By Harvey Wasserman
The war in
It’s about preventing democracy in the
And it is the tombstone of the Obama Presidency.
To justify the fight, they’ve rounded up the usual suspects
Oil. Minerals. Poppies. Democracy.
But George Orwell’s 1984 -- now updated with important new books --
illuminates the bigger picture
It keeps the public frightened and dependent.
And it keeps "the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real
wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be
Better to destroy them in a ritual slaughter like
wherever is next.
For a truly prosperous society, educated and secure, cannot be ruled by
the few. Poverty, ignorance and fear are the three pillars of
authoritarian control. Without war, they all disappear.
Recent books by Howard Zinn and David Swanson have updated Orwell's
Zinn’s THE BOMB (www.citylights.com), testifies to the obliteration of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the utter senselessness of these "announced
nuclear tests." Once an Allied bombardier, Zinn revisited a French town
he helped destroy. He found the act, of which he was once proud, had no
military meaning whatsoever.
Though he passed away earlier this year, Howard's PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF
THE UNITED STATES continues to shape our understanding of this nation's
true core. In narrating the hidden, bloody past of our compromised
democracy, he warns at end that even for the
enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
Swanson's new WAR IS A LIE (www.warisalie.org) adds to the litany. A
tireless campaigner for peace and justice (www.warisacrime.org) ,
Swanson was instrumental in tearing away the ridiculous Bush lie that
the war in
carefully documented, passionately argued reasons why the era of endless
Over the years, Norman Solomon's books and film WAR MADE EASY (
http://www.warmadeeasythemovie.org) have also provided a firm, steady
opposition to this fatal addiction.
Nowhere has our military madness become more transparent than in the
Obama Administration. The "shellacking" the Democrats took this fall
stems directly from Obama’s painfully visible failure to bring hope or
change to a nation at war since 1941.
For a few infuriating weeks, Obama danced around the decision to
chance to change history.
Obama could have stood up to the generals. He could have de-escalated.
He could have begun the process of drawing down the military budget, the
only way to save our economy.
More than 50% of taxpayer money goes to weaponry. We have troops in more
than 100 countries. We spend more on our military than all the rest of
the world combined. Throughout history---
have spent themselves to military oblivion. We have now been in
With a simple speech, Obama could have begun the Great Reversal. It was
a crystal clear moment. The public support was there. It was what he was
elected to do.
But like Lyndon Johnson’s catastrophic March 1965 decision to escalate
the war in
first man in history to accept the Nobel Peace Prize with a pro-war
speech. With Bush's Secretary of War by his side, he ceded to the
military our nation's most critical decision. He doomed our domestic
economy and global ecology by burying us still deeper in the lethal
quagmire of perpetual war.
All else is sad detail. When Obama caved on
As Orwell, Zinn, Swanson and Solomon make clear, perpetual war is the
carefully engineered route to poverty, ignorance and dictatorship.
tragedy. Its ever-changing justifications are meaningless smokescreens,
forever poised to cloud the inevitable transition to the next conflict.
The names, places and rhetoric may change, but the impact will not.
Until we find a way to break through to a genuine state of peace -- and
we must, and soon -- we have no future.
HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE US, introduced by Howard Zinn, is at
www.harveywasserman.com. He edits the NukeFree.org web site.