by Deck Deckert
(Swans - February 13, 2006) There is so much wrong with the country, with the world, that it's impossible to know where to start discussing it.
And the most important things seem to bring the least attention.
For example, nobody is paying much attention to the fact that the US election process has been totally corrupted, so corrupted that we may soon have a one-party state. I don't mean the War Party, the alliance of Democrats and Republicans which has ruled as one party for decades. I mean the Republican Party, permanently in power.
There is some concern that we are approaching the end of American democracy as we've always known it, with its checks and balances among the three branches of government. But this concern is shared by relatively few people. Congress held an anemic hearing on President Bush's claim of absolute power to wiretap anyone he wants as part of the War on Terror. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales argued that the president has unlimited war powers. And basically Congress did nothing. If Congress can't make a stand even on that, they are in danger of becoming totally irrelevant. The presidency is now approaching complete domination.
We don't worry about global warming, except in the most vague and general terms. Global warming probably isn't going to change anything in the near term. Oh, we may see more severe weather all around the world in the next few years, but probably nothing catastrophic on the world scale. So we don't pay much attention, although we could very easily be at or near the tipping point, the point where we can do nothing to prevent global disasters that can threaten all of civilization.
These things and at least a dozen more should be, MUST be, examined. But right now I'd like to spend some time on the idea of Eternal War.
The Eternal War
The U.S. has always been in one war after another, starting with the genocidal wars against Native Americans and continuing until World War I. I was born just before World War II, and there has been at least one war or military action in every decade of my not particularly-short life.
Korea was "my" war. It happened when I was in high school, and by the time I got to college and met some Korean War vets, I actually felt guilty for not having gone to war. That's the power of our national myth, that every generation has at least one war, and that every man has a duty to fight in it.
I was too old for Vietnam but probably would have gone despite the fact that it was genocidal slaughter that I was bitterly opposed to. The choices are never good when you are at odds with your own government.
I've always ranked people during the Vietnam era in the following order -- from most admired to least admired:
Those who went to jail rather than fight;
Those who went to Canada rather than fight;
Those draftees who fought because they had no choice;
Officers who chose to fight;
The bastards who sent them there.
The "War on Terror" is not the first eternal war that we have fought. The first modern eternal war was, of course, the Cold War. It was a fraud. The idea that the Communists were going to take over the world unless we built up massive armaments, including scores of thousands of nuclear weapons, was pure malarkey. But it served the ruling elite exceedingly well. The Cold War was fought by the military-industrial complex that came to power in World War II and that President Eisenhower warned us about.
That same military-industrial complex, with the addition of the neocons, is still firmly in power and waging the War on Terror.
It is our leaders who get us into war, but we the people are so easily led into them. Americans have never met a war they didn't like. There are always antiwar forces, but they're always in the minority. Even in Vietnam, there was a plurality in favor of the war right to the bitter end.
War on a Tactic
But the War on Terror is something new. Even the Cold War was directed at nations -- the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, etc. The War on Terror is a war on a tactic.
Oh yes, we are fighting a nation, Iraq, in the name of the War on Terror, even though the Iraqis were not involved in any terrorist actions against us. But basically, the War on Terror is a war on a tactic used by the weak to fight the powerful.
Powerful nations use tanks and warplanes to slaughter people. Civilians hurt or killed, are simply "collateral damage."
Guerrillas and rebels use roadside bombs, suicide bombers, and if you believe the official 9-11 story, fly airlines into buildings. Civilians they hurt are, of course, victims of depraved acts of terrorism.
And because it is a war on a tactic, it can never end. There is no nation to defeat, and no one to offer to surrender. Even if Osama bin Laden is captured or killed, the War on Terror will not be over. Someone else, many someone elses, will adopt the same tactic and continue to fight.
A soldier recently asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld: When will the worldwide fight against terrorism be over? "I mean, should I get my 3-year-old ready for air assault school?" he asked.
"I wish I could give you a date, but I can't," Rumsfeld answered. That would be like estimating when a town will no longer need firefighters or police, he told the soldier.
And if that doesn't send shudders down your spine, I don't know what would. If the War on Terror lasts as long as the need for police, it will never end.
And in its name, we must destroy the Constitution and turn the president into a king, with unlimited powers.
Start preparing those three-year-olds to be cannon fodder.
Pleasekeep a modicum of sanity in the midst of growing chaos.