Thomas L. Knapp

Tom Knapp is the publisher of Rational Review.


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Reflections on the coming conflict
by Thomas L. Knapp

I recall a night, in January of 1991, spent hunkered down behind an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon in a sandbagged bunker in Saudi Arabia, listening to a sound that was almost, but not quite, like the noise coming off of a nearby artillery range, and from a different direction.

At some point, my company's First Sergeant came by my post and hissed "it's started." I learned later that the thumps I'd been hearing were U.S. ships just off the coast, launching the waves of Tomahawk cruise missiles that inaugurated the "air war." Not long after, the air raid sirens started in, indicating that the Iraqis were replying in kind.

In the intervening twelve years, the U.S. has bombed Iraq periodically -- one might even say almost randomly -- and with impunity. Whenever a sitting U.S. president has needed a distraction from his failures or an opportunity to pump up his popularity, Saddam Hussein has been moved immediately to the forefront of world affairs.

It would be a mistake to refer to the hostilities that are about to commence as "the beginning of the war." They're just another, larger, battle in a continuing war.

It's time for that war to end. It's time to get serious about ending it. And I am, frankly, somewhat dismayed by the retreat toward "loyal oppositionism" on the part of some figures admired within the freedom movement.

"The time for debate will come again," writes Pat Buchanan, in a column for publication this very morning. "It is not now. Now, we should pray for our brave men and women, and commander in chief."

Pat's right in one respect: the time for debate has ended. It's time to choose sides, and it's time to act.

On the one hand, we have everything good about America: its heritage of freedom. Its Constitution, created to restrain government and preserve liberty. Its people, including the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have taken oaths to defend that Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

On the other hand, we have the War Party and its factotum, George W. Bush -- a group alluded to in the aforementioned oath by the clause "and domestic."

The two are mutually exclusive, and the conflict between them is irreconciliable.

One can support the troops or one can support George W. Bush. One cannot do both.

One can support America or one can support the War Party's imperial ambitions. One cannot do both.

To support the troops is to support using them in the capacity they volunteered for -- the defense of the United States. Shedding their blood in the deserts of Iraq, and making those who survive into murderers, in direct contravention of the Constitution they are sworn to defend, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called "supporting" them.

To support America is to resist and obstruct the War Party's efforts at every turn, by every means at our disposal. Each day that those efforts are allowed to proceed means death for more of the young Americans who have been co-opted as pawns in the War Party's murderous and criminal reach for empire.

I cannot choose your methods of resistance for you. Each individual has a capacity, and each individual has a limit. But resist you must, for loyalty to America means opposition -- real opposition -- to the usurpation America faces in its capital. Do what you can.

Some suggestions:

There will be protests. Join them. Take the streets from the War Party. If they won't relinquish control of the machine, shut the machine down.

The War Party lives on money. Deny it to them. When you go to work this morning, visit your payroll department, get a new W-4, and fill it out so that not one thin dime is deducted from your paycheck from here on. You may have to decide next April 15th whether to write the War Party a check or take your resistance further, but for now, let them pass the hat and beg.

The general strike may be effective in some areas. It will be more effective if you're part of it.

Direct action? Not for everyone. Good luck if you're willing and able. Don't become what you are fighting, though, and take care of yourself. Don't carry ID. If you're arrested, remember your right to remain silent, and exercise that right -- completely. Don't help the War Party's enforcers. Make them decide whether they'd rather keep 200 unidentified patriots, or 200 rapists, burglars and murderers in jail. Don't be surprised if they decide that the patriots are more dangerous. To the War Party, they are. You know it. They know it. If you become part of their roundup, help make sure that everyone else knows it by forcing the choice on them.

The War Party has made it clear that it wants war. Very well. Let's give it to them until they don't like it any more.