The State of the Ruin
An Essay About the Fallacies of Americas Reactionary Risk Taking In A Democratic World
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2003 by Roy D. Follendore III
This essay is critical of war as a solution but it should not to be taken as a statement against America's ability to defend itself. It is an essay about the brinkmanship that has been taking place by our President in the areas of economic security, and international cooperation but it is not to be considered a statement against the Office of the President or the good people who elected him. Our President obviously believes in what he is doing and his reactions are understandable and recognizable. In many ways George W. Bush has the directness of quintessential 18th century man who has been elected to a 21st century office of world power. If we are going to admire his best traits then we must also be willing to challenge his potentially worst doctrines and methods. The fact is that America is not yet in a state of ruin, but a state of the ruin is possible for us as well as the planet as a whole if there is no true further debate on the problems and solutions that have been presented. Moreover, the strength of Presidential decisions is both directly enhanced and influenced by critical thinking and conversations of its many millions of citizens. It is a simple fact that global knowledge that which makes us all responsible. Fortunately the American Presidency directs our ship of state but it is quietly guided by the currents of world opinion. I therefore commit these issues and observations to that lonely and deep sea.
January 28, 2003
As the economics of our Nation stand at the brink of ruin, tonight George W. Bush, the President of the United States gave the State of the Union message to Congress. From his personality, manner and words there is little doubt in the minds of most people that this Country will be invading Iraq. There is also little doubt a National debate over this war has been suppressed. This war in the middle east actually began at the moment that this President was elected. The military agenda that was secretly hidden within the platform of the President's political party became known to the Pentagon well before the terrorist attacks of 911. Perhaps there are justifiable reasons for disarming Iraq.
Most people believe that the President of Iraq has done things that are criminal. It is far too difficult to argue that any leader that is able to hold power in that region is pure in motive and deeds. But there should be no doubt that the expectations that we Americans as the potential victors might have for transforming that desert nation into a model of democracy and justice will be tested. It is America's motives that will be justifiably questioned by the court of world opinion. If America does in fact invade Iraq then at least we should not delude ourselves that this is a war over terrorism. This war is also not about weapons of mass destruction. It is about the political control of middle eastern oil.
How America is able to handle this National disaster will affect not only the price of oil in the world. Oil is merely a commodity of wealth because of supply and demand. Technology exists today to completely replace oil and polluting refineries, along with the ships that eventually sink and destroy vast reserves of wildlife. War is also a kind of commodity and a polluting disaster in its own right as well . If Iraq does possess chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons of mass destruction then they should be expected to use them. There should be no doubt to anyone on this planet that the United States certainly would use these types of weapons if America were invaded. Twelve years ago Iraq set oil wells on fire to delay their inevitable defeat.
Students of 18th century history understand why direct actions on the part of leaders often lead to awful indirect consequences. World leaders do not direct history, they simply influence it. If the reasons why America is disarming Iraq are real, then our justifications for war can become the trigger that very thing we are trying to prevent. If Iraq is such a terrible threat to the world then so might our best military plans. America has been playing war games so far, but it has been some time since tens of thousands of our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers were shipped back in body bags. America is so ready to go to war because we have become used to sanitary warfare. We citizens at home might see a glimpse of the beautiful tracers arching into the night sky. We might see that awesome power of bomb strikes. We might even see the television images of smart bombs leveling their targets. What we are sure to be prevented from seeing are the terrible effects this war will bring upon civil populations.
Much has been said about the accuracy of Americas sophisticated modern weapons. Somehow they are supposed to represent Americas greater concern for humanity. This can only be true if their increased efficiencies are applied with concern for humanity than the military mission. Fewer lives will be lost through its increased pin point lethality. Improved accuracy of our weapons systems are actually an indication of the increased risks to everyone that now exist upon the modern battlefield. What has allowed America the ability to dominate is technology, but more sophisticated technology has also reduced the decision time of those who would wage war using that technology.
The truth is that those who are charged with conducting war do not accurately portray the nature of risks in what they do. If military minds were able to withstand the persuasive and willful winds of political power then perhaps there would be no war. But once given momentum war oriented minds begin to seek action over wisdom. Americans have seen how small amounts of anthrax can easily be spread. We are told that Iraq has thousands of tons of sophisticated anthrax, enough to kill everyone on the planet. But if true, just as we can mistakenly bomb our Canadian allies, so too can we inadvertently damage a storage dump of anthrax. If things do go wrong, as they do in war, secrecy is sure to continue to prevail so that we Americans will only see the glory of what we have accomplished.
The United States of America is following the patchwork of our Presidents great gamble. The assumption is that there will be made available believable evidence that can convince American citizens that spending our wealth on war is preferable to spending that would turn our failing economy around. There is some reason to believe that he will be successful in this. People always tend to believe what they want to believe. Once the investment of American troops are put on the line for war, the prestige of America is thought rests with the President. This is the ultimate power of the American Presidency from the political perspective. The justifications for war become small in comparison to the justification of that tremendous economic expense. The economics justifications of moving toward war is at the disposal of the President. Wars have always been seen by American politicians as a handy means of moving our economy out of fiscal depressions. This is a horrible thought, but it is an idea that has of course occurred to many others.
What we have seen tonight is the most powerful world political leader who is obviously making a serious attempt to change his image from that of a raging President standing on the 18th century platform of National Security, to that of a "compassionate" President who would lead the Iraqi people to Democracy. The compelling argument for war was made that our troops are stationed as shining knights in a Virgil for the down-trodden. Just as we must consider that there are many reasons to trust his decisions, there are many reasons to distrust them. Perhaps we will know what is needed to be known on February 5th of next month when Colin Powell presents the President's case for declaring war on Iraq.
There can easily be very different outcomes to all of this and in the short run the President will probably prevail. What history makes of the Presidency of George W. Bush is a completely different story. Just as the spending billions of dollars on the African AIDS epidemic may seem like a spontaneous humanitarian decision, so too is the impending war in Iraq is being made out to be a humanitarian gesture. But it is only when you begin to consider that the projected effects of AIDS has been known publicly for years that you can fully comprehend that the Presidential gesture towards AIDS divisive. This should have been done decades ago, and lead by America. But America is not alone in this responsibility. The worlds culpability arises from intentional political inaction, not from ignorance.
America is at the crossroads of continuing greatness. Our moral imperatives have been embargoed by our desire to react to uncommon treacherous enemies. Our failure to prevent the terrorism of 911 will only be surpassed by our failure to prevent further war. The moral state of the ruin we soon may face is the idea that we might choose to go to war for reasons other than what we should believe to be true. This is a common world that we Americans share and President George W. Bush's fallacy is not only that Americas ability to indefinitely sustain a global war is the solution but also that our nation does not depend on the decisions of others. The state of ruin we face is that many Americans have accepted the awful fallacy that democracy and world peace must arise from a global perception of the need for domination.
The state of the ruin we face has also not come from terror. It sympathetically arises from a compromise of our democratic fundamental principles in the face of authority and responsibility. 18th century leadership philosophy is not enough to lead humanity to success. As our knowledge grows, so does the understanding that civilized society is immersed by dark waves of grave risks to mankind's existence. Being effective at combating our threats is simply not enough. As part of a democratic world filled with many competing cultures and opinions we must deliberately choose to quietly and efficiently handle threats to world peace so that we may hold tightly to the principles of human, civil, and personal rights of individuals. As writer and reader we are both observers on a beach. For my part, as I stand on the shore and toss this small pebble into the great blue sea of thought, I must wonder where the circles of history will go.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved