View from Afar

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DALE SUDERMAN
The month of February was named for the goddess Februa-she was the mother of Mars, the god of war.

In ancient times, soldiers would engage in fertility rituals in February and try to leave behind pregnant wives before marching off to the spring wars. Their motto was “Make Love and then War.”

We moderns call it Valentines Day.

The sight of soldiers, sailors and airman kissing their wives and girlfriends good-bye is an all too familiar sight this month for Americans. In the tradition of the imperial armies of all ancient empires, this February is again a prelude to war.

George Bush the Junior does not appear to be an American Caesar. He rather more resembles a junior high basketball coach in a West Texas consolidated school speaking at a Friday afternoon pep rally before the big game.

“Don’t misunderestimate me,” he warns us. “This is a battle between good and evil. They tried to kill my daddy.”

He did promise us in his election campaign that his American foreign policy would be more like that of the lone gunfighter. There would be no more long boring meetings trying to build consensus with a bunch of American allies.

I remember the apolitical warnings of my parents: Elect a Republican and you get a depression. Elect a Democrat and you get a war.” (They were thinking of Herbert Hoover and FDR.)

One has to wonder if George Bush is determined to be a bi-partisan president and give us both a war and an economic depression.

Now that we can’t find-or even mention the names of Osama Bin Laden and Omar the One Eyed Mullah-we are off to chase more villains in our new Axis of Evil.

Shootouts with barbarians make good drama- both in westerns and for CNN.

In the last scene of many westerns, the hero and his sidekick mount their horses and the townspeople give them a cheer and say, “Thank you, kind strangers. Now that the bad guy Saddam is gone, we folks in Iraqville are all just going to get along with each other. We wish you could stay for our picnic and square dance.”

Let’s not confuse Iraq with “Mayberry RFD.” There is a good chance that within a year of Hussein being gone, the country will have a Kurdish Liberation Army, a Sunni Liberation Army and a Shi’ite Liberation Army. All three will be fighting for control of Iraq while neighboring countries make covetous glances at gaining new territory from the turmoil.

Do we go back to settle this dispute also?

Or do we want to chase after the arms dealers and multi-nationals?

According to the Guardian newspaper in London, the United States has refused to declassify the section of the Iraqi report about their weapons of terror, which lists 150 U.S., British and French corporations who sold them the components for the Iraqi weaponry.

Many at home will cheer a quick victory by U.S. forces overseas. The great danger in giving a quick butt-kicking and emerging unscathed is-like any sin-this easily becomes addictive.

“That was fun-let’s go do it again.”

As a veteran of one war and a protester of several wars, I will join the anti-war protesters in a heartbeat. Provided, however, they acknowledge Osama and Saddam and Arafat are murderous thugs-but the United States is still wrong to play Global Cowboy.

Most Americans are not protesting. They seem to be saying, “Well, maybe, if we have evidence, if we have international support-but maybe not even then.”

Maybe this majority needs to rally at the Marion County Courthouse and carry picket signs which read, “Maybe-but more likely not.”

February is the mother of war quickly followed by March. I pray we are not ill fated on the Ides of March.

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