by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
October 3, 2002
NO CLOTHES, DAMMIT!
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Just how loudly can you shout, "The Emperor has no clothes?"
I wrote my first anti-Iraq war column last April. Since then, the left wing has been joined by the mainstream press in shouting from the rooftops that only a colander has more holes than President George W. Bush's foreign policy. Ideas that would have been considered radical a year ago are now appearing regularly on the op-ed pages of The New York Times.
Yet America seems determined to march into disaster. Here are just a few thoughts that would stop any rational person in his/her tracks:
In most cases, the war these people fled from was Vietnam. They include: George W. Bush, who was AWOL from his Air National Guard unit for the last two years of his enlistment; Dick Cheney, who had "other priorities"; Karl Rove, who got numerous student deferments but never a degree; Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, Dick Armey, Joe Lieberman, Dennis Hastert, Roger Ailes, George Will, Jerry Falwell, and my personal favorite, Rush Limbaugh, who was deferred for having anal cysts.
These are the people who are now enthusiastically beating the drums of war.
In addition, the "Left Behind" series of bestsellers tells believers that they will be "swept up" while nonbelievers, left behind, will have to battle the Antichrist and his minions on earth.
Why are we allowing the Book of Revelations to make foreign policy?
Yet Bush talks about vast storehouses of germs and chemicals. Say it's true. What are we going to do with them if we capture them? How are we going to contain and destroy them?
More importantly, since we know that our missiles stray, we could easily wipe out our own military and most of the population of the Middle East by ourselves.
Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, has eight presidential palaces that are actually cities - built both above and below the ground. He uses stand-ins. The chances of us going into Iraq and capturing this man are minuscule. What does this murderous psychopath do next? Roam Iraq plotting against us? Join up with al-Qaida? Make dangerous alliances with other outlaws?
Whatever the future holds for him, surely diplomacy is a better way to deal with Iraq than war.
Yet the majority of the population - and the U.S. Congress - seems to believe that we can "take out" Saddam Hussein in a few days and earn the undying gratitude of the Iraqi people - those left standing, I presume.
The average person getting most of his/her news from television might believe that Bush has made a case for a war on Iraq, but no matter what lofty terms you use to dress it up, this war would be illegal under international law, kill tens of thousands of people, and add more chaos to one of the most screwed up regions on the planet.
And don't forget the nukes: Israel, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and whatever Russian ones are kicking around, not to mention our own.
In his Monday night speech, in laying out his reasons for war with Iraq, Bush said one thing that struck me as being profoundly true. "Americans should not have to live in fear."
He's right. We shouldn't.
But why should that mean that other people must live in fear of us?
The Emperor isn't wearing any clothes. In the fairy tale, it only took a child to point out the truth before the entire country was laughing at the king. Now, despite the many people shouting and pointing, a vast majority of Americans don't seem to care at all.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.