by Seth Sandronsky
February 25, 2003
George Will sets a new standard of heroism in a recent column on the anti-Americanism of Europeans opposed to a U.S.-led strike against Iraq.
He began by linking Europe’s anti-Jewish past to fools who support socialism. This might be news to persecuted European Jews who were also socialists.
Muddy waters do run deep. Will then draws a parallel between Europea Jewry persecuted for centuries and the current opposition to Washington’s war hawks pressing to attack Iraq.
In his view, the U.S. government is pursuing a resistance movement of sorts to topple a tyrant that a wrong-headed Europe losing economic power fails to see as public enemy number one. Presumably, such clear-eyed recognition of the Iraqi threat to global peace and prosperity is the province of Americans like Will.
For him, U.S. might makes right now and during the Vietnam War and Cold War. Europeans who had protested these examples of U.S. military power fail to grasp that their past flirtation with communism has rendered them now vulnerable to subjugation by the forces of oppression, personified by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Who said red-baiting was dead? Quick, there’s not much time left to rally round the flag of U.S. capitalism and its global battering ram of military force to make markets safe for freedom, boys and girls.
According to Will, the one million anti-war protesters in Britain recently displayed a “moral infantilism” about the central role of U.S. power in making the U.N. disarm Iraq. The U.S. policy of arm-twisting weaker nations such as Turkey to make them parrot the line that Hussein is a menace to the Middle East requiring U.S.-led armed forces to topple him from power, without or with a second U.N. resolution, is not newsworthy.
Likewise, the properly indoctrinated know that nuclear-armed Israel poses no security threat to the region. Perhaps Arabs and Jews who recently united for peace and justice in the streets of U.S. cities and in Tel Aviv are just wimps ready to appease evil.
Just like anti-war Europeans expressing anti-Americanism. Don’t politics makes strange bedfellows in Will’s moral universe?
His ideological diplomacy versus European opposition to the war hawks in the Bush administration is a wonder to behold. Accordingly, Israel’s nuclear weapons are simply a non-issue.
Also unmentioned by Will is the lethal U.N. economic squeeze of Iraq over the past 12 years that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Weapons of mass destruction, indeed.
In contrast to Will’s ideology of U.S. imperial integrity, people in Europe and elsewhere around the world who are entering the public arena to protest a U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq are trying to civilize global society. No matter that the names of these everyday folks probably won’t be recorded in the history books.
They don’t write columns for mass media. They don’t regularly appear on corporate talk TV.
Will does both. But ordinary people in Europe and globally are making their views on war and peace between the U.S. and Iraq known to the broader public without such access to corporate-owned media.
In fact, those now rallying in European streets are trying to craft the answers and questions to the U.S. stalemate in the U.N. over Iraq. These protesters, with and against their elite leaders, aren’t buying the military aggression being sold by the Bush White House as a war of self-defense for the security of the American people.
Will echoes the president’s statement that worldwide anti-war protests wouldn’t change his timetable for war. He drips vitriol for the “peaceniks” of Europe.
The prospect that the European anti-war camp is quite relevant, perhaps more than is now understood, in its unity with like-minded people worldwide discomforts U.S. elites and their mouthpieces such as George Will. So be it.
Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento/Yolo Peace Action, and an editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive newspaper. Email: email@example.com