Feeding the Beast
There was a memorable scene in Oliver Stone's fine film " Nixon "; the one where Nixon visits the anti war protesters late one night. He arrived, with but his valet, unannounced, at the Lincoln Memorial, and began dialogue with those present. When the issue got to the Vietnam War, Nixon was engaged by a young 19 year old female student. He used analogies, comparing the war to some sort of a beast that had a life of its own. The young woman looked almost through him, as she stated her shocking revelation: " You can't stop it even if you wanted to!"
The invasion and occupation of Iraq ( notice I refuse to say ' War' ) is actually far worse than the Vietnam conflict. As stated earlier, regarding Vietnam, our President used the premise that a) we were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by the North Vietnamese and b) the South Vietnamese government sought our help. Well, this time around the beast of war had no such pretext. We simply used lies and innuendoes to invade and occupy another sovereign nation- regardless of the thug that ran things there. Folks, there are many many thugs that rule other nations that our government and our corporations deal with harmoniously. The issue at hand is one of principle and one of international law. Sovereign nations should not and cannot invade each other without fact based proof of imminent threat. The United States did just that a little over 4 years ago. Worse still, we continue to occupy and rule that country, make no mistakes about it. The Iraqis do not rule themselves now. They are an occupied nation, just as the French were in 1940.
This beast of war has quite a hunger. It is made up of many factions that need war to prosper and grow. The more bombs and missiles and bullets we use, the more that are needed. There becomes a whole complex, labeled such by Eisenhower in his farewell speech of 1961 ( Military Industrial Complex) that is predicated on what Gore Vidal termed ' Permanent War '. Simply put, without war or the threat of perpetual war, this beast will starve. With its powerful lobbyists and minions collecting and doling out the cash, the beast controls the body politic of this nation. The young woman was correct when she enlightened Nixon to what he inherently knew to be true. Perhaps Nixon took the time to read what the late General Smedley Butler wrote about in the late 1930's , that ' War Is A Racket '. Apparently, few in Congress have gone to their libraries and taken out and studied his essay. If they had, maybe we would not have such cowardice and posturing as we now see.
The two party system is a failure. Plainly stated, it is a scam. When a couple of hundred Representatives and almost 100 Senators refuse to confront the beast, decade after decade, then we have no true democracy in this Republic. The Republican Party is not any semblance of the party of Lincoln. It is totally in the pocket of the beast , and actually struts proudly alongside the monster. Bush and Cheney, Gonzales, Rice, Perle, Tenet, Wolfowitz, and their minions should all be indicted for treasonous acts- perpetrating a fake war on another nation. Those in Congress who now, after all the lies and falsehoods and tricks are coming to light, still refuse to go after these people, should be booted out of office! Republican or Democrat, it matters not. Those who voted for the ' Go to War If You Want Georgie ' resolution in 2002 now have another chance at redemption. So far, all the Democrats are doing is voting to continue food rations for the beast - to the tune of another $ 100 plus billion of our precious tax dollars. Why? Ask them, not me. I stand on that street corner singing the same song for 32 months now: " Not one more day... Not one more dollar!"
America will go down the tubes, both spiritually, economically and culturally, through the terror of pragmatism. When we discuss a transportation bond issue or other such topics, pragmatism is welcomed. When, however, we are dealing in death, destruction, torture, habeas corpus and fascism, the only thing we have at the end of the day, when the lights go out, is our principles. Hope can spring eternal if more Americans stand up and starve the beast with truth.
May 4, 2007
(philip a farruggio is a free lance columnist, small businessman and activist leader. many of his over 60 columns can be found on www.opednews.com , www.afterdowningstreet.org and www.counterpunch.com - he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )