by Bill C. Davis
March 31, 2003
When I see them lying in the street, their wrists being lashed with plastic as if they're bundles of produce, I hope the rest of the world is seeing them too. The protesters do more for homeland security than Tom Ridge and all the border patrols combined. Cameras would serve this country well if they aim their lenses at these active citizens and record the statements they and their bodies are making within the context of a free society. They make not only a wonderful statement but a wonderful example. The streets of other countries should know that there is a movement here that has not disconnected itself from the plight of citizens in Iraq or in any country that is being bombed in the name of and with the money of the American people.
The polls in support of the war reflect mainly the success of indoctrination. Bush can stand up at a podium as if he's on the Jerry Springer show and say that he has just heard that Iraqi soldiers have cut the tongue out of a dissenter and "let him bleed to death in the middle of the town square." There is no source or verification - there doesn't need to be. It may or may not be true - it only needs to be glossy and gruesome and make his war seem holy.
Blair, whose name I have noticed is an anagram for "Liar-B" is taking the lesson from Liar-A, which is - say anything. The sister of a soldier Blair claimed was executed by the Iraqi regime has denounced Blair. She says he lied and that she was told her brother was killed in action - on the spot. It was a twist of the knife that Blair felt compelled to give her and the world a more painful scenario. The mission, which he has accepted like a dutiful Oxford debating team member, is to keep the public disgusted with the enemy and thereby continue to gain support. It also makes peace activists and protesters seem tolerant of barbarism. How could they want us to stop prosecuting a war against people who would do such things?
The horror stories have recently and will continue to accelerate. Protesters are protesting war, which allows and releases the worst in human beings. An enlisted man told me that a sergeant in the U. S. army who had trained him, kept a bag of fingers he had cut off of dead Iraqi soldiers during the first Gulf war. That also may or may not be true - but any incomprehensible behavior - substantiated or unsubstantiated - is not proof of how terrible "these" or any people are - it's proof of how psychotic war is and how it encourages psychotic behavior. The self righteous "Ah-ha's" out of Bush and Blair are manipulative and self serving and are neither honest nor examined. If anything they make the case for peace activists who could respond to Bush and Blair - Yes - Look what war does to human beings - not just to their bodies but to their minds and personalities. War is the atrocity and its legacy will last for generations. That's why people are lying in the streets in New York and San Francisco.
There never has been any doubt there is the beast in every human being. Pressure, stresses, oppression, experience, pathology, attack - all contribute to the beast taking over. Imagine the personalities of Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage or DeLay if they were cornered in Basra. War will discharge the urges and behavior we hoped culture, constitutions, legal systems, spiritual leaders, art and even commerce would keep in check. Bush in fact has shunned all of these because he himself does not want to be civilized or regulated by them. The protesters, on the other hand, want their country to be tempered by those universal structures and as much as possible keep the beast at least harnessed. Instead, advocates for peace are themselves being harnessed, cuffed, muffled and insulted.
I think it would be wise for journalists to be embedded in the peace movement. I would like to see a journalist in a protest dressed not in battle fatigues with a helmet and a bulletproof vest but holding a sign and saying "we" when speaking about the group - United For Peace - Voices in the Wilderness - 9/11 Families For Peace - or Not in Our Name.
The expansion of the war has begun. Rumsfeld has given warning shots to Syria and Iran. Putin has said that the relationship between the U. S. and Russia is approaching its lowest point since the height of the cold war. This country at the moment is like the largest dinosaur on the plains- with its massive muscularity, stride and chops - it is however being ordered about by a tiny cluster of simple synapses - no dexterity of thought or imagination. Just thud and chomp. In contrast the open hands of the activist patriot citizens are publicly hog-tied. The hands reaching out to restore a brotherhood and sisterhood to the rest of the unsettled world are being punished and vilified by the country they're trying to protect and regain.
Bill C Davis is a playwright. He can be contacted via his website: http://www.billcdavis.com