As the 11th hour approaches, Iran grows closer to acquiring the means to manufacture a nuclear weapon, and the drumbeat of war grows louder.
Washington power brokers from both parties converged over the weekend at the hawkish pro-Israel American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) in D.C. to make an impassioned case for action — military and otherwise — against Iran to prevent it from becoming a nuclear-capable state.
President Barack Obama and several of the Republicans vying for their party’s nomination to defeat him united in a rare display of bipartisanship in contemporary American politics to call for an unequivocal defense of Israel while unanimously condemning the Iranian nuclear program, with the threat of war in case of noncompliance.
With the approval rating of Congress now lower than that of venereal disease, it seems only logical for those who run the show to try to rebuff its image by turning to the one public policy that always rings with initial popularity: war.
In its inability to address the structural problems that afflict our body politic — from income inequality to prison overpopulation to national de-industrialization — our two political parties have resorted to the one issue that remains capable of distracting us from the cancers eating away at our country from the inside.
The first casualty of war is truth, and with its death comes the inability to tell fact from fiction. Once in war, we no longer see the loss of manufacturing jobs as a threat to our nation’s working class or the lowering of our nation’s educational standards as harmful to our standard of living. We only see the godless communists and theocratic mullahs as an existential threat to our way of life.
When a nation commits itself to combat, it succumbs to a form of collective-thought suicide, killing off forms of dissent and reason that might pull back the dogs of war from their inevitable killing spree once let loose. Usage of national iconography by the state, whether in the form of the flag, the Bible or the soldier, is used to pacify all thought and debate while converting the simple-minded into the symbol-minded.
Instead of trying to defeat our domestic problems and attempting to better our own people at home, during wartime we choose to look abroad and combat foreign monsters, not realizing that both ultimately stem from the same underlying evils that plague us all as members of the same species.
The dictators, despots and tyrants of the world have only been able to do their deeds on the backs of those who have suffered evil and injustice their whole lives.
The poor, infirm and disenfranchised who live a life of emptiness and alienation under a state and society that cares nothing for them will naturally choose to fight foreign foes rather than seek solidarity.
America’s past remains rich with reform movements that have historically tried to redress the social, political and economic ills that have plagued our people in an attempt to make our country and world a better place.
The Progressives of the early 20th century who attempted to end the unsafe housing, low wages and poor living conditions found within our nation’s cities would pass away upon America’s entrance into World War I. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of old, which sought to ensure a second Bill of Rights for Americans, guaranteeing education, housing, health care and retirement, became undone by WWII.
The dream of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, to build a greater society here in America, ultimately died as thousands of Americans did in the jungles of Vietnam.
Know that before we turn our nation’s attention to our enemies abroad, we must first turn our backs toward our own at home.