Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Madonna Expresses Herself On Iraq and War

Long before President Bush made clear his determination to oust Saddam Hussein, the Hollywood glitterati --who tend to be liberal Democrats-- have been on the anti-Bush bandwagon. Their long-held antipathy for Dubya is now dressed up as "concern" for "peace" and "the Iraqi people."

Never mind that the Iraqi people have known no peace under Saddam during his entire 25-year regime. He started the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980's, which dragged on for years at the cost of millions of Iraqi lives. Never mind that he has imprisoned, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis who've expressed the least degree of disagreement with him, and has waged war on minority ethnic groups such as the Kurds. And never mind that he has used his own people, by the hundreds and thousands, as guinea pigs for his chemical and biological weapons.

Not to be left out of the Hollywood "peace" chorus is none other than the Material Girl herself, Madonna. It seems Madonna has been working on a controversial music video based on her new anti-war song "American Life." The video opens at a fashion show but "escalates into a mad frenzy depicting the catastrophic repercussions and horror of war," says Madonna spokesperson Liz Rosenberg.

However, numerous early reports claim it also includes alarming film clips of dead Iraqi soldiers and body parts --reports Madonna categorically denies. Moreover, Madonna asserts, "I feel lucky to be an American citizen for many reasons, one of which is the right to express myself freely." She added, "I am not anti-Bush. I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro-peace. I have written a song and created a video which expresses my feelings about our culture and values and illusions of what many people believe is the American dream -- the perfect life."

Of course, it's as much Madonna's right as anyone else's to express her views about Iraq or any other issue. No one would gainsay that. (In fact, we hope she'll add a blog to her web site for that very purpose.) Her liberalism aside, Madonna is one of the more insightful and intelligent (and, surprisingly enough, more intellectual) folks in show biz, as her 1994 Esquire interview by Norman Mailer demonstrated. Despite some monumental imbecilities --that silly Sex book, for example-- Madonna's no dummy. Too bad she tends to squander her keen intellect on cultural shallowness and inane causes.

The same question which applies to most celebrities-turned-political-pundits, who seem to live under the delusion that their fame and expertise in show business somehow makes them foreign policy experts, applies to Madonna as well (your humble servant is an Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon, after all): Namely, who cares what she thinks about Iraq or Sadam or any issue other than the sorry state of entertainment, the music industry, and popular culture in general? Like most big-name entertainers making a big to-do about Iraq these days, what Madonna knows about foreign affairs most likely wouldn't fill a thimble; except, perhaps, what she knows about the ones she's had herself.

What Madonna and other Hollywood naysayers need to remember and to keep in mind is that what has been required of Saddam today by both the US and the UN --namely, the dismantling of and cessation of development of WMDs-- was required of him 12 years ago as part of the terms for ending the Persian Gulf War without taking Baghdad and ousting him. Thus the proposed use of force against Saddam in response to 12 years of proven defiance and deception is more an act of finishing the last war than starting a new one. Therefore, if military action is taken against Saddam the responsibility for any and all innocent civilian casualties among the Iraqis falls squarely on Saddam's shoulders and no one else's.

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