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"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood and narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind is closed, the leader will have need in seizing the rights of citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know this? Because I have done this, and I am Caesar." [Attributed to Julius Caesar]

Whether this came from the real Caesar of history is open to question. Nevertheless, this quote captures a significant danger to America--and American voters. As for why people are so ready to jump on a bandwagon, see Authoritarian and Suicide Terror.

Mr. Bush, with Congress playing the role of citizens infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, chose to initiate war in the face of:

  • A Baath Party that could be expected to protect their interests. It is in fact conducting guerilla warfare with terror tactics.
  • Shiites who have a history of 1400 years that can be captured in a single word BETRAYAL. How can they realistically be expected to trust the son of a man who encouraged them to revolt only to leave them to be slaughtered by Hussein after the first Gulf War?
  • A Sunni minority that has been in power, expects to continue to be, and has all the levers in place.
  • Kurds, a remnant from Kurdistan, who are fiercely independent, and who have already carved a self-controlled and self-governed region out of Iraq.
  • A long history of Islamic governance.

Mullahs teach that the Qur'an is the absolute expression of governance for all things, including that European invention, the secular nation-state. A stable, peaceful, and democratic Iraq with secular laws that rise above the Qur'an, in fact and in practice, is a most unlikely prospect--or anywhere else in the Middle East any time soon.

Our support of Zionism is a cloud over the entire Middle East. We are thought of as exploiting invaders, just as the Jews, and colonial powers before us, are viewed. After all, the Jews forcibly pushed the Palestinians aside and razed their settlements, just as we displaced the natives of America.

With every civilian death we cause, the uglier we seem in the eyes of Islam. In this way we help the Islamic Fundamentalists recruit still more soldiers and terrorists. It is more than ironic that our actions amount to beating the war-drums for the extremist mullahs!

The world is "triangularizing" into three factions, Islam, America, and all others.

Like Caesar, Mr. Bush knows well how to stroke patriotic fervor.

Mr. Bush believes his "hunch" is always on track, and who thinks the Islamic world and the political/ethnic/religious constituents in Iraq and elsewhere will rejoice and suddenly cooperate with an American occupation after it settles in after however many battles with terrorists. Liberal elements will indeed react in this way, at least at first. Their reactions will doubtlessly be displayed prominently by the news services. But what of those suffering for lack of food and water, children killed, looting neighbors, and inadequate medical care. For all that, one might do well to visit al Jazeera for information.

Mr. Bush seems not to think of peace apart from war. Mr. Bush seems oblivious to the future, a future foretold by history. History indicates that, yes, the stronger power will have its way militarily. If an occupation occurs, history also indicates that occupied peoples remain disgruntled for a long time, sometimes for many generations; the Middle East is a model here, Palestine in particular.

How were we led into this quagmire? Another voice from history has the answer:

"Why, of course the people don't want war... but, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship... voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." -Hermann Goering, Nazi Commander, April 18, 1946


But there is more in the historical sense. Of the 18 regime changes forced by the United States in the 20th Century, only five resulted in Democracy. Of wars fought unilaterally, the number goes down to one -- Panama. See George Packer, NY Times Magazine, 2 March 2003.

Like Caesar's Romans, Alexander's Macedonians, Napoleon's French, and Hitler's Germans, American citizens are rallying to the call of war. People who question that decision are scorned as not being patriotic or even treasonous. War does not cancel the First Amendment. See Authoritarians and Suicide Terror for some reasons why so many Americans behaved as the Germans did under Hitler.

A stated purpose of the continuing occupation of Iraq is to establish democracy -- an extreme threat to the very foundations of Islam itself. It is not rational to think Islamic Fundamentalists will not lash out with all they can muster. That already happened to us in Lebanon and is ongoing now.

Islam needs a Reformation (along with the rest of the world and the UN.) But to be meaningful and effective, any reformation must be led from within Islam itself. It remains to be seen whether our presence in Iraq encourages a liberalization wave sufficient to bring reformation about. There are signs that it may have emerged from both Syria and Iran. But if violence continues to escalate, it could well wither. Even if the Iraqi constitution comes into being, its built-in provisions allowing American ownership of some of the best and most productive oil fields on earth is bound to breed resentment.

At best, a lot more blood letting and a generation or more may have to pass before a new course is set. Much will depend on how our military, diplomats, and relief organizations behave. Much also will depend on how the Muslim on the street takes all these events and how the mullahs react. In view of our history so far, none of that is predictable.

This war could indeed be a turning point. But it will not stamp out terror over the short term. Only coordinated worldwide police actions can accomplish that.

An unstated purpose in Iraq, of course, is the vast oil riches that "need to be secured" for the developed nations. That is the Muslim perception and perceptions drive responses whether we like it or not.

Another unstated purpose could simply be vengeance.

Yet another unstated purpose in Iraq could be to divert American public opinion away from terror and win the next election with a "patriotic" war while lurching our nation ever further to the right in favor of plutocracy tainted by theocracy. [Indeed this is already happening.]

Still another unstated purpose in Iraq is to proselytize Muslims to the Christian faith. [This too is happening.]

None of these rise to the level of justifying this war. All are being used by Islamic fundamentalists to paint Americans as bad guys.

There may be some justification for this war in Hussein's genocide on the Shias and Kurds [two facts] or if Iraq indeed possessed Nuclear Threats [not yet factual as of 9 July 2003]. But the nuclear justification is there for also Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, and even Libya. That inconsistency is not lost on Islam. Our motives are suspect. We were in such a hurry beating the drum that we alienated our allies, allies we will sorely need if peace in the Middle East is to be secured with any permanence.

All reporting is biased. The real truth is often hard to recover with any accuracy. Consider the question: "what motivated that suicide bomber?". We did and came up with some surprising answers. See Authoritarian and Suicide Terror. Throw in Zionism for some hard historical aspects; a people were methodically displaced.

It seems to us that terror motivation is a rather important question whose real answer just could have some bearing on our strategy, tactics timing, diplomacy, and expectations after we start a war. If the average American voter is not well informed enough to make wise choices in the voting booth, s/he can make naive or narrow-minded choices in the guise of patriotism. Therein lies great danger.

In this information age, wisdom can not come if our heads are in the sand.

With the Internet, it is possible to at least see and hear alternative views from which we can make up our own minds on issues. One purpose of this website is to provide avenues for increased awareness.


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