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Bush’s War

OK, enough of this head-in-the-sand, self-involved lollygagging. There are other things going on. Specifically, there is this obscene and pointless war in Iraq to make the world safe for oil billionnaires. I have never blogged about it before because everyone I know is dumbstruck by the horror of it, the obscenity of it; and not one of us knows what to do about it.  Nothing I can say will surprise anyone. But today, even if I say what everyone already knows, I have to say something. No one, not even Bush’s own people, has ever given a plausible reason for this war other than to take control of Iraq’s oil. The oil billionnaires who put Bush in power are now rolling in so many more billions of dollars that even they don’t know what to do with the money. Everybody knows this. There’s no point in even putting a link to the information. Now 4,o00 Americans are dead, about a million Iraqis are dead…a million, or at the very least 655,o00. So that would be everyone you have ever known in your whole life, and everyone they have ever known, and their families, and then some. A million dead people, give or take a few, and none of us can count that much suffering. Imagine that many bodies lying on the ground. My mind can’t hold it. How much grief is that? And the people who have lost legs or part of their brains, or who have gone mad with grief and horror, or the children whose lives are shattered by the loss of their parents, by hunger and despair–nobody even counts them.  This coming Friday I’m going to attend a peace action in a park near me, and there is a questionnaire they sent to the people who’ve signed up to attend. The first question is, “What have you done today to bring about peace?” Here’s my pathetic answer: for starters, I’m going to watch TV.

There’s a program tonight called Bush’s War–streamed on the internet and on TV in the USA. I’m going to watch it, even though I know it will say what I already know; even though I know it will make me furious and then I will feel impotent and not know what to do with my fury. I don’t need to educate myself. I don’t need more evidence of what this war is about. I watched Colin Powell make a fool of himself by trying to justify before the UN the idiotic claim that Iraq had “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” I stood on the street corner protesting in Sugar Land, Texas before the war began, trying to do something for peace. Fat lot of good that did. Cindy Sheehan did all she could do, and nearly disintegrated in the process. I don’t know what any of us can do. But we have to do what we can.  By doing nothing, we are complicit in the enormous error of this war.


I watched the first two and a half hours of the documentary, and although I heard much of what I expected to hear and felt much of what I expected to feel, what shocks me is what was missing. Oil is never mentioned. Never once. Nor are the words “greed,” or “profiteering.” Who stood to gain from this war? Why would anyone want this war? Given that everyone who led us into the war knew that there were no connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and that Iraq had no weapons of mass (or minimal) destruction, why did they go to so much trouble to sell the world this bill of goods?  It was clear that Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were united with Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney in making sure that Bush bought into their war and made it happen, the so-called free public media helped spread his propaganda, but no suggestion is made in this long and otherwise careful documentary, as to why they wanted the war. No hint about their motivations, their reasons, or what they (and their friends) stood to gain by it. Without that, the documentary has no teeth. Look at it, the balance of justice: these five rich white men on one side, each of them now richer than any of us can imagine. Billions and billions of dollars worth of power, tax-cuts, and loop-holes. On the other side, a million dead Iraqis and 4000 dead Americans, bodies and brains ripped to shreds, and so much suffering the mind cannot hold it. There is evil in the world. I know five names for it: Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz. The documentary reminded me that millions of people protested before the war started–millions of people marched and wrote letters and staged rallies. Millions. All over the world. I had forgotten that. France refused. Germany said no. But the war went on anyway, is still going on. And the rest of us stand out here, making our weekly or monthly protests and waving our bumper stickers, clicking on email petitions, meditating for peace. It does matter to make peace where we are. But I do wish there were something more we could do than leave peaceful footsteps where we walk. I wish there were something more than wishing for all people to come out of their misery. If I could see anything at all useful to do, I would do it. Ideas?

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8 responses to “Bush’s War”

  1. Hear hear …..But the only ‘useful thing’ you could do would be to mobilise the whole country, or the greater part of it, to forcefully stand up and remove these monsters. That’s unlikely to happen, they’re too powerful and moreover the majority of the population evidently approves of them, or at least approves of what they’re told to believe. Even quite a lot of the minority probably harbour a partial secret admiration, because the American ideal inherently upholds ‘getting on’ and never mind the means . And even if a ‘revolution’ were achieved, it would soon be replaced with a new version of much the same thing, only in different hands. Human nature is generally made from pretty poor stuff, and the combative, greedy and self-promoting elements predominate; it’s always been thus and it’s highly improbable that it will change now.

    There is, of course, a less belligerent but even more drastic alternative: you could all stop using oil, that would finish off the whole business next week by forcing your masters to their knees. But I don’t think sacrifices for ‘peace’ would extend that far?

  2. Kathryn says:

    I like that, Stephen. Actually, Oregon is moving closer to reducing dependence on oil than any other State, but there are still plenty of cars here and plenty of plastic. If one can believe the Washington Post, which also served as a Bush propaganda organ, 66% of the population now disapproves of him:

  3. Retired Syd says:

    I share your feeling of wondering what I can do to help stop this war and feeling a bit powerless. And especially right now, with the elections coming up, it seems the war (and I mean how to get OUT of it) has taken a back seat as far as issues go. With the silly “issues” of what preacher/friend said what and whether to release x number of tax returns for public inspection, and whether a speech “mischaracterized” the facts on a trip to Bosnia. Are these really issues we care about? Why are they trying to distract the American public? How about re-directing the BILLIONS of dollars spent in this war to actual REAL causes? What has happened to the public outrage about this war, it seems America has gotten war fatigue. And I, too, wish I knew what I could really do about it.

  4. Kathryn says:

    If you think of anything, let us know. Thanks, Syd.

  5. Dave says:

    I also believe this is Bush’s War, one that was waged to keep the oil billionaires swimming in their profits. But I also believe that Bush waged the war to keep oil supplies flowing to the USA. We are all dependent on oil in the USA! Can you imagine what would happen if there were no oil to put in our cars? Well, if you can’t imagine that, then just review the images of the residents of New Orleans who had no cars to escape Katrina, who went through a living hell in that football superdome.

  6. Kathryn says:

    Dave, I think the anguish in New Orleans (where I lived 1968-70, 1972-80, and 1999 for six months) is not because of a lack of oil, but because of a lack of public planning. It would have been possible to organize mass bus-transportation out of there before the hurricane hit, or helicopters after (we have plenty of them not being used to kill people), but nobody did it. That could have happened at any time over a ten-day period, and not the State of LA, not FEMA, not anybody bothered to do it. Those people in the Superdome were just poor people, mostly Black people, and nobody cared enough to get them out. The tragedy of Katrina is a whole subject in itself, but I don’t see it as a tragedy arising from a lack of oil. The people who couldn’t get out weren’t short on oil; they didn’t have cars. A car for every family isn’t the answer either. I’m thinking that more cities should do what Portland has done: create low-cost, efficient public transportation. More people should carpool, use smaller more energy-efficient cars if they must use cars, walk more, and change their lives. We know that with or without Bush’s war, the planet is running out of fossil fuels. Why should the USA have more oil than anybody else, when it’s the USA that’s polluting the atmosphere and the oceans faster than anybody else as it is? We have to think bigger, find another way.

  7. Dave says:

    Yes, you are right. But what I meant was that without gas, all of us are going to be stuck, just like the people in the Superdome. It won’t matter if we can afford a car. Without oil, it won’t matter how rich or poor we are….and do you think Bush or any of his billionaire constituents want that kind of equality in the USA? But when the oil supplies run out…well, it’s going to be the greatest equalizer of all time… I love cities like Portland that are pursuing alternative means of transportation. I love that people can change their lives in cities like Portland (your blog is a testament to that). I love people who welcome change!

  8. Kathryn says:

    Oh yes, now I get it. Sorry. My sense of irony had disappeared for a moment. The greatest equalizer of all time. Wonderful. And I love you. How’s your new life? Send me an email if you’d rather be private, or crow on here if you’d like to shout it from the (rather low-slung) rooftops.

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