War

Cross-posted at Daily News Online.

The Wrong War:

“Mr. Clarke, President Bush’s former counterterrorism chief, writes in his book, “Against All Enemies,” that despite clear evidence the attacks had been the work of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, top administration officials focused almost immediately on the object of their obsession, Iraq.

He remembers taking a short break for a bite to eat and a shower, then returning to the White House very early on the morning of Sept. 12. He writes:

‘I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were. . . . Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq.'”

I have a cousin who went to Iraq. He was in a Marine recon unit that went in before the war. He’s very gung-ho about “defending America” and retaliating against the terrorists for 9/11, so we don’t talk about this. But I wonder what he’s going to think about this later, when he realizes that he was NOT “defending America” or avenging 9/11.

More than that, I wonder about the families of the dead. And I wonder about the injured. I wonder how they feel — or will feel when the truth is accepted — having sacrificed so much for the wrong war, for a trick, for an election gimmick, for a far-right ideology. And when the troops return, and the truth is known, how will they react? What will they say about this period of their lives, spent away in Iraq, seeing what they have seen and for some of them having done what they did in the course of a war and the year following that war.

I wonder how will we ever ask others to sacrifice? Now that our country has done this, how will we be able to ask people to sacrifice when it really IS necessary, really IS about defending the country, and really IS about fighting for freedom?

This betrayal is beyond politics, beyond impeachment, beyond resolution by law, certainly beyond a swinging left-right pendulum of national attitudes that naturally resolves itself back to some center. America was hijacked, politics was hijacked, our law was hijacked, our SYSTEM was hijacked, international law was hijacked, morality was hijacked…

There is nothing worse than war. When this is all over (if we do come to our senses) we must — MUST — repair our system and put in place oversight and accountability mechanisms to prevent anything like this from happening again. And I mean a lot more than just preventing a war — I mean all the steps that led up to this, from the one-dollar-one-vote campaign system that let them get a foothold, to the repeal of the equal time doctrine that allowed them to turn our radio and TV stations into full-time right-wing propaganda outlets, even to indirect-but-related activities to consolidate their power over our institutions of morality like their taking over the Southern Baptist Church. That’s part of the whole equation, and we need to look at every little piece of how they accomplished the takeover that led to this terrible, unforgivable war.