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. . .