Sunday, August 26, 2007

The shiny new war has me hypnotized.

In October, November, and December 2001, a small group of peace activists stood in front of the courthouse every Monday afternoon in a silent vigil to protest the "war on terror"; I was one of them. In November, after the U.S. troops rolled into Kabul, I changed my placard to No Wider War, seeing even then the early signs of the coming attack on Iraq. What I'd give to have been wrong about this regime's plans and intentions!

The placard's been put to use again in recent years at our periodic Iraq war vigils. Once again, what I'd give to be shown wrong about a looming attack on Iran. It would be much easier to act if I could muster some hope. But I'm paralyzed by seeing too clearly how the so-called opposition party has collaborated with the ruling clique to lay the groundwork for the new, wider war.

If only I could take heart from signs that the Iraq debacle and the Democrats' enabling have begun to open cracks in the consensus favoring a permanent war economy and our assumed right to intervene anywhere in the world. But I'm afraid that shift is happening too late and too slowly to stop another leap toward cataclysm. The attack can't be stopped politically in the time remaining; it's up to Bob Gates, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the courtiers around "the Decider".

As a result, focusing on the coming horror feels too much like standing on the porch watching a tornado travel towards me across a long, flat plain. Rather than study the twists and turns of the various scenarios for provocation, and measure each new gust of windy propaganda, shouldn't I be looking for a cellar?

But the analogy fails, because in tornado country, almost everyone is familiar with the conditions in which the storms develop. They recognize that nothing they can do will stop the twister, and pay attention to sirens.

Okay, then. For as long as I can stand it, I'll be a siren. There's a lot of complacency and skepticism around. Some of the rationales for it are comfortingly sensible-sounding, but I'm convinced that the comfort's illusory. I won't head for the cellar before I've given my best effort at sounding the alarm. I'll be thrilled if it turns out there was no need.

More later.

Update: 30 Aug 12:45 pm - Plenty of blogs with actual readerships are picking up the cry (Glenn Greenwald, Jim Henley, Tony Karon, Chris Floyd), so for the sake of my mental health I may stick to aspects of the unfolding situation that aren't being widely discussed. Bush's menacing speech at least quiets for the moment assertions that the threat of war on Iran is just in our minds. Jon Schwarz reads between the lines a hint that the CIA is stubbornly clinging to verifiable facts.



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