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The American Emergency

by Ronnie Dugger

If War It Is... Here's Why
Those of us who keep up with serious events know we are in an American emergency. It is the emergency of all our American emergencies. Are we a democracy, or have we degenerated into a Presidential-corporate-military dictatorship? Can we save our country, or will we lose the United States as we know it?

In the United Nations we and other nations agreed, largely on the basis of our experience of Mussolini and Hitler, that the one great national war crime is the war of aggression across a nation's borders. We solemnly and legally bound ourselves to act together against that crime.

In December 2000, 26 months ago, for the first time in our two centuries of history our presidency was stolen from us in a presidential and judicial coup. Instead of the people electing the President, the Supreme Court stopped the vote-counting and selected George W. Bush. Everything the Bush administration has done since then has been illegitimate and illegal because he as President is illegitimate and illegal.

And five things he is doing sharply increase the physical danger to Americans from terrorism and war, seek to change us from a democracy to a plutocracy, and threaten the world with bullying and massive American high-tech military violence, even unto nuclear war.

1. Bush immediately mis-categorized 9/11, declaring it to be an act of war against us by nations harboring terrorists instead of what it was, a crime against humanity by a group of terrorists. On the basis of this pretext, he then declared a permanent war against nations that he will select.

2. Last March, Bush declared, in a secret policy paper revealed by the Los Angeles Times, that our country can and prospectively will make first use of nuclear weapons for three new reasons: against non-nuclear nations that use chemical or biological weapons, against targets that non-nuclear weapons cannot destroy, and in the event of "surprising military developments."

3. Last September 20th, Bush sent to Congress a new national security doctrine that amounts to aggressive war for world domination. He told Congress outright that he will not allow any other nation to equal or surpass the power of the United States and that the U.S. can and will launch wars against nations that have not attacked us and are not imminently about to do so but that he determines are potential threats to us.

4. Since 9/11, he has cudgeled and bullied the Congress and the press, using fear as his goad, to set aside our constitutional liberties in a rush to war. He has championed gigantic tax cuts for the rich in order to bankrupt the government and thereby destroy or gravely cripple Medicare, Social Security, and the rest of the government's programs for the people, and by seeking to totally abolish the estate tax he is attempting to establish a permanent hereditary aristocracy in our country.

5. And now, in pursuit of control of Iraqi oil, he is about to give the final order for the world's one superpower to attack, with a rain of 1,300 missiles, then to invade, with 200,000 troops, and to the extent he desires to destroy a nation 6,000 miles away--a nation of 24 million people, more than half of them 14 years of age or younger, whom we outnumber 12 to 1.

We are becoming the bully of the world. An American attack on Iraq without UN sanction will be a war of aggression as defined and prohibited by the UN. Our waging it will be a war crime.

We must stay calm. We must believe that all this is happening, even though it is amazing and astounding. We must be nonviolent in all that we do. And we must have courage now. We are taught by our parents and from grade-school on to obey, that it's patriotic to obey. Now we must have the courage to do the opposite, the courage to disobey. To march. To resist. To refuse to cooperate in this or any other war of aggression that Bush launches. We must say No and we must mean and continue to mean No. These are our unfamiliar but sacred duties now as patriots, as American citizens, and as human beings.

God Forgive and God Bless America.

Ronnie Dugger is a founder of the Texas Observer and the Alliance for Democracy. He has written biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan

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Albion Monitor February 25, 2003 (

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