INDEPENDENT NEWS

Martin LeFevre: Plunderers, Barbarians, or Tyrants

Published: Fri 3 Oct 2003 12:03 AM
Meditations (Politics) - From Martin LeFevre in California
Plunderers, Barbarians, or Tyrants?
The Bush Administration and their media hacks are being hoisted on their own petard this week over a revenge leak. But the award for ballsy duplicity goes to Thomas L. Friedman, the influential columnist for the New York Times and chief apologist for the Bush/Blair war in Iraq.
This big-media mouthpiece consistently and effectively argued for a "war of choice," yet now he says, "Bush is deeply morally unserious" about it. It may be human nature to try to have things both ways, but as an American, I think my countrymen have perfected that regrettable tendency to a high art.
Inching up to the line of blatant hypocrisy, Friedman gives a half-assed acknowledgement of complicity: "The war to oust Saddam Hussein was always a war of choice (a good choice I believe)." (Italics mine.)
Mr. Friedman speaks out of both sides of a posterior orifice when he quotes, with unintended projection, a Yale professor: "There is a disparity between the words people use to describe a challenge and any honest appraisal of what it's going to take to succeed."
What is this idiocy about "wars of choice?" The only people in the history of the world who ever chose war were plunderers, barbarians, and tyrants.
Thomas Paine, the writer sometimes credited with saving the American Revolution by injecting a desperately needed dose of morale into George Washington's ragged and demoralized troops at a crucial moment, understood this when he wrote "The American Crisis."
In it he said, "I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent."
Friedman and his ilk in the media helped get us into this blood and treasure and spirit-sucking war, and now they are distancing themselves from any responsibility for it. They feign astonishment that "Bush is deeply morally unserious." In truth, the entire media superstructure is deeply morally unserious.
It is a moral lapse of the worst kind when intellectuals promote war, since they know full well that starting a war is indefensible no matter how abominable the regime. Tony Blair is still whining about averting future acts of terrorism. The speciousness of that argument is now undeniable to everyone who is not in complete denial (or in power).
Besides, terrorism was only the pretext for invading Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction. And even if there were, you don't invade countries because you think they might some day supply terrorists with them.
Americans profess astonishment that so many people in the world hate the US. But it takes no great leap of perception to understand how a government that makes and manipulates devils for its own ends comes to be viewed as "the Great Satan."
Going after the mass murderers who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks is one thing. But waging war on states when the threat is essentially a stateless one is stupid and wrong. Starting "wars of choice" is all the more disgusting when one considers that the United States refused to intervene as genocides were taking place in Africa and Europe, and even blocked the UN from doing so.
The idea of a "war of choice" is grotesque, an affront to any thinking and feeling person. Messy as things are, history is already drawing that lesson. Just don't expect Bush and his apologists to learn. They're incorrigible.
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- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: martinlefevre@sbcglobal.net. The author welcomes comments.

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