Fools For War

By Eric Running


Part 1 of 3

Prologue: In war, you give a damn how government spends/wastes the lives of your countrymen/women -- or you don't. Some do. Some don't. Some don't; but say they do. Some don't know. And some make no distinctions saying: government is always right; so lives are never wasted -- fools for war.

Roots. The U.S. government -- and the U.S. military -- were founded by a civilian resistance movement against legitimate authority -- the king -- who ignored the Declaration's grievances and provoked our Revolution against British foreign invasion.

U.S. society is founded on a great, written, contract or charter -- the Constitution -- which contains specific instructions -- rules -- on the kinds of conflicts -- wars -- Americans can fight.

For the U.S., wars are not only necessary/unnecessary or useful/useless; but American or un-American, depending on whether they're supported by the Constitution and its values. Reviewing our great charter -- so we're all clear on those values:

In Article 1, Section 8: the last nine of eighteen powers granted specifically --and only -- to Congress focus directly on war. The U.S. military exists only as the direct expression of congressional powers, Articles: 12, 13, 16, etc. The soldier is the People's tiger -- socialistically kept, fed, clothed, housed, armed, supplied, transported and paid by the People -- for their own ends -- not the government's -- not the president's.

In Article 11: it is only Congress, representing the cooperative willpower of the People, that declares war -- again, not the president. And in Article 15: the founders provide for U.S. soldiers to function legally -- constitutionally -- in only two ways:

1- As domestic police, with energies directed internally, to "suppress insurrections" --revolutions.

2- As domestic self-defense, with energies directed to the borders or periphery, to "repel invasions" -- foreign aggression.

There is no constitutional provision for U.S. forces to intervene in foreign revolutions or civil wars -- or to install/remove foreign kings, dictators or puppets favoring U.S. corporate special interests, etc. In fact, of the three possible geographical applications of forces -- internal, peripheral, external -- the founders excluded the third -- external foreign aggression -- as a legitimate function for U.S. forces. That "rule by omission" was no oversight.

It's an implied moral judgement. They knew foreign aggression very well, having just fought a revolutionary war against it. And they won -- with French help. But they didn't commonwill their descendants to be to other peoples, the same kind of foreign invading, bullies and thieves the British empire had been to them. American 19th century U.S. imperialism -- and 20th century multi-national World War coalitions-- confused Americans on the inner truth of their founders’ vision.

Over time, things change: Peoples forget their founding roots. Countries become more/less powerful. But one thing doesn’t change much: the folly of most foreign wars:

A Parable: Imagine your wealthy native land in the grip of a brutal tyrant who rules with secrecy, lies and murder to benefit a privileged elite. Going along to get along is the only way to survive; but some manage to leave.

These exiles approach a foreign power -- one that armed your tyrant in war against a neighbor -- defeated your nation when the tyrant invaded yet another neighbor -- refused to help when your People rose against the tyrant -- and is known to covet your nation’s resource wealth.

Even so, the exiles convince the foreigners to invade your homeland and deliver you from tyranny to democracy. They invade, quickly destroying the tyrant’s forces; so you expect an equally quick liberation and the democracy they promised. Instead, they set up a native-fronted puppet government, keeping all real control and resources to themselves .

But while the foreigners easily crush the tyrant; their forces are not large enough to secure and police the whole nation. Nobody and nothing is safe. No public utilities: no water, electricity, gas. Crime makes business impossible. Daily life stops and most are hungry, unemployed -- no money, no future.

Worse, your people begin to see they‘ve only exchanged tyrants: their native one for a foreign occupation. Scattered resistance begins and political/religious factions start to raise armies beyond your borders. And they all know your land/language -- the whole country/culture -- far better than outsiders.

So, even though the foreign occupiers make some improvements; they begin to suffer steady losses and lash out, killing even more of your people. Eventually your tyrant is captured; but it makes no difference -- guerilla war goes on. Democracy denied; war governs.

Consider the following questions: Are you better off now, with a foreign tyrant -- instead of your native tyrant -- stealing your resources and killing your civilians? What’s best for you, your family, your nation?

What would you do? Go along to get along with foreign tyranny in your homeland? Resist with an native armed faction trying to regain patriot control? Resist non-violently? Go underground? Go into exile and a new life abroad? Is there a better, easier, smarter, stronger way to solve this native/foreign tyranny problem?

Fools For War: Ah, what a difference a year makes: Our pretender who isn’t a president wins a war that isn’t a victory -and we all settle in for what isn’t a peace; but another long foreign, guerilla war. Makes you wonder why/how we keep raising generations of leadership fools who think getting their countrymen/women killed for somebody else’s business makes them look strong. Worse are the followership fools who think they are.

(Special note to fools of either caste: Iraqi freedom is something only Iraqis can win/lose for themselves. If enough of them don’t want it bad enough to fight/die for it; they’ll never have it. That -- and a fatal tolerance for despots -- is why they haven’t had it yet. Though -- in fairness to the Iraqi People -- they revolted against Saddam; but the U.S. opposed them. Now, they -- like the Vietnamese -- may have to fight the U.S. and our puppet government to get it. )

In any case: Freedom isn’t something Americans can win/lose for Iraqis. Americans can only win/lose our own freedom -- and thanks to Bush, we’ve lost a lot of it economically/politically since 2000 -- in tax cuts for the rich, the Patriot Act scam, etc. And Al Gore, who won the 2000 election, now says Bush "betrayed" Americans with the Iraq war.

After the 1991 Gulf War, the U.N. shut down Iraq’s large oil resources, allowing only a little to be sold for food. But in 2003, with Saddam’s army conquered and Saudi Arabian oil reserves looking ever more risky, Iraqi oil seemed ripe for plunder to U.S. oil humps Bush/Cheney. Impoverished under U.N. oil sanctions for a decade, Saddam’s military was a shadow of even it’s former third-rate self. Talked up as a world security threat by Bush’s lies, it quickly fell to superior U.S. forces.

Pretender Bush -- who dodged the Vietnam draft in an Air National Guard unit -- donned a flight suit and basked in the U.S. military’s foreign invasion/occupation glory. Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Feith, et al, peddled their new radical, neocon, preemptive war dogma -- the same old 19th century, war mongering, Republican imperialist crap -- and parroted the nonsense of Iraqi exiles trying to get on top back home: Iraq would welcome American liberators and democracy.

In truth, Iraqis were glad to lose Saddam --and as noted above, had tried a U.S. opposed revolution-- but didn’t want a U.S. imperial tyranny. Bush and his neo-con twits needed to let a U.N. coalition handle Iraq, with the U.S. providing decisive force if needed; but they figured Bush’s continuing masquerade as "strong war leader" would win in 2004, keeping them in office to bleed the American People and U.S. Treasury with more: useless foreign terrorist wars; tax cuts for the rich; and war profiteering corporate defense contracts -- Haliburton, etc.

It‘s now clear to all but innocents, fools, liars and malevolents that Iraq had no ready weapons of mass destruction --WMD-- threatening the U.S., U.K., Israel or anyone else. No Iraqis were involved in 9/11. There was no Osama/Saddam connection. U.S./U.K. assertions there were -- were lies. And that’s the truth.

The U.N. and its weapons inspectors were right --no WMD evidence before the war -- and none since. Confirming that, U.S. weapons inspector, David Kay, says U.S. intelligence got it "all wrong". But Bush and his lackeys hyped intelligence to con the American People into a war of foreign invasion/occupation. So, U.S. service men/women are dying in Iraq --not in defense of their country -- our land and people -- but for Bush’s lies.

Bush has admitted publicly there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda before the war. In fact, foreign Islamic forces didn’t get to Iraq until U.S. forces invaded and became targets there. Bush invited Al Qaeda to Iraq with his "bring it on" puppy rant; so, thanks to him, our forces are now dying "the death of a thousand cuts" -- at the rate of about one per day.

And the U.S. is no safer now for invading Iraq: The real terrorists are still on the loose. Therefore, the war served no U.S. survival/security purpose against terrorism: It was an unnecessary, useless war. All U.S. lives lost and wounded -- and all resources spent -- were wasted. U.S. soldiers died -- and are still dying -- in vain.

All are lost to Bush’s fool arrogance, greed and vanity. And it is Bush -- not Iraqis defending their land against foreign invasion -- who is directly responsible for all U.S. dead and wounded. He sent them there: The blood of U.S. servicemen/women is on his hands.

Part 2 of 3

Folly Revealed. It’s an ancient, inner truth that war is often not the work of heroes ¯ but fools. InThe March Of Folly, 1984, (p. 4), Barbara W. Tuchman, one of America’s great 20th century historians ¯- (The Guns Of August, 1962; Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1971) ¯- traced political folly, "...the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests", through history. From the Epilogue:

"If pursuing disadvantage after the disadvantage has become obvious is irrational, then rejection of reason is the prime characteristic of folly....

"Chief among the forces affecting political folly is lust for power.... Government remains the paramount area of folly because it is there that men seek power over others -only to lose it over themselves." (ps. 380-82).

Of the U.S. in Vietnam, Tuchman says:

"American intervention was not...step by step into an unsuspected quagmire. At no time were policy-makers unaware of the hazards, obstacles and negative developments.... The folly consisted not in pursuit of a goal in ignorance...but in persistence...despite accumulating evidence that the goal was unattainable, and.. damaging to American society, reputation and disposable power in the world.

"This is the classic symptom of folly: refusal to draw conclusions from the evidence, addiction to the counter-productive." (p. 234).

"Absence of intelligent thinking in rulership...raises the question whether in modern states there is something about political and bureaucratic life that subdues the...intellect in favor of "working the levers" without regard to rational expectations. This would seem to be an ongoing prospect." (ps. 376-77).

Tuchman was right. With pretender Bush, we again see: contradictory intelligence ignored; leaders hearing/doing only what they want; rational critics called cowards/ traitors; a guerilla war with no exit strategy; and U.S. forces fighting/dying where we have no national interests. And we still have an ongoing, toxic political culture:

We keep raising generations of leadership fools who think getting their countrymen/women killed for nothing is OK. They keep spinning the wheels of U.S. military power, trying to gain through war, foreign ends that can be reached only through political means. And we keep wondering why the world holds a low opinion of U.S. foreign policy: Indeed, why does the U.S. love losing¯ and think it’s winning?

Folly Redux: Like Vietnam, Iraq had no naval or air forces capable of reaching our land and people; who were safe and secure throughout. In both wars, the national security threat existed only in the minds of our deluded leaders, who succumbed to the drug-like, bureaucratic exercise of great power over others¯ at home and abroad.

Rather than face the real, rational decisions that make nations secure; our leaders overdosed on war power and acted out their control delusions ¯ a foolish self-deception, which failed and cost U.S. lives. Military men/women may trust our leaders not to misuse them. But when fools lead; the People must hold them accountable.

Like Johnson and Nixon in Vietnam; Bush is a fool for war. Like Johnson’s and Nixon’s; this is Bush’s war. Like them, he is wasting American lives in a useless foreign war: "It’s their job; they volunteered; they’re expendable; their tough luck" ¯ a few media hospital visits ¯ and keeping the body bags off TV¯ will do.

It doesn’t say much for Bush’s integrity -¯ or Americans’ self-respect: letting their sons/daughters be used that way. And like Vietnam ¯ while it may be worth Iraqi lives ¯- Iraq isn’t worth a single American life. So, our dead and wounded have died and suffered for nothing.

Nothing but our fearless, great war leader, pretender Bush -¯ who because of the abysmal consequences of his folly; we can now regard as criminal Bush -¯ a man who wantonly wastes his own people for his own economic/political ends.

Conservatives may find that harsh. But to show how far Bush and the Republican national party leadership has strayed from true American ¯ and Republican ¯ values in the matter of foreign wars, consider these views of a Republican founder.

Here is Abraham Lincoln, writing to his law partner during the Mexican War he opposed during his single term in Congress, on foreign wars, preemption, who holds the war power and why:

"Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is that if it shall become necessary to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another country....

".... Allow the President to invade...whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary... and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose....

"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing the oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood." (Letter to William A. Herndon, Feb. 15, 1848).

Lincoln viewed non-defensive wars of foreign aggression, whatever they were to the foreign peoples involved, as oppressions of the American people; because such wars armed the president with the tyrannical powers of kings. And, as a lawyer and later Civil War president, Lincoln held preemption to be, not only unconstitutional; but the great causal problem the Constitution had solved.

Be clear on this: In unnecessary foreign war, government’s first and greatest tyranny is against its own people ¯ those it condemns to fight/fund the war. It Œs not the nation’s tyrants; but it’s civilian/military People who pay the war's blood/money costs. To the People, as English philosopher Jeremy Bentham said, goes "the privilege of paying for the horse and pistols...." Bush waged the Iraq war against you.

So, preemption is not the brave new doctrine Bush pretends; but the same old tyranny of kings ¯ and the primary tyranny our founders fought the Revolution against. Preemption doesn’t prevent war. It is war. So much for Bush’s traditional American values: In the Iraq war, preemption was first a tyranny against Americans at home.

Fools Etc. In the last few months, we’ve seen the lies of criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Feith, etc., exposed for the public fraud they really are, and these pathetic excuses for leaders are now blaming U.S. intelligence for their own failures. The C.I.A. ¯ Capitalism’s Invisible Army, as Buckminster Fuller called it ¯ doesn’t have clean hands; but it didn’t start Bush’s war or tell his lies to the American People.

So Bush appointed a committee ¯ dependent on him alone ¯ to whitewash his conduct and clear him of responsibility. But several current and retired U.S. intelligence officials have gone public, making it clear that Bush etc. bent "gray" intelligence to fit their pro-war agenda.

(Online: See Lt. Colonel, Karen Kwiatkowski, retired U.S. Headquarters Air Force and Defense Department staff officer, on how the Bush/Cheney etc. radical neocon ideology corrupted foreign policy and intelligence staffing/gathering/reporting at: www.salon.com).

From Lt. Colonel Kwiatkowski’s March 10, 2004 article, "The new Pentagon papers":

"I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.

"I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP (the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans) usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president. (Parentheses mine).

"President Bush has now appointed a commision.... ...says he wants the truth, but it is clear he is no more interested in it today than he was two years ago."

Looking back, Bush wanted to be president so badly that ¯through Republican corruption on the U.S. supreme court; he stole the office he couldn’t win ¯ a bad beginning; foretelling a bad end. He ¯ and nobody else ¯ is ultimately responsible for wasting American lives in a useless foreign war. And the view here is that he needs to be held accountable for his crimes.

We, the People, must hold him responsible/accountable ¯ unless we accept that Americans in military service are pawns; born to be thrown away on the kingly whim of a fool for war. Our founders fought the Revolution to prove we weren’t ¯ a good beginning; foretelling a good future.

As it stands now, our fools for war have had their way with Iraq ¯ and the American People. And in the Iraq war, preemption was first a crime against Americans. What remains to be seen is whether Americans will stand for it ¯ or find the will and self-respect to end Bush’s reign.

Those fools squeamish about switching horses(leaders) in the middle of a river(war) need to get a grip on reality. Bush is not a great war leader: He is a criminal fool for war; pretending to be a great leader. And we need to free ourselves from the folly of his self-deception: Many lives depend on it -¯ and we have failed those already lost.

Electing a Democrat president in 2004 is a first step. (Nationally, Republicans are no longer capable of doing right by our whole People). Criminal convictions and paying out the Bush/Cheney etc. family fortunes ¯ and any U.S.corporate war profiteerings -¯ as reparations to the families of America’s dead and wounded ¯ (and also to Iraqi families) ¯- would be a true accounting for real damages.

Bush/Cheney etc. richly deserve to be impeached; but we all know a Republican run congress won’t do the right thing. Nonetheless, reparations and hard prison time for Bush etc. ¯- fools all ¯- would be true justice.

Part 3 of 3

The Great Vision. In the last article, I said the Iraq war was a tyranny against Americans, and that Bush was a criminal for wasting the lives of our servicemen/women -¯ not for our country's legitimate survival/security needs ¯ but his own "great war leader" economic/political ends. We begin now, with a look at his crimes from a world view.

Nearing the end of World War II, the Roosevelts, Truman, the Allies, Peoples and leaders of goodwill, pushed hard to establish the United Nations -¯ and to this day, it's headquartered on U.S. soil. The U.N. today, with all its imperfections, remains the best, clearest, strongest, evolving means for world conflict resolution. In time, it may become a true world federal, democratic government; but not in our time.

The U.S. is the country, without which, the U.N. would not exist. The creation of the U.N. embodied the intentions of most of the American People towards the world: to work cooperatively, democratically, with other nations for the common good of all. And these ¯- not the Republican resurrection of 19th century U.S. imperialism -¯ are the basic, true American world values.

After history's worst military conflict, the nations were determined in the U.N. Charter, Article 1: to adopt measures ensuring "international peace and security". And to that end, the Charter lays out its members' great vision and ground rules for common conduct. Both the U.S. and Iraq are long-term U.N. members, and the U.S. is one of five permanent Security Council members.

Some Iraq relevant Charter Articles: 2-4: "All Members shall refrain...from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state...." 39: "The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace...or act of aggression and shall...decide what measures shall be taken...to maintain or restore international peace and security."

Continuing: 46: "Plans for the application of armed force shall be made by the Security Council...." 51: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member...." 103: "In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members...and...any other international agreement,...the present Charter shall prevail."

So: Bush/Cheney etc., violated the U.N. Charter, an international treaty the U.S. labored to create, sign and implement -¯ and was legally obligated to respect, defend and enforce. With no threat, the U.S. attacked a weak Iraq with every right to defend itself; without U.N. Security Council sanction, and against the counsel of U.N. weapons inspectors.

A Greater Fool: Bush etc. ridiculed opposing U.N. members France and Germany, who had born the brunt of foreign invasion in WWII; then stormed off to Iraq with a jumped up war coalition. That great fool insolence made Bush an international war criminal; casting the U.S. into the contempt and disgust of most other nations. Foreign policy observers say it will take a generation to undo the damage. Great war leader, indeed.

But Bush etc. will likely get off scot free. No international tribunal is likely to bring them up on charges. After all, he stole his office; but the American People ¯- and the NRA and all the gun nuts ¯ kept silent while their government was pilfered. And a Republican run congress won't take them to task. Losing the 2004 election is the worst likely to happen to them.

Still, isn't Iraq better off now, than before? Depends on who you ask. Saddam was a butcher; but the U.S. has killed somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 Iraqis in a year ¯ far more than Saddam in his dotage. And the country is flatter on its back now, than before the war. The U.S. has made some progress rebuilding; but it's now running out of your tax money. (And that's the case in Afghanistan, too.)

Bush can't make good on his economic-miracle-of-democracy promises. Why? Tax cuts for the rich and exporting U.S. jobs destroys our tax base ¯ draining the U.S. Treasury. And wars, especially foreign wars ¯- and rebuilding ¯ are very expensive. So: Iraq's worst case scenario is now civil war ¯- particularly if the U.S. tries to control its democracy. (And outside of Kabul, Afghanistan remains a democracy of warlords.)

Isn't the U.S. more secure for invading Iraq, toppling Saddam and pushing Western style democracy at them? No, we're less secure. Our reserves are down. The time, lives and resources we wasted taking Iraq aren't there to be used against the real terrorist threat ¯- Al Qaeda etc. -¯ which is yet to be run to ground. And Bush has failed to tackle the Israel/Palestine disaster ¯ which drives it all. What next? Iraq's a job for the U.N.

Events have now forced Bush etc. to seek help from a U.N. they called "irrelevant". And we need to get Iraq into U.N. hands as fast as possible ¯the quicker, the better¯ with the U.S. helping with security only if asked. People don't love you ¯- or do business wth you ¯- when you kill them. War's bad business. All U.S. war profiteering, corporate contracts need to be voided and repaid. Who the Iraqis do their resource business with ¯- is only their business ¯- unless they decide on their own to do business with us.

Remember Vietnam? Losing was good for business ¯ and led to U.S./Vietnam trade agreements. Fools for war, we wasted more than 10 years, 50,000 American lives and 300,000 wounded, trying to tell the Vietnamese how to run their own country. But we achieved only what we tried to prevent -¯ a Communist unified Vietnam. And there's a good chance we're sowing an Islamic Shiite theocracy in Iraq, now. Getting out cuts our losses and makes future legitimate U.S./Iraq business possible.

And we are going to leave ¯ because we have someplace to go back to ¯- home. The only real question is: How many Americans, allies and Iraqis have to die before U.S. leaders wise up and get out? Our forces are now the problem ¯- not the solution. We don't own Iraq ¯ and can't tell its People what to do with their land and resources.

Iraqi hearts and minds aren't ours to win. We can try; but they'll just wait until we've used up our own resouces ¯ lives and money ¯- get tired and go home. We'll leave; because we don't have to stay there ¯- and they do. Fools can play; but long-term ¯ owners usually win.

Paraphrasing historian Barbara Tuchman, quoted last week: Bush etc. now pursue counterproductive goals in Iraq -¯ classic, irrational folly -¯ damaging to real U.S. national interests and power. And if they persist ¯- as 19th century military strategist, Karl von Clausewitz, would put it -¯ the lights of empire will go out.

Coda. There are larger philosophical, political, policy lessons here; so we'll end with a broad summation:

First: We -¯ and other nations ¯- need to fight for the survival/security of our own land/people -¯ the resources we own. Those are the only real national/foreign public interests of whole Peoples ¯- ours or others. Any additional "interests" are those of private individuals/corporations or international organizations.

And neither has any right to use the U.S. military as rentacops for their private/foreign ends, (which hasn't stopped them from doing just that in the past ¯- with U.S. government help). And in such cases ¯ Korea,Vietnam, Iraq ¯- our forces were used to secure private/foreign, energy/information ends; not the public/national, resources/interests of our whole People: Our public needs outweigh private wants.

Second: We ¯- and other nations ¯- need to retreat from conflicts over resources we don't own ¯- those owned by other lands/peoples. If we want our own rights respected; we need to respect theirs. Reciprocity is a "golden rule" contract: the practice of mutual respect ¯- consideration ¯ for the rights of others to guarantee our own.

Citizenship is an individual "title" of equity ownership in a land/people, and only a nation's owners ¯- the People ¯- its self-determining, national equity invested citizens ¯- have the right to make economic/political/military decisions for their lands/peoples. The violation of that right by private/foreign interests ¯- or by our/their, governments/factions ¯ is a power inequity ¯ an iniquity ¯ an evil.

Third: Americans are loved and hated worldwide: We are loved for pioneering ¯- (with the French, in separate revolutions) ¯- democratic political ideals and individual rights. We are hated for foreign economic/political/military interventions ¯ oppressing the democratic/individual ownership rights of other Peoples.

Simply put: we're loved for our ideals and hated for our two-faced hypocrisy: not practicing what we preach ¯- not living up to our ideals ¯- and not respecting those of others. In fact, what we often practice abroad are the evils of greed, arrogance and brutality.

Our double-dealing elites use our democratic ideals to mask ¯ camouflage¯ the foreign, predations of big, private U.S. corporations -¯ so-called free market, global capitalism ¯- enforced upon others by our superior military power. We preach right- makes-might democracy; but we practice might-makes-right piracy. (And Iraq = Oil.)

(Special note on "free market": Everybody wants things "free"; but there's no something for nothing. There's no free lunch; there's no free love; there's no free will; there's no free press; there's no free enterprise; there's no free trade; and there's no free market. They're all misnamed. Nothing is free -¯ particularly economic resources. And pretending it is -¯ doesn't make it so ¯- however shrewd it may be as economical/political/theological conjobbery ¯- corporate/state/church marketing.)

Always, it takes energy to transform energy. Always, there's a value or worth ¯- an energy/information resource -¯ transformation or exchange. Always, it's something for something. And the correct economic term -¯ what we need, and the best we can get in the real world -¯ is equitable, transparent "open markets".

Markets exchange energy/information resources. We need markets open to all buyers/sellers; not free for the taking by corporate pirates, pretending to be national interests, using national militaries to enforce their predatory monopolies.

Usually, between lands/peoples/nations ¯sometimes over several generations ¯- economic/political/military inequities are accounted and become clear. Then, they can be compensated, balanced and closed. And someone, somehow, someway -¯ always pays the real/imagined debt in lives/property/wealth -¯ owed for past inequity/iniquity. Peoples will equity ¯- and will right wrongs to get even.

Basically, that's what happened in New York, 9/11/01 ¯ and Madrid, 3/11/04. Such tragedies don't occur in political vacuums. They are the caused effects of revenge -¯ paybacks by warped minds denied the imagined payoffs of radical Islam ¯- economic/political/military control of Middle East energy/information resources ¯ controlled by the West/U.S. since the Turkish Empire's World War I end.

Bush etc's. worst foolishness was betting U.S. national security on a "World War" against terrorist nations ¯- when Islamic terrorism isn't nation-based. Our forces quickly defeated Afghanistan and Iraq ¯ but terrorism continues. It's rooted in ideology ¯- not territory - and deployed in worldwide cells.

Superior, cooperative, relentless international police work, backed by S.W.A.T. and Special Forces is the right strategy against independent cells -¯ and should have been the from the start. But Bush needed to be a great war leader to get reelected -¯ and that requires great wars and great enemies ¯ so Saddam/Iraq were trumped up.

In the 2004 election, Americans will choose between two 21st century world roles:

1- retreaded 19th century, Republican "Bush doctrine", neocon imperialism; in which one isolated, arrogant, delusional superpower ¯- the U.S. -¯ unilaterally attempts global economic/political/military control ¯- and reaps the whirlwind of a fool's peace (as in Iraq) or;

2- reaffirmed global internationalism; in which the U.S. cooperates democratically -¯ through the U.N. -¯ working multilaterally for greater economic/political/military security and peace ¯- with costs/risks/benefits shared for the common good of all nations.

A year later, it's very clear the anti-war critics were right. A U.N. coalition was ¯- and is ¯- the right course on Iraq; not U.S. preemption. But we see no apology from Bush/Cheney etc. for lying to the American People, fabricating the Iraq threat, wasting U.S. lives -¯ and the failure of leaving the nation still vulnerable to terrorism.

Instead, they pile new upon old lies: e.g., Bush's irresponsible pretense that his now public 8/6/01 daily intelligence brief ¯- clearly stating Al Qaeda's determination to attack the U.S. -¯ wasn't specific enough to warrant action; and Rice's sophomoric chatterbox evasions before the 9/11 committee

To date, only Richard Clarke ¯ former counter-terrorism chief and registered Republican ¯ has had the integrity and courage to apologize for the administration's failure ¯- and endure the resulting Bush/Cheney etc. vendetta. And in November, you will choose to win or lose ¯- a fool's paradise ¯ or a better world.

Eric Running is an ex-sculptor/educator/philosopher concerned with the conduct of life and the design of civilization.