long ago, an Off-Broadway play opened with the tantalizingly relevant
title, Now That Communism is Dead My Life Feels Empty! I thought immediately
of the writer Mark Danner’s perceptive remark that this country is "marooned
in the Cold War." Today we see that in the hearts and minds of
Washington’s relatively small but very influential and powerful neoconservative
clique, the Cold War must never be allowed to die. Its billionaire backers,
heavily-subsidized publications and think tanks and "senior fellows"
have never given up their hope for world "hegemony" which,
of course, means, lots of heavy economic and political pressure and
if need be war.
Saddled with Bush Jr.’s policies backed by his cast of ideological and
bellicose sectarians, virtually none of whom have bothered serving in
the military, we are now faced with an invasion of Iraq, consequences
that may prove devastating for the Middle East, and who knows who else
after that. While it is virtual war for the neoconservatives, it is
very real for everyone else, from U.S. soldiers and airmen to the Iraqi
and Israeli people. Moreover, the danger of accidental, deliberate or
terrorist-inspired nuclear or even more ominous, chemical-bacterial
reprisals, is more pressing than ever.
So here’s my proposal. Peacemakers - left, right and whatever—need to
search for new and additional partners and join together in tactical
alliances with antiwar, anti-conscription and anti-imperial groups and
people with whom they may not always agree.
But-and this is my essential point-antiwar people rely too much on opportunistic,
habitually fainthearted, too often liberal and conservative political
allies who may be with them on domestic policies but so far have remained
mute about the impending war against Iraq. Who do you trust in the "debate"
over Iraq to argue against going to war? Senators Lieberman, Schumer,
Lott or Rep. Tom DeLay or Senators Chuck Hagel, Brent Scowcroft, Larry
Eagleburger or Rep. Dick Armey?
New "crises" will surely arise even after Iraq. We need to
develop a working relationship with those of any political stance who
have long argued that our repeated global military interventions are
too often nothing more than the imperial outreach of a hyperpower. And
while many groups and people maintain positions on domestic issues,
which you may be objectionable, antiwar groups can use all the coalition
partners they can find without subjecting them to rigid ideological
or special interest tests of purity.
Take former Reagan staffer Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute for instance.
In his book Tripwire" Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed
World, he argued that obsolete cold war attitudes demand that 37,000
U.S. soldiers remain in South Korea, a country fully capable of defending
itself. 0r Scott McConnell, onetime New York Post editorial writer and
now editor of the new American Conservative magazine who has warned
that many of Bush’s foreign policy apparatchiks are ultra-hawks. Or
liberals Dennis Kucinich and John Kerry or who have raised warning flags?
Aren’t people like these and those millions of Americans whose views
they reflect worth reading and getting to know?
If so, try visiting Antiwar.com,
and LewRockwell.com for starters.
Polner wrote No
Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran, co-authored
(with Jim O'Grady) Disarmed
and Dangerous, a biography of Daniel and Philip Berrigan. His
articles have appeared in The Nation, Commonweal, Washington Monthly,
New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, LewRockwell.com.,etc.