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“I’m A Long Gone Daddy In the U.S.A.”

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Reading Ken Tucker’s interview with The Boss in Entertainment Weekly, I particularly found myself focusing on the following quick q-and-a. Asked by Tucker if he thought we were going to war with Iraq, Springsteen answered simply:

“I think we already are; I think the administration is just set on it. A month ago I wasn’t so sure, but now I am. Those drums are being beaten really hard. I think the administration took September 11 and used it as a blank check. And like most Americans, I’m not sure the case has been made to put our sons and our daughters and innocent civilians at risk at this particular moment. But I don’t think that’s gonna matter, unfortunately. . .”

Yeah, I know: I’ve ridiculed celebrity political statements in the past. But there’s a difference, I think, between something asked and answered in an interview – and those queasy blends of activism and personal p.r. that so often overlay public celebrity political action. Martin Sheen or Sean Penn have a right to air their public opinion, of course, in whatever forum they choose, but I’ll always dock ’em debate points just for taking advantage of the celebrity bully pulpit. May not be fair, but it’s imbedded in my passive-aggressive genes.

That tendency also comes out whenever I’m confronted by either pro- or anti-war bloggers trying to force me into making a final decision on the War in Iraq, incidentally. After Colin Powell’s less-than-compelling presentation to the UN (where have you gone, Adlai Stevenson; a nation turns its lonely eyes to you?), a chorus of Xena yips rose from the pro-war crowd. Me, I wanted to put some earplugs in to block out the noise.
Basically, I’m inclined to give Bruce points because I’m still part of his “most Americans” grouping. Read too much pro- or anti- material, and pretty soon all the other agendas start to pop up (fear of capitalism or multi-nationalism, for instance). At times, these may add to the debate, but more often they only serve to detract from the big questions. Do we have economic interest in Iraq’s oil? Unquestionably. Does that blunt any of the concerns we have about Saddam’s regime? Not necessarily. Are some of our purported allies recalcitrant dicks? Perhaps. Are they wrong to state that we should let the currently initiated inspection procedures work as they’re supposed to? Again, not necessarily.
But I’m also with Bruce on this: I believe that the machine has been set in motion and the process of labeling and marginalizing anyone who questions this has been going on for months. But if anything is likely to push me firmly into the anti-war column, it’s the attempt to cut short debate by repeatedly shouting there’s no time! for it. . .

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About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.
  • Eric Olsen

    Very sensible and rational Bill. I am not unbiased but remember one thing: timing does count and this is hardly a “rush to war.” Anti-war people will always call the onset of war “rushed” because to them the wait should be open-ended. “Why now?” is a question that has no end limit.

    There are two sides to every debate and I still believe people of good will can disagree on whether this war is in America’s best interest. But I also am coming to realize that many people are incapable of being persuaded regardless of the force of evidence.

  • mike

    The debate has been going on for such a long time, there exists on the Internet, etc. such an abundance of information, that I have little patience for anyone who’s still “undecided.” Stop the hand wringing and take a stand.

  • Eric Olsen

    Well Mike, you are much more blunt than I, but I have to agree with the underlying concept.

  • Bill Sherman

    Sorry, Mike, but I can’t oblige you. Perhaps I am being overdeliberate here, but when you’re talking about getting involved in a war for “proactive” reasons (as opposed to responding to a Pearl Harbor), I’d say there are worse things to be. Hell, I’m in no position of power – where life or death decisions sometimes need to be made quickly – so why can’t I be deliberate? Or is the administration waiting for me to give ‘em the go-ahead?

    I recognize that the present situation can’t remain unresolved in perpetuity, but it needs to be repeated that – big blogging community or no – there are plenty of us who have either:

    doubts about the necessity of war with Iraq; or
    questions about the timing or process of going to war.

    Simply stating that “you should’ve already made up your mind by now” doesn’t answer either question. Just adds to the noise.

  • Al Barger

    I’m firmly in favor of smashing the Iraqi regime, and tend to be somewhat impatient with the undecided after a year of this.

    Still, even as down as I have been on Springsteen, and as down as I continue to be on cheap posturing commie celebrities, I can’t fault Springsteen for this. Suggesting in passing during an interview that he has some reservations about the impending war is not objectionable. He’s MILES away from stuff like Sean Penn going to Baghdad to fellate Hussein. This just ain’t the same.