Now or Forever Behold the Pieces
December 14, 2002
By Dennis Rahkonen
Last week saw the release of study findings from a Pew survey
on international opinion regarding the U.S. and its policies.
One of the most extensive and comprehensive polls ever undertaken,
conducted in many countries, it revealed dramatic decline
in our nation's standing in global eyes. Anti-American sentiment
is rampant around the planet, rather than being a minority
phenomenon. "Relatively few Americans have any idea of how
critically we are seen around the world and the ways we’re
criticized, and what we’re criticized for," said Pew center
director Andrew Kohut, upon delivering the report to the White
So...what's likely to happen next?
Scenario: UN inspectors find no compelling evidence
that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. Bush maintains
it's just because Saddam has "cleverly hidden them," and attacks
regardless, just as warhawk Richard Perle blatantly admitted
while in Britain that the U.S. would do all along. Rather
than face slaughter in the open desert, Iraqi troops -- and
ordinary patriots resisting unequivocal aggression -- retreat
to Baghdad and other major cities, which are then attacked
with everything in our abundant arsenal. Bombs and missiles
rain death on the Iraqi capital, which has a population equivalent
to that of Los Angeles. Civilian casualties will be staggeringly
high, constituting a war crime of hideous dimensions, which
(despite our censorship) will be sensationally reported throughout
Justifiably enraged demonstrators will fill streets of cities
on every continent. (There's already been a protest by numerous
individuals from several nationalities in Antarctica!) The
currently very tenuous and qualified "support" for war within
the U.S. will melt like ice cubes in the August sun. The resulting
tumult will have far-reaching, negative impact on U.S. interests
and prestige. The stock market and economy will take punishing
body blows. The presently pervasive view that Washington's
true motives are based on oil, hegemony, and imperialist penetration
will become an article of oracular faith -- everywhere. Objective
debacle will become more complete and devastating the more
successful our military is in its brutally bloody goal.
There'll be more hate-filled new militants and would-be terrorists
waiting to join al- Qaeda than there were ticket buyers standing
in line at all of the movie houses in America back when The
There's one thing that can prevent all this from coming to
pass. And that's YOUR opposition to this impending folly finally
being loudly voiced. Yes, YOU.
All of you who've dared not separate 9/11 from its increasingly
misdirected -- no, hijacked -- "response" ever since...who've
consequently allowed a brigand band of right-wing extremists
to make a mockery of U.S. values and ideals. And who will
clearly be complicit in this nation's very definite downfall
if you don't, at last, break your silence.
All it takes is a simple statement: "This is wrong. I won't
support it any longer," accompanied by a public expression
of your aroused conscience, audible to Congress and others.
Nothing less than our country's place in history is at stake.
Don't let false pride and misapplied patriotism lead you to
a wrong choice.
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, WI, has written progressive
commentary and verse for various outlets since the ‘60s. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.