by RIP RENSE
WAR ON EARTH,
BAD WILL TOWARDS MEN
I heard a Muzak version of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono
Christmas carol, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," the other day, with a rather
astonishing alteration. Removed from the song, excised from the arrangement, absent even
from the syrupy strings and flatulent horns. . .was the chorus:
"War is over if you want it."
Not only was it not sung, it was not even
present as a background melody.
Same reason pro-Bush forces
got away with outrageous campaign ads in Iowa that cunningly portrayed Democratic
presidential candidates as pro-terrorism. If you do not support the president's
invasion of Iraq, the ads suggested, you do not support a war on terrorism. Applying the
simple Bush "with us or against us" credo placed Dean, Kerry, Gephardt,
Kucinich, and even closet hawk Lieberman right in the wilds of Pakistan, roasting rats
War is in.
Legs blown to stumps, arms pulverized into
bloody sponge, eyes blown from sockets, children dismantled by cluster bombs---all as
politically correct as a queer makeover.
The Bush administration, with a razzle-dazzle
of John Wayne rhetoric, color-coded terror alerts, and Big Lie therapy, has turned war
into a winner. Don't believe it? See the Old Glory-decorated Christmas trees in department
God rest ye legless gentlemen.
War is cool.
So let's hear it for the cold fear
stealing over soldiers as they patrol alien lands this Christmas, knowing that at
any moment they might be dismembered by unseen assailants. Let's hear it for Operation Ivy
Snake, and Operation Bulldog Drummond, or whatever pulp novel names the latest military
undertakings are given.
Silent night, holy guts.
hear it for killing, and being killed. Let's hear it for Pentagon euphemisms to take
the sting out of death and maiming, so citizens back home can lash Christmas trees to SUVs
without a twinge of conscience. Let's hear it for Bradley Vehicles, and tanks, and M-16's,
and those new one-shot-kill bullets being tested in combat. The ones that will make an
entire pelvis disappear.
Onward, Christian soldiers.
Peace is out. No, not only
"out"---peace is a '60's cliché to be sneered at over a six-pack, a box of
Krispy Kremes, and the Paris Hilton video. To suggest that invading and occupying Iraq was
anything but our duty to Gawdandcountry has become downright un-American.
After all, we took out a "bloody
"We got 'im," said de facto Iraq
viceroy Paul Bremer, in reference to Saddam's capture, and the nation cheered like it was
a football game. Quoth many a U.S. citizen, with an ignorance that is suffocating,
"Guess now it's safe to go Christmas shopping." People said this. I swear to
Joy to the world, Saddam is gone.
Yes, it seems that not only does much of the
populace still believe that Saddam blew up the World Trade Center and Pentagon, it buys
the White House's relentless characterization of him as one of the champion tyrants and
mass murderers in human history.
Saddam is a chorus girl next to Stalin, Mao,
Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim Il Jung, and probably the current China leadership, which
just a few years ago allowed several million country folk to starve to death---and which
threatens Taiwan, on which it has no historical claim, daily. (I am, just to be sporting,
not counting the countless thousands killed in U.S.-sanctioned CIA wars in South America,
Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, etc. or the millions who died in Vietnam.)
Saddam? A comparative pussycat. What's more, he
was our pussycat---practically a U.S. employee. We sold him the chemical weapons (along
with Britain) that he allegedly used to gas the Kurds (some believe this was done by
Iran.) We armed him, supported him---and, in fact, helped put him in power in the first
place. Many U.S. officials through the years, most famously Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld, visited Saddam, shook hands with Saddam, smiled at Saddam, and made deals with
Saddam. Knowing all the while of the things President Bush likes to recite: Saddam's
penchant for mass murder, torture chambers, "rape rooms."
And lest we forget: Vice-President Cheney was
still doing business with heavily sanctioned Iraq in the late '90s, through subsidiaries
of Halliburton, of which he was CEO.
Can you say "consummate hypocrisy?"
Of course, Saddam did invade Kuwait---but then,
he had our permission. When U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met with him July 25, 1990,
Saddam asked Glaspie if the U.S. would object to an attack on Kuwait on the pretext of
allegedly pilfered oil, and Glaspie said this: "We have no opinion
Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction ... that
Kuwait is not associated with America."
Sounded like a "yes" to Saddam..
So why did the U.S. not depose the "bloody
dictator" under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush the First? Why did we supply
him with weapons, money, and look the other way while Uday and Qusai had a good old time
in their "rape rooms?" Could it have been for money? Could it have been for oil?
Could it have been for our proxy war with Iran? Could it have been for Israel?
And why did we, after so many years---and after
Saddam destroyed a couple dozen of pride-and-joy missiles at Bush's demand---invade his
sorry little country, and remove his rotten regime? Could it be for money? Could it be for
oil? Could it be for Israel? Could it be for the Project for a New American Century,
synonymous with Bush's national security policy, which calls for "pre-emptive"
invasion of any country that "we" dislike? That calls, in essence, for U.S.
unilateral domination of the world?
The Bush Administration says no, that all this
is being done only to "stop terrorism" and to fight the good, moral fight by
"ridding the world of a bloody dictator."
This red-white-and-blue refrain plays well with
all the adult children gathered around the Christmas tree this year. Forget that Saddam
was never a real threat to any country other than his own, his neighbors, and Israel.
Forget that had he seriously attacked Israel, that Israel, with or without its massive
nuclear arsenal, would have erased Iraq overnight. Forget that the world is littered with
"bloody dictators" that we have done business with on a regular basis.
Forget that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.
That Saudi Arabia and Osama Bin-Laden did. Forget that Muslim extremists all over the
third world continue to plot terror attacks. That invading and conquering Iraq not only
does nothing to stop this, but it foments greater resolve on the part of Islamic
Forget that intelligence experts the world over
contend that the way to fight terrorism is a cooperative international effort centered
around infiltration of terror cells and, when necessary, multi-lateral military action.
Forget that the Bush administration told 75
Democratic congressmen the fabulous lie
that a nuclear strike by Iraq against east coast U.S. cities was imminent, in order to
secure their vote for invasion.
Moral fight? If we are in the business of
"morally" policing the planet, we have our work cut out. Next would come North
Korea, Iran, China, Indonesia, possibly Pakistan, half of Africa, for starters---which
means slaughtering millions of innocents. Seeing as the USA is already a trillion bucks in
debt, with no end in sight, this "moral" fight might prove a bit expensive, let
alone. . .immoral.
One wonders: whatever happened to a moral
obligation to peace and prosperity at home?
O little town of Bethlehem, how still the