Let us not forget
To embrace those whom we Love
The Rescue Hug
The first week of life for these two twins began in seperate incubaters. One infant was not expected to live. A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules and placed the babies in one incubator.
When They were placed together, the healthier of the two threw an arm over hir sistHir in an endearing embrace. The smaller baby's heart rate stabilized and Hir temperature rose to normal.
If war comes even despite the historic, tenacious, and comprehensive
opposition now raging across the planet, the U.S. government will
proclaim triumphantly that everyone who isn't a traitor needs to rally
around Washington to "support our troops." Opponents of the war could
opt for many possible replies.
We could point out that our troops in Iraq are barely in danger at all
because they are assaulting a tenth-rate opponent that has no serious
means to defend Iraq much less to attack the world's sole superpower.
We could point out that while perhaps a few hundred U.S. troops will die
in this war, way over 50,000 U.S. citizens will die in the next 12
months due to workplace accidents and death by industry-caused diseases
and automobile accidents (not to mention the impact of pollution and
unsafe products). We could then query why this massive yearly blight on
our population, roughly 15 times as devastating as 9/11, doesn't provoke
a war on corporations' profit-seeking violations of their employees' and
consumers' health and safety.
Or we could point out that the lives of American troops are no more
worthy of compassionate support than the lives of Iraqis, and that we
didn't kill Hussein a million times over with our decade-long sanctions
but we instead killed a million Iraqis once each -- with Hussein getting
stronger as each new corpse was added to the carnage.
And of course we could explain how unleashing a campaign to "shock and
awe" a country is unjust and immoral, how it is an archetype example of
the terrorism we say we are against.
But for myself, I think that perhaps a different approach might work
better, and so if war does come, I intend to reply to the demand to
support our troops by saying that yes, I too "support our troops."
I will reply that I support our troops not having to kill people in
I support our troops not being ordered to assault defenseless
populations, towns, farms, and the infrastructural sinews of life that
sustain a whole country's citizenry.
I support our troops not having to carry out orders from Commander in
Chief George Bush and then having to live the rest of their lives
wondering why they obeyed such a barbaric buffoon rather than resisting
his illegitimate, immoral authority.
And for the same reason, I support the Pope and the Dalai Lama going to
Iraq in the place of our troops, as human shields and also to aid those
Iraqis who have already suffered under our sanctions and bombs as well
as under the violence of Hussein who was, of course, previously the
recipient of U.S. military aid and even U.S. guidance in his horrible
In fact, I support all rabbis and priests and other moral leaders going
to Iraq as human shields - and all past Noble Peace Prize winners -- and
all past winners of any big peace or humanitarian prize at all, anywhere
-- and heads of state, for that matter.
I support our troops not dying in Iraq figuratively or literally,
physically or psychologically. I support our troops coming home with
their hearts not broken, retaining humanity and compassion essential to
feeling true solidarity with those who confront tyrannical behavior
abroad, or right here in the U.S. with its 30 million tyrannized poor.
I support our troops coming home with their minds ravenous to comprehend
what is wrong with war for empire, what is wrong with war to obliterate
international law, what is wrong with war to control oil and use it as a
bludgeon against allies and enemies alike, what is wrong with war for
profit, what is wrong with war to intimidate whole nations and
continents, what is wrong with war to subordinate a planet and even to
test and trumpet the tools of war.
What must it do to one's mind and soul to engage as a soldier in a war
in which the enemy is defenseless, in which the motives of one's leaders
are vile, and in which one's own say over the events is nil?
I support our troops refusing to kill on behalf of politicians and
profiteers. I support our troops rebelling against orders, not obeying
them. I support our troops rejecting reasons of state. And I support our
troops coming home to where their real battle is.
We must battle to reinvest our society with aspirations for justice and
equality and with respect for diversity, solidarity, and
We must battle to eliminate the scourge of private ownership that makes
a few people as rich as whole populations and that leaves many people
less rich than the pets of profiteers.
We must battle to totally eradicate the racism and sexism that denigrate
whole sectors of the population, to free sexuality and culture, to free
creativity, and to sustain the environment.
Bush tells us to bomb Iraq on grounds Iraq may have bombs. He tells us
to bomb Iraq on grounds Iraq curtails freedoms. He tells us to bomb Iraq
on grounds Iraq may be abetting terrorism.
What then should we do about a country that has by far the most bombs in
the world and that uses them most widely-and that brags about it
What should we do about a country that is currently curtailing freedoms
abroad and moving to do so at home with a dangerously escalating
vigor-and that brags about it shamelessly?
And what should we do about a country that is producing terrorism most
aggressively - both terrorism directed at others and also terrorism
which will be unleashed against us in reply-and that brags about it
What should we do about the U.S.? We should curtail its belligerency,
change its regime, and fundamentally revolutionize its centers of wealth
Support our troops, bring them home.
Support our troops, provide them housing.
Support our troops, provide them health care.
Support our troops, provide them socially valuable jobs.
Turn military bases into industrial centers for the production of low
cost housing, schools, hospitals, daycare centers, rail lines, inner
city parks, and other social and public goods that can enrich rather
than snuff out life.
Support our troops and one day they will join the fight for unlimited
justice for all.
Support our troops.
The Emperor Has Spoken. Let The World Take Heed
By Rahul Mahajan
Mark the date: March 16, 2003. It will go down in history as the day our
new Caesar crossed his personal Rubicon. Bush's twin ultimata, to Iraq
and to the United Nations, constituted the final and ultimate
declaration of the new New World Order.
The first formal declaration was in his speech to Congress on September
20, 2001. "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make.
Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." The open
implication was that the rule of law, already honored mostly in the
breach, was to be replaced by the rule of force; that force, naturally,
to emanate from Washington.
Over the 1.5 years since then, there have been numerous reaffirmations
-- the launching of the pre-emption doctrine, the warning to the UN that
if it didn't do America's bidding it would make itself "irrelevant" --
but it was always possible to imagine that even this reckless
administration might be turned back, might at least at least generate an
illusion of a velvet glove in which to cloak its iron fist.
No more. Bush's declaration was crafted to lock in the insane and
potentially suicidal course that the administration has taken ever since
the attacks of 9/11.
What was really shocking and terrifying was not simply the effective
declaration of war against Iraq; it has been a foregone conclusion for
at least six months that, in the absence of overwhelming opposition, the
war would happen. Rather, it was the way the ultimatum was delivered. To
give Iraq 24 hours to "disarm" (even while Dick Cheney and Colin Powell
make the rounds of talk TV saying there is no longer a way for Iraq to
comply) is openly farcical. An administration that took a year after
9/11 before it instituted widespread X-raying of checked bags might be
expected to understand this. To give the Security Council 24 hours to
pass a resolution is a naked imperial imposition.
It is an ultimatum designed not to elicit any response, but rather to
It is also perhaps worth commenting on the stunningly open mendacity of
the Bush administration, continued with Bush's ultimatum yesterday. To
make this declaration on the 15th anniversary of the gassing of Halabja,
to mention it specifically, is a profound insult not just to the Iraqi
people but to all of us; where is the mention that the United States
supported Iraq fully at the time, with biological and chemical
materials, loan guarantees, and diplomatic cover? That it went so far as
to issue organized disinformation
(http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0117-01.htm) suggesting that Iran
was the culprit? To mention Rwanda as an example of the "failure" of the
UN was possibly even worse. Again, where was the mention that the UN
"failed" because the United States kept UN peacekeepers from being
reinforced, cut off their supplies, and pushed ceaselessly to have them
removed? Or the mention that the State Department deliberately covered
up http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB53/press.html) its clear
knowledge that what was happening was genocide?
Indeed, it is again as if these references were added simply to display
flagrant contempt for the rest of the world, which may know the truth
but consistently feels unable to express it because of the weight of
And perhaps the most important lie was the reference to France. France
has "shown its cards" and "said they were going to veto anything that
held Saddam to account" -- this right on the heels of Chirac's effective
surrender by agreeing to a 30-day deadline for disarmament.
This was is much bigger than a war on Iraq. It is a gauntlet hurled in
the face of France and the rest of "old Europe." It is a frontal assault
on the concept of democracy worldwide. It is, if you look at the
planning documents (http://www.newamericancentury.org) of the
neoconservatives who now run our foreign policy, the first stage in a
long campaign against China.
Yesterday, Bush drew the battle lines through the entire globe and
through the middle of each country. In order even to begin to understand
how to oppose this new imperialism, we must understand this: weapons of
mass destruction have nothing to do with this war, and even Iraq itself
has to do with this war only in the sense that it is a strategic prize.
This war is a small part of an ongoing attempt to reshape the world.
The target of this war is not Iraq. The target is the entire world
order, and Iraq is simply collateral damage.
Rahul Mahajan is a founding member of the Nowar Collective
(http://www.nowarcollective.com) and serves on the National Board of
Peace Action. His first book, "The New Crusade: America's War on
Terrorism," (http://www.monthlyreview.org/newcrusade.htm) came out in
April 2002, and his next book, "The U.S. War Against Iraq"
(http://www.sevenstories.com/Book/index.cfm?GCOI=58322100353810) will be
out in April 2003. His articles can be found at
http://www.rahulmahajan.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org