Wow, it’s been a while, but protests of war makers in Charlottesville will be back big time next Wednesday. It seems like ages since we protested John Yoo, or even since our threatened protest of Dick Cheney scared him out of coming to town. But opportunity is knocking and a massive nonviolent protest is sure to answer.
How could it not? On Wednesday, Charlottesville will host a man who has escalated war in Afghanistan and continued it in the face of overwhelming public opposition. He’s invented a new kind of war using drones and launched such wars in numerous nations, building intense hostility toward the United States. He keeps a list of “nominees” for murder. On the list are adults and children, Americans and non-Americans. He holds meetings with his staff on Tuesdays to decide whom to kill next, and then kills them. He’ll have one of these Terror Tuesday meetings the day before his visit to our town.
We’re dealing here with someone who has launched a war on Libya against the will of Congress, presumably an act even worse than telling Congress obvious lies and getting its approval, as Bush did on Iraq. This new war maker campaigned for office on expanding war in Afghanistan, expanding the size of the U.S. military, and using the U.S. military broadly. He’s kept his promises. The military is larger and more expensive than it ever was under Bush. It’s more secretive, with the CIA fighting some of the wars. It’s more privatized. It’s more profitable. It’s in more nations. And it’s sucking down a greater share of government spending.
Having replaced imprisonment and torture with murder, this new warmonger has established as open policy, no longer illicit, process-free imprisonment, rendition, and the option to use torture “if necessary.” He has forbidden the prosecution of CIA torturers. He has created a legal and bipartisan acceptance of what we recently protested as scandalous outrages. He has launched a campaign of unprecedented retribution against whistleblowers. And now he has announced that the United States, without Congressional authorization or public approval, is engaged in assisting one side in a civil war in Syria — even while continuing to threaten war on Iran.
I could go on. This new official has outdone others in the areas of corporate trade agreements, fossil fuel subsidies, tax breaks for the rich, bailouts for Wall Street and for health insurance corporations, and on and on. But just on the issue of militarism I’ve clearly said enough to mobilize those who have protested war makers in recent years.
Unless there’s something different this time.
Perhaps it’s more important to cheer for and apologize for one half of a corrupt government than it is to push that government in a democratic direction. Maybe the world is changed most effectively by behaving as spectators rooting for one side of a surface-level dispute between two corrupt forces mutually agreed on our destruction. Maybe the civil rights movement should have shut up and campaigned for Democrats. Maybe women voted themselves the right to vote. Perhaps the labor movement was really built through the electoral tactics that are currently destroying it.
You know, on second thought, I think I’ll buy an Obama shirt and speak only when spoken to. He’s the candidate of change, and I want to do whatever is most likely to change things.