What can citizens do about it? While Obama was voted in on a wave of change, so far, he has not been living up to that promise.
We must do what we always do: organize. Demonstrate, call/write Congress, maintain our non-violent opposition. But this is a tremendously critical moment. If we are dragged into this war, the consequences will be unimaginable. We have no margin for error.
Is the public aware that we are on the brink of another abyss?
There are some who understand, especially those who suffered through Vietnam. Frank Rich has a good column in Sunday's NYTimes that I think will get some traction. But much of the nation is totally uninformed. Certainly you won't get it off the corporate media. There's a reason those in power don't like to have history taught in schools. For the new generation, Vietnam is as far distant as WWI.
But I think the nation's instincts are on target. There's plenty of opposition to this war. Obama will have an instant negative reaction to going in. It's up to us to make that reaction as powerful and effective as possible. NOW!!
You slipped a tantalizing factoid in your article: "In the 1980s I debated [Army General] Westmoreland on two college campuses." I couldn't let it pass. How did that come about and what was it like?
It's a great article. Your last paragraph could have been written now: "So maybe what the General really epitomized was why the futility and psychosis seem even deeper and uglier this time around, when some have learned nothing, and history repeats itself as both tragedy and farce."
But you didn't quite answer this question to my satisfaction yet: What were you doing in the '80s? How did you come to be the one who debated Westmoreland?In the early 1970s I was incredibly fortunate enough to be living on a commune in western Massachusetts. The local utility announced their plans to build a nuclear plant four miles from our house, where we were dedicated to organic gardening. I helped coin the phrase "No Nukes" and have been campaigning on the issue ever since. So when my lecture agency--Great Talent Network--got the word that Westmoreland was on the circuit, they chose me to debate him.
Cool! How long did you live on this commune, how did you get there, and is it still going?
We founded Montague Farm in August, 1968. It grew out of our anti-war Liberation News Service. [See Ray Mungo's Famous Long Ago and Steve Diamond's What the Trees Said.] An incredible place. I lived there until the mid 1980s when I came back to Ohio to be with my parents, who both passed away in 1994. A Glimpse of the Big Light is my memorial to these two wonderful people.
It's so great that the farm still exists and is functioning. And that you have gone back with your own kids. What did they think of it, and of what you were doing so long ago?
My kids have all been back with me to the farm and to western Massachusetts, where we made so many great things start to happen. They like it a lot. We have wonderful friends and family still there.
*How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & is Rigging 2008 by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, CICJ (2005).
What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman. The New Press (NY: 2006).
Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?
Essential Documents, Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman. CICJ (2005).
Part one of my interview with Harvey
Part three of my interview with Harvey