HOW ABOUT A WAR ON WAR?
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- You've got to hand it to the Republicans, using war to keep a death grip on the political process. For example, the generals say they can't close the prison at Guantanamo until they "win the war on terrorism."
That will be never, of course.
As Monty Python's Terry Jones said a few years ago, "But how is 'terrorism' going to surrender? It's well known, in philological circles, that it's very hard for abstract nouns to do anything at all of their own volition."
It's like the War on Drugs, the War on Crime or the War on Poverty - endless and unwinnable, so lay your money down. Or the War on Gays - endless and unwinnable because God - the Republicans' God, by the way - keeps making more of them. Endless, unwinnable and unspeakable, if you ask me.
If these religious fascists need to take the Bible so literally, why not a War on Masturbation? There's that bit about Onan spilling his seed to get them started on another constitutional amendment. Then we'll all have to leave the country.
Even if we had a War on Republicans, it would be endless and unwinnable. Some part of human nature, it seems, just loves to be drenched in testosterone.
Lately, my America has started to look more and more like those World Wrestling Entertainment matches on television. One pumped-up, thick-necked, steroid-crazed goon after another - on shows named "RAW," and "Vengeance" and "Judgment Day" - shakes his sweaty face in the camera's eye and bellows "Revenge!" It's supposed to give us all a thrill.
Well, yes, an occasional slice of revenge, served either cold or hot, can sometimes be sweet. But as a primary force of civilization, it leaves something to be desired. Personally, I prefer "Do Unto Others."
But no, time after time our government wants to get tough, to "Bring 'em on." It is said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, but the Bush Administration always seem to be choosing the wrong direction.
Take flag burning, for example, an idea whose time has come and gone - long, long gone. Yet the grumpy Republicans just finished debating whether we need a Constitutional amendment to ban it. It failed by only one vote. They're still fighting the Sixties, in other words, while the rest of the world has moved on to a whole 'nother - and much more dangerous - century.
Or take the war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein never had weapons of mass destruction. He barely had an army, and everyone knew it because the U.N. investigators on the ground told us so. Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian royal family, to remain in power, has been funding terrifying - and terrorist - fundamentalist Islamic movements all over the globe. Osama bin Laden was just one of their many benefactors. Of the 19 miserable bastards who hijacked those four airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, 11 were Saudis.
So why head for the paper tiger next door when Osama is either alive and watching the World Cup or dead and buried years ago - and no one seems to know which one it is.
I think I know the answer. Just as those Wrestlemania goons are only pretending to challenge WWE owner Vince McMahon, a man with an unbelievably thick neck, the truth is they all work for him, just as the Bush family works for the Saudis, and the Cheney family works for Haliburton and the oil companies.
But we have to be tough on terror - Revenge! -so we capture and torture helpless prisoners in Abu Ghraib, or keep them in cages at Guantanamo until, with no end in sight, 23 in despair try to kill themselves in a mass hanging. They fail, but three recently succeeded in hanging themselves while some high Bush Administration official twit accused them of doing it for the publicity.
It tears my heart into pieces. It's my country 'tis of thee we sing, not 'tis of thee we cringe.
Would the Democrats be better? Hillary Clinton has sold off so many pieces of her soul that there's nothing left - the word "prostitute" doesn't begin to cover her. Neither Al Gore nor John Kerry had the guts to fight for their country - Revenge! - when it came down to something worth fighting for: two stolen presidential elections. As a result, we have a new Supreme Court that thinks money equals freedom of speech and the death penalty is hunky-dory. And they self-righteously call themselves Christians, even though the Bible distinctly says that "Thou Shalt Not Kill."
Our economy is just a few years short of being declared "junk bonds." The parts of our butts not owned by the Saudis are owned by the Chinese. On President George W. Bush's watch, North Korea has built nuclear warheads and seems to have the missiles to deliver them. People in Seattle are getting nervous(and not from the coffee).
Meanwhile, our leader says that he would close Guantanamo but for the fact that some of the people there are dangerous to Americans. Well, duh! If you invaded my country on a pretext, then occupied it and kept me - a pacifist - in a cage for four years, I'd probably come after you, too.
Just thinking of lost opportunities drives me mad. Imagine if much of the world didn't see America as a pariah nation, a terrifying bully armed with nuclear weapons. Imagine if we used a soft hand and affection instead of domination to try and get our way in the world. Imagine our President sitting with other leaders at the World Cup, basking in the glow of nationalism crossed with the highest level of athletic achievement. Reaching out a hand to help with AIDS. Studying ways to relieve global warming. Helping the Middle East poor find jobs and education. Reacting in the strongest sense to the slaughter in Darfur.
What we've really been fighting these past five years is a War on the Milk of Human Kindness. Maybe if we called a War on War, Americans would finally show up.
AR Correspondent Joyce Marcel's new book, a collection of her columns called "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.