by Jacob Kaufman
"Whar, Whar, Whar," a petulant Scarlett O'Hara protested
in her Southern drawl as she tried to turn the conversation
between her handsome twin suitors from 1861's impending crisis
to herself. Those words, that scene were authored by Margaret
Mitchell in her historic epic, "Gone With the Wind" in 1936.
The words echo in our ears today as George W. Bush proclaims
that his (not necessarily our) war may last for decades -
"whar, whar, whar".
That day described in "Gone With the Wind", during which
Scarlett would be flaunting her incomparable charms, was to
be one of a gathering of several families at a neighboring
plantation, of festivities replete with a barbeque. Thus was
the antebellum South.
Most, if not nearly all, of the landed, slave owning Southern
aristocrats favored hostilities in 1861. War would result
in a vidicaton of their cherished doctrine of secession, gain
them new political power bring them economic gain much as
it would corporate moguls today who seek favorable legislation
for their industries, tax rebates and vast profits accruing
from a never ending armed conflict.
The story's protagonist, Rhett Butler, saw only disaster
for the South if war came. His famous line, spoken at a gathering
of men folk following the barbeque, is, "All the outh has
is cotton, slaves and arrogance". A young firebrand Confederate
named Hamilton, leaped to his feet to challenge Butler to
a duel in defense of the honor of his region. As you may recall,
Butler, in order to spare the life of Hamilton, withdrew his
seemingly rash statement and, tongue in cheek, apologized.
Should Mitchell be alive today, might she have brought her
book up to date in light of current events? Whould she re-characterize
Rhett Butler to have him say, "All this country has is greed,
selfishness, fear, self righteousness, fear, hatred and (of
Considering the millions who, at least tacitly, support Mr.
Bush's "whar", Rhett Butler would be chastised by the mainstream
press, stripped of his citizenship, threatened by a rabid
mob, imprisoned, stood before and convicted of treason by
a military tribunal and subsequently hanged then drawn and
quartered in a public execution. His name would be vilified,
his words demonized in history books and his likeness protrayed
as a everlasting symbol of evil.
Many decades later, I'm certain, Rhett Butler's characterization
of his country would be proved true for, unless halted, our
nation will expend its finite resources in unending conflicts
scattered over the planet in dozens of sovereign nations who
had best be left to solve their own internal situations. Nebraska,s
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel put it best recently when he
remarked, "We can't declare war on the whole world".
"Why are we thus engaged?" you might ask. Why - because Bush
nas defined "fighting terrorism is our calling". Yes, and
Bush finds war as a means to become a demagogue. Bush realizes
it is far more popular to fight a world war than to preserve
world peace. Bush finds it convenient to use war hysteria
as a smokescreen to plunder the national treasury. Bush envisions
himself as a war president standing shoulder to shoulder with
Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevel.
"Whar, whar, whar," coupled with Chiclen Little's ominous
cry "The sky is falling, the sky is falling" are all we hear
fromNBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. We are fed propagands based on
utterances of those who perpetuate unedefined fear and unending
frustating from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, Powell, Rice, that
dupe Ridge and the Keystone Kops Tenet and Mueller. All these
and more are being paid exhorbitant saleries paid out of our
treasurey's deminishing tax dollars to terrorize us with their
words and programs. It's like inflicting pain on oneself with
one's on whip.
As Bush so often reminded us during Campaign 2000, "It's
your money". Well, if it is our money, why are we letting
him waste it on a series of hopeless and endless mini-wars
in order to immortalize himself?
America, stop beating yourself with your own whip.