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Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains And I wonder, still I wonder Who’ll stop the rain
John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Who’ll Stop the Rain
The shades of Vietnam deepen as America and the world slide toward Armageddon. Screaming Biblical echoes in Mesopotamia/Iraq and Palestine/Israel. Mad bosses measuring phallic missiles. Reportedly preparing explosives to massacre on a greater scale than Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Gulf War I. Words of solemn wisdom and warning from Iraq:
“The time for persuasion, for reasoned argument, is long past. Our leaders are self-observably unreasonable. If there is hope of stopping this war, then it will be because we the peoples of this world engage in massive, nonviolent civil disobedience, shut down our governments, and overthrow the institutions of war. We have but short days. We have to begin to ask–what will we risk for peace?”
This is the time of history, of war and peace, of Bush’s rush to violent power for oil and domination. The time of global stands in defense of democracy, peace, freedom, thought and truth. The time of Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz’ comeuppance or their blood guilt. The time to stand and fight for one’s beliefs. Or the time of the “good Germans” and genocidal furious slaughter of innocents. The time before the time the soldiers refuse to follow their orders. The time of Kennedy’s Camelot and the invasion of South Vietnam that’s never been recorded in our school history books. Today US/UK bombers hit ground-to-ground missile units in Iraq, but it won’t be recorded in official US history. Today is just ten days since the Mother of the kid killed in Genoa at the G-8 riots in July 2001 read Subcommandante Marcos’ Letter to Rebel Italy aloud, at the giant Rome site of the biggest peace demonstration in the world, ever:
“It is a war by money, which is represented by Sen?r Bush (perhaps in order to emphasize that he is completely lacking in intelligence). And it is against humanity, whose fate is now at stake in the soil of Iraq. This is the war of fear. Its objective is not to defeat Hussein in Iraq. Its goal is not to do away with al-Quaida. Nor does it seek to liberate the people of Iraq. It is not justice, nor democracy, nor liberty which drives this terror. It is fear. . . . Fear that the world will refuse to be treated like plunder. Fear of that human essence which is called rebellion. Fear that the millions of human beings who are mobilizing today throughout the world will be victorious in raising the cause of peace. . . . This war is against all humanity, against all honest men and women. This war seeks that we should know fear, that we should believe that he who has money and military force also has right. This war hopes that we shall shrug our shoulders, that we shall make cynicism a new religion, that we shall remain silent, that we shall conform, that we shall resign, that we shall surrender . . . and that we shall forget . . . The powerful have invoked God at their side in this war, so that we will accept their power and our weakness as something that has been established by divine plan. But there is no god behind this war other than the god of money, nor any right other than the desire for death and destruction.”
This is the time of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Lyndon B. Johnson would carry on his presidential conversations while he sat on the toilet, defecating and bitching about Vietnam. Now George W. Bush will strut naked to the teleprompter, and read that he is an impatient patient man. That anyone who opposes mass slaughter is irrelevant and loves Saddam Hussein. That he hasn’t decided whether to attack Iraq yet, but he will very soon. That he doesn’t remember where he was when he went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. That he pretends he intends, contemplates and understands regime change and preemptive war and shock and awe. But he’s completely naked. Now is only a month since Pentagon sources confirmed what Operation Shock and Awe would supposedly do to the cradle of civilization in Baghdad:
The plan includes . . . a sudden decimation of Baghdad by raining down on its people, in two days, over 800 cruise missiles ? more than were used in the entire Gulf War. . . . rather like the nuclear weapons of Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes . . . a firestorm, a Dresden or Tokyo with 60 years of new technology. It would be a war crime of quick and staggering proportions. . . . Such a plan, of course, makes a mockery of Donald Rumsfeld’s ritual insistence that the Pentagon takes enormous care to avoid civilian casualties; the plan apparently is to kill a staggering percentage of Baghdad’s civilian population in the first day alone . . . The United States is planning to suck all the oxygen out of the air with a fireball over the heads of the five million residents of Baghdad so that “nobody in Baghdad will be safe.” . . It is as if Bush and his sociopathic advisors want stronger terrorist groups ? want further attacks on Americans ? so as to justify their lust for global military dominance. Regardless, they’re certainly doing their best to provoke it.”
It’s destroying Hu? “in order to save it,” the “secret” bombing of Cambodia, Dien Bien Phu. It’s Babel. It’s Joshua toppling the walls of Jericho. The World Trade Center and the giant Buddhas of Afghanistan and the Bali disco bombing and embassy bombings, the USS Cole, suicide martyrdom ripping apart the Middle East and spreading to Africa, with North Korea and Kashmir ticking in the background. Terror and betrayal and prophecy and treasonous leadership. Bush stumbling from imperial disaster to photo op to campaign fundraiser to shake Ariel Sharon’s gruesome, ruthless, blood-stained hand. The answer to Osama bin Laden’s prayer for final confrontation between Islamic fundamentalism and the US corporate faith in money, sex, power.
A mother’s breast, a newborn child A poet’s tears and a drunken smile I can’t help feeling all the while Their meaning won’t be wasted You built your tower strong and tall Can’t you see, it’s got to fall some day
Townes Van Zandt Tower Song
Nobody lives forever Nothin’ stands the test of time You heard ’em say “never say never” It’s always best to keep it in mind That every tower ever built tumbles No matter how strong no matter how tall Some day even great walls will crumble And every idol ever raised falls And some day even man’s best laid plans Will lie twisted and covered in rust When we’ve done all we can but it slips through our hands It’s ashes to ashes and dust to dust Steve Earle Ashes to Ashes
Watch the tower grow. Do everything you can. Pull it to the ground.
TOM STEPHENS is a lawyer in Detroit, Michigan. He can be reached at lebensbaum4@earthlink.
“Living Against Disaster.” by Ramzi Kysia February 24, 2003 (See also “This is Only the Beginning,” by Adele Oliveri, 2/20/03) (“Let’s not put limits to our imagination: as citizens and consumers, we have a tremendous power over the functioning of the economy, although we often fail to realize that. Why can’t we stop using our cars, why can’t we walk out on our employers all together, why can’t we block the main infrastructures of our own cities, why can’t we clog the email systems and web sites of the institutions that are currently supporting war? The possibilities are endless. We simply ought to ask ourselves ‘What price am I willing to pay to stop this war? Indeed, what price am I willing to pay to bring down this logic of violence and exploitation, and start building a whole new world from scratch?’ and then act accordingly.”)
“No to War,” by Subcommandante Marcos, read by Heidi Giuliani, Mother of the late Carlo Giuliani, in Rome on 2/15/03
“Shock and Yawn,” by Geov Parrish 2/24/02