with Iraq? Bet on it!
August 24, 2002
By William R. King
there is certainly bipartisan support for war with Iraq, there
has arisen in recent days substantial and significant bipartisan
opposition as well. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed a few days
ago, Brent Scowcroft warned of a potential "Armageddon in
the Middle East." Brent Scowcroft is an elder statesman of
Republican foreign policy. He is also a retired general who
also advised Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush's
Also joining the opposition are Republicans Dick Armey, the
House majority leader, and Chuck Hagel, a member of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. Even hawks like Colin Powell
and Henry Kissinger seem to be getting cold feet.
One might conclude that we are witnessing a groundswell of
enlightened and influential opposition to war with Iraq. Don't
count on it. Because of his make-believe macho bluster and
egotistical ignorance, George W. Bush will wage this war for
perhaps the very worst of reasons - to save face.
He has simply pounded out too much pap to pull back now.
Should the opposition become overwhelming, look for the President
to suddenly hear of that phantom Al Qaeda connection or some
other manufactured reason for retaliation. Our media and government
have mastered the art of manipulation and will surely rise
In recent years our presidents have been given a relative
blank check for waging war. The only remaining check or balance
to this practice seems to be us, the American people. If politicians
fear anything, it is the ruckus or rabble rousing of ordinary
Americans. Why are we so silent on these issues of life and
Fear of "standing up" is certainly a major reason, but I
believe that it is primarily because only a small percentage
of our children are likely to do the fighting. We seem to
have lost sight of the fact that, in war, real human beings
have to point the guns and dodge the bullets. We lack experience
with the realities of combat and, as a result, lose ourselves
in an apathetic fantasyland.
As much as I am opposed in principle to a military draft,
I must admit that its reinstatement might be one of the healthiest
moves we as a nation could make. If we required every able-bodied
young man (and, yes, every woman too) to serve in the military
with no means of deferment or exemption (other than truly
legitimate medical ones), then we as a people might pay more
attention to our president's foreign policy.
Consider our own children - the ones we rouse from sleep
each morning, the ones we have nurtured and protected from
infancy, the ones we love and cherish above all else. When
they become the potential pawns in George W. Bush's unending
war on "evil," maybe then we would have second thoughts, overcome
our hypocrisy, and search harder for alternatives to war.
In the meantime, the poor and less privileged will continue
to constitute the bulk of our military forces and will continue
to fight our wars. Also in the meantime, the rest of us will
wave our flags and cheer them on (except, of course, on weekends
when our cheers are reserved for the hometown team and our
time and money are spent on patriotic shopping sprees).
George W. Bush will continue to talk tough about "getting
Saddam dead or alive," knowing that if he fails as he has
with Osama and doesn't succeed in killing us all in a nuclear
"blowback," there will always be another rogue to "root out,"
another stooge to take Saddam's place. And like most of us,
he will not strap on his "six-shooter" and lead the charge.
George W. Bush will mangle some words about courage and perseverance
and turn his gaze again to the next election.
Bill King is a high school teacher in Kingston Springs,