||Issue No. 171||21 March 2003|
Shock and Awe
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Interview: League of Nations
Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
Organising: On The Buses
Unions: National Focus
History: The Banner Room
International: The Slaughter Continues
Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Culture: Singing For The People
Review: The Hours
Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
The Locker Room
Viva Le Imperialists!
The First Casualty
Calling All Libs
If George W Bush was an Australian Citizen...
Shock and Awe
As we get our nightly fix of the war, more like a video game if you can get past the fact that people die when the fireworks hit their target, an overwhelming sense of doom descends.
It comes from the witnessing of the juggernaut in action; all the divisions of the US Empire combined - the military, the media, the government - to smash the rogue tyrant and give the world a taste of The Way Things Will Be From Now On.
The doctrine of Pre-Emption, risk assessed and addressed by one nation's leaders, will take our world into a new era of domination and subjugation.
There are two scenarios that can now unfold and neither of them are very pretty.
In the first, the USA and its conscripts do not have the quick and decisive victory they expect. Ground fighting leads to casualties among the soldiers and the civilian Iraqis they purport to liberate. Refugees starve on the Iraqi borders; those that remain are cannon fodder.
In the second, the war does go according to the Pentagon's script, Saddam's army is overwhelmed, casualties are kept to minimum and Iraq is 'liberated'. A US regent is put in place and American companies flood in to rebuild the nation's infrastructure.
For those who detest bloodshed this is probably the preferred outcome; but the long-term consequences could be just as damaging.
A quick victory would leave George Dubya vindicated and ready to spread his doctrine of Pre-Emption' to promote American interests everywhere.
In the long run, this scenario scares me more than the current war. A world with one power exerting its will is a recipe for excess.
The United Nations is compromised, perhaps fatally, trampled over by its strongest member; leaving a void in mediating the differences based on culture, affluence and creed that all global conflicts boil down to.
In its absence, it will be American values and American interests that will define what is right and wrong; power will become its own morality. Who will then be the next target: North Korea? Iran? Pakistan? The only certainty is that it will be for Bush's advisers to decide.
And this new dynamic will beggar a response from Europe and China and create its own dynamic of global instability.
Meanwhile, Australia, now linked to the USA to the extent that our Parliament does not even have a say in whether we go to war, will find itself adrift and exposed in its own region.
Those of us marching for peace do not do so in the expectation that our troops will now be sent home or that our misguided leader will reassess his blind adherence to this Extreme White House.
But we must continue to march to indicate to the world that we do not accept that this should be the New World Order. Our presence on the streets sends this message: our government does not speak for us, it does not listen to us and it is barely prepared to talk to us.
Let's pray for a short war; but let us also pray that the doctrine that has brought this war upon us does not become a template for managing all affairs. For if it does, Iraq could be but a brief skirmish in a war that may consume us all.
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