Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2002 / 11 Teves, 5763

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The pre-emptive war goes Hollywood

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Now we see the downside to the pre-emptive war strategy: the anti-pre-emptive-war movement. But that downside is more than just the obvious reasons. While the antis may well be spearheaded by the likes of the Workers World Party -- a cadre of bona fide communists with "a fancy for North Korea's Kim Jong-Il," as the leftist weekly, The Nation, put it -- that's hardly the worst of it. So what if these retro-revolutionaries oppose everything from U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq to private property everywhere? WWP members don't go one-on-one with Wolf Blitzer. They don't draw flash-popping paparazzi. And no one reads their manifestos, except, let's hope, the FBI.

In other words, the very worst thing about the strategy of pre-emptive war as articulated by the Bush administration is the anti-pre-emptive-war movement, as articulated (barely) by Hollywood. This week, 100 Hollywood celebrities put their spangled heads together to write a letter to President Bush about his Iraq policy. Rather than mail their missive to the White House, though, the celebs held a press conference. And why not? Actors have ideas, too, as anti-war Hollywood's Janeane Garofalo reminded us in a subsequent interview: "Just because somebody's an actor doesn't make them an unimportant person. And, you know, actors are just a small part of people. It's just irrelevant what people do for a living as pertains to this." Quite. More to the point is the reality of the Celebrity Age. As former "M*A*S*H" actor Mike Farrell put it to CNN, "The media tends to pay attention to our community."

And so they do. The unveiling (opening?) of the letter turned out to be an occasion: the world premiere of Artists United to Win Without War, or AUWWW (that's an acronym, not a yawn). According to The Nation, this self-described "mainstream" anti-war group represents "an attempt to recast and reshape the anti-war opposition." How you recast or reshape your Mike Farrells, your Susan Sarandons, and, not least, your Barbra Streisands remains to be seen. Sure, AUWWW wrote that Saddam Hussein shouldn't have weapons of mass destruction after all, but neither, it said, should George W. Bush contemplate disarming him by force -- the main point -- lest terrorism, human suffering, anti-Americanism, economic misery, a loss in America's "moral standing," and maybe even low Nielsen ratings come to pass.

No word on the potential consequences of a nuclear-enhanced Saddam Hussein. That may explain why AUWWW can't comprehend why Bush is contemplating military action against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. This very question is pulling La-La-landers in over their carefully coifed, if sometimes grizzled, heads. Erstwhile "Lou Grant" star Ed Asner, for example, has answered it by explaining that Bush administration officials "have keyed and geared the war machine ... (to the point) that they've got to unload it someplace," he told United Press International. "Iraq is the likeliest place."

Translation: "It (meaning the Pentagon) is alive! The Pentagon has to go to war -- or else!" This cartoonish scenario may well be next summer's blockbuster, but as geopolitical strategy the approach lacks a little dimension. Call the thinking "Asnerian." This is a guy, after all, who, according to newsman Sam Donaldson, admitted that he decided convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal was innocent -- not after examining court transcripts and other evidence, but because pal Mike Farrell told him so.

Mr. Farrell is another one who tends to see the world in made-for-television terms. To him, American pressure on Iraq comes down to a matter of personal pride -- the president's. "George Bush simply cannot turn back without losing face," he says as though discussing character motivation in front of an acting class. "This is of great concern. This is a nation that ought not be concerned about its leader losing face." In the world according to Farrell, personal vanity is driving a foreign policy that is being supported, as poll numbers indicate, by Americans ("sheep," Ed Asner says) worried the president might suffer a blow to his pride.

"I don't know if we'll ever get the whole truth from this administration -- about anything," Martin Sheen said when asked why the president might consider war in Iraq. When pressed, the "television president" waxed freshman-year-Freudian: "I think he'd like to hand his father Saddam Hussein's head and win his approval for what happened after the 1991 Gulf War." No doubt the same goes for Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and anyone else who supports the president's Iraq policy -- all to "win approval" from Bush's father.

Couldn't these Hollywood types go and sell a few pre-emptive war bonds, or maybe embark on a pre-emptive USO tour? Or maybe just plop down under a Los Angeles palm and read Vanity Fair? Make it this month's issue with the story about CIA reports of Iraqi-Al Qaeda cooperation going back 10 years.

They might learn something.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

12/09/02: Protest Augusta? Why not Sudan?
11/25/02: Something to contemplate this Ramadan
11/08/02: Does Eminem now fit in?
11/04/02: No time for gloating
11/04/02: What's in a name when the name is Muhammad?
10/28/02: Jihad as a First Amendment right
10/21/02: When speaking out isn't allowed
10/14/02: Terrorism in Maryland and abroad
09/30/02: So long urgency, hello indulgence
09/24/02: That one, sturdy, missing word
09/17/02: Fingerprinting, finally
09/09/02: When 'healing' overshadows reality
09/04/02: Tales from the Techno Valley and Forest
08/16/02: Elvis shall rise again
08/14/02: War with Iraq won't harm war on terror
08/06/02: Clinton snaps over Somalia
08/01/02: 9-11 anniversary shouldn't come with apology
07/27/02: An unstable common ground
07/25/02: Hillary fights hard for soft money
07/12/02: Goretheus unbound
07/10/02: Rosie takes a shine to Republicans
07/08/02: Are you still shocked, Sami?
07/02/02: Can Britney win hearts of the Middle East?
06/28/02: A war on terror or Islamists?
06/25/02: Blame the murderer, and the messenger
06/21/02: Up front and personal with Atta
06/18/02: Terrorism at the United Nations
06/11/02: Who's policing the INS?
06/07/02: Spa Gitmo
06/04/02: Can rock gods save the queen?
05/31/02: Hillary's war
05/29/02: Have you forgotten we're at war?
05/24/02: An antiquated luxury of the past
05/21/02: From terrorists to tourists
05/19/02: Hate U.
05/07/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
05/03/02: Pioneering television
05/01/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
04/29/02: It's the misconduct, stupid
04/24/02: Medal of diss-honor
04/17/02: Holy sanctuary or terrorist shield?
04/12/02: Egyptian clerics solicit martyrs for murder
04/09/02: Defining terrorism down
04/05/02: The Wilder life
04/02/02: Acting, equality and the Academy
03/31/02: Speeding to conclusions
03/25/02: Hard to remove blood (libel) stains
03/21/02: The tale of Nixon's tapes --- again
03/19/02: The Big Lie lives on
03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West