Bush Iraq Attack Will Plunge the World Into a Second Great Economic Depression
The right wing always talks about the purity and efficiency of the markets. So, why are the markets sinking lower and lower the closer the United States comes to attacking Iraq?
This summer I had the honor of reading REASONS and the FEAR OF DEATH, by the Australian moral philosopher R. E. Ewin. [Rowman & Littlefield, Publishers, Inc.; Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, Maryland 20706 ISBN 0-7425-1275-4].
Australian philosophers seem to be cornering the market on discussions of assisted suicide. The reason is simple, Western Australia actually had a euthanasia law for six weeks before it was overturned by the Federal Supreme Court. Ewin had months of debate over the question of taking life with which to deal with the fundamental questions of existence.
Ewin makes a convincing case for the fact that humans are social animals. Slower, weaker, and more frail than most other species, it is the human brain and ability to work together that has made people the masters of the universe. In other words, in order to value our own lives, people must value others lives. A totally selfish, go it alone attitude, will ultimately lead to destruction.
Ewin says that this social valuing of life extends even to the individual, ourselves. For example, when one falls off a boat in the middle of a lake, a person does not ask, "Are the contributions I am going to make to the human race really worth my swimming to the top and saving myself?" No, people just struggle upward for air with all their strength instinctively.
People place an a priori value on their own lives. Concern for oneself requires a concern for others. When other people are threatened, people start to worry about themselves.
George Bush is pursuing a policy that requires Americans to place no value on Iraqi lives. At the same time he wants them to go out and borrow and spend and start businesses and hire people and make investments that will take years to bear fruit.
In addition, he wants Americans and the world to accept lethal attacks on Iraq for violating UN Resolutions while at the same time supporting Israel in its continued 54 year flouting of UN Resolutions. The hypocrisy and arrogance of this position is beyond belief. It is based on a basically colonial and racist philosophy that the United States, because of its superior technology and military, really has the right to run the world alone.
Bush thinks that the Americans who did not elect him can be a schizophrenic as he is. He thinks people can lead normal lives and save for the future and plan and hope and dream, while at the same time wage genocidal war against poor backward people who are no threat to the United States. The alleged weapons of mass destruction are a causus belli. The Iraqi use of chemical weapons on the Kurds happened when Iraq was our ally during the Iran-Iraq War. Bush is just looking for an excuse to attack, the same way Hitler manufactured an excuse to attack Poland.
He is following the Israeli philosophy of stealing what is not ours (as if we did not have enough already) by pursuing a policy of perpetual violence against comparatively defenseless people. And it is that same concern for others that make people like the Vietnamese and Palestinians willing to sacrifice their lives even against overwhelming superior force in order to ensure the survival of their people. Menachem Begin, in The Revolt, wrote in 1951: "When a nation's soul awakens, its finest sons are willing to give their lives to ensure success. When an empire is threatened with collapse, it is willing to sacrifice its non-commissioned officers." Look at who the Americans are who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are mostly non-commissioned officers.
It can not and will not work. People can not both wage aggressive wars of domination and build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic societies at the same time. Self-preservation requires concern for others, if not the Iraqis themselves, then the American soldiers who will lose their lives in Bush's colonial war. And that concern for others must take first priority over all other considerations. It is human nature and a necessity.
That is why the closer the world comes to war with Iraq, the deeper into recession the nation sinks. Full fledged war will push it into depression, if for no other reason than the State Department currently estimates the cost of the war at $100 - $200 billion. (That figure alone shows that Iraq is no threat to the United States. A war against a real threat would require trillions, national mobilization and reviving the draft.)
The cause of this war, as I mentioned two years ago, was the failure of either Bush or Gore to address the issue of the Cole bombing that occurred the weekend before during their final debate in the 2000 presidential campaign. Al-Queda attacked the Cole to get America's attention. Bush and Gore decided to ignore it, so the people who bombed the Cole, like all naughty, weaker children trying to get the attention of their parents, had to behave even worse.
If Bush and Gore had cared at all about the 17 sailors who were killed on the Cole, the World Trade Center attack probably would never have happened. They were able to skirt the issue because Buchanan and Nader had been excluded from the debates. The election was a fix, right from the start, and the voters were not even allowed to decide the winner, just like in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Now, Bush has to rush the war resolution through Congress specifically to deny the American people a chance to express themselves on this important issue of war and peace.
It is just like the 1998 off-year election, when the issue was whether to impeach Clinton. The voters gave the Democrats gains in that election, but the Republicans went ahead and impeached the president anyway. How much attention do you think Clinton could pay to foreign threats of terrorism while the Republicans were trying to undo the presidential election results using his personal behavior?
Democracy is not some pie in the sky theory. It is not like sports where it does not really matter who wins. Democracy and fair elections are the only safety and prosperity in a high tech society. No amount of weapons or violence will keep people safe in a world of mass poverty, injustice and desperation. Bush, with the connivance of the Republicans and Democrats, is about to prove this happy truth to a nation that has grown greedy, arrogant, ignorant and overweight from watching too much television. The United States is not a great democracy, it is an imperial dictatorship run by a bully who inherited his money and stole his political office.
Bush, like Hitler, came to power legally, but not democratically. Is it any surprise that he behaves like Hitler, threatening others with violence unless they do what he says. Force is the only arrow in Bush's quiver. An attack on Iraq could well turn into a general middle east war. Force has a way of coming back to hurt the person who unleashed it. Bush's doctrine of unilateral, pre-emptive attack is the philosophy that was followed by Hitler and the Japanese. And within a decade of unleashing unilateral, pre-emptive violence, both Japan and Germany counted millions of dead and their economies lay in total ruin.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf