In most countries that come to mind, there seems to be a
very strong direct correlation between being antiwar and being pro-peace. Not
in the United States.
In our America, being antiwar has little correlation with
being pro-peace. It seems that much of the antiwar sentiment is more an anti
�how the war is being conducted� with little or no moral basis or consideration
to the universal concept of peace. It was true during the Vietnam War years and
it is true today, as America resolutely pursues its imperial destiny.
You need only visit some of the high profile, high-traffic
antiwar web sites based in the US and dig into their lists of contributing writers.
Although you are unlikely to see any neocon names among them, and only a
handful of Republicans (Pat Buchanan comes to mind) and Libertarians (Ron Paul
heading the list), it�s a safe bet that the majority of these writers are in
disagreement either with the economics of the war, or perhaps the way it is
being run, or the casualties the military takes and the suffering of their
families. There is a pronounced lesser concern expressed in their writings,
however, about the destruction of other nations� infrastructures, or the
suffering of tens of millions civilians caught in the fray -- with millions
forced into exile -- or the inordinately high civilian casualty count, or the
repugnant militaristic nature of wars of choice declared by the bullyocratic
powerful. Even more important, America�s fundamental foreign policy principles
never seem to be questioned . . . only Bush�s style of implementation.
Americans may not support the results coming out of Iraq but
their bipartisan support for the American Wehrmacht has remained almost intact.
And the politicians seem to have a keen awareness of that, so both Republicans
and Democrats know that they must put on a hawkish mask to be elected. That
applies to politicians at all levels, and it is a prerequisite that cannot be
waived for any candidate for the presidency. So it�s no surprise that Barack
Obama this week came up with a plan for Pakistan after having denounced Hillary
Clinton last week of her �Bush-light� approach to the conflict in Iraq.
Apparently Obama realized that without paying homage to the hawkish,
militaristic brotherhood in government, you might as well declare yourself
non-fit for political battle and call it a day.
At times when we visit history and go over the events that
immediately preceded or that took place during World War II, we often ask why
the German population consented, by default, at least, to the horrible crimes
committed by their government on other nations and peoples, and even some of
their own. The parallel situation these days in the US is even worse given the
level of technology in communications that exists today. It�s a topic, however,
that Americans prefer to keep silent about since there is no Nuremberg on the
horizon for their leaders. The Axis of Shame (Bush-Cheney) will answer to no
one, and any criticism directed at them will only get the critics
It is sad that we fail to heed the advice given to us 2,000
years ago by Hispanic-Roman philosopher Seneca when he wrote, �He who does not
prevent a crime when he can, encourages it� (Troades). And we, the American
people, have been encouraging such crime in Iraq . . . and may be prepared to
add to it in Iran and elsewhere as deemed proper and necessary by the powers
that control Washington�s Reichstag.
One cannot help but notice that the foreign press,
particularly that in the Middle East, takes solace in seeing the popularity of
Bush, or for that matter the war in Iraq, reach new lows as time passes. But
their interpretation of the results given by Pew or Gallup or any of the other
polling organizations is likely to be wrong, feeding on an overly optimistic
hope for an end to the war, or the possibility of a shift in foreign policy.
It�s Pollyannaish insofar as a change in foreign policy, even after the next
election regardless who gets elected, Democrat or Republican; and it�s
irrelevant as to the popularity of Bush. American military presence in Iraq is
likely to continue for years to come.
Americans� view of the world, and their place in it, makes
the results of these polls meaningless when dealing in international affairs.
And that will stay uninterrupted as long as Americans consider themselves as
the upholders of democracy and freedom in the world; and every four years they
continue going to the voting booth not so much to elect a president who is
right for the nation, but they remain convinced that they are electing �the
leader of the free world.�
Only a successful impeachment of Bush-Cheney-Gonzales would
show a shift in American public opinion, a true pro-peace voice. And that is
likely to happen when hell freezes over . . . or there is a true economic
bloodbath. There�s some hope for the latter.
� 2007 Ben Tanosborn
Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where
he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at email@example.com.