Dear America: You’d Better Stop This One

I’ve been squealing a great deal about our misadventure in Iraq. I realize I’ve spent a lot of time with a scolding, I-told-you-so kind of tone, rarely offering much in the way of solutions. I hope you forgive me for this, but I’ve been terribly frustrated with my fellow Americans, and it’s hard to not be a dick about it. I have been doing this in part because I warned, loudly, in the run-up to the war that we were marching into a colossal mistake. So, when many of my fellow citizens now have the nerve to act surprised that rolling our tanks into the heart of Arabia was an abject disaster, it’s a little hard to take. I also have been doing so because, frankly, I can’t offer much in the way of solutions. Ideally we’d find a multinational Arab force to take the mess off our hands, but they rightfully will tell us what we told them: to go screw. In the words of Powell: we broke it, we own it. This mistake will haunt us for generations.

Many have also said to me that looking backward won’t help us. I disagree because I think the past can teach us stuff, such as who was right and who was wrong – and it also informs us about future risks and who we should be listening to at present.

By most informed accounts, we are now racing into a war with Iran. If you think Iraq is a mess, an attack on Iran will make Iraq look like grade school playground fight. Iran has a massive, well-trained military. Thousands of people, most of them innocents, will die. We will create an entirely new population of enemies among people who would like to be our friends. Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, removing a large portion of oil from the global market and unleashing massive waves of unprecedented demand destruction throughout the US economy. Militant pro-Iran groups will take the gloves off and hit us in places and ways that have heretofore been off limits. Our aggression will inspire new, fervent nationalism in a nation where, if left alone, there is actual hope of grassroots pro-liberty revolution. We will set these revolutionary hopes back a generation or longer. We are likely to set off a massive conflagration across the Middle East.

My fellow Americans: I forgive you for sleeping through the run-up to Iraq, allowing our leaders this misadventure, and ignoring the voices that warned of the danger. I beg the wounded and the families of the dead on all sides forgive you. I speak so harshly because we must stop pretending that there are others we can conveniently blame for these tragedies. The buck should stop where the power derives: with each of us. As the ultimate source of power in a constitutional republic, The People should not be permitted to detach ourselves from responsibility for the acts of our government. Especially in light of our current challenges, we must be denied these delusions, lest the erosion of our great nation continue.

Now before you stands a chance to stop an even greater tragedy that is likely to mark another big step toward the end of the American Empire. I don’t care if you’ve been an activist your entire life, or you’ve never even voted or thought about this stuff. I call on each and every one of you to stand up, just this once, and do something to stop this out-of-control Administration – a group of criminals who pose much more of a threat to our nation than any outside enemy, real or conveniently imagined. We are in true danger – from within – and the only way to stop it is to rise up and demand a return to rationality. After uselessly sacrificing thousands of Americans and Iraqis in an unnecessary offensive action, we are unquestionably worse off. And now they – the enemies within, blind to their failures in Iraq – want to move on to a nation that, like Iraq, poses no threat to us. Be certain: we are the aggressors – we are rattling our sabers and intimidating the people of Iran.

We are – far and away – the greatest threat to our own survival.

You – each and every person reading this – have a choice. You can ignore it, “go shopping” – as your brave and bold President has suggested is the patriotic thing to do when threatened – or you can stand up and scream loudly, “NO, not in my name.” Because if you don’t, in your name and under your flag it will be done. Your money, your bombs, your dead and wounded neighbors, your economy. You will be responsible for what unfolds, because these criminals derive their power from your assent – whether silent or expressed. There is no leadership emanating from Washington – so, that leadership must emanate from us.

Sleep through this one and you will be awakened as few of you have imagined. We are rolling into an incredible tragedy and it must be stopped by those in charge: The People.

So please, do something. Call your Senator. Call your Congressional rep. Call the White House. Specifically demand that we talk with Iran. Demand diplomacy – not hostility. March. Protest. Self-organize. Write to the paper. Shout (at work, at home, at play). This is serious business.

I ask for a return to America the peacemaker; America the example; America the builder of bridges. I demand the Department of Defense be used according to its name, rather than as the military extension of some mad, Biblical ideology.

Our nation is gravely threatened by this madness. It is not who we are. So, I ask [h/t DE]: Who do you want to be today?

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