No utter surprise can come to himAs the pit-bull neocons and the mad-dog liberals engage in their debate over the success of the surge, one yearns for the witness of one man in the political arena with the moral clarity of the late John Tyndall of Britain. There can be no success, no victory, Tyndall asserted, in a war fought for an ignoble cause. But America has no heroes like John Tyndall. (1) We have only caricatures of human beings called Republicans and Democrats.
Who reaches Shakespeare’s core;
All that we seek and shun is there—
Man’s final lore.
In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the character of Brutus takes it upon himself to explain to the Roman populace why he and his fellow conspirators had to hack Julius Caesar to bits. And his explanation works, at first. Brutus uses an age-old trick of rhetoric: He starts with an unproven assumption and places all those who would disagree with him in the position of defending odious principles:
“Who is here so base that would be a bondman? If any speak; for him have I offended, Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply."The easily persuaded masses reply, “None, Brutus, none.”
But after Marcus Antony delivers his rebuttal, that Brutus foolishly in his egoism permits Antony to make, the populace want to tear Brutus apart. Antony undermines Brutus’s unproven assumption that Caesar was ambitious and that he therefore sought to make every Roman a bondman.
The Bush administration has shoved their unproven assumptions down the throats of America’s easily swayed populace. Only in this instance the Bush administration has cleverly refused to give any Marc Antonys a chance for a rebuttal. “Who is here so base that will be for terror? Who is here that is so un-American that will be against freedom? If any speak, for him have I offended.”
I will speak, without Marc Antony’s Shakespearean eloquence, but with the anger of a peasant who is being asked to accede to the proposition that black is white and white is black if his feudal lords say so. This the peasant cannot do. For truth is truth to the end of reckoning despite all Neocons and Bushyites.
BUSH'S UNPROVEN ASSUMPTIONS
1) "This is a war against terror. If you oppose it you are in favor of terror."
The response: When the Bush administration says this is a war against terror, they are not being precise. They do not mean they are fighting terror of all kinds, they mean they are fighting Islamic terrorism. But before we proceed to refute that assumption, let’s look at the terror the U.S. government is not fighting.
First, there is the terror of abortion. Paul Hill, a man who actually fought terror by killing an abortion doctor, was executed in the Bushyite state of Florida. Is this fighting terror? If terror is indiscriminate violence against innocent human life like the baby in its mother’s womb, then who is more anti-terror than the man who seeks to prevent the murder of those innocent children?
And then there is the terror of the one-sided war going on in our major cities. Black terrorists have claimed more lives in the U. S. than the al-Qaeda organization, yet no one in any official capacity has vowed to stop this kind of terror. Far from it, they aid and abet it, passing more and more laws against white self-defense.
And thirdly there is the terror of unchecked immigration. There is no stability, no place one can call home, no safe harbor, when there are no borders that aliens cannot cross.
And are we fighting Islamic terrorism in Iraq? No, we are not. The 9/11 attack came because of our support for Israel and because of our open borders policy. How does killing Iraqis make up for porous borders and a suicidal foreign policy?
2) "This is a war for freedom; if you oppose it you are against freedom."
The response: No nation today is sufficiently Christian to claim a right of conquest. Whether a majority of Iraqis wanted Saddam ousted (which I doubt) or whether a majority did not want him ousted is not the point. We have no right of conquest; Saddam posed no threat to the United States.
And what does the U. S. mean by freedom? We can see what is meant if we look at what freedom stands for in this country. Freedom stands for legalized abortion, pornography, and an economic war of all against all in a system referred to as capitalism.
3) "This is a Christian crusade against Islam."
The response: The Neocons and Bush have not advanced this reason for the war, and indeed, they are quick to deny they are at war with Islam. Southern evangelicals and a few military men have advanced this reason. And while these individuals might wish we were a Christian nation at war with a Muslim aggressor, they must not be allowed to get away with such an obscene perversion of the truth. We have never been a Christian nation in the sense that the older, throne-and-altar, European countries were. However, it is true that we once were a Christian nation in the sense that the vast majority of our citizens were Christians. But we are not a Christian nation by creed or by majority opinion at this point of our history. So we have no right to invoke the Christian deity in our war with Iraq.
And secondly, even if we were a Christian nation, we would not have carte blanche to kill Muslims. In the Muslim religion killing Christians is a good in and of itself, but in the Christian religion Muslims must be on the march, intent on conquest, in order for Christians to kill them with justification. I think a great deal of the Southern evangelicals reveal themselves to be devotees of Mars rather than Christ in their zeal to make this “war against terror” into a Christian crusade.
One does not have to be a prophet “new inspired” to predict dire consequences for the U.S. as a result of the Iraqi invasion. Such naked aggression always comes back upon the aggressor. The words Henry V used to warn the French Dauphin could certainly be applied to the U.S.:
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeanceYes, before it’s all over, we shall all have cause to curse William Kristol’s and George Bush’s scorn.
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
And some are yet ungotten and unborn
That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.
(1) There were some right-leaning Americans (we have no right-wingers) who, like Tyndall, opposed our involvement in Iraq. But they became, once the war started, much like Hector in Shakespeare's play Troilus and Cressida. Hector argues that the Trojans were in the wrong. How could they continue a war that was based on the abduction of another man's wife? And yet, after arguing correctly, Hector succumbs to the warmongers:
And as a result of Hector's capitulation, he is ignobly slain by Achilles and Troy is brought to ruin.
Hector. Paris and Troilus, you have both said well,
And on the cause and question now in hand
Have gloz'd, but superficially: not much
Unlike young men, whom Aristotle thought
Unfit to hear moral philosophy.
The reasons you allege do more conduce
To the hot passion of distemper'd blood
Than to make up a free determination
'Twixt right and wrong, for pleasure and revenge
Have ears more deaf than adders to the voice
Of any true decision. Nature craves
All dues be render'd to their owners: now,
What nearer debt in all humanity
Than wife is to the husband? If this law
Of nature be corrupted through affection,
And that great minds, of partial indulgence
To their benumbed wills, resist the same,
There is a law in each well-order'd nation
To curb those raging appetites that are
Most disobedient and refractory.
If Helen then be wife to Sparta's king,
As it is known she is, these moral laws
Of nature and of nations speak aloud
To have her back return'd: thus to persist
In doing wrong extenuates not wrong,
But makes it much more heavy. Hector's opinion
Is this in way of truth; yet ne'ertheless,
My spritely brethren, I propend to you
In resolution to keep Helen still,
For 'tis a cause that hath no mean dependence
Upon our joint and several dignities.
Labels: Iraq War and Shakespeare