Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 01.31.03


War Drums

Our President is no longer a joke. At least not a funny one. His references to nuke-u-lar weaponry are sinister rather than amusing.

Last Tuesday evening we all heard the drums of war reverberate through Congress. All but a few of our Representatives stood and cheered Bush's obsession with Iraq.

At this writing Colin Powell has not issued statements to the U.N. wherein it is predicted that he will reveal the "smoking gun" proving to the world that Hussein is hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Why has this "intelligence" not been shared with the inspectors? Why keep this intelligence to themselves? Why don't they use intelligence to prove claims of clandestine weaponry in the hands of Saddam?

I think that the smoking gun is wishful thinking. I think the chicken hawks in the administration are so fevered in their desire for war that reality and truth have become the first pre-invasion casualties.

This will not be the first time we have gone to war for dubious reasons.

In 1964 Lyndon Johnson lied to us about attacks on our destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The tragedy of Vietnam was the result.

Bush the First sent the military into Panama, killing several civilians in the process when our CIA operative, Manual Noriega, stopped following orders.

This administration is secretive, driven by politics and lie to advance their agenda. The lie that the administration told about Cuba supplying biological weaponry to rogue countries was designed to embarrass Jimmy Carter.

Such a facile, easily discovered falsehood is chilling. It shows the contempt that they have for Congress and especially for the American citizenry.

What else have they lied about? Do you have any doubts that they are lying now?

Bush's speechwriters did come up with some inspiring words Tuesday night. viz: "it is not an option to trust in the sanity of dictators like Sadaam Hussein."

Delete the name Hussein and replace it with George Bush and the statement rings equally true.

Several unmentioned repercussions from war are a certainty when the carpet bombing ends. We will suffer many more decades of Arab hatred of all things American.

Before the British handed part of Palestine over to the Jews, the relationship between Jews and Arabs was cordial. There was little or none of the virulent animus that exists today. Why do we suppose that an American invasion and subsequent occupation of a Middle Eastern country will result in great joy in the Islamic world?

I suspect that it will be impossible to successfully "liberate" a population that hates us. How long will the occupation of Iraq remain in place?

When we turned our backs on Afghanistan, after supplying the Taliban forces against the USSR, they soon established an anti-American terrorist "Disneyland." This after we helped them reclaim their country.

Are you buying the administration's fairy tales about happy Iraqis embracing democracy and joining America at the next Olympics? We are directly responsible for the sanctions that have killed tens of thousands of their citizens and now we intend to bomb Baghdad and who knows how many other cities to bring down Hussein.

They will not kiss the hems of our fatigues when we show up with plans for a new Baghdad McDonalds. These acts by Bush, representing America, will undoubtedly become the greatest terrorist recruiting campaign of all time. Young fanatics will line up to become suicide bombers, not in Tel Aviv but in Boston and Anaheim.

The biggest lie is the "imminent threat" that Hussein is posing to the United States. If Hussein so much as swatted a U.S. mosquito, our military would leave a smoking hole where Baghdad currently stands.

Hussein hasn't attacked us since the Gulf War. He has no plans to attack us. If he does possess bio-weapons or chemical weapons somewhere in some underground armory, he will use them only if we start dropping the bombs. Our President, who hid in the National Guard during the Vietnam war, will preside over the deaths of American men and women as well as Iraqi civilians.

The Democratic Party's rebuttal to the State of the Union Speech was spectacular in its tepidity. With an election on the horizon, the Democrats chose a mystery Governor from a Western state to argue against the war machine. Governor Gary Locke was a marshmallow on a stick poised over a Bush bonfire. He was the perfect Democratic Party metaphor. Locke was clueless, off point and quivering like Susan Sarandon at an NRA rally. We are betrayed by the Democrats.

Deficit? Enron? Environment? Education? Health Care? Unemployment? North Korea? Let's talk about that after the war.