This is a big weekend for anti-war activists.
As Saddam gives bloviating speeches about our troops facing suicide at the gates of Iraq, thousands will gather across this great land of ours, getting naked for peace, waving cardboard signs and chanting 30 year old slogans.
They want liberation without war. I ask them, how do you suppose we do that? Walk up to the palace and say "come out with your hands up?" It should be apprarent from Saddam's speech yesterday that he will not go down without a fight. I think exile is out of the question, as is any peaceful means of negotiation.
And what of those empty warheads from yesterday? They were empty, you say. Yes, they were. But I'll bet you your "war is not the answer" shirt that they weren't going to be empty for long.
So as the anti-war protesters stand out there this weekend, talking about the oooiilll and making impassioned pleas to solve everything over a few drinks with Saddam, Christopher Hitchens would like them to think about a few things:
Have you, or your friends, recently employed the slogan "No War for Oil"? If so, did you listen to what you were saying? Do you mean that oil isn't worth fighting for, or that oil resources aren't worth protecting? Do you recall that Saddam Hussein ignited the oilfields of Kuwait when he was in retreat, and flooded the local waterways with fire and pollution? (Should I patronize the potluckistas, and ask them to look up the pictures of poisoned birds and marine animals from that year?) Are you indifferent to the possibility that such a man might be able to irradiate the oilfields next time? OF COURSE it's about oil, stupid.
And on he goes. If you are one of those "potluck peacenicks" you should really read the essay. It's an eye opener. But I won't hold my breath. Those of you that are in line to parade around in your birthday suit or quote Noam Chomsky this weekend are never the kind to look at all sides of an issue. Nor are you ever the kind to think there's another view besides yours.
Of course in this country, unlike Iraq, you have the right to gather in large groups and chant and protest and call your own government all the silly names you like.
While you are waving your signs and giving the finger to the cops, someone in Iraq is being tortured for speaking out.
While you are parading around naked because you want to be "vulnerable for peace," a woman is being stoned because her head wasn't covered properly.
While you are indoctrinating your children into the anti-war movement, Iraqi children are starving to death in dank prisons because their parents were deemed a threat to Saddam's regime.
Think about that. What exactly are you opposing? What do you think can be accomplished in Iraq without military action? Do you think the children in those prisons are thanking you for telling the U.S. to stay away from their country? Do you think the brilliant women who are scrubbing floors instead of finding cures for diseases thank you for keeping the troops at bay? Do you think the men who are being dipped in vats of acid for opposing Saddam's views thank you for passing anti-war resolutions?
When you're having your anti-capitalist program this weekend, think about how much money the anti-war movement spends on ads.
When you are off to Iraq to become a human shield, think of who exactly you are defending and how you are spitting in the faces of the neighbors, family members and citizens of this country who defend your right to public displays of anti-Americanisms.
Enjoy your weekend. I hope it rains.