We’ve got to do more than mark their anniversaries and we’ve got to take the initiative. Leftists all around me complain that there is no left in the USA. If there isn’t I wonder, than who are you and who am I? Anarchists hit the streets with their fellow travelers; and the liberals against the US war on the world seem to be waiting for their savior-some kind of Democratic wolf in peacenik clothing, I assume. Meanwhile all around, death, destruction and deception go on. Congress votes another hundred billion for the war industry under the guise of staying the course and too much of the country is wondering if Mark McGwire took steroids and/or did Michael Jackson wore pajamas to court today.
In Iraq, the battle continues. Bombs in the streets and helicopter gunships in the air. Corrupt politicians behind military police checkpoints negotiate their place in a puppet government with one of their eyes on the monetary prize. One can almost hear the players saying, Ahmed Chalabi, please show us how you scammed the ideologues in Washington and then go away. It’s our turn at the trough now. Sooner or later, one or more of these leeches will lose their grip on the Pentagon monetary supply vein and fall into themselves like a college frat boy pledge trying to drink a fifth of whiskey in an hour. Puking their vanity and duplicity all over their freshly ironed overpriced clothing.
In the streets of Sadr City and Mosul, to name just a few zones where the occupiers dare not go unless accompanied by a tank or, at the very least, that behemoth they call the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Iraqi children and their parents face an indeterminate amount of time under the yoke of occupation. Elections fade into one’s memory quicker than the life they had before the invasion of 2003. Here in the US of A, we watch the misery unfold-those of us who bother to pay attention, anyhow. Everyone else just wants it all to go away. Why, they wonder, is this war a war? That’s not what they promised.
Of course, the US troops didn’t mean to kill that Italian intelligence officer. Even when the war is wrong, our soldiers only act with the noblest intentions.
Meanwhile, the larger national organizations that organize these rallies appear to be fighting over direction (a direction that the leaders of the organizations seem to have lost). The one led by liberals and others who appear only too eager to isolate the more radical elements of the movement and cozy up to the Democratic wing of the war party disses the other communist-inspired group. At the anniversary protests, it was the latter that got out the black and Latino communities and it was the liberals who got arrested. Go figure. Meanwhile, those of us who want to do something effective to end this war (and the “war on terror”) go to the rallies but ignore the national organizations and follow our own agendas or do nothing.
Bottom line-this war is a war fought to maintain and (if the war planners can pull it off) and expand the US empire. This means that the Democrats will only help the antiwar cause so much. After all, they profit from the current situation just like the GOP. To oppose this war at its fundamental level, we can’t look to the democrats. After all, Bill Clinton’s bombs and cruise missiles killed and destroyed with the same impunity as George Bush’s. The cause of most of the world’s problems is not George Bush, it’s US imperialism.
That imperialism is best represented off the battlefield by the nomination of Iraq War architect and all-around evildoer Paul Wolfowitz to the presidency of the World Bank. It is further represented by Donald Rumsfeld’s claim that it is Turkey’s refusal to allow their countryside to be used as a launchpad for the northern invasion of Iraq that is the reason there is still armed resistance to the US occupation. Domestically, it is represented by the continued destruction of social services, tax cuts for the rich, and more money for military recruiters who have failed to make their quota for the past two months at least. It is represented in the continued imprisonment of unknown numbers of immigrants and others without charges in Guantanamo Bay and who knows where else. It is further represented in the incredible numbers of people incarcerated in the United States, often for acts that are not even crimes in other countries.
Two years is how long the Bush war on Iraq has been going on, but the US war on those who either disagree with its plans or just don’t fit in to them has been going on considerably longer. The unfortunate fact of this latter war, however, is that very few people oppose it. Are we that bought off? Or are we just too busy trying to maintain the lifestyle we are accustomed to? Are these last two questions essentially the same question? Or better yet, are these last two years just a small example of what our future looks like? George Bush and his Book of Revelations Bible Study Group have got to be told that the Second Coming is not a utopian vision. Before we’re all blown to hell.
RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org