Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Howard Zinn offers some historical analogies regarding the current situation in Iraq: (from "Check the facts before rushing to war", Newsday, 4/14/04)
A bit of history might have suggested skepticism. It might have been recalled that President James Polk took us into war with Mexico in 1846, and William McKinley took us into war with Spain in 1898, and Congress authorized war in Vietnam in 1964, all based on deceptions.
Another suggested principle: When a calamity occurs - such as the killing of soldiers on the Mexican border, or the sinking of the battleship Maine, or the blowing up of the Twin Towers, should Congress, the media and the public not be wary that the calamity might be made an excuse for going to war, with the real reasons concealed from the country?
Should we not, after the terrible events of Sept. 11, have acted more intelligently, in a more focused way, against terrorism, seeking fundamental causes, rather than striking out blindly at whatever seemed easy targets - Afghanistan, Iraq? Should we not have considered whether military action might not inflame terrorism rather than diminish it?
When the evidence for war is shaky, should we not ask: What is the real reason for military intervention?
History might be useful here. Is it too embarrassing to suggest that oil is the real reason for virtually anything the United States has done in the Middle East? The real reason for war with Mexico was to take almost half of its territory. The real reason for war in Cuba was to replace Spanish control of that island with U.S. control. The real reason for war in the Philippines was the markets of China. The real reason for the Vietnam War was to take another piece of real estate in the Cold War game of Monopoly with the Soviet Union.