Monday, February 17, 2003

War. What's It Good For?

In this winter of our discontent, countless millions marched in cities around the world opposing George Bush's illegal and immoral war rant against Iraq. The numbers of protesters were simply staggering. All told, the weekend turnout was the greatest gathering of people for a single purpose in human history. Yet, major media made no attempt to cover this dramatic exercise of democracy.

Since the 1960s, it's become the common practice of major media to make sure the people's revolution will not be televised. Every tactic has been used to lowball the count; demean the protesters and associate the marchers with communism. The media have sensationalized isolated vandalism and spliced it onto peaceful demonstrations. The FBI has been exposed on several occasions using illegal wiretaps on peace organizations. And local officials have sanctioned brutal police actions to discourage attendance at antiwar events. We must ask: Why do our elected representatives and media act so ruthlessly to suppress democratic expression?

On this Presidents' weekend, it's sad to realize our War House resident is nowhere to be found. If the original signers of our constitution were alive today, they would be appalled at George Bush's behavior. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and Franklin would be astonished to discover Mr. Bush proposing the preemptive destruction of a defenseless nation. They would be outraged at the suggestion, let alone the passing, of the infamous "Patriot" act. They would wave the constitution and Bill of Rights in Mr. Bush's face and ask: "Did you read these documents lately?"

Another president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned us about the greatest threat to our democracy in his farewell speech. He'll be remembered always for calling attention to the cancerous growth of the military industrial incarceration complex. President Jack Kennedy was murdered in Dallas just a few years later. While the assassination conspiracy theory is still debated, there's no doubt JFK was against escalating the Viet Nam war. He also considered dismantling the CIA after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. In his thousand days as president, Jack Kennedy created too many enemies in the World War industry. His savage slaying occurred a few months after the historic Washington march for jobs and justice led by Dr. Martin Luther King. JFK's replacement, Texan Lyndon B. Johnson, caved in to the pressures from the World War industry and quickly escalated the Viet Nam war. At that time, our military sucked $40 billion a year from the US treasury for the war effort alone. Presently, this is equal to the half trillion per annum the World War industry wants to maintain America's murder machine.

In 1968, Dr. King was shot to death after speaking against the Viet Nam war. He connected the dots between the lack of jobs at home; the senseless destruction in Viet Nam and the mass murder of Southeast Asians -- all crimes against humanity. The promising presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy was crushed after he was gunned down in Los Angeles. The fate of the "jobs through peace" movement was sealed with the election of Richard Nixon who promised a secret plan to stop the war. He had no such plan. The mass murder continued. And the military industrial incarceration complex thrived.

It wasn't a coincidence Jack Kennedy was killed after the Washington march and Bobby Kennedy was slain after Dr. King aired his views against war. A message was being sent any collaboration between liberal minded politicians and America's poor and oppressed wouldn't be tolerated -- even to the extent of terminating key leaders by assassination. Further, it was no mere accident the Kennedys were murdered in Texas and California, the states with the biggest military industrial incarceration complex budgets. The presidents, who strongly supported the expansion of our World War industry (Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes, even Eisenhower), came from these two states. It's not enough to march against an unpopular war. The real issue before the nation is: How do we dismantle the cancerous military industrial incarceration complex?

If a new Iraq war were stopped today, you can rest assured the World War industry would dredge up another excuse for endless, senseless conflict. We have an imaginary war on terrorism because there are no more real enemies to defeat. We have a global war against al-Qaeda when no such international terrorist cartel exists. There are rebels in almost every nation expressing outrage through violent means. Al-Qaeda is just one among hundreds of small terrorist cells. However, this fact doesn't translate into a worldwide cartel run by al-Qaeda. Since no terrorist umbrella organization exists, it's silly to project bin Laden or Hussein as the ring leader of this fictional outfit. The reach and resources of al-Qaeda have been overblown because the image of a structured, global menace is useful to the cause of expanding the World War budget, regardless of the facts and public opinion.

George W. Bush is in the War House because of big donations from the World War industry. It only follows he'd devise an excuse to start a war to justify his runaway defense budget payoffs. Further, we must remember the funds in George Bush's political war chest came from donors who stole the money from the 401(k) and pension plans of American workers. George Bush has done nothing to lock up these corporate criminals or force them to disgorge their ill-gotten gains stored in offshore tax havens. However, he's set in motion the most repressive regime to prevent political dissent in US history. In other words, the Bush Mafia and the World War industry are using our labor and savings against us. We must ask the ultimate question: Is this not treason?

War will be with us as long as ignorant men like George Bush are shoved into the War House using money stolen from American workers. Therefore, we must understand peace won't emerge solely from our war protests. We must remove the stranglehold the World War industry has on our democracy. If the trillions, wasted on death and destruction, were spent on peace programs, the Global Village would've become reality a long time ago. As long as the World War industry is funded without regard to its relevance to the process of building world peace, there will be war.

George W. Bush and his evil ilk want war in the Middle East to command the oil for military and economic reasons. If America controls the world oil supply, no nation or federation could rise to match our global dominion. While this isn't a completely bad result, it's clearly undemocratic. America will never be permitted to rule humanity through the use of fear and intimidation. The other nations could always resort to withholding trade and investment to defeat such an irrational scheme. Terrorism in any form can never be justified, no matter who uses it.

It seems no one's noticed the alleged threats to world peace, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, reached the top of the global enemies list with a lot of CIA help. The CIA supported bin Laden and Hussein in their rise to power. As long as bin Laden battled communism in Afghanistan, he was our friend. As long as Hussein waged war against the mullahs who deposed the Shah in Iran, he could do no wrong. Once these men lost their usefulness, they instantly became our enemies. Either way, the World War industry flashes these poster boys when lobbying for greater mountains of defense dollars. We must remember America creates the enemies we later find reason to destroy. The truth in this observation speaks for itself.

A two-pronged strategy must be created to defeat the monstrous World War industry and its ravenous dogs of war. First, the Buckley v. Valeo decision, equating money with speech, must be voided. As long as the World War industry can buy our politicians with stolen funds, democracy will remain dead in America. Legislation must be passed to fund our entire electoral process through taxation. No legislative action is more important than this. The power of one person, one vote must be restored to the people. Second, secrecy must be abolished in all but the most sensitive circumstances. The Bush junta has closed off access to information. This ugly policy has filtered down to the local level. Now, you can't get a copy of a traffic ticket without filing a Freedom of Information Act request. This arrogant abuse of power must be ended. Democracy will return when private money is driven from the process and when full access to information is resumed.

In this winter of our discontent, there's reason to believe the massive marches for peace may spark legislative resistance against the relentless march to Armageddon. We must remember it's not Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden who's beating the drums for world war. It's George Bush and the World War industry at the head of this evil parade. The key to a healthy Global Village is to transfer the trillions invested in the World War industry to the underfunded programs for peace and prosperity. It's time to dismantle our military industrial incarceration complex and replace it with a global peace project. War. What's it good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

By the way, has anyone noticed the widespread application of duct tape and plastic sheeting may lead to the suffocation of millions of American citizens?

Franklin L. Johnson