From jingo jocks on the radio, coifed talking heads on television, and the front page of the local papers to the op-ed section of the New York Times, the issue of Iraq dominates the news coverage. Yet mainstream media does not provide any real forum for public debate that should precede any decisions designed to address a grave situation, which will alter life as we know it.
Repeating the mantra "weapons of mass destruction" ad nauseam that a daily demonized Saddam Hussein used on his own people and will soon use on us informs the people of the official party line and nothing more. When only half-truths are presented and the other half are concealed consent becomes manufactured, public opinion is manipulated, and the people are conditioned to insure support for what always was a fait accompli.
Make no mistake about it, recent US troop movements, increased no-fly zone bombings by the US and Great Britain, military exercises in Kuwait, and a multi-million-dollar air base in Qatar are the actions of a bellicose nation determined to use violence to impose its will in order to support it's addiction to oil.
Furthermore, we can expect our elected officials in Congress to rubber stamp the latest resolution giving an unelected leader yet more power to abuse as evidenced by their near unanimous silence when the Constitution was trashed after 9/11.
No peace marches, protests, or number of people signing petitions will stop the death and destruction that will occur in that land between the Tigris and Euphrates, that cradle of civilization -- modern day Iraq. Diplomacy was never a serious option in 1991 nor is it in 2002. Any doubts about our intentions should have disappeared when Bush demanded support from the world community -- or else.
When we launch our first preemptive strike we will be no different than the barbarians that we are fighting and just as evil for we will have opened the gates of hell where state-sponsored terrorism will replace the rule of international law. After Iraq and its innocent victims are reduced to rubble who will become the next threat to our national security?
In Orwell's 1984 a totalitarian state was described as one that was involved in a perpetual state of war in which the government controlled the people through fear of false terrorism. At the dawn of the 21st century Orwell's prophetic nightmare has become our ominous reality.
John J Pagoda
I cannot understand why so many people feel that "Dems Need Domestic Focus to Win" as the headline to Jim Cullen's article puts it (10/15/02).
Mokhiber and Weissman write, "The administration's beating of the war drums has drowned out the dominant stories of two months ago -- the corporate scandals and failing economy."
But we all know that the Bush foreign policy is absurd. Sending our young, poor, to war for any reason is evil and to do it for political gain is beyond comprehension.
Even if we accept the Bush assumption that Iraq might be trying to develop weapons of mass destruction and that they might be aiding the terrorists, it is impossible to support his policies. Suppose that we do succeed in taking them out? What about Iran? We know that Iran aids terrorists and they do have weapons of mass destruction.
Then what about Pakistan? India, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia are our friends today, but so was Iraq just a very few years ago. France, England and Israel are our friends today, but who can tell how they will line up once we start a holy war against so many other nations. Are we going to try to take them all out?
Surely, if the Democrats explain what is at stake, the electorate will follow them. There are enough people still alive who remember what war really means and will help explain it to the young people who think war is nothing but glory and pom-poms. I can only conclude that the Democrats don't have enough respect for the electorate to tell us the truth.
Before the ancient Roman Republic embarked on its continual wars of conquest, the citizens, small farmers, through the popular assembly and their tribunes were free men and prosperous. But absence in the legions necessitated neglect of their farms and the result was forfeiture and their falling into the ranks of the proletariat. Who benefited from these wars of conquest? The patricians that secured booty and exploited the conquered lands as proconsuls. The soldiers who fought lost their farms and their freedom. The free Roman Republic, convulsed with unremitting class conflict, deteriorated into a feared monarchy ruled by a despotic emperor.
Is America the new Rome? The anti-militarism of our Founding Fathers has been perverted since WWII. In the name of defense, our country became militarized. Since, as Orwell has shown, peace means war, our armed forces have garrisoned military bases throughout the world. All in the name of peace and democracy. But our Patricians, those immensely wealthy persons who own/or control our gigantic transnational corporations, have surpassed even Croesus. The working people have over the past thirty years seen a diminution of their take home pay [the late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller once asked reporters, "What is take home pay?"] coupled with the gradual loss of their civil rights. There are at least two American citizens who are held today in military prisons incommunicado. Without being formally charged they are unable to see counsel and cannot petition the courts for a writ of habeas corpus, the crown jewel of Anglo-American jurisprudence, that compels the government to show cause for the detention of any American. It is the cornerstone of all our freedoms. Under this amorphous, endless war on terrorism our liberties are becoming forfeit.
Our new Roman Empire incessantly meddles in the affairs of many nations thus inciting hatred. Our Patricians prosper but the working people face increasing unemployment and a constant gradual diminishing of their standard of living. This, coupled with the present constant assault on our civil liberties, conveys the idea that the history of ancient Rome may be particularly relevant today.
Bush is about to attack Iraq. Well, not personally, of course. He'll actually send other people's sons and daughters to do it. He has at least five good reasons for starting a war: to finish what his daddy started; to make us forget the wrongs he's done in the past and what he's doing that's wrong now; to tilt the upcoming election in his and the Republicans' favor; to show the world who's boss; and because Cheney told him to.
I can't keep quiet any longer. I do understand what you're saying about the election this year -- vote for the moderate Democrat instead of the Green Party candidate if the Dem has a chance of beating the conservative Republican. However, this is no way to establish the Green (or any other third party) as a viable party and that has to be the ultimate goal.
I did not vote for several years as I got tired of voting for the "lesser of two evils." I began again in 2000 only because I had the choice of Green Party candidates.
To be sure, voting for Green candidates will allow some Republicans to win, but, until instant runoff voting is a nationally established fact, we have to hope that the Greens will garner enough votes to make the major parties take notice.
It is a sad fact but true that often things have to get worse before they can get better. Obviously they are not worse enough yet for the masses to rise up and do something about it.
Tina L. Bandick
Road Forks, N.M.
It's stupid to call the USA a democracy when it's NOT run by the elected parties but a third party called Big Business.
Big Business owns the Republican Party and a part of the Democrat Party. Democrats like Sen. Lieberman, who almost was elected vice president, is a member of the Big Business Party. This party dominates by controlling TV, radio and news journals and magazines that inform America.
Our president's first important act after stealing the election was to cut the taxes of the people who elected him with Big Money.
If we were a democracy you tend to the needs of the majority. To keep Big Business in charge you do something that will make patriotism cloud out the misdeeds of large company presidents.
What if a few million people including Americans die unnecessarily? When our troops are involved, newspapers, TV and politicians must support.
Forming third and fourth parties are a very long waste of time. The fastest solution is to take over the Democratic Party and kick Big Business out.
It is a great time to be 81. I won't have to witness the continuing erosion of our democracy. I won't have to experience more trampling of our constitution. I won't have to witness an unelected president acting the Great Dictator while many members of Congress receive, hide, and kowtow to their corporate bribers, making it difficult for honest members to represent us. I won't have to witness more unemployment, lower wages, erosion of unions, lack of fringe benefits, diminution of health benefits, unconscionable salaries of CEOs, continuing threats of lower and lower prescription benefits if any, while profits for drug corporations skyrocket. I won't be here when it will be nigh impossible to purchase food which has not been irradiated, filled with hormones, miserably inspected. I won't witness the continuing demise of family farms. I won't see more of Bush, Ashcroft, etc., talking Jesus and acting Hitler. I won't witness people being arrested, jailed, "disappeared" with no trials. I won't see our beloved country becoming everything we say we despise. No, I will be resting in our polluted earth, and grateful for it -- unless I am arrested for thinking and speaking. Heaven help the rest of you if you do not help yourselves.
Claire E Simpson
Santa Fe, N.M.
Call me skeptical, even cynical, but answer me one simple question: How many of the right-wing hawks in Congress, the ones who are eager to invade Iraq now, how many of these hawks are volunteering their close loved ones to be in the first wave of sacrificial lambs when we invade Iraq? We already know Dubya, Rumsfield, Ashcroft and Cheney didn't serve in the army and didn't fight any wars except on the sidelines. It would be nice to know from all the right wing hawks that their commitment to ridding the world of Saddam is so great that they would gladly send their sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters into battle even knowing there is a good chance they would be killed. Can you tell me how many have made this commitment? The cynical side of me says they are very committed to sending the anonymous sons, daughters, etc., of the lower classes in America, the ones that don't have famous names, but they would cringe at sending their own into this war with it's only said purpose is to remove Saddam Hussein.
Please tell me I'm wrong.
Fred R. Ford
Walnut Creek, Calif.
Editor Replies: Remember that George W. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard, although he was absent without leave for the last year and a half in 1972-73 under suspicious circumstances (see www.awolbush.com).
If you loved Cynthia McKinney so much, why did you drop her column?
Please don't lose Jesse Jackson. If you do, we won't have any laughs left.
Dr. John Monson
Editor Replies: We run US Rep. McKinney's speeches and columns occasionally; however we welcome her point of view. As she leaves Congress perhaps she'll have more time to write. As for Rev. Jackson, there should be plenty of laughs left.
Only in America ... can a buffoon morph into a revered statesman overnight!
Red Bluff, Calif.
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