THOLOS OF ATHENA

Saturday, June 25, 2005

NO SOFT LANDING FOR AMERICA

It's hard to listen to the pronouncements of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and "architect" Karl Rove. There will be no soft landing for America. The country is in the hands of shallow men, and has fallen under the influence of their weak and disingenuous smiles, and is almost smothered at times, by all that pettiness and deceitful nonchalance. It is easy to feel ashamed of these small men. But men of this calibre are, by no means, a full reflection of our predicament.

Already there is sentiment, both in Democratic and Republican ranks, that under all circumstances the occupation should continue; and if it is tragic, it is still inevitable. What none of them has yet revealed to the public, is that this heavier and committed occupation can only be sustained by a larger, conscripted, US Army. John Kerry, our erstwhile Democratic candidate, supports "fixing" what we have done in Iraq. But there's no point in singling him out, because this is bipartisan madness. Even a casual review of the voting records and rhetoric of Senators like Clinton and Lieberman, Biden and McCain, Warner and others, will bear this out.

The Iraqis refuse the long term presence of occupiers. And an occupation that extends into the indefinite future, is impossible without compulsory military service. It's not so clear to American families now, but when their children have been betrayed, when another young generation is being sacrificed for essentially economic reasons, it will be our own country which Bush and his accomplices have placed under Occupation. This is no joke. Talking heads and economic experts will be solemnly declaring that George W. Bush, as cockeyed and cracked as he may be, has ransomed or gambled the continued role of the USA, as a superpower, and its economic future on the continued occupation, if not subjugation, of Iraq. You see, under their logic, we can't afford not to be imperialists.

An imperial power will have to pay a steep price in blood and treasure. There is one estimate that puts the accumulated expenditure in money, by the end of Bush's term in office, at $600 billion. But a much more grievous injury to American society will be the sacrifice and betrayal of the younger generation. It will be done for the increasingly tawdry prize of American prestige and a truly Faustian wager on the economy. A resistance was made, nearly forty years ago, against the expansion of militarism during the Vietnam War; and it was necessary to oppose many of the same corporate/political factions and the same sort of ambitious men who were then standing as a dire threat to our real security, to our dignity and self-respect as Americans, and to the well-being and life of every conscripted soldier.

Those who claim that they are speaking in our interest, will soon be telling us that we face recession and even worse calamities, if we withdraw from Iraq. Don't listen to them. The worst thing that we could do as a nation would be to commit to a heavy, ongoing occupation of Iraq. There should be a more dedicated movement for withdrawal from Iraq; and under no circumstances should we allow them to draft our children.

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