Against the Drumbeat of War: Wise and Cautious Reactions to 9-11

We do well to remember, with Randolph Borne, that “War is the Health of the State.” The public is driven, by panic and patriotic fervor, to go against its better judgment. We beat the drum to our urge for revenge, we forget our discussions of local matters and unite against the foreign enemy. Perhaps worst of all, we open ourselves to emotional manipulation, our jumpiness and alarm make us vulnerable to propaganda and manipulated information. The media drives us to a frenzy, the politicians easily trick the media into echoing their claims as facts, into supporting their views as common sense.

There are wiser heads among us, but few of them prevail. To our great loss.


Congresswoman Barbara Lee, testifying in Congress on Sept. 23, 2001.

An excerpt:

I am convinced that military action will not prevent further actions of terrorism against the United States. This is a very complicated matter. . . . Some of us must urge the use of restraint . . . so that this does not spiral out of control. . . . Let us not become the evil that we deplore.

Lee’s interview with the LA Times echoes the same sentiments.

Lee’s Op-Ed in the Oakland Post.


Amy Goodman, interviewed on Charlie Rose on March 19, 2003. (Transcript here)

An excerpt:

I think people in this country and around the world are against a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The media will sometimes show a picture of a target on Saddam Hussein’s forehead. I think it would be much more accurate to show a target on the forehead of a little Iraqi girl because that’s who dies in war.

The majority of people who die in war are innocent civilians. And there are people all over in this country in those protests holding signs that say things like “how many lives per gallon” and “no blood for oil.” They don’t think that little Iraqi girl should die for their gas take.

Another thing–I often refer to the Bush administration as the Oiligarchy- look at who we have there— we have George Bush who was an oil man. You have Dick Cheney the vice president former head of the largest oil services corporation in the world. You have Condoleezza Rice. She had a Chevron Oil tanker named off her the Condoleezza Rice. And they represent a force that people are beginning to very clearly understand.

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