The Grand Antithesis

by Michael W. Stowell

September 23, 2002


I believe it was shortly after I saw the second airliner fly into the second tower when "Attack On America" became the historical headline that framed the discussion of what and why and how it happened. There seemed to be no other headline, anywhere. I sat stunned, like most people who witnessed the tragedy, but somewhere in the back of my mind I realized that something was very wrong, that the network buzz was not even close to reality. As that knowledge dawned in my conscious mind, I knew I was witnessing the birth of history's greatest deception, the grand antithesis; "The War on Terrorism."

Shortly thereafter it became apparent that no amount of discourse based on the premise that the US government is engaged in a "war" on "terrorism" could precipitate any semblance of rational thought.

Since then it has become obvious that a large majority of people in this country simply cannot and will not see the truth and no amount of organizing, educating and demonstrating will open their eyes. George W. Bush and his cronies will continue to devour civil liberties and manufacture consent for global aggression and dominance. At this point, you and I cannot stop him. He will, in the end, hang himself and all those who support him; he is intent upon it. He does not care if the UN Security Council or the US Congress supports an invasion of Iraq -- he'll do it anyway. He does not care if the invasion triggers violent responses throughout the world; he does not care if a civil war is started in Pakistan; he does not care if the nuclear weapons in Pakistan fall into the hands of enraged militants; he does not care if the cost of his aggression falls upon Israel or anyone else.

Let us all understand that.

I am witness to more and more "progressive" commentators addressing the "War On Terrorism" as if it really exists and nothing could be more counterproductive.

Christopher Hitchens recently got into another squabble with Chomsky and others whom he felt "rationalized" terror and ignored "Islamic fascism." "At least the missiles launched by Clinton were not full of passengers," he wrote. "What they [Islamic fascists] abominate about 'the west' . . .is . . .its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state." What has gotten into him? Hitchens has gone off the wall on us before but not off the ceiling. He is ignoring the fascists in Washington and has assimilated the basic presuppositions of the war on terrorism.

For a time I had high hopes for Phil Donahue and his new MSNBC program but he is not consistent and, for whatever reason, has not been as forceful with purveyors of the great deception as he could and should be.

And what of Donahue's cohort, Ralph Nader? A caller to C-Span recently asked Ralph if he thought that 9/11 would have happened had Gore been president. Apparently astonished, Nader wondered if the caller was implying that Bush had anything to do with 9/11.

Speaking to the Bush administration's policy of detaining "terrorist suspects" without due process, Molly Ivins wrote on November 15, "When in doubt, hold them--fine."

Richard Falk has written that "the war in Afghanistan against apocalyptic terrorism qualifies...as the first truly just war since World War II." In late December, Falk wrote: "The Bush presidency has...recognized the challenge with clarity and mobilized society for a necessary and prolonged struggle. It...defined the mission in relation to terrorism rather than Islam and it made a serious effort to reassure the Muslim minority in America that their rights would be protected."

I have the impression that the "liberals" in America, whether they are columnists or politicians or activists, do not fully appreciate the insanity of George W. Bush and those whose company he keeps.

The most serious challenge to Bush's threats on Iraq has come from a registered Republican who voted for Bush, Scott Ritter. Talk about an upside-down world!

Ritter resigned from the UN inspection team in August 1998 after several years as a member. He left denouncing the Clinton administration for having withdrawn support for UNSCOM and undermining weapons inspections. He has since said Washington used the inspectors to spy on Iraq, a longtime charge by Baghdad, and manipulated the United Nations to provoke a confrontation with Saddam as a pretext for US air strikes on Iraq.

"The truth is Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders," Ritter said in Baghdad on September 8. "Military action against Iraq cannot be justified." Just after Mr. Ritter left Iraq, the government there invited UN weapons inspection teams back into the country without reservation.

So it's time for us to be diligent and direct, dear friends. It's time for honesty in the face of persecution, for unwavering dedication to the cause of liberty and justice and all that makes us human. It's time to speak truth to power...but don't be unrealistic; we'll not awaken the sleepwalking American public, but we can keep justice in our hearts for the survivors of the Grand Antithesis...and survive it ourselves.

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Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Arcata Library in Arcata, CA. He is the producer/editor/videographer of numerous public access television programs; he is a naturalist, a gardener, a bicyclist and a Swans' columnist.

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Published September 23, 2002
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