Harvard Square Observer: The Non-War "War"

Ernest Cassara

Our president prances around, bragging that he is a "wartime president." Perhaps, this is the real reason that he and Prime Minister Blair plotted together to invade Iraq.  After all, the stated excuse that Saddam Hussein was not behaving himself has been shown to be bogus.  The U.N. weapons inspectors had found nothing; Secretary of State Colin Powell lied to the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. had photographic evidence to back up the claim that Hussein was engaged in hiding his WMDs.

So, the U.S. and the U.K bombed the hell out of Baghdad - from which the city has never recovered. Neo-cons and other right-wingers were viciously critical of Michael Moore for the opening scenes of Fahrenheit 9/11, which pictured Iraqis enjoying themselves; kids flying kites, etc., etc.  After all, in their view Moore should have pictured them with sour faces, living in agony. Believe it or not, folks find it perfectly possible to live enjoyable lives under repressive governments. Actually, however, to take one example, the women of Iraq were much better off than they are, and are going to be, under the religious laws that the Iraqi government will force on the people.  Whatever else may be said about Hussein, he was a secularist. Only in the last few weeks of his reign, when it was clear the Americans and Brits were coming after him, did he represent himself as a religious Muslim, no doubt to stir patriotic support in his fellow countrymen.

Americans tend to lend great credence to what their government tells them. So, if Mr. Bush says we are in a war, we believe him. Of course, a "war on terror" is not a war.  Anyone attempting to bomb or otherwise hurt Americans will be handled in the criminal justice system, as we have seen.

Where is the evidence that we are in a war?  Mr. Bush and Vice President Cheney, of course, conflate Afghanistan and Iraq with a "war on terror" at home. This serves their political purposes.  Anyone who objects, Republican or Democrat, will be denounced as "un-American" - they don't quite have the nerve, as yet, to complain that they are traitors. That stage, of course, may come, when they are desperate enough at their plunging poll numbers.

But, this, when you think about it, is preposterous. Are any Americans, aside from our youngsters and their older leaders in the armed forces, dying in this "war"? Yes, in the countries we invaded on false pretenses.

But, is butter being rationed? Are we buying war bonds? Is anyone sacrificing? If we were not told we are in a war, would you notice it?

It is time for Americans to denounce this charade. Why? Because President Bush, spurred on by Vice President Cheney, is taking more and more power into his hands. He ignores the legislation against the use of torture. He authorizes spying on American citizens. A spineless Congress, dominated by Republicans, is allowing our rights to be frittered away.

Once having lost them, we will not regain them. Of that, we can be sure.

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