When Senator Lott posed his question "Who is the enemy here, the president or Saddam Hussein?" he may have congratulated himself on a clever rhetorical flourish, but in fact he has raised one of the great questions of our time.
The president and his ideological cronies are attempting - and thus far very successfully - to shape the foreign and domestic policy of the United States in a way more than reminiscent of 1930s Germany. To accomplish its agenda, the players of the Bush administration have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to distort, embellish, misrepresent and fabricate "evidence" to support their positions, and their successes to date have in large part been due to a calculated blend of fear-mongering, McCarthyesque suppression of dissent, and political bullying.
Thus far, neither the House nor Senate has seen fit to challenge the administration in a meaningful way, and both parties have waved the flag and voted in lockstep as what can only be described as a totalitarian straitjacket is drawn tight around our once-free society. Every misanthropic initiative of the Bush administration, from the USA Patriot Act to the so-called "War On Terror", has been met not with serious or reasoned debate, but (with only a few exceptions) simply rubberstamped by a House and Senate seemingly too cowed by the mendacious bluster of the president and his soldiers to object. What passes for "debate" on the proposed Department of Homeland Security, for example, involves not the fundamental question of whether America ought to put in place such a Stasi- or Gestapo-like system, but only whether its agents should have the usual perqs and protections accorded other civil servants.
Even the most recent flap - with Democrats expressing outrage at the implied assault on their patriotism - misses the mark and threatens a headlong rush by most members of Congress to adopt the resolution demanded by the president, just to demonstrate to constituents that they are just as "patriotic" as any of the war-hawks.
The agenda of the president and his cabal of totalitarian-minded neo-imperialist ideologues is clear. From the blueprint for world domination enunciated in the Hitlerian manifesto "Rebuilding America's Defenses" published by "Project New American Century" (whose active membership reads like a Who's Who of White House and Pentagon insiders), to the just-released White House policy document "The National Security Policy of the United States"; from the Constitution-mocking legislation pushed through by Ashcroft's Justice Department to the Orwellian proposals for "homeland security"; from the overstated or outright fraudulent "cases" presented against foreign "enemies", real and imagined, to the threats and extortions practiced by Rumsfeld and his cohorts against Gulf and South Asian nation states to force acquiescence to America's plans to completely reshape those regions, and even - at the expense of denouncing their own cultural and ethnic loyalties - to provide bases essential for American military operations; the signs are crystal clear.
Senator Lott's question was indeed rhetorical, but all the facts argue that it is the president and his administration, not Saddam Hussein, that constitute the greatest danger to the United States and the rest of the world. When this president uses the phrase "clear and gathering danger", there should be no confusion that it is the Bush White House to which this term most aptly applies.
Various news organizations and political pundits are theorizing that voices of dissent may be encouraged by the friction now flaring in Washington, but is it not more realistic to expect that after a brief hiatus the self-interested and self-preserving political herd instinct will again prevail to insure the president has his war?
What is at stake here is no less than the future of the world, and it is an absolute certainty that tripping the lever of war will unleash a cycle of strife that may well last through the NEXT century. It is well past time for men of courage and conscience in both political parties to speak out against this horror. Unless they do - and soon - it will be too late. A coterie (perhaps even a majority) of ill-informed or misinformed Americans may for a while continue to equate war with "patriotism", and applaud a resolution authorizing military action at the president's discretion. History, however, will not applaud; as a nation we will be judged as harshly as Germany and Japan for willingly embarking on a campaign that, once begun, by its very self-perpetuating nature cannot be concluded until a limitless number of new-made enemies is overcome and total conquest is achieved.
Surely the president and his advisors know this; is it not therefore self evident that this is the unstoppable reaction they hope to set in motion, a reaction which will render their overall strategy for U.S. world supremacy likewise unstoppable? Can the world even survive such a sustained onslaught? Will those who claim to represent our best interests act decisively to stop this runaway train while it can still be stopped, or will the threat not be acknowledged until the final act, when the ominous opening chords of Gotterdammerung ring forth?
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