Published on Tuesday, October 7, 2003 by the Cape Cod Times
Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner?
by Sean Gonsalves
In a recent column about Democratic presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wes Clark, I quoted Col. David Hackworth, who referred to Clark as the "Ultimate Perfumed Prince."
Hackworth has apparently had a change of mind and has retracted his previous perfumed perceptions. I owe that to Hackworth, Clark and the readers of this column.
What convinced me to write about Clark at all was when I heard Democrats start referring to him as some kind of anti-war candidate. And then I saw an endorsement for his candidacy from Michael Moore, whom I consider to be a man of integrity. Did Moore - an outspoken critic of Bush's war against Iraq - fall for Clark "the anti-war candidate," which is to say the pro-peace candidate?
Hackworth's reevaluation aside, I'll repeat what I wrote in that Clark column. During the war in Kosovo, Clark, as the supreme allied commander, defended the NATO bombing of a Belgrade TV station in which 20 journalists were killed. Several Clark supporters have written me, arguing that TV station's are "legitimate" targets in war.
Wow. You mean to tell me that if the New York Times or CNN headquarters got hit by the enemy we wouldn't condemn it as an act of terrorism; a war crime resulting in the killing of innocent civilians? The point I'm trying to make: If you're going to be against terrorism and for peace, you have to be against all terrorism - theirs and ours.
No, I'm not suggesting we "do-nothing" in response to terrorism, which is what those ignorant of nonviolent theory and practice are always blowing hot air about. And I'm also not suggesting that Ghandism is the overnight answer to war.
But how can any sane person argue that it's not a step in the right direction? And who can dispute with Martin Luther King's contingent prophecy: our global choice is nonviolence or nonexistence?
What candidate is heading in the alternative-to-war direction? Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. (No, I don't work for his campaign, though I did meet him at a gathering in Oberlin, Ohio, two years ago.)
Kucinich recently submitted a bill, H.R. 2459 (see http://www.house.gov/kucinich/action/ peace.htm) to establish a Department of Peace - a measure initiated by an old war vet named O'Kelly McCluskey and backed by the National Veterans for Peace. But you probably didn't know that because the "liberal" media is apparently allergic to the Kucinich campaign.
At an anti-war rally in California two weeks ago, Kucinich warned against sinking "further into the quicksand of a U.S.-occupied Iraq" and "demand 'U.N. in, U.S. out!' There must be no privatization of the oil that belongs to the Iraqi people.
"This unjustified war has already cost thousands of Iraqi and American lives. U.S. soldiers are continuing to be killed and wounded. More Americans have died in Iraq since the president declared the mission accomplished than prior to that point.
"Do not be intimidated!...Call your Congress members to tell them to vote against another $87 billion for this misadventure."
Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows member, Adele Welty, whose son Timmy was one of the many New York City firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attacks, has this to say.
"I support Congressman Dennis Kucinich's bill, which would roll back certain sections of the Patriot Act that I believe pose a serious threat to the exercise of our constitutional rights - particularly our right to due process and our right to petition the government in cases where we believe the government's actions are contrary to the best interests of the American people... . I do not want my son's death used again for the purpose of concentrating power in the hands of the administration."
Tonight at 7, Kucinich will join Ralph Nader and grass-roots activists at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church on M Street in Washington, D.C. It's a rally to "promote civic engagement and expanded democracy...address the growing needs in D.C. for affordable housing, health care facilities, and well maintained libraries."
All 10 presidential candidates and the "liberal" media have been invited. But guess who won't be coming to dinner?
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and a syndicated columnist. His column runs on Tuesdays. Call him at 508-775-1200, ext. 719, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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