaster that has both religion and science calling for change. Whether their warnings invite progress or regression, they are signs of the dilemma which confronts us.
Our rush to pre-depression economics would deny that the previous generation was saved by social democratic props that placed a sagging structure on a temporality reinforced foundation. As that foundation has aged, it has become subject to attack by wealthy fanatics peering down from their penthouse and pouring financial hot oil on the masses below, with no idea that it is their own building which is threatened. The blissfully unaware nobility inflicts further damage on world populations from which it demands acknowledgment of its wonderful, progressive, democratic system. Sure.
We match that economic pre-depression madness with a modern post-depression mental illness, inflicted on the middle class and labeled as individual in nature, unrelated to collective insanity and dependent on personal cures that bring private profit, and instill personal guilt which assures even more profit. Yet even with so many signs of social breakdown disguised as being the responsibility of individuals, there is growing awareness that something is wrong with the whole organism, and not merely some of its mechanical parts.
A majority of Americans are now said to oppose the criminal attack on Iraq, as though there was ever any evidence that crippled nation represented a threat to anyone but Israel. Not surprisingly, Saddam Hussein, the man dubbed by the old colonial thieves as the new Hitler , is soon to face trial for his crimes. One of the charges will not be what made him most dangerous; his opposition to that twin tower of racism and global exploitation, USrael. This is the force calling itself the progressive future, in the way that AIDS might be called the progressive disease. That kangaroo court setting may yet mistakenly reveal even more of the deceit which could lead to greater pressure to evacuate Iraq, and clean up our own mess at home.
That would mean not only ending wars on foreigners, but ending the war on all things social: security, health, choice, broadcasting, rail travel and a host of other issues that demand policies which help strengthen individuals by building a stronger collective.
The New Deal that saved capitalism from its demise last century needs to be replaced by a reshuffling of the entire deck and the creation of a democratic political economy that will no longer thrive on war, prey upon the poor, and profit at the loss of planetary justice. If it's true that the only practical way to do anything is the ideal way, we're living in the least practical society possible. The ideal must be to make such a society impossible. We can begin by ending the war in Iraq.
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