Anti-war voices aren't necessarily pro-peace

In most countries that come to mind, there seems to be a very strong direct correlation between being anti-war and being pro-peace. Not in the United States.

In our America being anti-war has little correlation with being pro-peace. It seems that much of the anti-war sentiment is more an anti “how the war is being conducted” with little or no moral basis or consideration to the universal concept of peace. It was true during the Vietnam War years and it is true today, as America resolutely pursues its imperial destiny.

You need only visit some of the high profile, high-traffic anti-war web sites based in the US and dig into their lists of contributing writers. Although you are unlikely to see any neocon names among them, and only a handful of Republicans (Pat Buchanan comes to mind) and Libertarians (Ron Paul heading the list), it’s a safe bet that the majority of these writers are in disagreement either with the economics of the war, or perhaps the way it is being run, or the casualties the military takes and the suffering of their families. There is a pronounced lesser concern expressed in their writings, however, about the destruction of other nations’ infrastructures, or the suffering of tens of millions civilians caught in the fray – with millions forced into exile – or the inordinately high civilian casualty count, or the repugnant militaristic nature of wars of choice declared by the bullyocratic powerful. Even more important, America’s fundamental foreign policy principles never seem to be questioned… only Bush’s style of implementation.

Americans may not support the results coming out of Iraq but their bipartisan support for the American wehrmacht has remained almost intact. And the politicians seem to have a keen awareness of that, so both Republicans and Democrats know that they must put on a hawkish mask to be elected. That applies to politicians at all levels, and it is a prerequisite that cannot be waived for any candidate to the presidency. So it’s no surprise that Barack Obama this week came up with a plan for Pakistan after having denounced Hillary Clinton last week of her “Bush-light” approach to the conflict in Iraq. Apparently Obama realized that without paying homage to the hawkish, militaristic brotherhood in government you might as well declare yourself non-fit for political battle and call it a day.

At times when we visit history and go over the events that immediately preceded or that took place during World War II, we often ask why the German population consented, by default, at least, to the horrible crimes committed by their government on other nations and peoples, and even some of their own. The parallel situation these days in the US is even worse given the level of technology in communications that exists today. It’s a topic, however, that Americans prefer to keep silent about since there is no Nuremberg in the horizon for their leaders. The Axle of Shame (Bush-Cheney) will answer to no one, and any criticism directed at them will only get the critics dixie-chicked.

It is sad that we fail to heed the advice given to us 2,000 years ago by Hispanic-Roman philosopher Seneca when he wrote, “He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it” (Troades). And we, the American people, have been encouraging such crime in Iraq… and may be prepared to add to it in Iran and elsewhere as deemed proper and necessary by the powers that control Washington’s Reichstag.

One cannot help but notice that the foreign press, particularly that in the Middle East, takes solace in seeing the popularity of Bush, or for that matter the war in Iraq, reach new lows as time passes. But their interpretation of the results given by Pew or Gallup or any of the other polling organizations is likely to be wrong, feeding on an overly optimistic hope for an end to the war, or the possibility of a shift in foreign policy. It’s Pollyannaish in so far as a change in foreign policy, even after the next election regardless who gets elected, Democrat or Republican; and it’s irrelevant as to the popularity of Bush. American military presence in Iraq is likely to continue for years to come.

Americans’ view of the world, and their place in it, makes the results of these polls meaningless when dealing in international affairs. And that will stay uninterrupted as long as Americans consider themselves as the upholders of democracy and freedom in the world; and every four years they continue going to the voting booth not so much to elect a president who is right for the nation, but they remain convinced that they are electing “the leader of the free world.”

Only a successful impeachment of Bush-Cheney-Gonzales would show a shift in American public opinion, a true pro-peace voice. And that is likely to happen when hell freezes over… or there is a true economic bloodbath. There’s some hope for the latter.