Where Do We Go From Here?

The march on Kuwait turned into something akin to a Roman triumph, complete with beaming general, rolling engines of war and lines of bedraggled prisoners ... America was seen as a giant again -- its military might beyond compare, its diplomacy sure-handed, its self-confidence restored ... Fashionable notions like "American decline" were hastily cast aside, replaced by older phrases like "world policeman" and "pax Americana."

--NEWSWEEK (March 11)

The Persian Gulf war was a slaughter. While the United States continues to avoid the issue of Iraqi casualties and Saddam Hussein's regime seeks to cover up the extent of its horrific losses, Saudi and European figures now put the number at 100,000 people killed in six weeks. Standard estimates in modern warfare of two to three people injured for every death expand the number killed or injured to upward of one third of a million, suggested by one British expert in a March 12 National Public Radio interview -- the most intensive toll since World War II.

Not only was it a slaughter of Iraqis, it was also a slaughter of something else: visions of how the world could function that might be different from the American "new world order." The vanquishing of competing visions has become as essential to the rule of Pax Americana as the vanquishing of Iraq's dictator and overrated army.

A homemade video smuggled out of Iraq shows the gruesome pictures of the innocents of all ages, but especially women, children, and elderly people, who became the "collateral damage" of our Nintendo war where no victims appear on the screens. A few reporters tell us of the "highway of death" leading north out of Kuwait City where U.S. war planes cut off retreating Iraqi soldiers, held them in place, and then rained death on them.

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