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