President Bush likes to justify everything he does by reminding us that America is "at war." Just this week he used that phrase to attack Democrats in Congress who are opposing both his nomination for attorney general and his requests for additional military spending:
"Politicians who deny that we are at war are either being disingenuous or naive. Either way, it is dangerous for our country. We are at war, and we cannot win this war by wishing it away or pretending it does not exist."
Those are the president's words, not mine. Because, you see, I don't think we're at war -- and I'm neither disingenuous or naive.
Yes, our troops are in a war zone in Iraq and thousands of them have been killed as a result. But just because a few hundred thousand troops have been injected into a foreign country's civil war doesn't mean that the country of America is at war with that country, or those individual factions that are warring between themselves. If we're truly at war, who do we surrender to if we lose? Who surrenders to us if we win? In fact, what does winning mean?
If America was at war, you and I here on the home front would know it. We'd have food and gasoline rationing; our factories would be converted to churning out munitions instead of Mustangs. More noticeable would be the draft; millions of our sons and daughters would be conscripted by the military. Every family in America would be affected.
But none of those things are happening. There is no rationing, there is no draft. The average American feels not one whit of hardship over this so-called "war" we're in. Our country is not being attacked; our country is not in peril. This is a military action of convenience, not a war of survival.
Perhaps the president, when he refers to us being "at war," is not referring to the action in Iraq, but rather what he has variously called the "war on terrorists," "war on terrorism," or "war on Islamofascism." These are "wars" like the "war on drugs" is a war, wars perhaps of ideas but not of realities. After all, terrorism is but a tactic, and one cannot go to war against a tactic. In addition, we're not fighting all terrorists, only those who might be targeting our country; we're not arming to defeat those using terrorist tactics in Northern Ireland, for example.
As to the so-called war on Islamofascism, I don't even know what that is or who they are. More to the point, I don't see any of these people, whoever they are, organizing to attack our country en masse. Maybe a few foot soldiers here and there, but that seems to be more of a criminal action than a military one. Where are the troops invading our shores? I don't see them.
Is America under attack? My neighborhood isn't, and neither is yours. Yes, there was the single deadly attack six years ago in New York, but that's all it was. It wasn't another country invading ours; it wasn't Hitler storming into Poland. It was an isolated action by a small group of international criminals -- whose leader, BTW, our incompetent government still hasn't caught and brought to justice.
Bottom line, America is not at war. Some of our troops may be in a war zone in Iraq, but that does not justify the sweeping powers President Bush seems to feel a "war president" is entitled to. He is no more a "war president" than I am King of All That is Right. So let's dispense with the nonsense language and view things as they are -- not as Bush and Cheney would like to pretend they might be.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.