The Rip Post




(Christmas, 2003)

I heard a Muzak version of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono Christmas carol, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," the other day, with a rather astonishing alteration. Removed from the song, excised from the arrangement, absent even from the syrupy strings and flatulent horns. . .was the chorus:
        "War is over if you want it."
        Not only was it not sung, it was not even present as a background melody.
        Same reason pro-Bush forces got away with outrageous campaign ads in Iowa that cunningly portrayed Democratic presidential candidates as pro-terrorism. If you do not support the president's invasion of Iraq, the ads suggested, you do not support a war on terrorism. Applying the simple Bush "with us or against us" credo placed Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, Kucinich, and even closet hawk Lieberman right in the wilds of Pakistan, roasting rats with Osama.
        War is in.
        Legs blown to stumps, arms pulverized into bloody sponge, eyes blown from sockets, children dismantled by cluster bombs---all as politically correct as a queer makeover.
        The Bush administration, with a razzle-dazzle of John Wayne rhetoric, color-coded terror alerts, and Big Lie therapy, has turned war into a winner. Don't believe it? See the Old Glory-decorated Christmas trees in department stores.
        God rest ye legless gentlemen.
        War is cool.
        So let's hear it for the cold fear stealing over soldiers as they patrol alien lands this Christmas, knowing that at any moment they might be dismembered by unseen assailants. Let's hear it for Operation Ivy Snake, and Operation Bulldog Drummond, or whatever pulp novel names the latest military undertakings are given.
        Silent night, holy guts.
        Let's hear it for killing, and being killed. Let's hear it for Pentagon euphemisms to take the sting out of death and maiming, so citizens back home can lash Christmas trees to SUVs without a twinge of conscience. Let's hear it for Bradley Vehicles, and tanks, and M-16's, and those new one-shot-kill bullets being tested in combat. The ones that will make an entire pelvis disappear.
        Onward, Christian soldiers. 
        Peace is out. No, not only "out"---peace is a '60's cliché to be sneered at over a six-pack, a box of Krispy Kremes, and the Paris Hilton video. To suggest that invading and occupying Iraq was anything but our duty to Gawdandcountry has become downright un-American.
        After all, we took out a "bloody dictator."
        "We got 'im," said de facto Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer, in reference to Saddam's capture, and the nation cheered like it was a football game. Quoth many a U.S. citizen, with an ignorance that is suffocating, "Guess now it's safe to go Christmas shopping." People said this. I swear to Oprah.
        Joy to the world, Saddam is gone.
        Yes, it seems that not only does much of the populace still believe that Saddam blew up the World Trade Center and Pentagon, it buys the White House's relentless characterization of him as one of the champion tyrants and mass murderers in human history.
        Saddam is a chorus girl next to Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim Il Jung, and probably the current China leadership, which just a few years ago allowed several million country folk to starve to death---and which threatens Taiwan, on which it has no historical claim, daily. (I am, just to be sporting, not counting the countless thousands killed in U.S.-sanctioned CIA wars in South America, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, etc. or the millions who died in Vietnam.)
        Saddam? A comparative pussycat. What's more, he was our pussycat---practically a U.S. employee. We sold him the chemical weapons (along with Britain) that he allegedly used to gas the Kurds (some believe this was done by Iran.) We armed him, supported him---and, in fact, helped put him in power in the first place. Many U.S. officials through the years, most famously Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, visited Saddam, shook hands with Saddam, smiled at Saddam, and made deals with Saddam. Knowing all the while of the things President Bush likes to recite: Saddam's penchant for mass murder, torture chambers, "rape rooms."
        And lest we forget: Vice-President Cheney was still doing business with heavily sanctioned Iraq in the late '90s, through subsidiaries of Halliburton, of which he was CEO.
        Can you say "consummate hypocrisy?"
        Of course, Saddam did invade Kuwait---but then, he had our permission. When U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie met with him July 25, 1990, Saddam asked Glaspie if the U.S. would object to an attack on Kuwait on the pretext of   allegedly pilfered oil, and Glaspie said this: "We have no opinion…. Secretary [of State James] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction ... that Kuwait is not associated with America."
        Sounded like a "yes" to Saddam..
        So why did the U.S. not depose the "bloody dictator" under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush the First? Why did we supply him with weapons, money, and look the other way while Uday and Qusai had a good old time in their "rape rooms?" Could it have been for money? Could it have been for oil? Could it have been for our proxy war with Iran? Could it have been for Israel?
        And why did we, after so many years---and after Saddam destroyed a couple dozen of pride-and-joy missiles at Bush's demand---invade his sorry little country, and remove his rotten regime? Could it be for money? Could it be for oil? Could it be for Israel? Could it be for the Project for a New American Century, synonymous with Bush's national security policy, which calls for "pre-emptive" invasion of any country that "we" dislike? That calls, in essence, for U.S. unilateral domination of the world?
        The Bush Administration says no, that all this is being done only to "stop terrorism" and to fight the good, moral fight by "ridding the world of a bloody dictator."
        This red-white-and-blue refrain plays well with all the adult children gathered around the Christmas tree this year. Forget that Saddam was never a real threat to any country other than his own, his neighbors, and Israel. Forget that had he seriously attacked Israel, that Israel, with or without its massive nuclear arsenal, would have erased Iraq overnight. Forget that the world is littered with "bloody dictators" that we have done business with on a regular basis.
        Forget that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. That Saudi Arabia and Osama Bin-Laden did. Forget that Muslim extremists all over the third world continue to plot terror attacks. That invading and conquering Iraq not only does nothing to stop this, but it foments greater resolve on the part of Islamic extremists.
        Forget that intelligence experts the world over contend that the way to fight terrorism is a cooperative international effort centered around infiltration of terror cells and, when necessary, multi-lateral military action.
        Forget that the Bush administration told 75 Democratic congressmen the fabulous lie that a nuclear strike by Iraq against east coast U.S. cities was imminent, in order to secure their vote for invasion.
        Moral fight? If we are in the business of "morally" policing the planet, we have our work cut out. Next would come North Korea, Iran, China, Indonesia, possibly Pakistan, half of Africa, for starters---which means slaughtering millions of innocents. Seeing as the USA is already a trillion bucks in debt, with no end in sight, this "moral" fight might prove a bit expensive, let alone. . .immoral.
        One wonders: whatever happened to a moral obligation to peace and prosperity at home?
        Forget it.
        O little town of Bethlehem, how still the bodies lie.

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