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Sunday, March 30, 2003

Empty Boomers on the March.

The Abused
Name of Peace.

Striking a Pose on the Boulevard.

from the Planet X Think Tank
at Bald Mountain near Rachel, Nevada

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Here appears Round Two of CornDancer's forum on the war in Iraq. It begins with an essay by the scribe of the Planet X Think Tank, who speaks for no one in the collective beyond self. Other contributors are Yuki Hayata, Jens Hampe, Jennifer McGee, Joseph Dempsey, Csertõi Veronika, Ben Clubbs, Lynn Ramage Schaefer, and DeWayne Carroll Davis.

Eleven days done and the USA homefront races toward The Dissolution. The hot war to end a spent age has begun.

In stark and elemental contrast to the stunned scene at home, the bond between the courageous men and women who press forward in battle is strengthening, not dissolving into doubt or hesitation. Determined to achieve victory, the citizens in uniform are committed, unified, and resolute. They project a force of conquest and liberation beyond the continental boundaries of the nation. They fight for their lives.

Behind them, however, the populous they represent slips deeper into the harsh and unalterable state of fragmentation.

Opposed to the Dissenters.

The time arrives to draw distinctions, to scratch lines in the sands of discourse. For the first time in a life of radicalism, I stand opposed to dissent, opposed to the stream of protest that now flows against the foundations of a nation at war.

I am weary of a certain class of the dissenter, easily defined under the name of Boomers: USA citizens aged between forty-five and sixty, whose parents were reared in the Great Depression, and who grew to maturity in the heady, prosperous momentum of victory in World War II. Somewhere along the pampered path of their journey to adulthood, these children of the USA's greatest generation lost the will to pay for their freedoms, lost the will to subject their private inclinations to the greater good of the community.

These are the Boomers, my peer group, who shall be remembered by history as the worst of generations for our multitude of national failures: our unquenchable thirst for consumption, our spiritual emptiness and intellectual dishonesty, and our rampant greed for full possession of the treasures of the planet.

Tonight I address the insipid dissidents among us, the spoiled and arrogant weekend pacifists, who delude themselves into thinking their public protests in the abused name of peace are acts of patriotism.

I have no intellectual mercy for the Boomers in dissent, no respect for their casual embrace of an idea that costs them nothing. They demand the right to gather in protest. They have it. They call themselves patriots. They lie.

Protest as Patriotism? Not!

In their pathetic call to be seen as patriots, the Boomers among the antiwar marchers display one of the defining fallacies of their generation: their craving for full approval of their every act. It's not enough for them to exercise the right to speak freely without fear of imprisonment or death, not enough to be protected by the government they denounce. They want to be praised for their opposition in the same terms reserved for the men and women who go into harm's way in service of their country and its leadership.

A patriot by definition loves, supports, and defends one's country. A dissident dabbling in antiwar activities just doesn't qualify.

The Boomers on the march protest not against war, which they neither understand nor have the courage or fortitude to wage. They stand not for peace because they lack direct context. Raised in affluence in a protected place of manic leisure and incessant self indulgence, they've not experienced peace's evil double on the soil of their homeland. Their credentials are suspect.

The Dissolute Guilt
of a Corrupt Liberalism.

Instead, they protest against the empty suit of self, which they wear with private disgust. Their nascent movement embodies the dissolute guilt of a corrupt and entrenched liberalism, which has fallen beyond redemption into hatred of the man and woman behind the mask, their mask, the veil to obscure civic shallowness. Not intimate with peace, they carry their inner bitterness into the easy streets of fragmented communities, which they have destroyed through their lust for personal fulfillment and their constricted embrace of narrowing special interests.

Self, self, self. It's the unspoken mantra of the Boomers in dissent. They think the world should lay down and honor them. They lack the courage to honor others.

You are the voice of peace, you say. Stand back. We shall protect you. You say you don't need our protection. Step forward into the breech and cringe as you die.

I am forced by circumstance to mingle among the worst of them. Some are second-rate intellectuals and vapid social Christians, others new age dreamers and self-proclaimed spiritual masters. They are so deeply self-absorbed they can barely rouse themselves to acknowledge the presence of their fellow human beings in the daily passage through life. You cannot decipher their faith by the love they show because they show none.

Radicalism Loses Its Anchor.

In my youth, to spite my role as warrior, I coddled an empathy for the peaceniks and dancing hippies of the antiwar movement. Radicalism seemed to have an anchor then, though in retrospect I've forgotten its precise location. Perhaps it was buoyed by the inequity of the draft of young men who were forced into military service, especially into combat units. Perhaps, but the erosion of experience swept the buoy away.

The Vietnamese fought us as invaders and killed us by the tens of thousands, but they killed us on their own soil. The Arabs of militant Islam in the name of God attacked New York City and Washington, killing thousands of innocents on our home turf and pledging to kill millions more. I refuse to be their Great Satan.

The Boomers at march against the war are constitutionally unable to grasp the coldest of realities, that warfare in the defense of freedom and liberty is a necessary fact of life and death on a planet devoted to conquest and tribal identity. They cannot bear to admit that the enemy is real and dangerous and committed to our destruction — and that to survive as a free people, we must stand behind our warriors and be equally dangerous and equally committed to the destruction of our enemies.

In my maturity, to honor my role as warrior, however useless that role may be in light of my age and the demands of the modern battlefield, I despise the voice of dissent in its present manifestation in the USA.

Places where the Sap Still Flows.

My peers who detach their dulled emotions from the presence of thine enemies and rail against the present battle are the worst of psychic thieves. The young ones who march alongside these pale Boomers I can tolerate and forgive because they are learning their way, and because they carry a greater burden for the future. They know things I cannot know in the places where the sap still flows. Their peers are burdened with the greater spilling of blood on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their credentials are being validated.

Even then, these youngers march against corporate capitalism as much as against armed combat by nations. The antiwar scene in these early hours is just another activity for the social minded among these children of Gen X. Stuffed in their wallets and pockets and backpacks on the streets of protest are credit cards, calling cards, cell phones, palm pilots, compact disk players, and ATM receipts — symbols of transnational capitalism. The youngers newly on the march can't quite bring themselves to the pain of full commitment.

The olders, however, sing a tired old folk song and spout a worn-out chant and move through the streets in a haze of gathering personal gloom. Perpetual fear, not compassion or social responsibility, motivates their leap from the easy chair into Saturday's boulevard demonstration or Thursday's rally to break the campus tedium. They are pretending again, striking a pose as the moral pillar when in truth they are the pillars of salt. They turn their head to look back into the nothingness.

Hold Hands and Love Each Other.

Yukiko 'Yuki' Hayata
is a creative and artistic symphonic orchestra musician, a disciplined and dedicated student, and Graduate Assistant in Bands at the University of Central Arkansas. Yuki is a citizen of Japan.

War is just wasting our time because it kills all innocent people and brings fear and sadness. Why can't we hold hands and love each other? Why can't we solve all problems by peaceful talk? I'm so concerned about children in Iraq. I hope all of them will be okay.

Old Europe Has a New Idea,
Rejects the Call from Uncle Sam.

Jens Hampe,
a disciple of the rock group U2 and an experienced world traveller, is a practicing attorney specializing in international law. As an exchange student in the 1980s, he attended a high school in the USA for two semesters. A resident of Braunschweig, he is a citizen of Germany.

Coming from the "old Europe," as it has been called by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, I am not in favor of this war.

Of course Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator and the world would be better and nicer if he wouldn't exist any longer, or at least not rule over Baghdad. But to me, the question is: What will be the consequences of this war?

International law for sure has been broken. The United Nations, which was founded by the U.S. as a response to the lessons of the Second World War, was ignored for just one reason: The world was not on the side of the U.S. It seems as if there is only one good world for the U.S., the one that follows the U.S. policies wherever they will lead. Bush once said that those who are not in favor of the U.S. are against the U.S.

Is it that simple?

If so, then I am glad to be from the "old Europe," a Europe that has rejected the call from Uncle Sam. But far more I have a great deal of respect for those "small countries" on the U.N. Security Council that have rejected the U.S., knowing that the price they will be paying is much higher than Europe's or Germany's. I praise the courage of such nations as Mexico, Pakistan, Angola, and Cameroon.

If countries that are much more dependent on good relations with the U.S. stand against the legitimization of the war, what does it tells us?

The cause of the war is not just — and it is not just because no one really knows for what reasons the war is being fought. Is it for a regime change, for oil, or against weapons of mass destruction?

The old Europe thinks that is not the reason. The war on terrorism cannot be won easily. Bin Laden is alive and free, so there is a desire for a victory to show the world, the desire to show that the U.S. is strong and that its military can reach every nation in the world. The world shall see the power of the U.S. and step aside.

But the war will plant a devilish seed in the world. If the military of the U.S. cannot be defeated, the enemy will fight dirty, and there will be anger and hate and even more terrorism than before. There will also be fewer friends of the U.S. in the world if they keep on treating their "allies" like they do.

The Bush administration is a mixture of the ruling military industrial complex and the ruling oil industry of the U.S. Their policy is rooted in the Cold War times. Deterrence seems to be the real goal of this war. If the U.S. shows the world that they are ready for the sacrifice of their own soldiers in the streets of Basra and Baghdad, then anyone will know that you can't defeat the U.S. — and no one will try.

It worked in the Cold War, but it won´t work today!

If it seems that Christianity fights another Crusade against the Islamic world, the Western world will pay a high price for this war. The religious attitude of this President frightens Europe. We might be agnostic in Old Europe, but we still have beliefs. One of Old Europe's cherished beliefs is that there is no black and white in politics and international relations. Another is that wars fought in God's name are always blasphemy.

The Rightful and Just Will of God.

Jennifer McGee
is a scientist, musician, and writer with deep religious convictions and an abiding commitment to family. She is a student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a citizen of the USA.

I really don't know exactly what's going on over there, so far away. I'm no politician. I'm no military expert. I'm no history buff. I am a college student struggling to stay on top of homework assignments and deadlines. I don't turn on the TV, and I rarely glance at a newspaper.

What are the motivations? What do we hope to gain? Who are the people involved? Must there be spilling of blood, guilty or innocent? I honestly don't know. I don't think it's bad that I can't follow events in detail and understand what everything means. I do think it would be bad for me to form an uninformed opinion.

I'm not pro-war, nor am I anti-war. I am content and eager to do the only thing I can do, the only thing I have ever been asked to do, and the only thing that will ever make any difference — I will pray for my God to have His rightful and just will done in the situation, knowing that all events and all people rest safely in His hands.

"... I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust..." ~ Psalm 91

Gratitude and Respect
for Those Who Bear Arms.

Major Joseph Dempsey
is an art director, writer, photographer, and raconteur who joined the human race a few years before the outbreak of World War II. He is full of grace and humor, loyalty and honor. He is a former paratrooper in the United States Army and a citizen of the USA.

I was lingering on the ragged edge of waxing eloquent on points to ponder when forming an opinion on the war. Then a friend E-mailed me excerpts from an article by Dennis Miller. I find it difficult to state my opinion any differently than Miller's, since I am in total agreement with his poignant sentiments, to wit (OPEN QUOTES):

"1) Between President Bush and Saddam Hussein... Hussein is the bad guy.

"2) If you have faith in the United Nations to do the right thing, keep this in mind: They have Libya heading the Human Rights Committee and Iraq heading the Disarmament Committee. Do your own math here.

"3) If you use Google search and type in 'French military victories,' your reply will be: 'Did you mean French military defeats?'

"4) If your only anti-war slogan is 'no war for oil,' sue your school district for allowing you to slip through the cracks and robbing you of the education you deserve.

"5) Saddam and Bin Laden will not seek United Nations approval before they try to kill us.

"6) Despite common belief, Martin Sheen is not the president. He only plays one on TV.

"7) Even if you are anti-war, you are still an 'infidel' and Bin Laden wants you dead, too.

"8) If you believe in a 'vast right-wing conspiracy,' but not in the danger that Hussein poses, quit hanging out with the Dell Computer Dude.

"9) We are trying to liberate them. He is trying to kill us.

"10) Whether you are for military action or against it, our young men and women overseas are fighting for us to defend our right to speak out. We all need to support them without reservation." (CLOSE QUOTES)

Dempsey's Diatribe:

1) Reporters who don't know the difference between a division-level flanking movement and platoon level enfilade fire from a machine gun, who ask dumb passive-aggressive questions while trying to sharpshoot career professional soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors, should be told to pack their bags and do their homework before opening their mouths and demonstrating their gross ignorance.

2) Their homework should include six weeks of basic training or boot-camp.

3)Before exercising their constitutional right to do what they do, protesters should sign a statement acknowledging the fact that they understand their constitutional right to do what they do was paid for by sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends who now occupy graves they entered before their natural deaths in defense of the principles upon which these rights were forged.

4) In war people die. The object is that more of their people die than ours.

5) Few people like war. Especially those who have participated in it. Some people accept the bearing of arms as a profession. Those of us who have not done that should be grateful for those who did and do.

6) Saddam Hussein sucks. So does Osama. They are our enemies. They want to kill us. What should we do?

Oil Is at the Center of the War.

Csertõi "Vera" Veronika
attends university in Budapest, Hungary. A fiery young woman with an internationalist's viewpoint, she has twice visited the USA. She is a citizen of Hungary.

So, it is very difficult to think about the war. Mainly there are three teams of opinion here in Budapest.

One absolutely doesn't know much about the war. They say it is far away and none of our business.

The other two teams say Saddam has to be stopped, but they disagree on the question of which way to stop him — by military action or diplomacy.

The general opinion about Bush is that he is an unintelligent, stupid, and suggestible president. Almost every day I get negative E-mails about him.

My study of economics, foreign trade, and international capitalism leads me to believe that oil is at the center of the war. Of course Saddam is very dangerous, and Iraq has weapons of poison gas. But I thought he could have been stopped by another way.

I feel very sorry about the innocent, harmless people there.

A Great Young Fighter.

Bennett Clubbs,
author of CornDancer's Darbo Brief, scours the newspapers and magazines of the planet to find news stories, features, and commentary to share with visitors to his universe of cyberlinks. He is a veteran of the United States Navy and a retired railroad man with the old Cotton Belt line. He is a citizen of the USA.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jamie Villafane, 31, was injured in a firefight with Iraqi troops dressed in civilian clothes. He later captured the attackers. This was his first combat experience. He has serious arm injuries. At a news conference at the U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, he made this remark: "We figured out that getting shot at really wasn't that bad. It was just the getting shot part that sucked."

Villafane and the others injured in this attack will be headed home soon.

We are so fortunate to have people like Villafane serving in our Armed Forces.

A Prayer for All of Them.

Lynn Ramage Schaefer,
a former journalist, served her country as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, Africa. She teaches English as a Second Language at the University of Central Arkansas. She is a citizen of the USA.

Did you watch the Oscars last night (March 23)? I completely agree with Michael Moore, and I was glad he said what he said. Thank God for freedom of speech.

I hoped that we wouldn't have a war, and I had (and still have) a lot of fears about it turning into something more widespread. Now that we're in the midst of it, I just hope it's over soon with as few deaths as possible — Iraqi, American, Kurdish, Kuwaiti, British, etc.

Yesterday our priest reminded us that everyone involved in this war is a human being and no matter what we believe, we have to remember that. I pray for all of them.

I think the best result that could come from this war would be the overwhelming defeat of George W. Bush in November 2004.

The Regrets and Guilt
Come Only Later.

DeWayne Carroll Davis
is an adventurer, raconteur, and world traveler, who settled in the lonely desert town of Rachel, Nevada, a few years ago. His hacienda is not too far distant from the Planet X compound. A former United States Marine and U.S. Air Force navigator, Mr. Davis is a few moons shy of turning seventy. He is a citizen of the USA.

Regarding the first collection of CornDancer commentaries: What a fine piece of work. What a variety of viewpoints, from so many thoughtful people. I am truly honored that you gave me the opportunity to participate. I have a mild regret that I didn't write more clearly on such an important subject.

My viewpoint might come across as conspiratorial; yet, that is the way I've learned to view world history. Whatever else, I think you will agree that new history is being written, and that we as a nation are no longer apologizing for our place and duty in this evolving modern world.

Sure, most of this history will be written in favor of the new world powers — that's the natural tendency. Yet, there will be some who insist on being more objective and more truthful. Our President, at least, put the United Nations back to doing something useful: emergency food and water rations to innocents. I hope he will get the UN out of our National Parks, too.

I know the U.S. Marine Corps viewpoint: Ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. Or the old Strategic Air Command's self-protective viewpoint for the duration of the mission: "Hey down there, I'd rather be where I am, doing what I'm doing, than where you unfortunate collaterals are, doing what you're doing. (God be with you.) Tough-titty, but War is War!"

The regrets and guilt come only later, when the airmen try to sleep on long winter nights ... and in the daytime, seeing their own children playing in safety and security, thinking: "Better their kids than mine." Or trying not to think at all.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some submissions were edited to conform to minor style rules established for the website by CornDancer's benign overseers and atavistic patrons. The edits in no way altered the tone, style, message, content, or spirit of the contributions.

We plan to publish a third set of commentaries soon -- that is, if the band of Corn Dancers continues to participate. Who knows?

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