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War and Anti-War


War and Anti-War
By Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker

09 September Issue

A few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush, during a visit to the still smoldering Pentagon, said that what was already calle the "war on terror" would be "a different type of war"-different, presumably, from the two World Wars, different from Korea and Vietnam, differen from the surrogate skirmishes in the Cold War's buffer zones, different from the Cold War itself, different from his father's war to expel Sadda Hussein's marauders from Kuwait. Four years later, many of Bush's (and others') expectations about the ensuing struggle have fallen by the wayside But that one has proved right.

It is a different type of war. It's different because of the predominantly stateless, decentralized nature of the enemy, whose only columns are fifth columns, and because of the nature of the battlefront, which shifts week by week, minute by minute, from New York and London and Madrid to Bali and Tel Aviv and Baghdad. It's different in terms of the arsenals used to fight it, with language skills, coordinated intelligence, and body armor more useful-and in shorter supply-than the stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, and anti-ballistic missiles of the high-tech military industries. It's also different in that, unlike the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, it is being fought not by conscript armies but by a professional standing army and, increasingly, by citizen soldiers from the state militias.

Finally, it's a war whose burdens have been borne pretty much exclusively by volunteers in military service and their families, and, to a lesser extent, by the erstwhile beneficiaries of the shrinking federal safety net. The war's political managers have made absolutely no effort to create even a simulacrum of equal sacrifice, and 9/11 did nothing to change what has been from the beginning, and remains, the Bush Administration's top priority, not excluding fighting terrorism: the use of the tax code to transfer wealth to the rich and, especially, the superrich. Next week, even as the national debt grows by another $11 billion and military recruiters scramble with ever-mounting desperation to fill their quotas, the Senate will reassemble to take up the proposal, already passed by the House, to permanently eliminate the estate tax, thereby shifting some $1.5 billion a week-about the same as the Iraq war-from the public treasury to the bank accounts of the heirs to the nation's twenty thousand biggest fortunes.

Yes, it's a different type of war. But a lot depends on what the meaning of "it" is. In the nineteen-forties and, Korea notwithstanding, the nineteen-fifties, "it"-"the war"-was the Second World War. By the end of the nineteen-sixties, "the war" meant Vietnam. But what does "the war" mean now? Sometimes it means what the Administration styles the Global War on Terror, a metaphor that has occasionally discomfited some of its own officials. (This summer, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld floated "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism"-a more accurate term, and less flattering to terrorists, which was immediately shot down by the President.) Sometimes it means the war in Iraq, which is or is not part of the larger struggle, depending on how (and when) one looks at it.

This ambiguity also makes for a different type of antiwar politics. The opposition to the Vietnam War relied on the active mobilization of masses of people-first tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, finally millions-and its demand was clear: Get out. Its Iraq counterpart, so far, is more rudimentary and, unlike its predecessor, almost completely without hostility to the military or illusions about the enemy. Not quite a movement, it is more a pyramid of complaint ranged along a line from dissent to discontent. At its peak, for the moment, is Camp Casey, the makeshift tent vigil, a mile or so from President Bush's Texas vacation estate, that has grown up around a woman named Cindy Sheehan, whose son, an Army enlisted man, was killed in Iraq seventeen months ago. In the middle is a congeries of left-populist Web groups, such as MoveOn.org. At the base is a large slice of the public, as measured by the crude instrument of public-opinion surveys-a silent majority, you might say. In a Newsweek poll, 61 per cent disapprove of Bush's "handling" of Iraq. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 54 per cent say that the war there was a mistake, 57 per cent that it has made us less safe, and 56 per cent that we should withdraw all (33 per cent) or some (23 per cent) of our troops.

The numbers are eerily similar to those the Vietnam debacle generated at its worst. The sentiment they reflect, however, is not the same. The movement against that war had the support of thousands of elected officials, including, toward the end, a majority of both Houses of Congress; the opposition to this one has no such thing. But the reticence of so many Democrats is rooted as much in perplexity as in timidity.

Thirty-odd years ago, it didn't require all that much perspicacity to see that the Vietnam War could not be won-or could not be won at a remotely acceptable cost in blood and treasure, which amounts to the same thing. It didn't require much more to see that defeat in Indochina would not entail defeat in the larger struggle that had been the original rationale for America's intervention. On the contrary, the end of the Vietnam War-which, again, ended the only way it could, in a Communist victory, with the suffering and oppression it did entail-set the stage for the cascade of events that led to victory in the Cold War itself. In retrospect, but not only in retrospect, the demand for immediate withdrawal was both morally and strategically sound.

In Iraq, the strategic rationales for war-terrorism and "weapons of mass destruction"-have turned out to be as phony as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. With scores of thousands of Iraqis dead, an Islamist theocracy in prospect for part, if not the whole, of the country, and the possibility of civil war growing, even the humanitarian rationale has begun to wither. And the hubristic dream of Iraq (in the words of Fouad Ajami, in an essay included in a new anthology entitled "The Right War? The Conservative Debate on Iraq") as "a beacon from which to spread democracy and reason throughout the Arab world . . . has clearly been set aside."

Even so: this is a different type of war. The enemy in Iraq possesses nothing like the monopoly on indigenous sources of legitimacy that was the Vietnamese Communists' decisive advantage. Saddam Hussein's regime was worse than Ho Chi Minh's. Iraq-based terrorism, once a negligible threat, is now a serious one.

Last week, even as Bush was taking a break from his vacation to denounce "immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq or the broader Middle East" as a step that "would only embolden the terrorists," the Financial Times was reporting details of the Pentagon's plans "to pull significant numbers of troops out of Iraq in the next twelve months." The chilling truth is that no one really knows what to do. No one knows whether the consequences of withdrawal, quick or slow, would be worse or better-for Iraq and for the "war on terror" of which, willy-nilly, it has become a part-than the consequences of "staying the course." It is a matter of judgment, and the judgment that will count, more chilling still, is that of George W. Bush.

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Im sorry, but i usually end up with something informitive from reading in here. In reading this story, i got nothing usefull.
**HUMPHREY**

The New Yorker often appears to take delight in obscurity for its own sake. In this case, they seem to have perfected that art -- if such it may be called.

Yes, some aspects of this war are "different" from precedents. And, therefore, ...?

Maybe they were leading up to the truism that generals are always fighting the previous war and they just forgot to print their conclusion.

The idea is that people do not know what to do so it is better to keep doing what one is doing. It is a dangerous world. What if we lose access to all that oil? They can't say that, but that is what they mean.

Gee, I sure didn't get that from their "conclusions", if they can be called that.

They just seemed to be saying that what's best is "a matter of judgement". They also seem to regard the fact that Bush's judgement is the one that counts as "chilling".

It's the Foreign Policy Stupid!

One of the greatest lies and one that little George repeats as often as he can is "they hate us for our freedom". If this were true and it is not, they will soon not hate us any more as little George systemiticaly takes away our freedom, then they will no longer have an excuse to hate us.

Little George has used the tradegy of 9/11, which was caused by our interventionist foreign policy, to cynicaly expand the power of the federal government and increase the breath and scope of our interventionist foreign policy; whuch is exponentially increasing terrorism around the world.

The war in Iraq is the gift that keeps on giving to Al Queda and Bin Laden; it was almost as if little George was under mind control by bin Laden who keep whispering in little George's ear, invade Iraq, invade Iraq. Little George is without a doubt the stupidest, most ignorant and most incompetent president ever!

If you want to end terrorism against the United States, withdraw all troops from Iraq now and put an end to our insane interventionist foreign policy, a foreign policy that is not designed to protect the American citizen but to enrich corporate fat cats of the military, industrial, congressional complex.

You are soooo cool if i was a girl, i'de want to have sex with you!!
Well, im glad your on our side. you are on our side, right?
**HUMPHREY**

First of all there was no enemy in Iraq! This ridiculous talk about the differences of "this war" is pure hog-wash! This war is exactly like every war we've endured since the dawn of the 20th century, completely unecessary, and based upon lies! Both 9/11, and the 'War on Terror' are government ruses by which our ruin and oppression is being engineered. We are literally being forced into the role of global bad guys, intentionally setup to fight nations who've done us no wrong! It's not just Bush, but the special interest controlled congress, judiciary, and media, that is the problem! They are all arrayed against us: the grossly bamboozled, but still powerful when united against a common enemy, People of the U.S.! In other words it's our own blatantly corrupt government, that is working ever so diligently to destroy our Republic and Constitution! The American people are seen as mere cannon fodder by corrupt Federal and State officials. To add insult to injury, relentless Orwellian doublethink in the media, attempts to make any opposition to this corruption, "unpatriotic"!

World War I, II, and III (which Bush is doing everything in his power to really kick off) should be seen as engineered catastrophies, that allow certain powerful domestic, and foreign special interests, to re-order the world to their liking. To Bush and his fellow ghouls, Americans are just so many pawns in this 'great game' of building the Orwellian global state. Acting like the demented puppet that he is, Bush is engaged in a suicidal drive for war, war, and more war! In true Orwellian fashion deception rules! 9/11 and the recent London Subway bombings, were deliberately staged government atrocities, designed to incite anti-Islamic hatred, and a thirst for revenge! Wake up America, we don't have the luxury of continued stupidity in this fight against the forces of Orwellian globalism! We will either unite in this struggle and prevail, or find ourselves re-living the disastrous fate of Germany under the Nazis, on the way to a bleak Orwellian future!

First of all there was no enemy in Iraq! This ridiculous talk about the differences of "this war" is pure hog-wash! This war is exactly like every war we've endured since the dawn of the 20th century, completely unecessary, and based upon lies! Both 9/11, and the 'War on Terror' are government ruses by which our ruin and oppression is being engineered. We are literally being forced into the role of global bad guys, intentionally setup to fight nations who've done us no wrong! It's not just Bush, but the special interest controlled congress, judiciary, and media, that is the problem! They are all arrayed against us: the grossly bamboozled, but still powerful when united against a common enemy, People of the U.S.! In other words it's our own blatantly corrupt government, that is working ever so diligently to destroy our Republic and Constitution! The American people are seen as mere cannon fodder by corrupt Federal and State officials. To add insult to injury, relentless Orwellian doublethink in the media, attempts to make any opposition to this corruption, "unpatriotic"!

World War I, II, and III (which Bush is doing everything in his power to really kick off) should be seen as engineered catastrophies, that allow certain powerful domestic, and foreign special interests, to re-order the world to their liking. To Bush and his fellow ghouls, Americans are just so many pawns in this 'great game' of building the Orwellian global state. Acting like the demented puppet that he is, Bush is engaged in a suicidal drive for war, war, and more war! In true Orwellian fashion deception rules! 9/11 and the recent London Subway bombings, were deliberately staged government atrocities, designed to incite anti-Islamic hatred, and a thirst for revenge! Wake up America, we don't have the luxury of continued stupidity in this fight against the forces of Orwellian globalism! We will either unite in this struggle and prevail, or find ourselves re-living the disastrous fate of Germany under the Nazis, on the way to a bleak Orwellian future!

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