In reaction to a horrible attack on the World Trade Center
towers and the Pentagon, United States President George W. Bush
has proclaimed what amounts to an overt and covert war against
any and all "terrorists" he considers enemies of the
United States. He has also included as enemies in this war any
person, group or government that "harbors" such terrorists.
As if that was not enough, he has furthermore announced that everyone
in the world must choose either to support the United States in
this war against terrorists or be considered hostile by his regime.
Noam Chomsky has noted that not even the Nazis went that far.
Bush, in his inability to negotiate and his lack of flexibility
and tolerance, sees the world in black and white with no middle
ground. Although Bush may have much military power under his command,
he is not God and cannot exclude a third alternative; neither
is he competent nor authorized to be the judge and jury of terrorists.
The nature of his misguided foreign policy was clearly indicated
when he chose as his chief diplomat General Colin Powell, who
is publicly known for his doctrine that employs the "use
of overwhelming force."
As a peace-loving person, I do not support any terrorists. That means I do not support government terrorism either, whether it be by "rogue states" or a super-power that acts like a rogue state. Thus I cannot support Bush's war against everyone in the world who will not take his side for which he has even used the misguided word "crusade." Perhaps the closest analogy to the campaign Bush is launching is the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that President Lyndon Johnson passed through the U. S. Congress in August 1964. That misguided escalation led to a horrible and useless war that killed more than a million Vietnamese and ended with American defeat in 1975. Since the United States has been bombing Iraq for ten years, has recently bombed a Sudan pharmaceutical factory, Afghanistan camps originally set up by the CIA, and Yugoslavia's infrastructure, and provides the weapons by which Israel attacks Palestinians, this proclamation by Bush must also be considered an escalation of on-going conflicts into a larger war.
Ironically this war also has been stimulated and justified by demonizing an enemy (Osama bin Laden), who in fact was previously supported by the United States CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in the American-financed war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. This continues the pattern of atrocities, just as the U. S. CIA supported Manuel Noriega before going to war against him and Panama. How many Americans recall or are aware that hundreds of innocent Panamanians were buried in mass graves in the war crimes perpetrated by President George Herbert Walker Bush? Bush Sr. also demonized Iraq's Saddam Hussein after he had been supported by United States weaponry and aid in Iraq's war against Iran, during which even chemical weapons were used against the Kurd minority. The United States has a disastrous record of helping to create Frankenstein monsters and then later rousing the people to go to war against them.
Bush's war against everyone in the world who does not agree with him is doomed to defeat. How long it will last and how many people will be killed will depend on how long it takes for the American people to realize it is folly and act to change the policy of their government. The solution to terrorism is not military interventions that are and cause more terror but the peaceful resolution of conflicts, protection of all human rights, and compassionate concern for the welfare of all. In the dialect of history this misguided war may even accelerate the world toward its climactic struggle, which will be between those who use violence and those who courageously stand up for nonviolent and judicial solutions to human conflicts. Every person is free to decide to choose the peaceful alternative that insists on true justice under universal laws that are fair for everyone, not what is dictated by any one group, religion, ideology, nation, or alliance of nations through the use of military power.
As individuals we can support those politicians who have the courage not to go along with the current war fever. We can refrain from paying taxes to support this misguided war. We can communicate with others to encourage them to join the third option of peace with justice that sooner or later will include all nations and peoples in the world. The current war psychosis that has pervaded the mass media and U. S. society will not be easy to heal and may take a long time and more hard experiences with foolish violence before most people learn the needed lessons. Those of us with clear heads and open hearts to the pain of all, not just to that of our fellow citizens, have a great responsibility to be beacon lights of hope for a better world based on love and justice, not violence backed by the power of wealth. We can pray for peace with good will to all. Let us also stand up and speak out for the way of love.
This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.