Are we at war or not? Seems like a simple question.
The United States suffered enormous casualties during an unprovoked surprise attack. The President dispatched our most advanced military forces to change the foreign regime that trained and supported the attackers. And for good measure, he also directed the armed forces to work with our last remaining willing allies, namely the British and Australians, to overthrown a brutal fascist dictator who -- through intention and past action -- posed a threat to a strategic region of the world even though he was not directly responsible for the attack that provoked the U.S. response in the first place.
Sounds like a war to me. In fact, that would be World War II.
yet for some reason the clarity of a war against fascism in the 20th century seems lost on people frenzied by BushHate® in the 21st. One such fevered dissenter is Brant Thomas of Brooklyn who writes in today's New York Times letter section:
"I would be fine with the president's citing parallels between World War II and the war on terrorism except that in the case of this war, Iraq did not attack us, and in World War II, Japan did!"
No doubt Brant will be relieved to know that we declared war on Germany and even Italy although those countries never actually attacked us. You might even say Roosevelt acted preemptively since, after Pearl Harbor, he preferred not to wait and find out if we were vulnerable to another attack.
Didn't President Bush do the same thing? In fact, aren't the stakes even higher now? After all, Pearl Harbor was an attack on a military installation thousands of miles from the United States while Sept. 11th was an attack on civilians in downtown Manhattan resulting in twice as many casualties as Dec 7th. And wasn't Saddam a lot closer to building a nuclear weapon in 1993 than Hitler was in 1945?
Public radio also seems confused about the "war" as they would say it if you could hear scare quotes. Listen to this report on a young high school graduate who -- get this -- actually wants to join the army! While there's fighting going on!!
Jeff Tyler of "Marketplace" can barely contain his astonishment. Young educated people are volunteering to to join the "war" in droves. "You heard right," Tyler says, "the army is turning people away!"
"Don't assume they (stupid rednecks) are joining because they can't find better prospects," Tyler counsels. Some are even enlisting after they've completed college foregoing the tuition assistance that is the only possible motivation for military service in the mind of a Blue Stater.
The voice of reason in this story is the high school guidence counsellor Judy Campbell who tries to dissaude graduates from serving their country. If they are "determined" to enlist she advises them to join ROTC instead.
Tyler says, "it's tempting to assume that they join in spite of the war, in fact, many enlist because of it."
It barely registers that there are people who believe we are at war and that they feel a duty to participate and help the United States succeed.
Unstated, of course, is that such misplaced patriotism will only get you shot, or worse, get Bush re-elected.
You see, to the partisans in the Blue States, we are at war. And the enemy is Bush.