SECTION EIGHT

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COLUMN NINETY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

CHICAGOLABOR&ARTSNOTES

Aside from the persistence of an active, visible peace movement in which artists have been vigorous, there has not been very much good news. Lewis Lapham in the current Harpers Magazine describes how Europeans that he met (in the months before the war) reacted to the Bush adminsitration's religiosity: they thought that guiding American foreign policy on the basis of religious conviction was atypical of the American character. Lapham says that perhaps the Europeans don't fully understand how religious Americans are. While some might dispute that the Bush administration is religious, still the administration has thoroughly played the religion card and done it very well. Acceptance of the war and the Bush presidency is ascending; apparently the big lie has even created belief in the (clearly unprovable) link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. It is proof that every war must be conducted with cultural weaponry as well as with smart bombs and guns.

There are so many documents to prove that the battle in Iraq is not about "regime change" or Al Qaeda or even the "liberation of the Iraqi people."  Some of these have even been in the mainstream press. But with CNN embedded at the front, why should we read the New York Times" Which of course overlooks the validity of looking for other viewpoints in the European press, god forbid Al Jazeera.

Long articles have been written about it. Iraq is a demonstration project. More than that, it is a step on a plan that has been called the "Thirty Year Itch"---the plan (originating in the 1970's) that culminated in the National Security Memorandum of Sept. 2002. It proposed a redrawing of the map of the Middle East so as to control oil so as to control the economies of the world. To prevent the European Union or Asia (the always lurking co-prosperity sphere of World War II) from dominating the globe. In short, ensuring that god, in the persona of the Bush administration, on behalf of America and the corporations it serves, dominates the world forever.

I don't remember who said it (probably a lot of people). I know a lot of people are drawing parallels to Hitler's Germany. Within this island between Pacific and Atlantic, the fundamentalist views the parallel as: Hussein equals Hitler and the UN is acting like Chamberlain. It's too easy to call this stupidity; but no matter how demonic Saddam Hussein has been, he is the perfect target (not only because he has been a demon) for what amounts to rising fascism in our own country. And to carry the analogy further, we now have had our own Poland and the military is poised at Damascus (as Hitler's was poised at Austria and the rest of Eastern Europe).

Syria, you see, while not exactly part of the "Axis of Evil" is actually part of the "Junior Varsity" of the axis. Battle planning has deployed American forces away from preserving the cultural heritage of thousands of years and is directing it at further conquests.

While writing this I am listening to Land of Hope and Dreams (Springsteen) and Traveling Soldier (Dixie Chicks). I can't listen to either now without crying. And I hold in my hand the poetry anthology compiled by Sam Hamill, Poets Against the War (just published April 10 and dedicated "for Laura Bush"). On page 88, Madeleine-Therese Halpert, 9 years old from Ithaca New York, writes these lines:

From Maddie (age 9)

terror in their eyes
children now lost forever
innocent, like me  ##

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