Are We Really At War?
Here is the embarrassing question: Is America actually at war? We have a war president, war hawks, war planes, war correspondents, war cries, even war crimes -- but do we have war? We have war dead, but the question remains. With young US soldiers being blown up almost daily, it can seem an absurd question, an offensive one. With thousands of Iraqis killed by American firepower, it can seem a heartless question, as if the dead care whether strict definitions of ''war" are fulfilled. There can be no question that Iraq is in a state of war, and that, whatever its elements of post-Saddam sectarian conflict, the warfare is being driven from the Pentagon.
But, regarding the Iraq conflict as it involves the United States, something essential is lacking that would make it a war -- and that is an enemy.
...But the war on terrorism is not real war either, since the Pentagon has proven itself incapable of actually engaging Al Qaeda. That, of course, is because Al Qaeda is a free floating nihilism, not a nation, or even a network.
...Bin Laden was a self-mythologized figure of no historic standing until George W. Bush designated him America's equal by defining 9/11 as an act of war to be met with war, instead of a crime to be met with criminal justice. But this over-reaction, so satisfying at the time to the wounded American psyche, turned into the war for which the other party simply did not show up. Which is, of course, why we are blasting a substitute Iraq to smithereens.
...Bush is presiding over a self-serving delusion.
Maybe it's presiding over him...
Tags: Iraq, terrorism, war, Bush