Why I Am Obsessed with War

By Harry Browne

January 28, 2005            

George Bush was reinaugurated in Washington last week. Fittingly, the inauguration parade route was lined the entire way with armed guards ó so many armed guards that they had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder. As with the rest of America, Washington, D.C. was in a state of siege.

The militant air of the entire affair was very much like a parade in the old Soviet Union or even in Nazi Germany.

And in his speech, George Bush proclaimed his desire for world domination ó to have the power and the right to decide who is good and who is bad, who shall live and who shall die, what form of government will exist in each nation.

He made it clear that if he has a use for your government, you will keep it ó no matter how oppressive.

But if your government doesn't suit him, if it declares its independence from the United States, we will "liberate" your country and impose what we call "democracy" on it ó no matter how advanced your civilization, no matter how much or how little your people may approve of your current form of government.

Of course, by "we" he meant George Bush.

George Bush is, in effect, the ruler of the world ó more powerful than the United Nations, more powerful than the countries of Europe, more powerful than the Congress of the United States, more powerful than the people of the United States ó a majority of whom now believe that George Bush was wrong to invade Iraq. But that majority opinion has no effect on George Bush, who continues to try to impose His way upon Iraq, and who most likely now has His sights set on Iran.

My Obsession

If youíve been reading my articles or listening to my radio show, you may be aware of how much attention Iíve given to this drive for world domination ó dressed up as the "War on Terror" and "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Iíve written over and over about these wars.

You might say Iím obsessed with war.

And youíd be right.

Iím obsessed with war because of what war really is. And because of what war is doing to America.

Why am I so obsessed?

Sacrifice

A January 21st editorial in The Wall Street Journal summed up George Bushís inauguration speech very neatly:

The entire speech was about Iraq, as a way of explaining to Americans why the sacrifice our troops are making there is justified.

Aye, and thereís the rub.

Troops donít sacrifice. Only individuals can sacrifice. For some of them, the sacrifice is a year out of their lives. For others, the sacrifice is in living for a year or more in constant fear and danger.

But for too many, the sacrifice is oneís life. The loss of oneís whole life.

Thatís not the same as giving a tenth of your income to the church, or working 15 hours a week in a soup kitchen, or spending a day a week helping out at a nursing home. When you sacrifice your life, you give up everything. The world has ended. What you were no longer exists. No more life, no more love, no more music, no more sports, no more breathing, no more interest in anything.

And when youíve sacrificed your life, it no longer matters whether Iraq is "liberated" or oppressed, because you donít exist any more. It no longer matters whether George Bush is a great leader or a megalomaniac, because you no longer have a life with which to be affected by it. You are no more.

George Bush can speak cavalierly about such sacrifices. He can say "freedom is always worth it." He can speak with gratitude about such sacrifices ó because he is making no sacrifice whatsoever.

He can tell young people that when you die "you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."

But he is not the Messiah. He canít bring those dead people back to life. He can not restore their ability to taste love, to enjoy fellowship, to pursue a career, to bask in the sheer joy of being alive.

He canít return to a mother her dead son. He canít return to a wife her dead husband. He canít bring a dead soldier back to raise his children. He canít do anything to restore what he has stolen from people with his glib assurances about WMDs, mobile bioweapons labs, unmanned planes dropping chemical weapons on the East Coast of the United States, about freedom always being worth the price ó a price that to him is effectively zero.

The dead are dead, and they canít come back. They wonít dance at any inaugural balls ó or even attend their alumni reunions. They wonít attend presidential banquets ó or even eat at the local coffee shop. Not ever again.

They are dead. And George Bush killed them. He killed them as certainly as though he personally had fired a rocket launcher at their homes.

Who or What Is He?

If he didnít know that his plan to "liberate" people who hadnít asked to be liberated, to bring democracy to people who hadnít asked for democracy, would lead to the deaths of thousands of people, he is not only incompetent and unfit to hold office, he is surely psychopathic and needs to be incarcerated.

Only a psychopath would stand in the midst of thousands of security guards and speak of "the force of human freedom."

Only a man so insulated from the real world by palace sycophants, by little Napoleons filled with utopian fantasies, and by callous, ambitious schemers to whom the lives of others mean nothing ó only a man so insulated could possibly speak of "the expansion of freedom in all the world."

Only a man with no link to reality could start a war that destroys lives and families and then say, "Every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth."

Only a snake oil salesman can rain missiles and bombs on other countries and then say that no "human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."

Only a man divorced from human reason can imprison people ó possibly for life ó without due process of law and then say that "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

Only a liar can proclaim that he will decide which countries must be remade and then say, "No one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave."

Only a devious schemer can announce a goal of "ending tyranny in our world" while he is imposing a new tyranny in his own country ó our country.

So you tell me: what kind of a President do we have?

And what has he given us other than wars, fear, and a state of siege?

Why the Obsession?

Yes, I have become obsessed with these wars.

Josef Stalin is reputed to have said that a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths only a statistic.

But no matter how many people die in Iraq, every single one of them is a tragedy ó a tragedy I will neither ignore nor forget. And thatís why Iím obsessed with this war.

Iím obsessed with each and every death ó because in fact each and every death is more than a statistic or a tragedy. Itís murder.

I will never forget the people, American or Iraqi, whose lives have been irrevocably destroyed ó the people who have been murdered, the people who lost those they love, the people whose homes have been smashed to bits, the people who are maimed for the rest of the only lives they will ever live.

And neither will I ever forget who it is that killed them.

They were killed by a relatively small group in Washington who believe they were put there by God to remake the world ó not remake it in Godís image, but in Their own.

I believe it is a crime to take the life of another person. And no murder of an innocent person can be justified by saying it was necessary to achieve some larger goal ó whether or not that goal is claimed to be a worthy one.

When reformers create murder and mayhem, they justify it by saying, "You canít make an omelet without breaking a few eggs." But itís always someone elseís eggs that get broken. And the omelet never materializes ó even after millions of eggs are broken, as they were during the two World Wars.

Life

Yes, Iím obsessed with war.

Iím obsessed with war because Iím obsessed with life.

I love life. I love my wife Pamela. I love being in love with her. I love the 19 years weíve been playing house together ó pretending weíre grown-ups, just like our parents.

I love music. I love food. I love reading. I love sports. I even love sleeping. I taste and love so many parts of life.

I donít ever want to die.

And I donít want anyone else to die ó except maybe those who treat life so trivially that they can speak of the sacrifice of other peopleís lives as being a worthwhile price to pay for some idealistic goal they believe they will achieve ó a goal that will give them an exalted position in the history books.

Reformers such as George Bush are like children playing games based on fantasies. They see no reason to discover whether others before them have harbored the same ambitions ó and failed miserably to achieve their goals. Itís of no concern to them that without an understanding of the history and cultures of other peoples, they have no hope either to persuade or to dominate other people.

And they pay no attention to the fact that in the process of "ending tyranny in our world" they are imposing a new tyranny in their own country ó our country.

Yes, Iím obsessed with war.

Iím obsessed with war because I love life.

And so I will continue to fight against Americaís wars with every bit of strength, with every bit of talent, with every resource I can spare.