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Watching History Unfold
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 threat.

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 Americans.

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?

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