It had that old time "Gospel Revival Meeting" feeling, with plenty of
country music tossed in the mix. Only this time, there wasn't any big tent
or a minister preaching. Happily, there was no collection taken up either.
The flag-waving, triumphalist-sounding get together was entitled, "Rally
for the Troops-Rally for America." It was sponsored by the "Citizens United
Foundation" and the "Young America's Foundation." The event was held on
Saturday, April 12, 2003. It started at noon and lasted for three long, hot
hours. The main message: Syria and Iran could be the next targets for the
Pentagon1s War Machine.
The first speaker was ex-US Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN). He had
recently quit the Senate to take up acting full time in Hollywood. He said
the U.S., "smashing of Iraq showed that we had the "fire power." And, we will
now prove to the rest of the world that we have the "staying power, too."
The gig was held on the Mall, in our nation's capital, with a crowd of
about 1,500 in attendance. Some guy named David Bossie, who was wearing a
suit, was in charge. He used to be an investigator for Republican Rep. Dan
Burton of Indiana's Government Reform House Committee. Bossie made an
emotional speech. He said the anti-war protesters, who were also in town
marching that day, were "anarchists." When he read a letter from President
Bush, the crowd went really wild, cheering and waving their flags. They
starting chanting in unison, "We love Bush!"
The organizers kept putting on videos. I thought for a moment, "Big
Brother," was going to show up on the screen and demand that everyone
support the Bush-Cheney Gang or else! Instead, it was that sad sack actor,
Ben Stein. He said he couldn't make the gala personally because he was in LA
on show business. However, he sent his "blessings" to the troops. (Thanks
Ben!) I couldn't figure out Stein's connection to the affair, unless he was
suppose to be some kind of comedic relief.
Then, things got stranger. Bossie read another letter of support for the
troops. It was from a Hollywood actor, too. This time it was the
"Terminator" himself-Arnold Schwarznegger! After Bossie read the message,
the crowd started screaming, "Arnold!" "Arnold!" "Arnold!" Then, some
buffoon standing behind me, with a deep bass voice, barked loudly in my
ears, "I'LL BE BACK!" It was a line from one of Schwarznegger's flicks. I
thought, my God, what are these rabid Bushites going to do next?
I soon found out. G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted felon of Watergate
infamy, and radio talk show host, took the podium. He said that after 9/11,
"There has been a great awakening in the country. We have Osmoked'
Afghanistan and then Iraq. Syria and Iran better watch out, we're coming.
This is a crusade and the enemy is militant Islam. If anyone gets out of
line, we will simply say to Israel, O Your hands are untied.' " The crowd
roared in approval at Liddy's crass remarks. He then panned Rep. Nancy
Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader, for daring to oppose the war with
Iraq. He also blasted the UN for being weak and ineffective. Liddy concluded
his threatening rant by stating, "If you want peace, prepare for war."
There was yet another video, entitled, "Let Freedom Ring." It showed
the monuments to our Founding Fathers. Then, suddenly, the scene shifted to
Israel, and lots of Israeli flags, with someone (not Ariel Sharon) seen
ringing a bell. I suppose the message, pure propaganda, was that Zionist
Israel is "connected" to any so-called U.S. led "campaigns for freedom,"
even though none of its storm troopers has ever fought with us in any of our
Linda Chavez, another hard line conservative commentator, then got into
the act. She claimed that the US-led war against Iraq was the "most moral
war ever fought in the history of warfare." She mocked recent comments by
U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA), a presidential candidate, by saying, "The
U.S. government is not a regime. It is a republic."
Chavez accused Kerry of being "not fit to serve this republic." She
continued, "Vietnam would be free today, if it weren't for the lack of
leadership [during that era] in the Congress and in the White House." Chavez
then railed at Syria and Iran. "If they think they can sponsor terrorism
against the U.S. with impunity, they better think again."
When the notorious Neo-Con and Chicken Hawk William Kristol walked up
onto the stage, the woman next to me cracked, "Oh, look how small he is!"
Kristol insisted the destruction of Iraq is not the end of America's duties
in the Middle East, but only the "end of the beginning. It will continue on
in order to make a safer world." He didnąt say anything about whether one of
the real goals might be to make his favorite country, Israel, "safer," while
it continued to crush the life out of the Palestinians. Kristol emphasized that the U.S. had proven that "it had what it takes." And, that the "war on terror" must go on. He added that President Bush had shown the liberal media, "They were all wrong about him."
Another talking head, Laura Ingraham, was on the Right Wing menu, too,
along with actor Ron Silver. He confessed he "used to be a liberal." By the
time National Review scribe Joel Mowbray had begun to read his boring
speech, in a flat monotone voice, the crowd was ready for a nap. Windbags
Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh were both no-shows.
Honoring the troops is one thing, as is waving the flag. Hyping more
imperial wars, that are not in our national interest, and for which the
troops and the American people haven't given their consent, is in deed
It's called warmongering!
© William Hughes 2002
William Hughes is the author of “Andrew Jackson vs. New World Order” (Authors Choice Press) and “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which are availabel online. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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