Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
A National Rifle Association of Peace?

We Can Stop This War

by RICH PROCTER

George Bush wants to invade Iraq so his petro-pals can get that glorious sweet crude, his p.r. machine can have a new “product” to promote to get people’s minds off the death-rattle economy, and his “base” can have gleeful “war-gasms” watching all that delicious smart-bomb “eye candy” on CNN and Faux.

Rummy and Wolfie and Condi and Cheney want to invade Iraq to prove how tough they are. Nothing establishes your street cred like sending out other people to get shot, bombed and gassed.

Big media wants to invade Iraq, because Great Big Stories mean Great Big Audiences which means Great Big Ad Dollars. And if it’s like Gulf War One — great visuals, great heroes, exciting wham-bam-thank you Sam plotline — it’ll yield years of “America Kicks Ass!” special reports. And like GW 1, nobody will care that a couple of hundred thousand dune goons got turned into crispy critters. Fortunes of war, ya know.

About the only people who aren’t with the program are the American people. You know — you, me, your neighbors. More than 70% of Americans think we should let the UN Arms Inspectors try to find these weapons of mass destruction that Bush keeps yelling about. Even if we find them, a vast majority of the American people think we shouldn’t go into Iraq without a broad coalition of allies. Dubya thinks different, of course.

Guess what, friends and neighbors? It’s time we stopped hoping this nightmare goes away, and started staring at the truth. Our President is nothing but a rich-kid bully who has always gotten what he wanted by banging his spoon on his high chair. His dad and his pals got him out of serving in Vietnam, got him into Yale, got him into the oil business, fixed his drunk driving arrest, and bought him his own baseball team. When he couldn’t beat Gore fair and square, dad and his pals fixed it up with Jeb and Katharine Harris and the Supreme Court Five to grease his way into office. Why should Bush care what the people of America want? He’s told us again and again how he operates. He “operates by his gut.” He’s a “black and white kinda guy.” He “doesn’t have to ‘splain himself.” Anything in there about listening to the people of America? About consensus? About humility?

Everyone I know, including people who voted for Bush because they considered Gore a pompous stiff, think this war is going to be a catastrophe. Even if we win, they know the oil companies are going to make mega-bucks, and taxpayers are going to get stuck with the trillion dollar bill of trying to bring order to one of the most chaotic places on earth. That’s if we WIN. If we get bogged down in block-to-block street fighting, and Saddam unleashes chemical weapons, and we take 10,000 casualties in a week…then what? Then expect John Ashcroft to announce that anyone who speaks against the war can be declared an “enemy combatant” with no rights, subject to immediate, indefinite imprisonment.

So what can we do? Let’s pretend, just for a moment, that we’re the “National Rifle Association of Peace.” Let’s pretend we believe we’ve got power — that when we say JUMP, politicians say “How High?” on the way up. Let’s say that we BOMBARD our Senators and Representatives with e-mails, faxes and letters DEMANDING that this farcical ego trip by Chickenhawk #1 G.W. Bush be called off. Let’s say our Senators and Representatives get HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of e-mails, faxes and letters from their constituents. What would happen? They might begin to believe there’s a political consequence for putting American lives at risk so that “THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER” (thank you Helen Thomas) can get his macho yas-yas out.

The story of America is the story of citizens like ourselves having to rise up and tell our leaders to sit down and shut up. The very founding of our nation was a bunch of rabble-rousers telling the Brits to get lost, we’ll run things ourselves, thank you very much. The Civil Rights movement was a bunch of righteous, outraged black people who were sick of getting pushed around by ignorant bullies. The government and the experts and the television pundits all told us we fighting world-wide Communism and battling back those dominoes in Vietnam, until the mothers and fathers of the kids who were dying said, “No more.”

We’re about to cross a line we’ve never crossed — attacking another country without provocation. If you read accounts of what went on in the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis, you’ll hear Robert Kennedy tell the Joint Chiefs, “My brother won’t go down in history as Tojo.” Meaning no bully-boy first strike attacks. The good guys don’t do that. Peace-loving nations don’t do that.

We haven’t crossed the line yet, but it’s getting mighty close. We can still stop this war. If we raise enough hell, we can stop the Worst President Ever from making the Biggest Mistake Ever in our name.

But we have to act NOW. All of us. With e-mail, faxes, letters and phone calls. Let’s send the chickenhawks back to the coop for good.

RICH PROCTER is a cranky, disaffected Democrat whose work often appears in “SmirkingChimp.com“. He can be reached at planetniner@yahoo.com