Anyone who fully realizes what is happening now ought to be scared, plenty scared. George W. Bush is proposing to radically change what the United States of America is and what it stands for in this world. No longer will we even pretend to be a democracy that believes other nations are entitled to govern themselves as they see fit.
Nope. Starting now, we are the Imperial Empire, baby, ancient Rome with nukes. And if Washington even thinks some other nation might be hostile, well then, we maintain we have every right to crush them like a bug, before they can even spit at us.
That’s no exaggeration. Last week, the Shrub announced a new policy that includes “pre-emptive strikes” against people we think are bad. Never mind that throughout our history we have had absolute contempt for the concept of the sneak attack; that’s what the Japanese did to us, after all, at Pearl Harbor.
“We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies and friends ... we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary.”
If we let that stand, it means, in the long run, the end of America. We will swiftly degenerate into the world’s most powerful and leading oppressor. History shows what eventually happens to vast and corrupt empires who treat others with contempt.
George Bush the lesser is asserting, in short, that we should be what al Qaeda says we are.
Now what this seems to be about in his puny mind, of course, is Iraq. Our Neiman Marcus Texas cowboy wants to avenge his daddy and take out Saddam Hussein.
He’s betting that we’ll go along with this, in part because we are still whipped up into genuine anger and patriotic fervor over the atrocities of Sept. 11.
That’s what’s really going on here, though you would have a hard time figuring this out from the media. Perhaps the biggest lie that has been swallowed by this country is the notion that we have an aggressive, confrontational, leftist national news media.
What we have is a lazy, cowardly, sloppy media whose priorities should gag a maggot. Last week, when our court-selected president proposed taking us down the road to pre-emptive-strike hell, the media did report that. But CNN, for example, didn’t give it nearly the airplay they did the story about the low-life woman captured on video camera beating her little daughter in the car seat, and the ensuing “nationwide manhunt” for her.
Within hours, they were on to another highly significant new story; the governor of Kentucky it seems, has had sex with a woman who ran a nursing home. Back in the ’60s, the news media had their faults, but their priorities were not set by mental defectives.
Even in the so-called serious press, national security policy is often barely questioned. The president and his stooges endlessly repeat “weapons of mass destruction” as though this phrase meant something. What does it mean? Defined one way, there is certainly some bozo on your block with a weapon or two of mass destruction in his house.
Are we seriously saying Saddam has nuclear weapons? Well, no. What then? Our leaders don’t say. What they do is argue about the nature of the Iraqi regime.
What we need to realize is that it doesn’t matter how bad Saddam is. That’s not the issue. Incidentally, I think he is an evil, murderous lout. Nor am I a pacifist, nor do I have any sympathy for Muslim fanatics. The other day, a political science professor from the University of Chicago told National Public Radio he thought we ought to formally declare war on al Qaeda. I happen to agree, partly because it would be more honest.
But there is not the slightest shred of evidence linking Saddam to Sept. 11. Nor is there any sign he wants to launch a suicidal attack on America. He does have chemical and perhaps biological weapons. But consider: During the Gulf War, we told him that if he used them, he’d be creamed chipped Baa’th. He didn’t dare.
To me, that says he is rational and wants to live. He knows that if he did something terrible, we’d instantly make him melted sand. But if we launch a full-scale military assault on his nation aimed at what Bush calls “regime change,” then he would have every reason and every incentive to use all his dirty weapons.
And this would be our fault.
We have a little, but very little, time. The experts say we are unlikely to launch an invasion before January. The Democrats, as usual, are mostly cowering cowards, with the exception of a brave few like U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, who last week proclaimed, “America, wake up! Naked aggression is not the American way!”
So march and rally and contact your representatives. Grace Boggs e-mailed me Sunday to ask “Why haven’t Conyers and Kilpatrick come out against the war?”
Why, indeed? Let them know you’ll refuse and resist. We all must, soon.
Things worth showing up for: On Friday, Sept. 27, the Corktown District Council will have a rally at Tiger Stadium, to once again call on the city to do something with it. The Ilitches, of course, want it torn down, lest someone put a real team in there to compete with the wretched garbage offered up at Comerica Park.
Then on Sunday, the interfaith coalition MOSES intends to bring 5,000 people to a gigantic public meeting from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Greater Grace complex at Telegraph and Seven Mile, mostly to push the next governor to do something about badly needed mass transit. I don’t know if Dick and Jen plan to be there, but you might.Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org