Drop Everything and Stop This War

by | May 13, 2007 | Stress Blog | 3 comments

Scores of important issues, foreign and domestic, are vying for our attention — but unless we stop the Iraq war and prevent the others planned for the Middle East, our nation will dash over the cliff.

By Scott Horton TheRightSource

Could America wage its imperialist wars if the small-town kids who make up its mass did not believe the trope that they are fighting “for our freedom”?

There are always economic incentives for kids to sign up, but if the larger society saw soldiers for what they are — hired killers of those who’ve done nothing to harm our country — instead of buying into the myth that all our freedom is granted to us by the State when we allow it to conquer small foreign countries, would they still get in line?

Our million-and-a-half man army is already overstretched as it is. What if American parents, instead of going along like the Pentagon’s TV ad says, told their sons that it was forbidden in their families to take part in aggressive warfare? What if our country’s pastors, ministers, priests and other religious leaders let it be known in their congregation that it was their considered opinion that Jesus would prefer that Americans not act like Romans? If school teachers reminded their students that all empires fall, and that the way to preserve the good in their society is to practice restraint and keep your eye on the Bill of Rights?

It’s quite likely that the war in Iraq would be over tomorrow, the envisioned war in Iran would be a threat that thankfully no longer looming on the horizon, and the rest of us could then immerse ourselves in the necessary work of repealing all the laws passed in the 21st Century before we get going on those passed in the 20th.

Americans, it is said, used to believe in liberty; they didn’t simply chant slogans about it, but really believed that live-and-let live was the path to a better future. They prided themselves on being brave and yet deliberate in their reactions to threats. If that country ever existed, it’s mostly gone now.

Now slogans — such as ‘they hate us for our freedom’ — inspire the deepest fears, catch-phrases justify the most serious of felonies, and half-sputtered, obvious lies become excuses to slaughter masses.

The liberty, it seems, is gone from liberalism, while the conservatives want to preserve the flag, but not what it stands for. These ideological movements have sold their souls for power.

Where liberals and conservatives tend to side with liberty part of the time, the politicians who supposedly represent them only enact the parts of their agenda which enhance their own power. The trap seems at times inescapable — especially in terms of America’s aggressive foreign policy.

But perhaps it’s not too late. Maybe the incredible growth in government power in the U.S. in the last few years has finally achieved what the libertarian movement never could — awakened the jealousy of large portions of the American population for their liberty. There are many on the Left who’ve learned valuable lessons about the centralization of power; there are many on the Right who never trusted Bush and opposed his wars; and there are many more who have come around recently in the face of such affronts as the waging of aggressive war, kidnapping, torturing, spying, murdering, passing out Treasury vault keys to the Military Industrial Complex, building the skeleton of a full-fledged national police state here at home, and otherwise destroying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Even the Establishment — or at least some members of it — has had it. Zbigniew Brzezinski — that pillar of the Establishment who conceived of and co-founded the Trilateral Commission, for heaven’s sake! — has been reduced to trying to stop the next war from the bully pulpit of Jon Stewart’s sofa. The Council on Foreign Relations recently released a study calling for a tail-between-the-legs-withdrawal from Iraq in the face of what they say would be a worse fate if we stay. And James Baker III and Henry Kissinger have resorted to publicly decrying Bush/Cheney’s refusal to talk to Syria and Iran.

However, what we need is not the UN- and NATO-centered Empire Lite┞¢ of old, as these men and those of their ilk, would attempt to foist back upon the world.

What is needed is a new movement, a new ideological and political realignment led by those who truly put liberty first against foreign empire and the national garrison state. It is already happening in small ways: progressives using the term “old republic” when lamenting their losses during the Bush years, a rising movement of paleo-conservatives who reject what they term a “Jacobin” movement in DC posing as conservatism.

The War Party has proven that it is still possible to get Congress to obey, but it defers only to those who have their act together. We just need a few good organizers to bring the various antiwar and pro-civil rights groups together into one massive Antiwar League.

If they made one, would you join?

Come on! There will be plenty of time to fight about abortion, immigration and global warming when we’ve brought our nation back from the edge of the cliff.

Scott Horton is an assistant editor at Antiwar.com and the director of Antiwar Radio; read his posts — and check out his selection of anti-war and anti-State bumperstickers — at thestressblog.com.

Listen to The Scott Horton Show