October 7, 2002

The Democrats have wimped out, the Republicans are in the neocons' pocket it's up to you to stop this fateful war

What is there left to say about this onrushing war? It isn't in our interests; it has nothing to do with getting the terrorists responsible for 9/11; it's a war for Israel's sake, not ours; it's the first step on the road to Empire; it'll wreck our economy, embolden Bin Laden, and alienate whatever friends we might have left in the world. It's all been said, and still they won't listen, so forget the "debate" the only language the politicians understand is the threat of popular outrage. Call your friggin' congressman and tell him or her this: So, you want to get re-elected? Then you had better vote against this war or else!

The War Party's pet pundits cite the polls as proof of popular support for an invasion of Iraq, and the Streisand Democrats are helping to build this Potemkin village by accusing the President of seeking political advantage in this war. We are supposed to believe that the number of calls in to Congress overwhelmingly against going to war contradicts the alleged reality of majority support for Bush's Iraqi adventure. Don't you believe it: this isn't the first time that polls have been used to push war on a reluctant American people, and it won't be the last.

But if you look at the poll numbers closely a more complex picture begins to emerge. One recent poll shows that big majorities support action against Saddam, but not without support from our allies. American enthusiasm for a war involving thousands of casualties is even more muted, with less than half in support and half that if we go in alone. The public's highly conditional support for the President's Iraqi adventure means the War Party's post-9/11 momentum is nearly exhausted. They're running out of steam, and now is the time to begin an effective counteroffensive.

In all too many cases, the polls tell us the story we want to hear. Public opinion, in any cae, is shaped moment to moment. Is it possible the American people are so corrupted by modernity that they have lost whatever moral sense or common sense they once had? I don't believe it, and I won't believe it. All this crap about how wildly popular this war is seems so contrived that it resembles the Soviet propaganda of the cold war era: Our glorious fighters for proletarian internationalism are marching forth into the socialist future! That's what the Kremlin was telling its subjects as they marched into the Afghan quagmire and now it's our turn.

As the rush to war accelerates, and the myth of popular consent is pounded relentlessly into our heads, the truth peaks out in random places, small discordant notes amid the martial music. I liked what Mayor Jerry Ryan, of fulsomely pro-war Bellvue, Nebraska, had to say:

"If you go in, and those 12 Iraqi palaces contain nothing but prostitutes, we've got a problem."

It's not the palaces in Iraq that ought to be our concern, but those palaces in Washington, D.C. Now there are some real prostitutes, otherwise known as American politicians. Virtually all of these Solons have hopped on the war bandwagon with both feet because they have sold themselves to the highest bidder: some financial or foreign interest that stands to profit from this war.

There are two main cheerleading sections for the conquest of Iraq, and for a concise description of the forces at work here I would check out Bill Moyers interviewing Ron Paul:

"I think there's a lot of influence behind the scenes for this war dealing with oil interests (and this would influence both sides of the aisle) and, as much as people want to admit it, I really think that Israel and our support for Israel has an influence in our overall policy."

Those who haven't been bought out by Big Oil are in thrall to Israel's amen corner in the U.S. It's as simple as that.

It's pathetic, really, to see the spectacle of the Democrats in disarray over this question: they would much rather be talking about universal health insurance, Enron, or whatever socialist scheme they're pushing this week. That's the problem when right-wing Social Democrats control both parties: the "debate" we get is between Big Government neo-imperialists and Bigger Government "multi-lateralists." Everyone else is an "extremist." How convenient. Isn't "democracy" wonderful?

There is some interesting dissent, though. Dennis Kucinich, being touted by the media as chief organizer of the congressional "antiwar caucus," has a good grip on the facts, but mars his case with weepy liberal bromides: "War is a failure of diplomacy and imagination and creativity," he avers, but it isn't true. It took a lot of creativity to conceive of a way to divert attention away from Osama and toward Saddam. It took a genuine boldness of imagination to focus the hate, the need for revenge, the frustrations and pain of the last year on a man who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it. In spite of the recent reappearance of Bin Laden, the original Evil One a story, you'll notice, that is being completely ignored by the American media the national obsession with Saddam Hussein continues unabated.

Senator Bob Graham (R-Florida), is raising the question of whether an Iraq attack will increase the threat of terrorism in the U.S. He's absolutely correct, of course: but nobody in Congress is listening. And the War Party, let's be clear about this, wants another terrorist attack.

It's a horrible thing to say, but it's true: another 9/11 would give the War Party carte blanche to go rampaging around the world not just in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East. And right here at home, as well. It's funny how a certain "blogger"/law professor-cum-pundit touted by National Review as a "libertarian" keeps attributing every violent outburst in the headlines to a likely terrorist attack. To be so consistently wrong without acknowledging it, and without changing course, is to invite suspicions of wishful thinking.

The ugliness and intellectual degradation of the post-9/11 era is embodied in our clueless monosyllabic President, speaking to the American people as if they are as dumb as he is:

"We owe this to our children, we owe this to peace. We cannot ignore history. We must not ignore reality. We must do everything we can to disarm this man before he hurts one single American."

Democrats, Republicans, Clintonians, Bushies it's all the same. Even as they commit the worst crimes, it's always "for the children." We have to kill tens of thousands of Iraqis in the name of "peace." As for ignoring history: I realize our chief executive sleepwalked through his college years without hardly cracking a book, but his ignorance is nothing special in Washington, where historical memory doesn't extend beyond the last election. To quote Gibbon or Tacitus to these people would only draw a blank stare, such as the one that seems permanently planted on the Boy Prince's face.

As we get closer to the day when war actually breaks out, even the normally solid anti-interventionists defer to the war hysteria. Here is good old Bob Novak, who eloquently opposed both Gulf wars, attacking Senator Robert Byrd's "emotional denunciations" of Bush's war plans, which, he avers, are "meandering." The real problem, however, is that they aren't meandering enough for what opponents of the drive to war need at this crucial turning point is a good old-fashioned filibuster, and Senator Byrd is just the one to do it! So drop the partisan sniping, Novak, and get with the program: and, as for Byrd's "emotionalism," we need more passion, not less, when it comes to opposing this fateful turn.

Passion inspires action, which leads to change and that is what is desperately needed in our misguided and dangerous foreign policy. It is imperative that you express yourself on this issue: write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Complain (in writing) when you see the op ed page dominated by warmongering laptop bombardiers.

But most of all and especially now, as the war resolution comes up for a vote in Congress you need to express your opposition to this war by calling your congressional representatives. I strongly suggest a phone call, rather than an email or a letter. It's too late for letters, and emails are generally ignored. We need to flood the phone lines this week. So please take a few moments not later, not tomorrow, but right now to call you representative. Just type in your zip code, click "info" underneath the rep's picture, and the phone number will pop up and that's your cue to pick up that phone..

Enter your ZIP Code and click "Go."

– Justin Raimondo

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Call Congress!

9/11: What Did Israel Know?

Why Jim McDermott Is a Hero

The Lie Machine

Politicize the War!

Al Gore, Warmonger Lite

Help...or Farewell

Smearing the Germans

Let the UN Inspectors In

Back Door to War

Attack of the Greed-Heads

Why This War?

9/11 Disconnect

We're Making a Difference

Propaganda Wars

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.