We have now endured two years of the admittedly never-ending "war on terror." Like our useless and ceaseless "war on drugs," this policy attempts to eradicate symptoms rather than deal with causes. It seems more convenient to be feared and hated than to be generous and inspiring; and to grant relief to the privileged while preaching patience to the neglected dispossessed.
Despite the plethora of information available outside the corporate-controlled mass media, the typical American is entirely misinformed of the blood-stained history of this mighty nation. From pox-infected blankets to Agent Orange; Hiroshima to depleted Uranium, the United States is the undisputed world leader in chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. No wonder Saddam had to go. We can't tolerate the competition.
Compassionate conservatism appears to be a Darwinistic philosophy of muscle-flexing to advance American (corporate) hegemony over a far-flung empire. The so called "peace dividend" which was to have accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall has morphed into a ring of military bases around Middle Eastern oil fields as we prepare to fight pre-emptively (possibly with tactical "mini-nukes") on multiple foreign fronts to terrorize anyone we label as evil. Though we're taught to be fearful of and hateful toward such bogeymen as Saddam, Castro and Khadaffi, who really threatens whom in these scenarios? The social neglect endemic to our permanent war economy (and exacerbated by unjust and counter-productive tax-cuts to the wealthy) will adversely impact far more American lives than Osama and all his henchmen.
It is ironic to live under an administration which preaches appropriate (ie: unquestioning) patriotism while expressing contempt for the very concept of government. (Besides being an immediate boon to his corporate contributors, the tax cuts are part of an overarching plan to starve and bankrupt the treasury and promote the privatization of the commonwealth.) The "my way or the highway" attitude so popular in the White House won't fly in a democracy and will not foster internationalism and coalition building in addressing the seemingly intractable violence plaguing this world. Regardless of what God may have told our president, ruling the world through threats and bribes will not bring about a just and lasting peace and democracy promoted at gunpoint is not democracy.
At this point, our paramount need is for citizens to think for themselves. Is Martha Stewart really more criminal than Kenny-boy Lay? Once you get past the propaganda which passes for news in this country and lose the fear so necessary for the maintenance of the police state toward which this country is rapidly heading, one might begin to think outside the constraining and unresponsive "two-party" box which offers only recycled "solutions" which have so far proven ineffective.
It is hoped that we will some day outgrow our primitive war fetishism and bomb-worship and recognize our infatuation with "winning through intimidation" as maladaptive responses (both the "winning" and the "intimidation") to situations which call for international cooperation and fairness. That's how we secure this nation from the scourge of terrorism.
(The author is a Brainerd resident and a member of the Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace)
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