hearts and minds

September 13, 2007

The Madness Must End – September, 2002

Filed under: Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 4:59 am

This article, published in a general readership local newspaper, when there was plenty of time to stop the Congressional authorization, and the Administration ordered invasion of Iraq, was unique in Wisconsin and America. This article may have been the first, if not the best, to challenge the Bush allegations and plan to invade and occupy Iraq. Readers, please forward information of ANY other such columns in a comparable media outlet at that time, prior to the invasion. They should all be recognized and honored. Please include information about the demographics and political leanings of the publication’s readership.

The brief essay that follows was one of my first op-ed columns, written five years ago (and six months before the invasion of Iraq) for a local, general readership newspaper. At that time, there was virtually no questioning by the mass broadcast or print media in the US, of the assertions and the rationale for the Bush Administration plan to invade Iraq militarily. It is important to recognize the exceptions to this wholesale abdication of responsibility. And the little Ozaukee News-Graphic deserves recognition and honor for having the courage and foresight, and respecting the Fourth Estate’s responsibility to run this, and subsequent columns. It is circulated in the heart of a district that seldom fields an opposition candidate to Republican incumbents in local partisan elections, and tallies two straight party Republican ballots for every three ballots cast in general elections. By the way, it may surprise you to learn that 80 percent of reader responses to this article, in the heart of F.J. Sensenbrenner’s home district, approved of it! A sequel to “The Madness Must End”, published five years later, will appear in the newspaper and in this blog very soon.

“Against our traditions, we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war. This republic’s life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It … is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. … Each of you…must speak. … Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t.”
– Glances at History – by Mark Twain

To remember and memorialize those thousands of souls murdered in one shocking and horrific crime last September;
To honor those heroes who, to render aid and rescue, courageously entered the maelstrom from which all others were understandably fleeing;
To express deep gratitude for those who fought to prevent the airline in which they flew from being used to kill many more on the ground;
To extend deep sympathy and help to those family and friends who have been left to mourn and wonder why and struggle with grief and rage and their lives so brutally shattered;
To do this with justice, with reverence for all life, with love suffusing our hearts and to do this while defeating terrorism should be our goal.

It helps to recognize that we in the United States are not the first or the only victims of terrorism. There were countless victims of political terror under Stalin in the U.S.S.R, under Hitler in Europe, under Emperor Hirohito in Asia. Terrorism does not only or even primarily come from a peasant with a homemade bomb. The nightly bombing of London during WWII, the methodical execution by Nazis of a percentage of the inhabitants of a French village when an act of Resistance was performed – this was terrorism. The word “decimate” was coined to name the practice employed by Roman Legions to terrorize invaded nations and quell insurrection by simply killing every tenth person. Terror by decimation in the modern era is accomplished by the use of artillery and aerial bombardment. Terrorism accompanies genocide from within, as in Nazi Europe, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Terrorism is defined as violence directed against non-combatants to accomplish political ends. Nation-states have always been the most egregious employers of terrorism.

It is essential that we ourselves recognize that citizens of the United States have not only been victims of terrorism, the United States has also been among those nations that has harbored terrorists, knowingly trained and supplied terrorists, and has itself employed terrorism. We participated in the intentionally planned firestorm that immolated Dresden. Our government helped Nazi war criminals escape justice. CIA Operation Phoenix executed twenty thousand South Vietnamese civilians without a trial. Our government supplied Saddam Hussein lethal poison gas with the expectation he would use it against Iran. We dropped more bomb tonnage on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than was used by all sides during the Second World War. We have trained, supplied and funded regimes and paramilitary death squads throughout the Southern Hemisphere that have murdered human rights advocates, labor activists, environmentalists, spiritual leaders, and entire villages of indigenous peoples, and continue to do so.

Enslavement of people and uprooting them forcibly from their homeland is only possible when accompanied by the most unbelievably brutal and murderous forms of terrorism. And our nation, and Europe’s wealth was built on the colonization and enslavement and genocide of indigenous peoples throughout the entire world.

Only if we recognize our own degree of culpability in the sordid history of terrorism can we participate in an effective war against terrorism, rather than unilaterally unleash a war of terror that is fueled by blind revenge, signified by a retraction of our own values and the Bill of Rights, and directed by a drive for more and more power…as the world stands aghast at the dreadful spectacle of a bully beginning to go bananas.

Targeting Iraq when no evidence exists, and none of the hijackers were Iraqi;
Asserting that the most dangerous domestic terrorists in America are so-called eco-terrorists, when no deaths are attributable to any actions of any environmental groups;
Ignoring the bloody long history of America’s Nazis and the KKK and numerous other white supremacist hate groups including those that motivated the Oklahoma City federal building bombing;

These misdirections indicate that we are off course and heading for the rocks.

In the months to come, do not forget how a reluctant Congress was persuaded in 1964 by a lie about an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened, fabricated by the Secretary of Defense and the CIA, to pass a resolution authorizing the use of combat forces in Vietnam.

We must not dishonor the victims of terror by compounding it.


  1. I agree with you 100%.You hit the nail right on the head.

    I fought in my own way to get bush defeated in 2004, like he was in 2000, but got to be president anyway because of a lot of crooks in Florida. The biggest mistake by the Supreme Court in the history of the United States was to give him the presidency. The next biggest mistake was rewarding Bush with another term in 2004. Half the people in the United States have no brain, or have a brain like George Bush, shriveled from pot, cocaine, and liquor.

    God told him what to do.I think he better look down to find the god that told him to kill. Only a fool would start a war he was told he could not win, but I guess I don’t understand the whole story. Like Cheney said before the war, the American people don’t know what to do, so we make the decisions for them. It’s a good thing Bush and Cheney are so smart otherwise look at were we would be without their war.

    Our children would get an education, our infrastructure would be rebuilt, our national guard could do the jobs they are needed for in the U.S., social security, medicare, and medicaid could all be funded for the next 50 years. Everybody in the U.S. could have the best medical care in the world. All this could have been done without going so far into debt that our grand children, and their grand children will have to scrimp and save to pay it off.

    That’s what we get from Bush and Cheney’s better idea.

    P.S. New Orleans could have been rebuilt also.
    Our country could have been made so safe no one could hurt us.
    I think they’re both nuts. If the democrats that were elected to bring bush and cheney under control would get a back bone they would impeach both of the looney’s.

    Comment by Donald D — September 13, 2007 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  2. It just goes to show that words fail when it comes to making the world a better place.
    Action gets attention and motivates others.

    Comment by Howard H — September 14, 2007 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for revisiting this, and for your column.

    Our family attended a showing of the movie, “No End in Sight” tonight at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee. A trailer can be seen here: http://www.noendinsightmovie.com/

    We were looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the inner workings behind the war in Iraq, in this documentary by journalist Charles Ferguson. We came away angry at how we have all been duped even more than we knew, by our arrogant and misguided “leaders”.

    I guess I am just one of the majority of U.S. citizens who are “too busy” to pay close attention to the scary way our country is being mismanaged. We’d better start paying attention. I’m also at a loss for the right words to express this. Just see the movie, if you can.

    Comment by Diana J — September 17, 2007 @ 12:10 am | Reply

  4. Clyde, keep up the good work. I agree with you 100%, and enjoy reading your views.

    Comment by Mike C — September 17, 2007 @ 10:29 am | Reply

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