A Patriot Draped in Foil

Dave Fazo
San Jose Police Officer, Retired

As round one of the invasion of Iraq gets underway, I find myself feeling a bit isolated, kind of like the strange old woman on the next block with the foil-lined windows and walls.

Long ago, as her half-life of normalcy came to a close, the outside world became a confusing, scary place, so she shut it out by turning her home into a foil-wrapped refuge. If you ask her about it, she will tell you that the aluminum foil--Reynolds Wrap is her brand of choice--will keep out any and all wavelength of electromagnetic rays, block even the most sophisticated eavesdropping device, and conceal her location from the FBI. All this from just a thin layer of metal, shiny side out.

Yes, maybe she is a paranoid schizophrenic caught up in a nonsensical delusion, but she seems to have obtained a satisfactory measure of security and comfort; so all in all, I'd have to say that her system is working.

But these days, even I find the outside world to be a confusing, scary place. After decades of constructing a stable, comforting, and only mildly delusional worldview, I suddenly feel as if the rug has been pulled out from
under me. What, I wonder, are we doing in Iraq? And why are all the people with whom I identify politically so thrilled with it all?

Why are my neighbors, the ones who pay their taxes, vote in every election and raise the flag on all patriotic occasions, so excited to see our troops over there extinguishing the Iraqi threat?

When, I ask, did Iraq ever pose a real threat to us? And how come so many of my longtime friends are up in arms over Saddam’s mistreatment of the Kurds, when up until recently they knew nothing of the people and are certain, nonetheless, to forever first-associate the word Kurds with cottage cheese.

Something remarkable has happened in America. Not remarkable in the sense of unprecedented, but remarkable in the sense that it happened so easily. It seems that despite a cultural sophistication, educated populace, and
much-professed distaste for offensive militarism, the American national psyche still remains little more than a cheap sales pitch away from howling for bloody war. It is absolutely amazing to hear Americans cheer the
destruction of an entire nation, given the distress they exhibit every time they view an American policeman employing less-than-lethal shock and awe tactics on a criminal of color.
I cannot imagine that anyone who bought into this war (if it already has a catchy, Madison Avenue-type name, I don’t want to know it) would be such an easy mark for someone selling them something else, say, an appliance. Should a salesman try to sell any one of them an air conditioner that protects against dust storms, he would be certainly met with an incredulous, "But we don’t have dust storms around here." And the salesman would get nowhere should he point out that the unit removes the odors of migrating wildebeests. Not even appealing to their patriotism, by stressing that the unit is made in America, would get him his sale.
Yet, when George Bush tells these same people that Iraq poses a danger to our security here at home, their Pentium-speed skepticism goes right into sleep mode. Likewise, when he says that we must fight for the liberty of the Iraqi people, not a one of them thinks, "Gee, with all the persecuted people in the world, what’s so special about Iraq?"
Let me state this bluntly: the case for war with Iraq is less persuasive than is the case for UFOs, yet the very people who’d scoff at reports of flying saucers appear ready to send their firstborn off to fight and free the people of Iraq. Remarkable! These are Americans who paid not the slightest bit of attention to Iraq prior to its invasion of Kuwait (an invasion, by the way, that did not take place until U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, told Saddam Hussein that such an invasion would be viewed as strictly an issue between Arab states).
Sadly, were it not for our own stumbling and bumbling in the affairs of Arab nations--a people we hardly
understand--we wouldn’t be in this war, and most Americans wouldn’t be able to pick Saddam Hussein out of a line-up of Mexican game show hosts.

It is disheartening to hear bright people repeat the patently absurd war slogans and catch phrases turned out by our government and so enthusiastically embraced by the media. Saddam is another Hitler. Huh? If he were, believe me, he would have a truly terrifying, loyal army. And weapons at least as good as ours.

No, Saddam is no Hitler; he’s a brutal, pompous, blowhard, more like an Ariel Sharon without a superpower in his pocket.

We also hear the word "appeasement" spit out derisively, as though it no longer means "making concessions for peace." It now connotes doing anything short of launching an immediate attack. In the American mind, it has become one of this war’s dirty little words, as have "France," "Germany," and "Old Europe." In the good old days of war and hate, the government would provide its people a list of catchy racist epithets to hurl against the enemy; but now, in our bizarre, politically correct world, we speak kindly of the people we bomb and disparage our old friends for their political differences.

In issues of such global importance, it is always wise to take a close look at the facts, but in the case of this war, a cursory glance is all that is necessary to see through the administration’s case.

Try as they might--and they’ve given it a Herculean effort--the Bush administration has failed to prove that Iraq is a threat to anyone outside of Israel. And that threat amounts to nothing more than Iraq’s refusal to rely on a defensive strategy based on rock-throwing teenagers.

Saddam Hussein has been observing how Zionist aggression works, and he understands that a doomsday strategy of horror weapons will at least make them think twice before launching a nuclear attack against his people.

Further, the administration has failed to show that the Iraqi people live under conditions worse than those endured by people in dozens of other countries, or that they are so eager for a regime change that they have
attempted even a single coup. How can a people deserve to have others die for them trying to do that which they will not do for themselves?

I have examined the government’s case beyond the cursory and, as it is with most institutions of power, the closer you look, the uglier it gets.

First and foremost, there are the lies. The Bush administration wanted desperately to tie Iraq to the terrorism of 9/11. They didn’t come close; even their manufactured evidence failed them. The fact of the matter is that any objective analysis would lead to the conclusion that in the entire region, Iraq is the least likely ally of Osama bin Laden. And nothing establishes this more profoundly than the administration’s own failure to demonstrate any linkage.

With all their resources, to say nothing of the American media’s efforts to break the story, or the Mossad’s efforts to get the shooting started, the Bush team could not produce a single piece of compelling evidence to link Iraq to the War on Terror or justify the president’s obsession with dismantling Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Same story with those all-menacing "Weapons of Mass Destruction," a phrase repeated so often that it stabs at the brain like an annoying commercial slogan. And it’s just about as honest. The image intended was that of a missile with Saddam’s cartoon-like head painted on it, screaming with great accuracy into our cozy little neighborhoods. But that image is about as farfetched as an Iraqi warhead arriving on a flying carpet. In their finest moment Iraq could just barely hit Israel, and their finest moment ended twelve years ago with the Mother of All Retreats. And when firing their Scuds, it was anyone’s guess as to where the missiles would land, despite the fact that Israel is almost right next door.

As for Saddam’s chemical weapons stockpile, he demonstrated during Desert Storm that he would not recklessly use it, even when under attack. Face it: the way this administration uses hype and exaggeration, in a pinch they could make a chemical weapons case against an Arab-American janitorial service.

Maybe I’ve seen one too many press conferences, but I now fear more that "Weapons of Mass Destruction" will be inserted at the end of every sentence of every official speech than I worry that such horrible weapons will actually be used on the battlefield. Listening to the war party’s mantra has become as painful as giving into my kid and subjecting myself to Disneyland’s psychologically incapacitating, "It’s a Small World." I’m
convinced that these things wound the brain.

While I’m not in a position to know exactly what Saddam has stockpiled away, I do know what he fears: the hundreds--yes, hundreds--of nuclear weapons that Israel has at-the-ready for use against him. And remember, it was Israel’s own renegade nuclear weapons program that destabilized the regional balance of power thirty years ago and sent its Arab neighbors out seeking the comfort and security of their own horror weapons.

How’s this for irony: the weapons we now seek to deprive Iraq of--weapons that threaten only Israel--owe their existence, if they really exist at all, to Israel’s own misguided decision to develop a nuclear arsenal.

To add further insult to irony, Israel has seized upon our present political situation to squeeze out an additional eight billion dollars from our treasury. That's right, there is a price to secure their cooperation in our efforts to make them safe.

What an ally! As California and many other states sink into a fiscal abyss, Congress chooses (if that’s the correct word to describe satisfying a payoff) to rescue the Israeli economy, sending them more money so they can build more illegal settlements, buy more weapons, and further piss off and frighten their neighbors.

With Israel as an ally, one thing has become clear: we need to either clean up Congress or finance a much bigger army.

Everyone I know would see through such egregious duplicity should it occur in their personal lives. That they don’t see it in the Middle East I can only attribute to the distortion created by our government and fostered by
the American media. And let’s not forget the media. Thanks to the Internet, the Fourth Estate has been shown to be far less than forthright in its reporting of many things, but none so much as in its coverage of Israel. It has become blatantly clear that to be an informed American, one must set down the newspaper, put aside the glossy news magazine, turn off the radio and television, and log onto the Net. What will be found there is no less
than an indictment of the American media.

From my perspective, the foreign weapons most damaging to America’s safety are not the ineffective Scuds in Iraq, but the precision-guided salvos fired by the Israeli lobby into the halls of power in Washington, D.C. You know, the anti-Semite-seeking warheads that drop lawmakers to their knees and make them beg for forgiveness should they ever contradict Israeli interests during a brief, ill-advised, patriotic moment.

For the most recent example, check out the still-whimpering, sincerely apologetic Rep. Jim Moran.

But I waste my breath. The enemy has been identified and the war is on. But is it time for me to start unrolling the foil?

I want to stand in unison with my flag-waving community because I also support our military. I, too, fear for the safety of the fighting men on the front lines and want to see them home safe. But to stand side-by-side with
my friends and neighbors, I must use care with my words and edit my opinions. For these are people caught up in the fervor of patriotism--a state of mind fueled only by emotion. For war is, once underway, a strictly black and white experience; a for-or-against-us proposition; a condition intolerant of either reason or dissent.

Charles Lindbergh knew this well, which is why as of December 7th, 1941, he abandoned his isolationist politics and offered his considerable talents to the war effort (that he was rejected by FDR, but welcomed by the military, tells you where in government courage and integrity are valued).

For Lindbergh understood, despite his passionate objection to entering the war, that the time for reasoned argument and political disagreement ended when the first bombs fell on Pearl Harbor.

So here I sit, rooting for our troops to grasp a quick and decisive victory, but fearing that what we are witnessing may be the beginning of the Great Crusade feared by the Arab world. Indeed, there is a list--a real, tangible
document--that identifies each sovereign nation targeted for a "regime change" so that peace might be achieved in the region. It is a list of states that not one in ten Americans could locate on a map, much less identify as an enemy. But that is a fact that will sadly change on the very first day that American troops begin to fall in those nations during battle.

The list of rogue states was prepared by Richard Perle, the current chair of the Defense Policy Board, and Douglas Feith, our Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

If you are comforted by the impressive titles carried by these two Americans and their proximity to real power, your comfort might vaporize when you learn that the list was prepared not for George Bush or Bill Clinton, but for then Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It was a list prepared by Americans Netanyahu could trust, and he is a man who trusts only Zionists.

Syria is on the list, so is Saudi Arabia. But guess who made first place? I’ll give you a clue: it’s the nation that right now is a smoldering wreck. No, the invasion of Iraq should not be confused with the War on Terror. The list of Arab nations it heads is from a document titled, "A Clean Break," and it was written in 1996, five years before the tragedy of 9/11.

Come on, all you old Vietnam War protesters, sing along with me: "So it’s one, two, three, four, who the hell we fighting for?" It ain't us Americans. If we could resurrect our Founding Fathers, they would, upon seeing what we are doing, immediately die of broken hearts.

Our nation’s brave troops will always be destined to march into harm’s way, and our great flag should forever be proudly waved, but only for American interests.

Right now, as our troops fight and die for peace in the Middle East, Zionist bulldozers operate outside Israel’s borders, destroying Palestinian homes, preparing new settlements, crushing international protesters, and killing any hope for peace with the Arab people.

Pray that we stop in Baghdad. Tear up Netanyahu’s enemies list. Rein in the Zionists in Washington and you might discover that in the Occupied Territories, the bulldozers will stop as soon as the American dollars do.
Then, and only then, will peace be once again in everyone’s best interest.

But just in case, I’ve got a closet full of foil.