Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« A Crisis of Capitalism? | Main | Preview: Christian Zionism »

Bill Moyers Essay: For the Fallen

Can't Play This Video? Click here for quicktime and windows media versions.

Then tell us what you think by commenting below.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/mt4/mt-tb.cgi/584

Comments

The Bible tells of a Great King in Babylon at the end times… the time of the second coming, and the advent of The Antichrist…

Saddam Hussein aspired to that prophesy yet was hardly a great king… He was a thug assassin, who had narrowly escaped with his life for a murder committed at fourteen years of age… The fact that the CIA found him and recognized his potential… sponsoring his rise thru political ranks, even as he would murder his predecessor as head of government… by no means made him a suitable candidate… His ignominious death at the gallows did little to enhance his reputation for greatness either.

So a Caesar of the Far East just might arise… Imagine the mercenary army in Iraq turning on US forces and defeating them, then negotiating an alliance that would make separate peace...

Like mushrooms, the boys and girls in Iraq and Afghanistan have been kept in the dark and fed on horse manure... This promotes anger toward the society which sent them to those lands, to wage war against innocent people… acknowledging that the wars are contrived… Just as 911 was contrived and planned years in advance… They form an alliance with regular Iraqi forces and drive out the Al Qaida CIA stooges, turning them over to Iraqi law for trial and execution for the bombings, and for the scores of dead that turn up daily in that country.

This figure would then sort Israel out and march on Washington…

Re Iran… take a look at history… A Greek army attacked Italy in the days of Philip of Macedon the father of Alexander the Great, the Romans massacred them, one man only ever got back to Greece, twelve years later as a galley slave. The Romans counter attacked defeating the Greek army, then held Greece in servitude slavery for one thousand years… Crassus was a Roman politician and soldier, he attacked Syria in 53 BC in a blaze of publicity, confident in the invincibility of his legions… they were wiped out at Currhae, part of Turkey.

So if the Turks and the Iraqi’s form an alliance… what then.

While I appreciate exposing "Christian"-Zionism, for its dangerous war-mongering, I find it unfortunate that Mr. Moyers completely forgot that Iran is NOT developing any nuclear weapons, according to the UN's nuclear watchdog agenct, the IAEA. Mr. Moyers also joined the demonization of Iran's President, without even once mentioning that he does not have any foreign policy powers. Mr. Moyers used to be balanced, what happened?

Chicago Tribune Special report
New revelations in attack on American spy ship
Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident
October 2, 2007

For Lockwood and many other survivors, the anger is mixed with incredulity: that Israel would attack an important ally, then attribute the attack to a case of mistaken identity by Israeli pilots who had confused the U.S. Navy's most distinctive ship with an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport that was half its size and had a dissimilar profile. And they're also incredulous that, for years, their own government would reject their calls for a thorough investigation.

"They tried to lie their way out of it!" Lockwood shouts. "I don't believe that for a minute! You just don't shoot at a ship at sea without identifying it, making sure of your target!"

Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping.

Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel's reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation.

In declassifying the most recent and largest batch of materials last June 8, the 40th anniversary of the attack, the NSA, this country's chief U.S. electronic-intelligence-gatherer and code-breaker, acknowledged that the attack had "become the center of considerable controversy and debate." It was not the agency's intention, it said, "to prove or disprove any one set of conclusions, many of which can be drawn from a thorough review of this material," available athttp://www.nsa.gov/liberty .

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the excellent Op-Ed in TIME Magazine of 9/26/07 by Samantha Power regarding the Iraqi refugee problem. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1665921,00.html. Until the 9/28/07 Moyers show and the above-mentioned op-ed, I had not realized the refugee problem was so great. Where is the shame? It becomes more and more difficult to live in this country, and the tragedy is that we are so weary and brow-beaten, that we just want to get on with our own lives. But it is harder and harder to shut out the truth and the truth of this country. Conservatives say that liberals hate America. I think it is the other way around, but I have no faith in either party. Would that we had the Parliamentary system where we could get rid of the head of the party, ie George Bush. If so, he would have been gone a long time ago. And November 2008 seems so far away.

Just a THANKS, Bill.

Thank you very, very much. We all need to be reminded.

You video is posted on my blog.

The United States is trying to play God in the world; spying on everyone, listening in on everyone, telling everyone what to do, screwing over its own citizens as well as all other countries, in its efforts to become the riches, most powerful nation on the planet. In the process it has become one of the most evil nations on the face of the earth. However, it has its support base as did Saddam Hussein, as do all devils.

I have spent the past 28 years delivering a message to her from God. A message to its people. The message is that Americans are being led by any and everything but God. I have brought a message of peace and prosperity to every citizen, whether they believed in God or not.

Twenty-eight years and every power has rejected this message. The homeless reject it, all social support agencies reject it, including the organized Catholic and organized Protestant Churches, all preaches have rejected it (except a few) and surely all rich people have rejected it.

As a Social Scientist, I've noticed that those that are financially secure are satisfied. Those that are not are too afraid of repercussion to do anything. Sounds like hell to me. I'd be afraid too had I not experienced the burning bush that would not be consumed.

I am tired. God has requested that I make one last effort to give Glory where it belongs. God offers that every human on earth can live as a millionaire, now. That means that everything millionaires can access, anyone can access; including, brand new infrastructure all over the country, new streets and bridges, parks, schools, hospital, etc., and brand new choices of careers for every worker.

All these things have readily been provided, in quantity and quality, to meet every need of the entire human race. The only requirement is that people treat each other as they themselves want to be treated (this applies nation to nation, as well). God Gave me a vision of Paradise on Earth and how to create it but I was not given the information of how to make people choose it.

I seek the office of US President '08, in a final attempt to save America. I don't know how to get you to change your hearts but I do know whats going to happen if you don't change. You are going to lose every freedom of the bill of rights you every had. Sooner than later, the United States Infrastructure will be looking like that in Iraq. American citizens are afraid of the Government just as Iraqis were afraid of the government of Saddam Hussein, but foreigners have committed to use the weapon of terrorism until justice rises it's beautiful head.

In the meantime, If you refuse to treat others proper, I hope I at least raise the devil in you enough for a ticket off this planet. You can have this hell and all that comes with it.
IF YOU SAY SO, I WILL ENTER THE GENERAL ELECTION AND YOU MUSST SPREAD THE WORD TO THE COUNTRY. PARADISE AND HELL IS IN YOUR HANDS AND ITS YOUR PLAY.


The United States is trying to play God in the world; spying on everyone, listening in on everyone, telling everyone what to do, screwing over its own citizens as well as all other countries, in its efforts to become the riches, most powerful nation on the planet. In the process it has become one of the most evil nations on the face of the earth. However, it has its support base as did Saddam Hussein, as do all devils.

I have spent the past 28 years delivering a message to her from God. A message to its people. The message is that Americans are being led by any and everything but God. I have brought a message of peace and prosperity to every citizen, whether they believed in God or not.

Twenty-eight years and every power has rejected this message. The homeless reject it, all social support agencies reject it, including the organized Catholic and organized Protestant Churches, all preaches have rejected it (except a few) and surely all rich people have rejected it.

As a Social Scientist, I've noticed that those that are financially secure are satisfied. Those that are not are too afraid of repercussion to do anything. Sounds like hell to me. I'd be afraid too had I not experienced the burning bush that would not be consumed.

I am tired. God has requested that I make one last effort to give Glory where it belongs. God offers that every human on earth can live as a millionaire, now. That means that everything millionaires can access, anyone can access; including, brand new infrastructure all over the country, new streets and bridges, parks, schools, hospital, etc., and brand new choices of careers for every worker.

All these things have readily been provided, in quantity and quality, to meet every need of the entire human race. The only requirement is that people treat each other as they themselves want to be treated (this applies nation to nation, as well). God Gave me a vision of Paradise on Earth and how to create it but I was not given the information of how to make people choose it.

I seek the office of US President '08, in a final attempt to save America. I don't know how to get you to change your hearts but I do know whats going to happen if you don't change. You are going to lose every freedom of the bill of rights you every had. Sooner than later, the United States Infrastructure will be looking like that in Iraq. American citizens are afraid of the Government just as Iraqis were afraid of the government of Saddam Hussein, but foreigners have committed to use the weapon of terrorism until justice rises it's beautiful head.

In the meantime, If you refuse to treat others proper, I hope I at least raise the devil in you enough for a ticket off this planet. You can have this hell and all that comes with it.
IF YOU SAY SO, I WILL ENTER THE GENERAL ELECTION AND YOU MUSST SPREAD THE WORD TO THE COUNTRY. PARADISE AND HELL IS IN YOUR HANDS AND ITS YOUR PLAY.

“In the Democratic Presidential debate none of them would commit to taking American
troops out of Iraq in the first terms of their administration, if they should win. That would
mean American troops in Iraq until at least 2013”. In a “bushels of rotten apples which
one would you pick”?
To stop the acts by an autocratic “arrogant elitist ruling class” regime is to “AMEND
the CONSTITUTION”! ALL the issues should be and MUST be placed on the ballot,
in the hands of “the people to express their will ”!
The Congress, Senate , States and others no longer represent nor comply with “the will
of the majority people”. The “will of the people “ is denied and/or ignored!
Laws legislated by the congress, states and local government, funds earmark for wars,
bridges to nowhere, social, economic, and educations development shall and MUST be
placed on the ballot for “the people to express their will”, and not in the hands of a
“special interest groups”!
To “stop the war or military expansion” it should be by “the will of the people”.
To the extend possible - Expend the “EMPIRE” by SOCIAL, ECONOMIC and
FINANCIAL AID!

Here is your chance, Mr. Bush, the promoter of democracy and freedom! to liberate a country that their population (two and a half times bigger than Iraq's population) would welcome your soldiers with open arms. Please answer the cry for help of the people of Burma. After all you can do something good to make up for a fraction of your passed wrong doings. Please prove to the world beyond any doubt, that you have not been after domination of the Middle East and beyond only.

There are over 3,000 more Mora's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NolEYfzj0Vo

The US soldiers in Iraq are there today because they have volunteered to be there, unlike the Viet Nam war nightmare when they were drafted and sent to Viet Nam against their will. I am therefore amazed and shocked at the continuing numbers of those who volunteer willingly, to 'serve their country,' when the huge majority of the country believes that the occupation in Iraq is wrong. How does participating as a member of the US military in Iraq help anyone? How does it serve the country? How does it help the citizens of Iraq? If you volunteer to go to Iraq and get blown up in a truck, does that make you a hero? How can anyone be all they can be if they are dead? I truly believe if the people simply refused to continue to fight the wars that a handful of misguided politicians created, that there would be no more wars.

"They've changed their rhetoric, really. The name of the game used to be nuclear threat," Hersh said on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, adding a moment later, "They've come to the realization that it's not selling, it isn't working. The American people aren't worried about Iran as a nuclear threat certainly as they were about Iraq. So they've switched, really."

The Bush Administration is all but set to authorize a campaign of limited, surgical airstrikes against Iranian targets, Hersh reports in the New Yorker's latest edition. In his piece, Hersh writes, "During a secure videoconference that took place early this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British 'were on board'... Bush ended by instructing Crocker to tell Iran to stop interfering in Iraq or it would face American retribution."

The sites in Iran being targeted however, reflect the change in the White House selling of armed conflict with Iran.

"Instead of... hitting the various [nuclear] facilities we know that exist, instead they're going to hit the Iranians as payback for hitting us [in Iraq]," Hersh told Blitzer in the CNN interview.

Such targets, Hersh says, would include Iran's Revolutionary Guard headquarters and other sites of Iran's alleged support for the insurgency in Iraq.

Hersh does not seem to think that direct conflict with Iran is inevitable however. He writes: "I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group.">

http://rawstory.com//news/2007/Seymour_Hersh_War_with_Iran_will_0930.html

PS, guess who comprise most of the foreign fighters in Iraq. Hint: it's not Iran by a long shot and its initials are S.A. Where is the real, serious diplomacy and gaining international consensus? Our President and his Fox Republican politicians are totally out of control yet again.

Interview With Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh: "The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing"
By Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith
Der Spiegel

Friday 28 September 2007

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what's really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America's Hitler, Bush's Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?

Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn't enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That's just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren't there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We're going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can't have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I'd actually be relieved because I'd know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he's doing God's work.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?

Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?

Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the "Surge" (eds. The "Surge" refers to President Bush's commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it's going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We've basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They've simply split.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?

Hersh: I think that's a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the lessons of the Surge?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he's talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He's not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You're going to have a Kurdistan. You're going to have a Sunni area that we're going to have to support forever. And you're going to have the Shiites in the South.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?

Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn't know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now don't care. They see it but they don't care.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?

Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we'll rationalize it away. Don't worry about that. Again, there's no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We'll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?

Hersh: Oh yeah. They've done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who's going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he's going to put everybody in jeopardy and he's secretive and he doesn't tell Congress anything and he's inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I'm asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they're going to have to live with it.

The solution in Iraq will not be found militarily or politically, but only by procuring the truth. We must first know the true reason for our invasion of another country, then, accept the responsibility for our actions. The cure for Iraq is the truth of ourselves. We must first accept the problem is us. The courage and strength it will take to accept this truth, is called true American grit. Do we still have it, the grit it took to make this country so great; I think we have no choice. Truth is the ultimate light, the power, and cure for all, including Iraq and ourselves.

I live in Thailand and listen by podcast each week. While I have long felt embarrassed by my country (and I do NOT dismiss all aspects of the US), I not feel like crawling under a rock. Could you add just a tagline at the end of your stories about who we can write or some small (non-monetary) thing I could do.

Thank you for your forum, and until there is universal health care so I can come back to the US, I remain, Sherry Payne in Thailand

I could hardly sleep after the 9/28 portion on Iraq and the war. The insights and information of Deborah and George and Bill supplied the missing pieces of the Big Picture Puzzle that has not been clarified at all by the Presidet or Press. I'm 77 and I felt sick with hopelessness afterward thinking of my family, grand children and great grandchildren's 'future'!?!?

I felt like this problem is like the multi-facets on a Diamond.....but with no shine or beauty.

I pray for the greiving families and us as a nation losing hope....BUT EACH DAY IS A NEW BEGINNING...and when the sun comes up in the morning I will try to radiate only Peace and Love in my small area.
With Gratitude,
Sally Nave
Former Medic Korean War

Would Clinton really do anything about Iraq? Maybe that is why Obama is gaining steam. He reminds me of the other Clinton in '92. Obama now leads Clinton in likely Iowa caucus-goers. Let's not forget Dean, McCain and all the other early leaders who nearly always flame out by the end. Right on the war when it mattered, a uniter and very principled, Obama is a good one to watch.

According to a Newsweek poll Saturday, Clinton enjoys a six-point lead over Obama and a ten point lead over former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

"Among all Iowa Democratic voters, Clinton draws 31 percent, followed by Obama (25 percent) and Edwards (21 percent)," Newsweek writes. "But among likely caucus-goers, Obama enjoys a slim lead, polling 28 percent to best Clinton (24 percent) and Edwards (22 percent). Bill Richardson is the only other Democratic candidate to score in the double digits (10 percent)."

Among Iowa Republicans, erstwhile Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney trumps Giuliani, hard, pulling 24 percent to ex-senator Fred Thompson's 16 and Giuliani's 13.>

http://rawstory.com//news/2007/Obama_leads_pack_among_Iowa_likely_0929.html

Regarding the refugee situation and Iraq, you left out any number that is estimated to have escaped to Iran. Some put this figure at over one million, although verification would be difficult, since many are thought to have lodged with relatives.

This unending war, the boys and girls are tired, bone-tired. Let them come home before more tragedies like the above become the norm.

All discussion of Iraq should be precursed with the fact of peak oil and economic security. Bush "knows" that in the very near future all will come to see that his staking US claim to Iraqi oil will justify him.
Our world simply will not meet oil demand starting in just a few short years. This must be the beginning of all Iraqi conversation - to loose sight of this in any moment brings folly and misunderstanding to center stage. Bush believes that it is in our best interest to seize Iraqi assets. Most Americans feel it is wrong to steal their neighbors' possessions but no one has implied that Bush represents most Americans.

Thank you for your courage to light a candle of truth amidst the darkness that emanates from Washington.

I applaud Bill Moyers for speaking the truth. While it is accepted that journalists are to be impartial, there comes a time when they have a moral obligation to say what is the case - even if it is not "impartial." Bill Moyers appears to be a journalist who has the courage and integrity to take that step when it is warranted. May he and his associates be encouraged to continue to boldly speak the truth about our nation's recent foreign policy disasters.

In honor of these fine soldiers, and their brothers and sisters in arms of whom I am honored to serve with daily, I present the following – to you and to our “leaders.” The latter has forgotten the sacrifice and courage their position and title demands. God let them learn from these brave heroes and finally do their duty.

HOW A DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS CAN END THE IRAQ WAR

Dear Democratic Senators and Representatives:
American voter energy, turnout, and choice in 2006 placed you in a position to preside over a rare moment at which you have both the great privilege to make history and the unfathomable responsibility to choose a better path for our endangered future. The greatest factor leading to your party’s congressional leadership takeover was the public’s overwhelming discontent over the Iraq War; that discontent has grown, but to no end. The defensive position of the President and his congressional supporters in continuing this war is well-established and unmoving; the recent “change in strategy” little more than a street hustler’s shell game. While your efforts to end the war have the backing of the overwhelming majority of Americans, an inflexible and unified congressional minority combined with the President’s veto has prevented your caucus’s efforts to end the war. Since January, your tepid attempts have all been successfully blocked to the dismay and disapproval of your political base, while your opponents have paid little, if any, meaningful political price. As the critical defense appropriations bill enters final debate, these circumstances beg two fundamental questions, “Can Congress end this war? And is such an effort worth pursuing?”
The unequivocal answers to both of these questions respectively are yes you can, and you must. A politically tenable means to that end follows, but first you must first realize that what is at stake is nothing less than the US Constitution itself; the laws which form this nation and place its government at the behest of its great citizens. It would be unabashed negligence for Congressional leaders to withhold bold action and meekly allow this President and a minority group in Congress to defy the undeniable will of the people. Neither voters nor history will judge well those who talked tough, but threw up their hands in submission after floating half-measures or engaging in meaningless panderings. Follow not the temptation to sink to the level of Karl Rove either, putting your partisan future ahead of our nation’s needs; to do so means unconscionably prioritizing your party and personal political fortunes ahead of this country’s national security and the thousands more young soldiers and Marines you’ll leave to be maimed or killed in Iraq over the next 12 months. To win this contest of political wills now and live up to the grand ideal of our nation’s founders, you must willfully assume significant political risk. But even the worst-case realization of that risk pales in comparison to the damage this war continually does to our nation or to the sacrifices deployed military members and their families have endured and continue to relentlessly confront.
In developing the means to win this contest, you must first, ala Sun Tzu, study your opponent carefully. Outnumbered and low on resources, they are on the defensive. Given their minority position in Congress and sparse public support, they have no choice left. Their fundamental disadvantage in a defense is that they have ceded the initiative to you, entrenchment and reaction their only options; you control the agenda. Their defense remains deep and formidable; together they can filibuster, veto, and maintain a veto. Unity then is their strategic center of gravity. Also important is their operational center of gravity: their individual and party self-preserving motives. The President persists in Iraq, against all hope for “victory,” to preserve a dignified place in history. With no more elections in his future, he has no reason to follow voters’ wishes and works now only to hand the inevitable chaos of the Iraq withdrawal to his successor. As such, he is largely invulnerable and immoveable. Your congressional opponents are, however, concerned with their own reelections, especially given the losses suffered in 2006. Their vulnerability is limited, however, since most of the Republicans still voting with the President come from solidly “red” states or securely conservative districts. As a Republican caucus, they are also very concerned about preserving a meaningful minority in Congress, which limits the seat losses they will endure in order to maintain unity with the President on Iraq. This makes the tactical center of gravity all the more important: your opponents’ congressional constituency. Understanding and targeting this constituency, which includes your opponents’ power base is the key to achieving victory. These constituents directly affect their congressman’s self-preserving motives, which in turn, can affect your opponents’ willingness to maintain unity with the President.
In planning a successful attack, you must carefully consider these constituents’ political motives. Putting some overgeneralization aside, you’ll find their constituency includes five key groups. The first is made up of “fat cats,” the independently very rich and wealthy businessmen who are solidly within your opponents’ base. Their most important motive so far as Iraq or anything else is concerned is simple: first and always preserve wealth. For most among this group the Iraq war has been transparent, with no sacrifice being asked of them; they’re happy their representatives have managed to preserve the huge Bush tax cuts of 2001 whilst waging a very costly war. For others in this group the war has been a boon, particularly for defense contractors and those in the energy business; these in particular write large pro-war election campaign checks. A second similar group also shoring up your opponents’ base is made up of “Goldwater Republicans,” mostly retirees with many veterans from WWII through the Cold War. While they are also interested in preserving their wealth in retirement, they firmly believe in a strong defense and are fervently patriotic, ready to nuke anyone who threatens the homeland. The third group supporting the base consists of “blue-collar Republicans” from the rural South, Midwest and Western Mountain states. These conservatives are religious, pro-gun, non-union and moderately to lowly-educated farmers, ranchers, craftsmen, small businessmen, and other semi-skilled laborers. Their political leanings are not typically developed through self-discovery, but rather from how they were “brought up” (many raised by Goldwater Republicans). A disproportionate number of the men and women enlisting in the military originate from these families and their communities. Even in the face of mounting war casualties within their small towns, these constituents provide unquestioning support for the Iraq war out of a myopic sense of duty, accepting fully that the Iraq war is “the central front in the war on terror” as knavishly purported by their representatives and locally-popular conservative media.
Outside their base of support are two key groups that are within your opponent’s constituency but now oppose continuing the Iraq War and are ready to vote and even resource opposition campaigns against their sitting congressmen. The first of these groups include well-educated, professional, upper middleclass and semi-independent conservatives. These “moderate independents” voted in large part for both Bush Presidents, helped reelect President Bill Clinton, and were a decisive ballot-casting factor in your 2006 victories. While they voted to end the war in 2006, they have otherwise been content as politically inactive bystanders, disgusted by the inept failure and waste of the Iraq war but personally unaffected and unmoved by it. This group also includes a large number of mature families with children ranging in age from middle school through college; security and opportunity for these kids forms their primary political motives. The final group comprises disenfranchised constituents, educated middle class and anti-war Democrats trapped in “red” Republican states and gerrymandered districts. These “angry orphans” run the gamut from “Generation Y” students to “Generation X” professionals with young children to liberal baby-boomers and Truman seniors. Though vehemently anti-war, their discontented voices are mostly restrained when amongst their pro-war neighbors and coworkers. However, the release of their pent-up frustration provided the critical grass-roots energy in 2006 that changed some long-standing “red” congressional seats to “blue.”
With a general understanding of these key constituent groups, you can now identify some key actions that exploit their vulnerabilities. For the “fat cats” to be turned against the war, all you need do is make them help directly pay for it. A five percent increase in the capital gains and corporate tax rates specifically designated to pay for the war will do exactly that. Given the 500 plus billion dollar war costs thus far borrowed from China and others to be paid back with interest by our children, a special tax is certainly justified and long overdue. Such a tax has solid historical precedence as well; with the Iraq war the only large long-term US conflict in the last 150 years not to be supported with some tax increase.
To filibuster or veto such a measure would not sit well with the “Goldwater Republicans” who are already feeling ill about the exorbitant costs and spendthrift financing of this war. This patriotic group also rightly fears that the war is breaking the US Army and Marines. This group would be truly aghast if you can show them the truly sad state of these services, the clear and present vulnerabilities our national interests face in light of their worst-in-modern-times readiness, the unsustainable number of experienced but burned-out non-commissioned and company grade officers that are leaving the ranks, the all-time-ebb to which recruiting standards have dropped, and the total costs associated with $20,000-$100,000 bonuses being doled out to meet recruiting and retention goals. For this group’s support, you need only expose this horror story and then take action that assures them that continuing the Iraq war will no longer come at the expense of our national defense. A conditional draft will meet this need with clarity. The conditions are these: if total US forces deployed in Iraq are not reduced to 70,000 or less by 30 Apr 2008, a military draft begins 1 June 2008 with 50,000 additional men to be enlisted for not less than 3 years into the Army and Marines by 1 June 2009, the draft continued thereafter as needed to maintain congressionally-mandated end-strengths. This action too has great precedence and no Army or Marine General Officer worth their stars will tell you that this would not be both a great relief and a critical readiness safety net for this country. Once better, the political onus for bringing back the draft will sit with the President; it’s the commander-in-chief alone who chooses to stay in Iraq, not Congress who’s action here only responsibly fulfills its duty in raising and maintaining the Army (and Marines) to meet the nation’s defense. The President may obstinately continue the war, but Congress won’t allow him to irresponsibly break the force in doing so.
With the sacrifices their peer and family member servicemen are making, and given both Bush and Cheney’s well-documented efforts to personally avoid the last draft, the patriotic “blue-collar Republicans” would feel ashamed and be furious should their President or congressman block or refuse such measures under grounds of fairness or lack of necessity. Similar to many lower and middle-class Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, these rural Republicans will also have little tolerance for their congressmen’s echoing of “fat cats” or their lobbyists whining over sacrificing a small tax increase to pay for the war, particularly given recent record corporate profits and record wealth growth for the very rich. This frustration will be enhanced when you enact an addition 5 cent per gallon federal fuel tax. As with the capital gains and corporate tax, this funding will be set aside only to fund the Iraq War and last only until the war ends. Further, such a tax eliminates the perception that Democrats are out only to get the rich. The President fully justified this tax himself recently when he identified protecting Mideast oil supplies as a key rationale for staying in Iraq. Most of this heartland group will accept the additional sacrifice for the war, but won’t be happy about it. Outside of some in Texas and Alaska, members of this group are already angry with the massive rise in fuel prices and openly blame the greed of big US oil companies and OPEC countries; this tax too will be blamed on them. That both Bush and Cheney practically bleed oil will not be lost on anyone either as they are forced to pay more at the pump to protect “big oil.”
Collectively these actions will anger the “moderate independents” but the anger will not be directed at you, it will be aimed at President Bush and his congressional lackeys. Both the capital gains and gas tax will likely hit their pocketbook but will be fully understood and respected; especially given that the sum of all these new taxes will only raise revenues to cover half of the annual Iraq war cost. But more importantly, anger over the possibility of a hypocritical draft-dodging administration drafting their son, grandson, or nephew will overcome their passivity. They will take action to end the war they already disagree with. They will be vocal locally, and will provide the human and monetary resources needed to either unseat their pro-war congressmen or forcefully change his/her mind.
By contrast, the “angry orphans” will not initially understand or agree with the need for a draft; even if conditional, this action will be seen by this group and many other anti-war groups as very controversial. Though intended as an asymmetrical and temporary approach to end the war, some will see the draft issue as counter-productive, a non-starter, and a pure escalation. As such, it will face some opposition in “Blue” states. However, the “orphans” will be heartened by the tax increases and will be quick to put out the welcome mat for the “moderate independents” visibly joining their ranks. Finally, when the dilemma these actions place on their local Congressmen becomes evident and breaks the unity that keeps the war going, support will be wholesale. You will be cheered and revered by them.
Taken together, these actions form an offensive maneuver to defeat your opponents’ defenses and end the war. They are a synchronized whole and will not work individually. To defeat your opponents, you must divide and undermine their base of support, placing each war-defending congressman in a “Catch-22.” Okaying the corporate tax angers their “fat cats,” opposition angers “Goldwater’s” but less so the “blue-collars” unless there’s also a gas tax. Fight the draft and again anger the “Goldwater’s;” okay it and mobilize anti-war “independents.” Collectively these actions are also irrefutably prudent and responsible, with sound basis and precedent; together these actions paint your opponents’ into a corner. Alone they are but obstacles to be outmaneuvered and dismissed as partisan play.
You must leave them no more room to maneuver. Thus far, the President has had both his foolish war and the irresponsibly acquired means to fight it. You, the Democratic Congress must be the responsible adults acting fully within your constitutional roles to hold this spoiled President accountable for his reckless intractability. You must force an all or nothing choice for your opponents. They can have their tantrum and keep their war but they must at least be forced to pay the political price of putting their constituents’ money and lives where their loose, hawkish, and fear-mongering mouths are. If this is not suitable, then they can approve an immediate redeployment from Iraq, two brigades per month until completely out. These must be the only choices you offer them; not a single dollar for the Pentagon until and unless your opponents’ agree to one or the other. It is unthinkable that they could endure the ensuing political pressure through April and keep troops in Iraq such that the conditional draft would commence. If they do manage such folly, at least the war would finally be responsibly funded and not fought at the expense of our greater national defense. Regardless, you will have won an historic victory for the American people in defense of and within the vision set forth for you in our beloved Constitution; now there’s a battle you mustn’t “cut and run” from.

The tribute to the fallen soldiers is very touching and effectively captures their supreme sacrifice. At the same time, it was extremely painful and emotionally draining to see the sacrifices that are being asked of them without a clear mission.

I believe Bill Moyers Journal is enough reason to support PBS regularly. I have been grateful Moyers is back on the air, however in "What Next for Iraq" (9/28), I have to say that I was very dissapointed that Moyers stated "no candidate in the recent debate states they will get us out of Iraq before 2013".

I used to consider Bill a well-researched investigative journalist, but both Kucinich and Gravel said on Wednesday evening in the debate that they would take action quickly; Dennis Kucinich stated he would return our troops within 3 months of taking office. Bill, you are doing exactly what the Main Stream Media is doing: telling us who will get the nomination in the Democratic Party--when we have months before that decision will be made, not by the media but by the PEOPLE!) Mr. Moyers, tell the truth! Americans look to you to not mislead us.

As someone who sees that Dennis Kucinich is in tune with more and more mainstream Americans, I am devistated that you would come up with the very same message that the FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS networks are feeding us. I thought you did more research than them. Please retract this statement in your next program.

These are not my words, but what I believe:

Wars happen when intolerance reaches epic proportions, when the reasons for war become greater than the sanctity of peace. Wars happen when we fail to realize the value of being alive. Peace is not an issue of institutions. It is human beings who start wars.

Before a war begins outside, it starts inside. The war on the inside is more dangerous because it is a fire that may never be put out. Wars are being fought because peace is not being found within, because it is not being allowed to unfold.

I am ashamed to say that this is the first time I have seen your show, and much more embarassed to admit that the extent of the refugee crisis, arising from the U.S. (and others') war/occupation in Iraq, was unknown to me. It is not just the U.S. media that does not discuss it, not just U.S. candidates or government representatives that are not publicly discussing it. I am not a shut-in. I watch and read a fair amount of news and I work in an organization that is progressive, political and involved in civil liberties and human rights work. So my limited knowledge on the refugee situation is even the more shocking. But having seen this show now, I intend to find out more about what Canada is, is not doing (for better or worse). I look forward to watching your program again, and again.

How surprised - and touched - I was to walk into the room just as your program (9/28/07) was ending, but in time to see the bit on our soldiers. Yance Tell Gray is the son of family friends from the tiny, but wonderful, community of Ismay, Montana. I had just read a week ago of his death. Thanks for honoring this young soldier. (My granddaughter served in Iraq at the beginning of the war. I pray every day that she won't be called up again. Most people don't know how really tough it is over there!) Thanks for keeping us so very well informed!

No mater what anyone believes about the War in Iraq, the young men and women that are fighting it and giving their lives are heroes? Why, because they have answered the call of duty. It is not a soldier’s roll to question but to go with out question.

It is the roll of the civilians to hold our leaders accountable for starting Wars under false pretenses and hidden agendas. The men that fight them are never without honor.

God be with all the families who have paid the ultimate price and to the wounded who coontinue to live with the price they have paid. Thank You.

Post a comment

THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

THE MOYERS BLOG
A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

Your Comments

Podcasts

THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

Click to subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe with another reader

Get the vodcast (help)

For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ