but not Awe
I write with a heavy heart. Our cause has shifted from
trying to prevent a needless war to seeking to end an
illegal war. The audacity of the Bush administration
takes one's breath away.
The United States is bombing Baghdad, engaged in its
"shock and awe" strategy. Shock yes, but there is no awe.
To suggest awe reflects only the arrogance of the Bush
militarists. US attacks on Iraq are shocking and
Shocking that we are at war in violation of
international law and our Constitution.
Shocking that our government is committing aggressive
warfare, which is a crime.
Shocking that a large majority of the US Congress has
been so compliant and cowardly, handing over their
responsibility to declare war to the president. By giving
up their Constitutional powers, Congress is putting the
future of our Republic in jeopardy.
Shocking that Bush has demonstrated contempt for the
strongly held positions of our allies, and hundreds of
millions of their protesting citizens throughout the
Shocking that Bush has shown such studied indifference
to the millions of Americans who have taken to the
streets in protest of his war plans.
Shocking that the United States has attacked Iraq in
defiance of the United Nations Security Council and with
disregard for US obligations under the Charter of the
Shocking that the United States has acted in bad
faith, having assured the other members of the Security
Council at the time of passage of Resolution 1441 that it
does not provide for an automatic recourse to war. John
Negroponte, the US Ambassador to the United Nations,
assured other members of the Security Council on the day
that Resolution 1441 was passed: "Whatever violation
there is, or is judged to exist, will be dealt with in
the Council, and the Council will have an opportunity to
consider the matter before any other action is taken."
What he apparently meant was that the Security Council
would have a chance to endorse a US-led war against Iraq
or be cast aside as irrelevant.
Now we are faced with the challenge of ending this
illegal war, and bringing those who are committing war
crimes to justice. This must not be only victors
justice, but justice that applies to all sides. As Bush
and Rumsfeld have emphasized, following superior orders
will not be a defense to the commission of war crimes.
This should be so both for the Iraqi leadership and for
the American leadership.
The anger wells up at the hypocrisy and arrogance of
the Bush administration. The two most powerful statements
that I have seen recently in opposition to the war are
Senator Byrd's lamentation, "Today, I weep for my
country!" and the expression of bitterness of Michael
Waters-Bey, the bereft father of one of the US soldiers
to die in a helicopter crash returning to Kuwait from a
mission in Iraq. Mr. Waters-Bey said that he wanted to
tell the president that "this was not your son or
daughter. That chair he sat in at Thanksgiving will be
There will be more killing and more deaths, more empty
chairs. It is a time of sadness, as our country is losing
its credibility and honor throughout the world. It is a
time of tragedy that the militarists are having their
day. It is a time of shock, but far from a time of awe.
We will find a way back to decency, democracy and the
rule of law. Until then, we must continue to express our
dissent and opposition to this war, to policies of
perpetual war, and to the diminishment of our democratic
rights. We must also find a way to hold the guilty
accountable for their crimes against peace and war
© TFF 2003
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