God won't be on our side 

Law and religion don't sanction a war of aggression

Now how many families must get killed / for oil families' pockets to get filled?

-- "In a World Gone Mad," Beastie Boys, 2003

So, George Bush last weekend promised us a "moment of truth." If so, it would be about the first from this administration concerning the inevitable war in Iraq. The truth, however, isn't what you hear from Bush. Nor is it what is uncritically regurgitated by mainstream media such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The unadorned truth is that when Bush, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Ariel Sharon, the Halliburton Co., the Carlyle Group, other war profiteers, the rest of the neocons and, of course, the oil companies, get their war, they will have launched America into international criminality.

A few thousand jingo-radio fans gathered in downtown Atlanta last Saturday to "support the troops." One could hear almost audible relief from the AJC that it had an excuse to bury reports of truly mass gatherings around the world protesting the war. (Why does the paper believe the organizers of a pro-war rally on its numbers, and refuse to quote stats on the anti-war demonstrations because there were no police estimates?)

But if the radio hate-jocks really cared about the boys and girls in uniform, they'd be telling their listeners this: Bush's combat strategy is far riskier than the spin docs admit, meaning a lot of U.S. deaths are possible, even likely. And, Bush -- who, it's worth recalling, deserted his Air National Guard unit during the Vietnam War -- could put our GIs at risk of war crimes charges should there be widespread "collateral damage," aka killing civilians or the destruction of water resources and food supplies, leading to mass disease and starvation.

Saddam Hussein, loathsome as he is, poses no threat to America. He could not attack us, could not have in the past and it's not likely a devastated and impoverished Iraq could muster enough firepower to ever assault us.

Inspections are working. Saddam will be disarmed -- peacefully. But America isn't going to allow that to happen. The only scenario in which Saddam might use gas or bugs is if his existence is threatened -- exactly the planned endgame of Bush's war.

The cost to the American taxpayers will be staggering -- $100 billion, perhaps. Quite likely much more. The one thing you can be sure of: The rich who pocket the Bush tax breaks (which will plunge America into penury) will not be the families sending sons and daughters off to be killed.

An even bigger cost -- horrifically so -- is the likely destabilization of the Middle East. Will Pakistan's "pro-American" dictator be toppled and his nukes seized by radicals? Will an attack on Israel be used to justify an assault on Syria or the expulsion of Palestinians from the few acres that haven't been taken from them? How will the Islamic world react if our troops are forced to occupy Saudi Arabia to preserve the feudal monarchy and its oil fields?

Those questions are terrifying possibilities -- shrugged off by the ignorant screamers on hate radio, the government and a large segment (although probably not majority) of the American population that has been buried under a tsunami of non-news, distortions, propaganda and outright deceptions.

Consider:

In the last week, some of Bush's "evidence" -- documents purporting to show Iraq sought to buy nuclear weapons equipment from Niger -- turned out to be bogus. That was hardly the first time administration duplicity was exposed, nor will it be the last.

Inadvertently underscoring the moral void of the government, when Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, was asked on "Crossfire" last week about the fake documents, he responded: "It doesn't matter that this information has been deemed to be fabricated or anything else because the U.N. doesn't matter." In other words, because the world refuses to grovel before Caesar, Caesar is justified in lying to the world.

No evidence has been produced linking Saddam to al-Qaeda. Secretary of State Colin Powell has misspoken about "decades" of links, which would be quite an achievement considering that the terrorist organization is barely 5 years old.

Of the real worry -- nuclear weapons -- U.N. inspectors said last week that they found "no evidence or plausible indication" that Saddam is trying to reignite his program to build the hellish toys.

We, on the other hand, last week exploded the largest non-nuclear bomb in history -- clearly a horror-weapon of mass destruction. There's no doubt we'd use the bomb, or even nukes.

Thus, we'll ignore the will of the United Nations to wage a war of aggression, possibly using weapons of mass destruction, to punish Saddam for -- can you guess? -- ignoring the will of the United Nations and possibly developing weapons of mass destruction.

So, why war? The answers are frightening: Iraqi oil, military dominance that leads to control of the rest of the oil in the Middle East and Caspian regions, and ultimately American empire.

And, let us not forget, war profiteering is high on the neocons' agenda. Halliburton, formerly headed by Cheney, has already landed contracts. Other firms are bellying up to the table. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh revealed in last week's New Yorker that the War Party's Dr. Strangelove, Perle, has set up a company, Trireme Partners, to scoop up defense deals.

In these final days leading to conflagration, what's clear is that our justifications for conflict have nothing to do with defense, or with pursuing a just war. They have nothing to do with democracy -- indeed, Bush's march to war is in goose-stepping rhythm with trampling the very rights that make America free. The true patriots are not those wrapping themselves in flags -- but those who care about Bush attacks on civil liberties, and the transformation of America into an outlaw and a rogue.

The scariest part of all of this is Bush's apparent belief that he has God on his side. The belief that killing innocent people is divinely sanctioned is shared with one other well-known world figure -- Osama bin Laden.

But most religions recoil from this war -- Bush's own Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and virtually every Protestant denomination other than the South Baptist and fringe fundamentalists. Certainly, Jesus never said: "Blessed are the pre-emptive war-makers." Nor did he command: "Go, thou, and seize the world's oil supplies."

Not only isn't God on the side of the warmakers, neither is the law, according to the U.N. Charter and a half-century of international accords. We are on our own, with only our terrifying arsenal justifying our actions. Is that enough?

At the Nuremburg trials of the Nazi leaders, Supreme Court Justice Robert L. Jackson said, "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. ... No grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy."

When Americans start coming home in body bags, when the 12 million Iraqi children begin dying in the "shock and awe" carpet bombing or face the slower death of starvation and deprivation -- our media will have a hard time escaping part of the blame.

As I've written before, Big Media has billions of dollars at stake if the Bush administration continues deregulation. That's part of the reason that citizens are deprived of news.

In the last week, what you haven't read in daily newspapers is that the government has threatened to shoot down satellite uplink positions of independent journalists. Bush has hired Hollywood guys to create the backdrop for war propaganda. The new spokesperson for Gen. Tommy Franks is the terrorist -- and that's not too strong a word -- who organized the GOP riot in Miami that stopped the ballot re-count in 2000.

I sent AJC Editor Julia Wallace a list of major war-related stories the daily either had not printed (censored?) or had run only in the form of wire service briefs. I asked her how citizens in a democracy could make good decisions without full information on something as vital as going to war. She didn't respond.

The stories include:

  • U.S. spying on U.N. Security Council members. This ham-fisted attempt by the Bush hawks to muscle other nations has been confirmed and reconfirmed -- but not in the AJC.

  • Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld serving as a director of a Swiss company that has sold nuclear technology to North Korea -- technology that is essential in weapons production.

  • Halliburton this month winning a contract to rebuild Iraqi oil fields; or that Halliburton and a handful of firms with close GOP ties are lining up for post-war construction deals.

  • A Newsweek report that the most famous Iraqi defector of recent years, who had been described by the administration as providing "proof" of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, actually gave highly credible testimony that the gas and germ stockpiles were destroyed.

    Finally, a word to the French: Salutations aux nobles français. Quelques morons et nincompoops en Amérique vous dédaignent parce que vous êtes la voix de la moralité et du courage aux Nations-Unies. Certains en Amérique s'offensent que vous soyez raisonnés, civilisés et que vous croyez à des principes. Ces Américains, y compris certains aux congrès, sont si pathétiques qu'ils veulent appeler les pommes de terre frites (french fries) "fritures de liberte" (freedom fries). Mais la plupart des Américains n'oublieront pas votre amitié et votre courage. Nous vous saluons. Vive la France. Vive les French fries.

    John Sugg says he still loves America more than France. He can be reached at john.sugg@creativeloafing.com, or at 404-614-1241.

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