The independent media -- not beholden to advertising sales,
not interlocked with military industrial ownership -- has a responsibility to continue
telling the truth about American imperialism even in wartime. Though
editorial writers for the New York Times assert that the eve of war is
the last opportunity for frankness before the barrage of war
boosterism, this is not true: if the war in Iraq is a bad idea today,
it will still be a bad idea tomorrow.
Bombing for democracy is a fraud.
The rhetoric offered by the Bush administration about how hard
it has tried to seek diplomatic solutions to the situation in Iraq
is false. Pretenses that the war stems from Iraq's collaboration
with al Qaeda, or from a stubborn refusal to destroy weapons, have
been accepted by a portion of the American public primarily because
the news media have failed miserably to respect the lives of
non-Americans and to imagine peaceful alternatives. Criticism of French diplomacy is wrong-headed because
the French (and Germans, and Russians) were indeed respecting
public opinion in their countries. And in any case, who could blame
diplomats for believing that the Bush administration intended to have
its war regardless of Iraqi compliance? They were right.
To those who see terrorism in all corners, who have taken Bush
at his (scripted) word, it is difficult to find a basis for
constructive dialogue. There is a chasm of the fundamental sort,
something like the one that faced Americans on 9/11. Yet Americans
must face up, finally, to their own responsibilities, in the shadow of
the awesome power of the U.S. military, to respect all lives, and
not only American lives. By cheapening the value of non-American
lives, the Bush administration continues down a road toward an
ungovernable world; one in which women strap bombs to their bodies
and kill civilians -- and not only in Israel. Rather than stem the
tide of terrorism, the Bush administration has decided to make
military force and big military budgets the centerpiece of American
government for years to come.
As protesters have been chanting in large numbers in cities
across America: money for schools, not for war; money for jobs, not
for war; money for peace, not for war; money for art, not for war; money for
kids, not for war.... The American people need not be led by their
media, led by advertising. By fear. If war is not the answer, it will not
become the answer simply because Bush and his sadistic cronies drop 100,000
tons of bombs on the people of Iraq.