Who's For War?

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Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away

The
blip that Secretary Powell’s presentation
to the United Nations registered on the War Party’s recorder has
quickly become a distant memory.

Crossing the threshold of credibility perhaps
one too many times, that drum beat is beginning to sound less like
a respectable march to war than a red-faced bureaucrat pounding
his desk.

They’re slipping.

To my surprise, I’m even hearing
familiar voices, friends and family who have been loyal to the
president, those
whom I never expected to cast a shadow of doubt on his policy,
at last reflect that the looming war might not be the best direction
for this nation.

Our government and their paid ministers of wisdom can dismiss the broad and
genuine consensus against the war as the subversive activity of Marxist revolutionaries, and
virulent neocons can call for courts to be convened against patriots in the
name of treason
, but it just doesn’t ring true.

And when the president cannot claim
support at home, he mocks support he should be seeking, and brags
about support
that doesn’t matter. Nearly every European state refutes him, every
European nation reviles him, and even Middle East nations who despise
Saddam Hussein are filled with dread.

Demonstrations subsequent to the
administration’s
best presentation of evidence were estimated
at thirty million people worldwide
; and even in the two most
important Western states whose leadership backs the president,
Blair’s London filled the streets with a million protesters, and
in Berlusconi’s Rome, two million.

When nothing seems to be going right for the New
Rome, it even appears that the
bribe being offered Turkey is not sweet enough
.

But as embarrassing as the president’s self-imposed
position is, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seems to be doing
a pretty good job of running interference. The Beltway boys have
all been having great fun over Rumsfeld’s repeated derisions of
France and Germany as "Old Europe."

But they didn’t know he was serious.

In response to Europe’s criticism of US foreign
policy, Rumsfeld explains, "You’re thinking of Europe as Germany
and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe. If you look at
the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting
to the east." Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Poland? What
on Earth is this man talking about?

Wherever the center of gravity
is, who can forget that the proud ministers of Portugal, before
joining the Economic
Union, visited the grave of Charlemagne? No, the Old World isn’t
dead yet.

Time for Dissent

Tim Russert, asking
General Wesley Clark
, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander,
about his plans to run for president, the general responded with
the usual well-I-may-have-considered-running-for-president-but-during-this-crisis-is-not-the-time-to-discuss-it
statement. He made it clear, based on the president’s imperial
foreign policy, he couldn’t see himself running as a Republican
candidate (besides, he’d have to wait another four years).

We’re at a turning point in American history here. We’re about
to embark on an operation that’s going to put us in a colonial
position in the Middle East following Britain, following the Ottomans.
It’s a huge change for the American people and for what this country
stands for.

This is an interesting
statement from the Saladin of Serbia, but however cynical one might
view
the general’s statement,
it’s obvious there’s a strong and growing anti-war sentiment in
America upon which he hopes to capitalize.

How can this administration hope to survive in
the face of this dissent, before even the first casualty?

Do they hope to wage war at all cost, to save
face at the expense of national security, and at the expense of
our finest sons? This reasoning is often entertained, but what
kind of monsters adhere to this kind of calculus?

Isn’t that the greatest accomplishment of Vietnam — body
bag after body bag — in order to save face? As this government
recently sent scores of thousands of body bags to Europe in anticipation
of their worst fears, are they willing to see history repeat itself?

What vital national interest is worth sacrificing
the lives of our brave soldiers, innocents abroad, and victims
at home?

Today I spoke to a young reservist
who’s on his
way, but he doesn’t know where — "Kuwait, Afghanistan, even
Korea?", he said. And Ariel Sharon
says the U.S. should also disarm Iran, Libya and Syria
.

Just
what is going to sustain this martial culture? Does the War Party
imagine soccer moms as Spartan women, substituting
the martial arts for Jazzercise, whose only passion will be to
give birth to warriors?

What are they thinking? They’re always telling
us that things are different now — cheerfully singing "It’s
a Small World after All" — indeed so. So how do they hope
to fulfill their own Wilsonian agitprop when every corner of the
world is visible, and no temptation of their righteousness is hidden?

But no quarter should be given to any temptation
of these hopeful masters, even when wild-eyed men fearful for war
accuse patriots of being traitors.

The Time for Dissent is timeless — it’s never
time to pretend you believe your government when you know you don’t,
but especially when life is at stake.

February
22, 2003

Brian Dunaway [send him mail] is a chemical engineer and a native Texan.

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