In academic and philosophical circles this question is often heard: "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?"
One thesis states that the falling tree's creation of sound waves is the equivalent of sound itself. The antithesis counters that without a receiver to translate those waves no sound can be generated.
Writers, like myself, often ask ourselves this question. The willingness to take pen (or keyboard) in hand and toil over a story, column or editorial piece, usually for little or no money, is almost always motivated by the hope that somebody will "hear" us. Nothing is more frustrating than to watch one's work fail to cause even a ripple in the pool of discourse.
So I am grateful to PRAVDA readers who have responded to my articles (regardless of whether the responses have been positive or negative), as well as to the websites that have reprinted my articles so readers who might not ordinarily turn to PRAVDA still have an opportunity to read them. Recently I was particularly moved by two letters to PRAVDA, one from Britain and another from America, wherein the writers expressed frustration with the policies of their current governments, and the inequities in their current economic systems. While these letters did not refer to any of my articles, I was grateful to see that these writers discussed a theme I had previously addressed--how human worth in capitalist nations is not measured in terms of compassion, concern for others, or a thirst for social and economic justice, but instead by the ability to consume, to self-aggrandize, and to exploit others. In such a milieu the desire to kill supersedes the desire to heal, the worship of war silences voices for peace, cruelty triumphs over goodness, and censorship shatters truth.
Also, in such a milieu, one frequently hears sanctimonious pontificating about freedom and democracy, yet sees conspicuous contempt directed at those who endeavor to exercise freedom and democracy through dissent or questioning of the "official" party line. The fact that America is now in the grip of an incompetent, ignorant, arrogant, spoiled, thieving, lying, megalomaniacal, egomaniacal, avaricious, sociopathic, cowardly, hypocritical war criminal named George W. Bush, and that Britain is under the control of Bush's lying hand-puppet and fellow war criminal Tony Blair, has certainly exacerbated these evils. And even when someone in power has the courage to address them the debate is quickly silenced.
Recently New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg attempted to publicly expose the draft-dodging, warmongering venality of Bush's corrupt Vice President Dick Cheney, who claimed to have "priorities" other than military service during the war in Vietnam, but who now sends young men and women off to die in Iraq so corporations he has financial interests in can be enriched. The response Lautenberg predictably received was that he was hurting the "war effort" by raising such issues.
Even more recently, Sinclair Broadcast Group, apparently in an effort to promote an antiseptic and bloodless war, refused to air ABC television's news program NIGHTLINE, which listed the names of Americans killed in Iraq. When one adds to this refusal CBS (which obviously stands for Censorship Before Substance) television's failure to air an anti-Bush ad during the Superbowl (while running several ads on "erectile dysfunction"), coupled with the warmongering propaganda of ratings-hungry cable "news " networks and right-wing radio conglomerates that blacklist artists and opinions they do not agree with, it is clear that "freedom of speech" in America is more illusory than real, and that the only voices heard are those who have obsequiously genuflected before wealthy media monopolies.
What Senator Lautenberg experienced was the latest scam by these corporate-controlled media in promoting the agendas of Bush and his fellow "chicken hawks." In their corrupt eyes, there apparently was no harm caused by the image of a bellicose Bush writhing in almost orgasmic delight as he challenged Iraqi insurgents to "bring it on." Nor apparently was there any harm in Bush's "jokes" about the failure to find "weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)"-- the pretext for war that has caused hundreds of American and thousands of Iraqi deaths. And "American resolve" during wartime apparently does not include the image of Bush gutlessly exploiting daddy's wealth and influence to perform some nebulous National Guard "duties" to avoid serving in Vietnam.
Recently, there has been some debate about whether Bush's warmongering foreign policies will resurrect the need for compulsory military service in America. Some supporters have gleefully asserted that a military draft means that opponents of the Iraqi war could still be forced to fight in it. But unlike Vietnam, where it could be legitimately argued that many in the anti-war movement were motivated more by a fear of being drafted than by politics and principles, those same fears are not present in those opposing the war against Iraq. In fact, today's anti-war movement can make a cogent counter-argument that the outspoken support for the Iraqi war throughout America is primarily because the warmongers have no fears about being personally sent to fight it; thus it is easy for them to display the same type of "bravery" as George W. Bush.
But if a draft is reinstated, perhaps the fairest method to select military personnel would be to assess a potential draftee's "chicken hawk" quotient. Under this method warmongering cowards, like the hypocritical Ann Coulter, who has labeled past war heroes "traitors," could see how courageous they would be while fighting in the frontlines in Iraq. Country singer Toby Keith would no longer be able to enhance his career and enrich himself by exploiting the troops. He would have to become one of them. Failed sports commentator Dennis Miller, who saw warmongering as a way to restart his career, would be unceremoniously plucked from his comfortable talk show at CNBC to fight in the Iraqi desert. Actor Bruce Willis would have to play a soldier in real life, instead of just in the movies. Singer Kid Rock would be wearing the flag on a military uniform, instead of singing during the Superbowl halftime show. Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Brit Hume, Rush Limbaugh (the cyst on his buttocks that kept him out of Vietnam has undoubtedly healed by now), and others of their ilk would cease running their mouths on television and radio and have to face the bloodshed they so zealously endorsed from afar.
The racist, unethical Supreme Court hypocrite Antonin Scalia could no longer use the position he so undeservedly occupies to protect the interests of his warmongering, "duck hunting" buddy Dick Cheney. Instead he would be fighting in the war his buddy Cheney so vociferously advocated. And leading this "chicken hawk" brigade would not only be Cheney, but also Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Perle and the commandeer-in-thief himself, George W. Bush. It would be interesting to see how quickly the draft-dodging Bush would tell Iraqi insurgents to "bring it on," when standing a short distance from their positions, instead of safely inside the White House, one of the most fortified, heavily guarded buildings in the world.
Of course, such a just and fair form of military conscription is unlikely to occur. As I stated in previous articles, those who worship war the most are usually those who have never fought in one. But even more frightening than the hypocrisy of the "chicken hawks" are people who are unwilling to condemn or even recognize this hypocrisy, who let these cowards dictate opinions and policies, and who permit the waging of war based on nothing more than lies.
In fact, the most frightening implication the Iraqi war has for the world is it demonstrates how easily many, if not most, people in the United States can be lured into war for war's sake alone, and how unconcerned they are about the veracity of the motives behind it. If this were not true, then protests should have erupted throughout America, and demands for Bush's impeachment should have resounded from coast-to-coast, when the primary rationale for the war, Iraq's alleged possession of WMDs, was revealed to be a lie. But this did not happen. Instead a new rationale was created: that Saddam Hussein was a cruel and brutal dictator. Yet he was a cruel and brutal dictator when he was a United States ally, when the United States government was providing him with the very weapons and technology they later said he couldn't possess. And he was/is just one of many brutal dictators throughout the world, many of whom the United States government overtly or covertly supports.
What this attitude means, of course, is that any nation in the world is a potential target of the United States, that those in power in America, no matter how corruptly they obtained that power, can simply manufacture a war, knowing that if one pretext is exposed as a lie, many, if not most, Americans will simply accept another. "Coalition" allies today could be targets tomorrow if they refuse to satiate the Bush dictatorship's megalomania. And given the corruption of America's corporate-controlled media, the evil, hypocrisy and bloodlust gripping the United States is not likely to fade anytime soon.
But it is not just war the world must fear, but the impact the corruption of the Bush dictatorship has on national economies. A recent news program revealed that Bush allegedly struck a deal with an official of an oil-producing nation in the Middle East, whereupon oil production would be decreased, and energy prices artificially inflated. Then shortly before the 2004 election (or the facade that masquerades as an election) production would "magically" increase and energy costs would quickly drop. Bush, in turn, planned to exploit this price drop in his quest for election. (Contrary to popular belief, Bush is not seeking "reelection," since he was never elected in the first place).
The solution? It is time for nations throughout the world to form new alliances and find new ways to cooperate with each other. It is time for poorer countries to seek help in casting off alleged "democracies" that are really nothing more than puppet regimes serving not the people, but the interests of multi-national corporations headquartered in the United States. After all, the Bush dictatorship contemptuously spat at the world in its obsessive lust to wage war against Iraq. Let the world now spit back.
It should also not be forgotten that America's sociopathic Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, condemned those European nations who recognized Bush's WMDs argument as a lie. Let those nations, joined by their newest convert to world peace and human decency, the government of Spain, work with others to become an economic and military power that rivals the United States. If Americans are compelled to endure even a modicum of the suffering and deprivations they are so willing to inflict upon others, then maybe sanity will be restored, and people as deceitful, as bloodthirsty, and as evil as George W. Bush will never again hold power.
The alternative is more death, more destruction, more divisiveness, more war, more hatred and more injustice. Hopefully those trees now falling in the forest, endeavoring to warn America and the world about the growing dangers posed by the Bush dictatorship, will make a sound before it is too late.
David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of PRAVDA