by Stew Albert
Bush Telemarketing
The mark of sorrow is now burned into the American soul. The fires that consumed the World Trade Center, and upwards of 7,000 lives will leave permanent marks. We have had our national tragedies and also inflicted hell on others but like Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, we have avoided the scars of suffering and conscience and always come out looking young and optimistic.
Plane into Building
Not this time. Too many lives were lost and symbols of power and security destroyed to make a snappy recovery and resume a never ending journey through Consumerville. I am feeling all this upclose and personal. I grew up in Brooklyn and Manhattan, especially in the target area of Lower Manhattan, where I came of age in every manner of speaking. My hometown was attacked. My New York-based 24 year old daughter and her friends were placed in terrifying jeopardy. How can I respond to this by pulling out a book filled with old abstractions and self-assured bromides?
Smoking Towers
When we ask "Why did this happen?", the answer from the pundits and politicos is that the terrorists are inherently and absolutely evil and besides they are jealous of our great democracy and even more wondrous trinkets and toys. But no explanation is ever given as to why America has always had so many close friends who were of a jealous nature and hated democracy. When I was a kid, the Hitler-loving dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco, was our close Cold War buddy. And there were a million just like him in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, anti-democratic tyrants who lined up with America. Just a few months ago the jealous, freedom-hating Taliban received a lot of American money for destroying its smack crop. And no one asked them to kick Bin Laden's ass out of Afghanistan. Maybe their hatred has something to do with our international policies? At least a little bit?
Back during the Vietnam War, we always swore that if our country was attacked we would come to its defense. The point we were making was that that it was America that was attacking Vietnam, not the other way around. Of course we believed that nobody would be crazy enough to actually attack America. The planes that hit the World Trade Center proved us wrong. How are we peaceniks going to keep our ancient word?
H Bomb
Speaking of the Vietnam War, it was my honor to meet with and praise the enemy on several occasions. I joined with representatives of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese government in Santiago, Chile and Algiers. There were other peaceniks with me. The purpose of the gatherings was for us Americans to find out what the Vietnamese thought we could do to strengthen the antiwar effort. They always encouraged our antiwar protests and asked us to make them larger and more frequent. But when the subject of terrorism on American soil came up, what was sometimes referred to as "bringing the war home," the Vietnamese said "No, our enemy is not the American people, it is the American government." If they had said otherwise I have no doubt that much blood would have flowed in America's heartland. And the Vietnamese had ample reason to hate Americans who were destroying their country and killing a million of their citizens. But they were elegant enemies of imperialism. Their philosophy was not based on a fanatical religious doctrine but on an old style, now defunct Marxist humanism. And a good thing that was for Americans. A lot of them are alive today because the Viet Cong didn't believe that murdering them in cold or hot blood got you a nonstop trip into Paradise Lost.
Flag Map
America and the Muslim world are now more likely heading for hell. Our homegrown democracy was already hanging on a very thin thread over the fascist abyss. George Bush really didn't win the last presidential election. His coup-based government is more a junta than an administration and now the terrorists have given Bush everything a junta could ever want - a national emergency in which it can assume dictatorial powers and abolish civil liberties. Now we can imagine American Arabs being rounded up like the WW2 Japanese. Now the Bush gang is preparing to wage a world wide war; its supposed target is terrorism, but the way it will be fought will exponentially increase terrorism. Just start killing thousands of innocent Moslem bystanders, otherwise known as "harborers of terror," and see if our cities don't become as safe as Jerusalem in the middle of an Intifada. The Moslem world will be lining up for service in Bin Laden's Heavenly Brigade of Bastardly Butchers.
Bush's Superteam
Bush says he's going to secure America. He's going to take the terrorists "dead or alive" and eliminate states that give them aid and comfort. Really? The Israelis make the best, bravest and smartest effort to protect themselves against terror. What happens? A Palestinian with a heavenly ticket to ride and a bomb, walks into a public market and the Israelis are scraping up arms and legs. It can and will happen here. We will be looking at American soldiers once again entering hostile third world villages on search and destroy missions and terrorists taking ruthless revenge by targeting America's vulnerable homeland.
At times I feel hopeless. I watch television and I see Dan Rather and Jay Leno volunteering as soldiers in the propaganda war and observe newscasters and commentators who now treat Bush as a great statesman.There is so much justifiable rage at the terrible crime that has been committed against us. How can wisdom, love and compassion prevail?
WTC Burning
The other day I went on a peace march in Portland Oregon. It was surprisingly large (2,500) for these times. I hoped the speakers would find a way of expressing American anger and channeling it away from Bush and his propagandists. The speakers certainly expressed sorrow but they treated anger as a sin. Something we could overcome by thinking about all the crimes America had committed against the world. As someone who has been in the protest movement for 40 years, I am very familiar with America's sins. Indeed a very good friend of mine was murdered in Chile by a government America helped install. I contemplate America's global bestiality up close and personal and I'm still angry at the murdering terrorists. And if I'm angry can you imagine how the average New Yorker is feeling? The peace movement won't be able to influence angry people to move in a decent, sane way unless it is itself angry.
Smoking Statue of Liberty
We can't hide from the horror of the crime but we can insist that no more crimes be committed. No more innocent blood shed. No more innocent bystanders blown to bits. We can scream this fiery message at Bush and his junta. We can take it to the streets. And while shouting out against the continuing murder of innocents, we can also demand that the murderers be brought to justice. We want to know who they are, give us proof and then enforce an arrest warrant, but do it surgically, without blowing up the neighborhood, the nation and the world. Do it legally with the participation and support of an international body of western and Islamic jurists. By now the better part of humanity would like to see it go down that way, the path of peace and justice has many well wishers.
WTC Towers
We are taking on quite a burden, in defending a truly attacked America. To save the world from war and America from dictatorship and terror. After we accomplish these Herculean tasks, we have to make an agonizing reappraisal of American foreign policy. Including careful looks at Iraq and the Gulf War, and the insane relationship that counterposes Israel and Palestine. But let's take on one impossible task at a time.
Squiggle Line
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