February 21, 2003
By Ed Hanratty
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm torn between keeping up
the fight and just resigning to the fact that we're on the
verge of World War III. It looks like we're all about to rue
those words we spoke so often while we (at least those of
my generation, born in the mid 70's) were younger - "Man,
I wish that I actually saw some real history unfold." Be careful
what you wish for, it just might come true.
Why bother protesting? What's it really going to accomplish?
Or worse, why give a shit at all if war is inevitable? Why
not just go with the flow, follow the leader, or at best,
try hard to tune it out? Isn't it unpatriotic, or anti-American
to do so? It sure seems like there are a lot of questions
to face now. Let's see how quickly we can sum them all up.
For starters, what you'll hear on talk radio and the increasingly
conservative outlet known as cable news is that these (us)
protesters are commies, terrorists, Hussein-lovers, etc. Nothing
could be further from the truth. NOTHING. It's a right to
protest. More importantly, It's a responsibility.
This is allegedly a government of the people, by the people,
for the people. Those warmongers and sellouts, Bush, Powell,
Rice, Rummy, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Franks, et al, you know what?
They work for us. They are public employees in the public
sector. To allow them to brainwash the masses is not only
irresponsible, it's criminal.
They tell me that the average American believes everything
he or she hears. That's hysterical. You know why? That means,
out of the 50 or so people I spend my time with, 50 of my
closest friends and family members, plus hundreds in cyberspace,
well, I don't know an "average" American. Maybe we're unique,
maybe we're an anomaly, maybe we defy all odds (come on Lord,
if I'm gonna defy the odds, make it on the Powerball, not
the intellectual capabilities of my friends).
They throw figures at us about public support. They tell
us that this is the next step in the war on terror. They convinced
us that we have no other option than regime change. They convinced
us that Saddam Hussein, not Osama bin Laden, not North Korea,
not our own greed, decadence, and arrogance, is our biggest
We're scared shitless. We're wrapping our houses in plastic
sheets. Our windows are sealed with duct tape. We have troopers
armed to the teeth at every bridge, tunnel and airport. We
stock up on water, flashlights, and batteries. How long till
we start building an Ark and collecting two of every species?
We look at people of Middle Eastern descent with suspicion
(or maybe we make a conscious effort not to) - still, in the
end, we're noticing them for no other reason than the fact
that they come from a different part of the world. You could
have a white man walking down a street next to an Arabic man.
The Arabic man can be dressed like you or me: jeans, button
down shirt, maybe a Yankees' cap. The white man could be stark
naked, with the exception of his bright blue thigh high stockings,
and the AK-47 wrapped around his chest. In our heads, we're
debating who to keep an eye on.
Out of one side of their mouth, the vocal side, our leaders
have gone out of their way to tell us that this is not a war
against Islam. Yet in their actions, and through subtle hints
here and there, they've convinced us of the opposite.
They have capitalized to no avail on the single worst day
in American history (another reason why it was so imperative
to make a stand in the great city of New York last week).
They've turned it into a battle cry. Hell, in 2004, the GOP
will be hosting the Republican National Convention there.
Oh man, can you imagine the photo-ops down in lower Manhattan?
They're going to turn Ground Zero - our Normandy, our Auschwitz,
our Tiananmen Square - into Disneyland. They paint "Lets Roll"
on bombs capable of producing a body count three times that
of Ground Zero.
Forget the fact that the plans for that day were orchestrated
by Saudi Arabians, likely in Saudi Arabia, and carried out
by a clan that was 79% Saudi Arabia. Why should that matter,
right? Let's go after Afghanistan ( hey, at least there was
a clear link there, I'm not complaining) then move onto Iraq,
and eventually Iran. Let's give the Sauds a break. After all,
their business dealings with the Bush family and Dick Cheney
should buy them some sort of amnesty. Consider it a pardon.
Sure, you can criticize President Clinton, rightly so, when
he pardons campaign donors that double as fugitives. But when
the Bush junta wants to pardon a government that doubles as
the backbone of international terrorism, then we might as
well just turn the other cheek.
Give Bush credit. What other President, hell, what other
person could remain so credible, so popular, and have a track
record that reads something like this:
Have the Supreme Court appoint you President in the
most contested election in history
Oversee an international crisis three months into
your term, when our "competent" pilots of a spy plane collide
with a Chinese fighter jet, over restricted air space that
we didn't belong in.
Leave Washington from the 4th of July through Labor
Day on a "working vacation" at your friggin cattle ranch in
Texas. Come back and a few days later...
The worst day in American History
A Permanent State of Fear
A Permanent State of War
An economy down the shitter, partly in thanks to your
cronies at Enron and their fleecing of billions from average
Ladies and Gentlemen, the track record of President George
W Bush. And I didn't even mention how he's trying to turn
the US into a theocracy.
Now we're faced with the prospects of obliterating hundreds
of thousands of innocent people. Men, women, the elderly,
the infants. For what? Sure, they want to tell you its for
our safety, but lets call a spade a spade. Saddam Hussein
is just as likely to launch an attack on the United States
as I am to be signed to a 10 day contract with the Boston
Celtics, and earn a starting spot in the lineup. He's not
a Muslim Extremist. He isn't willing to die for a cause. He
doesn't give a shit about being the martyr that we're about
to turn him in to. He has always had one goal, and one goal
only: self preservation. He's an egomaniac that exists solely
to exist and see his face splattered all over Baghdad. Picture
Deion Sanders with an army. That's all he is.
And why is it that we always neglect to tell the whole truth?
All of those "human rights violations" that we accuse him
of - you know, gassing his own people and the like? Well,
they were all done with the blessing of our Commander in Chief,
President Ronald Reagan. Why? Because Hussein was in the middle
of a long war with our enemy du jour, Iran. Just like
another radical in Afghanistan was armed, trained and funded
by the CIA at the same time because they were resisting Soviet
occupation. That radical's name? Even though the administration
seems to have forgotten it, we haven't: Osama bin Laden.
Now as we stand on the brink of World War III, look at the
legacy we, and our most ardent allies are preparing. This
goes against the fundamental beliefs of what the American,
British, and Israeli cultures stand for. The list of human
cruelty infractions against the US throughout her history
is long. However, if we are to hang our heads on one thing,
it's that just about all of our social injustices have been
changed from within - and we should extend the same courtesy
to the people of the Muslim world.
It was the American people who said enough is enough to slavery
and segregation. It was the American people that fought long
and hard for equal rights for African Americans, Women, and
other historically slighted peoples. And it's the American
people who continue those fights today, the American people
who know that the Dream has not yet been achieved - but there
is no denying the progress that has been made in the last
half century. We continue to fight, day after day, against
the filth and slime in this great land that continues to judge
based off appearance, and not character.
Once upon a time, the American military succeeded in the
most significant liberation in humankind. We temporarily freed
the world from Tyranny, and ended one of the worst acts that
humanity has ever had to witness on the continent of Europe.
Why now, must we turn from liberators to conquerors?
For all their historical and empirical faults, the British
peoples also have a history to be proud of. They may still
have the most visible monarchy in the world, but they got
the proverbial ball rolling towards ending the doctrine of
Absolute Monarchy. Their contributions to literature and philosophy
speak for themselves. They outlawed slavery long before the
US did, and refused to lend any support to the Union Army
until the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. They as a
people, not a military, fought hard against Nazi aggression.
And is there a more beautiful example of maintaining culture
through centuries of progress, hatred, discrimination, and
change than the Israeli people? I can't think of one. Unlike
Christianity, which is all too quick to discard culture and
pride as soon as something "cooler" comes around, and unlike
Islam, which refuses to acknowledge that it's no longer the
year 1237 anymore, Judaism has found a delicate balance between
maintaining pride, dignity and culture; and taking advantage
of advancements in human progress.
Unfortunately, they have more in common with us than with
the British. See, it's a well known fact that the British
people vehemently oppose this pending war, whereas for Americans
and Israelis, we're guilty simply by association. Why? Because
of all the nations that are part of the UN, the two with the
most violations, ranging from the environment to the military
to human rights, are the US and Israel.
I don't know what the point of all of this is, I know most
minds have been made up. I guess now its just a matter of
the threshold of your conscience. How much can it bear?