"So why don't you write something?""¿Por qué no escribís algo?" my friend César Chelala asked me last night. I had been raging about the absurd and dangerous contradictions of Bush's "anti-terror" policies.
For César, "escribir algo" -- write something -- means to produce a 750-word op-ed article on some important current event. He's written hundreds of them (you've probably seen his by-line) for dailies from Stockholm to Japan. Maybe I will. For now, and to get my thoughts together, I interrupt the pleasant little Spanish travelogue for a burst of indignation. Here goes:
In the name of combatting terror, Bush & Co. are doing everything possible to stimulate more terror. Prior to Gulf War II, Iraq presented no threat to the United States; today, thanks to the U.S. invasion, Americans are being killed by Iraqis every day. The "weapons of mass destruction" Bush described, poison gas stocks and that famous nuclear bomb that Iraq supposedly could launch in 45 minutes, couldn't have reached the U.S. even if they had actually existed. Now not only are our soldiers in constant danger, but so are the young Poles, Australians, Spaniards and others whose governments have obligingly sent them to save this disastrous occupation.
What is terror? In Donald Rumsfeld's phrase, it is "shock and awe." That is literally correct. My dictionary defines terror as "intense, overpowering fear," but "shock and awe" conveys the idea even better. That's what Rumsfeld promised to deliver to the Iraqis, and he did. And it's still going on. Just the other day, an American general boasted of his cleverness in kidnapping a woman and her children, to force her husband to turn himself in to the U.S. military authorities. When the Argentine generals did that 25 years ago, we -- and even they -- called it the "dirty war." Now they are at last being prosecuted for their terror campaign. And the people around Bush know that the same thing could happen to our military officers if an international court of justice ever got to them. So of course Bush has done everything he could to destroy the new international court, or at the very least to make it ineffective against crimes against humanity committed under the Stars and Stripes.
Bush's security program is making us all less secure. Not only is he giving more people more reason to hate Americans and especially the U.S. government, he and Ashcroft and Rumsfeld and the rest of them are trying to close off all those legal channels by which people could object -- by imposing press censorship, withholding evidence against accused "terrorists," denying the validity of international law, so the only option left is violence. This is just what one might expect from a cabal that had so little respect for this country's laws and traditions that they forced themselves into power after losing an election.
In Spain, I had long conversations with a Frenchwoman who describes herself as "of the Right" and who greatly admires the U.S. and George Bush. For me, that is an enormous contradiction. If you love this country, and its traditions of democracy and liberty, you will want to do everything possible to free it from the grasp of the G.O.P., the party of Greed, Oil and Privilege.
Now back to our regular programming.