FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War of Choice

by NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN

The arguments for and against the war have all been made, and nothing will be gained by repeating them, so let me begin instead with an old movie sequence, featuring the Indian comedian Johnny Walker at a halwai dukaan (sweetmeat shop).

“Let me have some laddus“, he says. As the shopkeeper begins to pack them, he says, “No…instead, I think I’ll have a pound of burfi.” The shopkeeper starts on the burfis. “Forget the burfis“, says Johnny Walker, shortly. “I think I’ll take the jalebis instead”. The shopkeeper suppresses his irritation and quietly packs the jalebis, which Johnny Walker takes and coolly walks out – without paying.

The shopkeeper runs after him, enraged.

Johnny Walker turns to look at him, puzzled.

“What about paying for the jalebis?” demands the shopkeeper.

“What about them?”, responds Johnny Walker. “I got them in place of the burfis.”

“Well, then pay me for the burfis“, says the shopkeeper.

“But those I exchanged for the laddus, protests Johnny Walker.

Says the shopkeeper, “So pay for the laddus“.

“I didn’t buy any laddus“, says Johnny Walker, and turns to saunter off, leaving the shopkeeper dumbfounded and mildly confused.

It is the opening day of America’s Iraq war, and one cannot escape the feeling that President Bush has pulled a Johnny Walker on the American people.

First he said it was the Iraq and Al Qaeda connection.

No no no, said the shopkeepers. There’s no evidence of that.

Well, he tortures his people, said the president.

True…but so do many other countries, and some of them are our good friends.

But he has nuclear weapons!

So they sent the Do Jasoos – Blix and Baradei, to check it out. While they were still rummaging, they were am-Bushed by an American administration which, like the White Rabbit, was in a great hurry.

We haven’t exactly found anything.

That only proves he’s hidden them well.

Well, we’ll find them if he has them. Just give us some time…

But he has connections with Al Qaeda! We can’t wait!!!

And this is the candidate who called Al Gore a ‘Serial Exaggerator’.

Like the shopkeeper, the American public has been left scratching its head – it knows there is a flaw in the argument somewhere, but before it can spot it, the administration has let loose the dogs of war.

What a difference a few chads make! An unelected president, leading a lame coalition, defying the overwhelming mass of world opinion, ignoring the counsels of innumerable wise Americans, has launched a war against a sovereign nation which had never threatened it. It has done so, it would seem, only because the opponent is an emaciated country led by a cruel tyrant. A robustly armed entity (North Korea) headed by an equally cruel tyrant is treated with all the assurances that America has no aggressive designs on it.

When it is pointed out to the administration that such unilateral aggression is unbecoming of the United States of America, Bush gives an answer roughly equivalent to, “But Osama does it”.

Little wonder, then, that Sen. Robert Byrd, the hero of the Senate whose impassioned warnings against giving the president unfettered authority fell on deaf Democratic ears, said that he “weeps for his country today…We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance…After war has ended the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America’s image around the globe.” (Read more of his magnificent speech at The Washington Post). A war is not justified alone by the certainty that we can win it.

Sen. Byrd called this a “war of choice”. What a great irony – the anti-choice president making a war of choice. Unfortunately, the American people, and the world itself, may be paying for their choice (or non-choice) for decades. As I type this, television reports as country after country condemns the attack. I recall another day, September 11, 2001, when the entire world rushed to America’s side.

To paraphrase Peter, Paul and Mary, “Where has all the goodwill gone?

Originally written March 19, 2003.

Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast. His new book, Reading Gandhi in the Twenty-First Century, was published recently by Palgrave-Macmillan. He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail