If we, the citizens of this nation, prevent the Bush Administration and its apologists from placing their blood-stained hands upon our ears, turn away from the voices of caution rising in chorus from the Establishment and simply listen to the sounds of chaos emanating from Iraq, we will hear the infamous, unmistakable echo of Vietnam attempting to tell us the terrible truth: this war, too, is sound and fury signifying nothing.

Nothing but pointless and tragic death and destruction. Nothing but the systematic dehumanization of our soldiers and of the people of Iraq. Nothing but the absolute futility of a nation attempting to impose its imperial power upon a people who refuse to accept it.

Those who still support the war deny they hear the echo. They insist that this war is different than Vietnam. And in a sense, they are right; this war is different in many respects--from its circumstances, to the nature and intensity of its combat, to its lower casualty counts on both sides. But the echo of Vietnam emanates not from the exact qualitative nature of this war or the quantitative measures of its death and destruction; it emanates from the essence of what this war is: unnecessary, unwinnable and immoral.

As to the war being unnecessary, there can no longer be any debate among honest people. Iraq posed no threat to the United States. After two devastating wars with Iran and the US and a decade of US led economic sanctions, it had become so militarily weak that it barely posed a threat to its neighbors Israel and Turkey, let alone the richest, most powerful nation in history, thousands of miles away. The feeble case for war claiming otherwise rested upon two claims: Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction and had a relationship with Al Queda. Ever since the drums of war first began to beat, the anti-war movement has exposed the weakness and, in many cases, fraudulence of the evidence behind these two claims. Now the US government itself has put the two claims to rest, and thus refuted the case for war--the Kay Report affirming that Iraq did not possess WMDs and the 9/11 Commission affirming that no evidence suggests Saddam's regime had a relationship with Al Queda.

As to the war being unwinnable, there can be no debate among people with a basic understanding of the situation in Iraq and a willingness to accept the truth and its implications. The essential nature of the situation is a paradox pointing to a single solution: stable Iraqi society cannot emerge until the security situation improves--but because US forces are the main magnet of attacks and their presence the main instigator of violence, the security situation will not improve until US forces withdraw. The solution, then, is quite simple: US forces must withdraw as soon as possible.

Increasing US forces, escalating attacks on insurgents, or simply maintaining the current strategy will not solve this paradox; in fact, doing so will further inflame the situation because it will cause more Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire to sympathize with the insurgents. The history of popular resistances to foreign occupations and presences across the world--from the French in Algeria, to the US in Vietnam, to the USSR in Afghanistan, to Israel in Palestine--confirms this.

As to the war being immoral, there can be no debate among people who reject the institutionalized hypocrisy of the Establishment and apply the same standards to the actions of their own nation (and its client states) as they do to those nations or groups deemed "enemies." One of those essential standards--which the Establishment always applies to its enemies, but never to itself or its client states--is that the use of the means of violence to achieve political ends (i.e. terrorism) is morally unacceptable. The War on Iraq--waged not for self-defense, but to establish the neo-conservative foreign policy of preventive war and to ensure US hegemony over the Middle East and the world--clearly violates this standard.

Supporters of the war will deny all of this. Their denial, however, should surprise no one; history has proved that those unyielding in ideology can remain deaf to any truth that contradicts it, no matter how loud that truth becomes, and if they are at the helm of a nation, as they are today, they will "stay the course" they have set, even when the truth is screaming that certain disaster lies ahead.

In such a situation as we find ourselves, "staying the course" is neither necessary nor noble; it is idiotic and suicidal--and because innocent lives are implicated, it is downright murderous as well. As in Vietnam, however, our leaders will continue to steer us towards disaster unless we demand otherwise. And demand we can and must, because as citizens of what is supposed to be a democracy, we have the right and the obligation to demand a change of course when we perceive it to be necessary.

We must advocate an immediate end to this bloody, futile occupation and a path that will right the decades of wrongs we have wrought upon the people of Iraq. To achieve such an end and begin such a path, US military forces must immediately withdraw from Iraq and the US government must completely transfer authority over Iraq to the United Nations, which will supervise the allocation of reconstruction funds and Iraqi oil revenues, send in an international peace keeping force comprised in large part of other Arab nations, give Iraq genuine sovereignty--rather than the phony "sovereignty" the US recently handed its puppet interim government--and allow Iraq to hold elections and become truly independent as soon as possible.

And we must also send some broader messages to the Establishment: you will not attempt to force the people of Iraq or any other nation to submit before the Golden Calf of American power. You will not raise upon them your terrible sword--forged in the fire of exploding bombs and burning buildings, made of the metal of industry and bullets and coated with the gold of corporate wealth. And you will not sacrifice them upon an alter cynically draped with the American flag.