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The Smirk Of A Killer: Ending The Impunity Of The Bush White House

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We Are All Responsible

by Bud McClure

Last week Bush ask Americans to make the ultimate sacrifice for the war he started in Iraq - to continue to suspend their belief systems and join him in perpetuating his fantasy that he's winning the war on terror. In one sense it seems like a legitimate request, given that the reasons for the war have been based on lies and fixed intelligence. The speech itself was the same tired, old, hackneyed rhetoric about flag waving that Bush uses to stir his supporters. However, he couldn't even stir the troops he was speaking to who had to be prompted by White House staff to give him even one round of applause.

Now, a majority of Americans, some of whom who have just awoken from a deep slumber, have stopped supporting Bush's war choosing instead to support their children by refusing to sacrifice them for his folly. Even his ardent supporters now recognize that military service has literally become a dead-end job.

Nevertheless there are still those who, from a safe distance, support this war by offering up the usual nonsense about growing freedom and democracy in the Middle East. The most appalling reason put forward for the continuation of this war is that we must honor those service men and women who have died by continuing to sacrifice more young lives. The tragic truth is that those that have died have died in vain. One more death will not change that harsh reality, nor will it ennoble their deaths in anyway. In fact, to participate in Bush's fantasy makes a mockery of their sacrifice by denying them, even in death, the truth they deserve.

As usual missing from his speech were any calls for real sacrifice, because Bush knows that his dwindling base of supporters will collude in his myth making as long as they don't have to do anything, but suspend thinking and embrace blind patriotism. They don't really care that the war debt is piling up and will be paid by their children and grandchildren, and they refuse to see that the world is more dangerous now because we are promoting terrorism by this unnecessary war. The weigh of the lies used to justify this war is now causing this myth to collapse. Most Americans now say the war was not worth it. When we finally slink out of the backdoor of Iraq the many who colluded with Bush either by their ignorance or by their silence will be left with only the shame of recognition that their collusion has resulted in the death and needless waste of tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and a country left in ruins.

But ultimately we are all to blame, even those of us who have opposed this war from the beginning. No matter how much we might want to deny our culpability there are those moments when we awaken in the middle of the night because the truth sneaks up on us and reveals that something has gone terribly wrong. In these troubled moments we catch a glimpse of our own dark underbelly, of what we have become: a country largely indifferent to human suffering, driven by competition and greed, and willing to sanction others to torture, terrorize and murder in our names to preserve our consumptive way of life. We all share a responsibility for this. Bush was just the thug we hired to do our dirty work, and make-believe it was for noble ends.

Now, we have broken Iraq and there is nothing we can do to fix it. We are the problem not the solution. No matter how many more soldiers we sacrifice, or civilians we kill, or money we spend it cannot be undone. This war has no end to it. It will continue and will spread to other countries as oil becomes scarcer.

We are at a crossroads in our history. We can do more of the same, expend our treasury and youth to commit mayhem in the world or really honor those who have died in combat by finally acknowledging the folly of war. We can bring the troops home and commit ourselves to a foreign policy lead by energy conservation and dramatic changes to our lifestyles. We must share the world's limited resources with others and work to end the misery and poverty that fuels the hatred and hopelessness which is the root cause of terrorism.


Bud McClure is Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at bmcclure@d.umn.edu

Published on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

 

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