I attended a house party in Long Island this weekend.
Long Island is New York City’s suburban outpost, home to Amy Fisher, Billy Joel and the genius of the drive-thru grocery store.
The party was thrown by old friends of mine; NYC indie rock scenesters turned wholesome suburbanites.
Coming to the party, I expected to see punk rockers getting drunk, couples making out in the stairway, people passing out over the keg and bottle rockets being launched off the roof–typical suburban fun.
Instead, I found a bunch of firefighters, construction workers and cashiers in their late 20s who really liked Budweiser.
After taking an admirable liking to a two-hour set filled with bands like The Faint and Radio 4, we got to the inevitable meet n’ greet.
A few of us started talking, and I quickly realized something – not one of these people supported a war with Iraq, and most of them were Republicans.
They supported Bush, they supported the war on terrorism, they were mostly anti-abortion and pro-Catholic and they all thought war with Iraq was a bad idea.
Is it possible that these guys and girls picked up on something that our President has not?
For one, the reason for war keeps changing.
The problem was that Iraq was not letting in United Nations weapons inspectors.
When Iraq capitulated and said it would allow unconditional inspections, the United States changed its tune.
Now we have a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, where the United States is within its rights in attacking any country that may be a threat to its interests.
Basically this means that the United States can attack any country it wants, for whatever reason it wants.
Another complaint was that Bush’s push for war is making us look bad.
The only nation that has given its support is England. France, Germany, Japan, Russia and Australia have all criticized it.
German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder has called it a “war of aggression” and Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said, “I don’t want it … None of us do.” Those were two of the kinder criticisms.
In a world with only one superpower, building coalitions with smaller nations is the only way for the United States to keep face and avoid looking like a colonial overlord.
Instead, Bush has been metaphorically pissing in the world’s face as he pursues war with Iraq. Strangely enough, most countries don’t seem to like that.
Furthermore, Iraq has been pretty quiet lately — no terrorist attacks, no American base bombings, nothing.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein hasn’t tried re-invading Kuwait.
He and his sidekicks have been living like kings, while the people of Iraq are suffering under U.N. trade embargoes.
Hussein is just one exceedingly strange dictator lording over his own people; the same thing the United States tolerates in North Korea, Libya, Ukraine, and a host of other countries.
Fortunately for them, those countries don’t have much oil, which makes invading them a lot less appealing to the United States.
That is what it all comes down to – sweet, precious oil.
That’s all this war is about, no more, no less.
The Saudis are going to fall to religious fanatics in a few years, which the Bush administration knows, so the United States needs a source for cheap oil and Iraq is the place.
This is not a war for Iraqi democracy. It’s not about national liberation for the Kurds.
It’s not even about Al-Qaeda.
It’s about oil and an easy military victory for Bush. Most Americans have figured that out for themselves.
According to an USA Today poll, 43 percent of Americans are against war with Iraq.
If nearly half the country opposes this war, should we really be fighting?
Neal Ungerleider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org