Unanswered Questions: Thinking For Ourselves
Mr. Bush's War
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 19 March 2003
The television in the other room is filled with purposeful, strident music. All sorts of well-coifed 'journalists' on
CNN and MSNBC are parading across the screen in stylishly-cut desert gear from Banana Republic. Graphics sail by
periodically, describing whatever sort of bomb is striking a faraway city of five million innocent civilians. The
anchors, back in the studios, can be seen suppressing grins from time to time. They are, after all, professionals, and
they know the eyes of the world are on them tonight.
Welcome to war in the 21st century. If it took you by surprise, don't worry. You're certainly not alone. They had to
wake Tony Blair out of a sound sleep to tell him that the attack he'd worked so hard to bring had finally come. He had
no idea it had started until one of his handlers shook him out of his jammies and handed him the phone.
It is late here in Boston, and I do not have the time to go into the details again. Take a pass through two articles I
have written for this publication: Of Gods and Mortals and Empire
and Blood Money.
If you're feeling particularly frisky, you can take a run through The Other American Dream
, which I wrote all the way back in September of 2002. Between the three of them, you will have a pretty good idea of
what is happening here.
At the beginning of the press conference from the Department of Defense, after the attack had started, a camera caught
Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld congratulating each other. If that doesn't mean anything to you, then you
haven't yet clicked the links in the last paragraph. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Let's make one thing very clear here. This war belongs to several groups. It belongs to the cable news 'journalists' who
have absolutely gone above and beyond the call of duty to sell this war to the American people.
When asked to obfuscate the reality of Iraq by calling this an attack on Saddam Hussein, thus making it easier for
average people to forget about the blood and intestines that are about to be splattered on a number of walls and
streets, they do the work of the few conservative extremists who have, through a nightmarish run of luck and money,
taken control of our government. Iraq is inhabited by 24 million people just like you. A lot of them will see their last
dawn soon. We're attacking Saddam, though, so forget all that.
When asked to investigate who is pushing this war and why – when asked, essentially, to follow the oldest journalistic
rule in the book and follow the money – they shrug their shoulders and mutter "Conspiracy theory." That's fine. Here is
another theory for you TV 'journalists: You are damned. Not just by me, or by the billions worldwide who see this rape
for what it is. God sees you, and knows your names.
This war belongs to Richard Perle, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Dick Cheney and all the fellows from the
Project for a New American Century. Again, if you have not yet clicked the links above, go ahead. I'll wait.
Welcome to the American Empire. Don't be surprised that your rights and privileges have changed all of a sudden. We used
to be a constitutional democracy. That's pretty much done now. You're a citizen of an empire today, one that attacks
sovereign nations without cause, with the backing of such international heavyweights as Spain and Eritrea. You're not a
citizen. You're a customer. Take a number and get in line.
Above all, and amusingly enough, this war belongs first and foremost to George W. Bush. Mr. Bush ran a number of oil
companies straight into the ground before becoming the constitutionally castrated governor of Texas. From thence to our
current greatness, it seems. This has been his party since July, but few were truly interested in attending. 160 nations
want nothing to do with this attack, and eleven of the fifteen United Nations Security Council vote-counters told him to
go pound sand, despite a month-long bribery campaign that would have made John Gotti blush with envy.
The inevitable terrorist attacks upon our wholly unprepared shores are also, by the way, the sole property of Mr. Bush.
The aftereffects of this attack on Iraq, which will effect your children's children, are also the sole property of Mr.
I hate to delve into semantics on such a bucolic evening, but there is an aspect of this whole situation which needs
clearing up. "War" is a violent engagement between nations. "Attack" is something that happens when one person, nation
or group sets about to beat the Jesus out of another person, nation or group. This is not a war. This is an attack. Iraq
does not have, and – were the inspectors allowed to complete the job given to them by Resolution 1441 – would never have
the ability to attack America, either on their own or by proxy.
America is not making war on Iraq. We are attacking a nation of 24 million people. Some will tell you that this is the
first time a democracy has instigated a war. This is wrong. Military empires have reached out to crush other peoples and
nations since time out of mind. Silly you, for thinking this was a constitutional democracy.
This is Mr. Bush's war, which is in truth an attack. He can have it. The rest of us need to make sure that we use those
constitutional freedoms to the best of our ability before they dry up completely.
The time has come for peaceful civil disobedience. Stop traffic. Stop commerce. Turn your proud and noble American flag
upside down, so as to display the universally accepted signal for 'Distress, Send Help.' Take the streets and dare them
to arrest you. They will. We might be able to bring down an empire and reinstate a democracy.
That would be something.
You are your mother's son, your father's daughter, your grandparent's pride. You are the inheritor of a noble, righteous
tradition of resistance. Make use of it. It is in your blood. Do what you can. Do not kill, do not steal, do not break
and destroy. You don't need to. With the onset of Mr. Bush's war, all you need do to disrupt things is to stand forth
and say, simply, "No."
If you are the praying type, now would be a good time to take to your knees and ask whatever Being you believe in to
remember that most of us are good and kind and decent people who wish only to work and raise our children and love and
live in freedom and in peace. Go ahead.
William Rivers Pitt
is a New York Times bestselling author of two books - - "War On Iraq" (with Scott Ritter) available now from Context
Books, and "The Greatest Sedition is Silence," available in May 2003 from Pluto Press. He teaches high school in Boston,
MA. Scott Lowery contributed research to this report.
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