War? Just a glitch --
nothing to worry about
By Sydney White

On Feb. 5, I went to hear military historian Gwynne Dyer speak at Toronto University. He spoke for two hours on "war and peace". It reminded me of the herculean effort I had made to finish the book of the same name.

Dyer dismissed immediately the idea that the war on Iraq had anything to do with controlling the oil.

"The Middle East had to sell oil anyway," he said, "and will still sell it, regardless of war."

Of course that is true, as far as it goes. Mr. Dyer ignored the history of the Americans, warning Iraq not to nationalize their oil. He ignored the fact that America is contaminating its water table on a grand scale by using billions of gallons to flush their oil to the surface while, in the Middle East, the oil is cheap and easy as it is at the surface.

By controlling the Iraqi and Saudi oil fields, the U.S. can hang on to their own oil until they take all the cheap oil from the Arabs.

But these facts were either unknown to Dyer, or he just didn't want them to distract from his theory.

Most of the two hours was taken up with Dyer consoling us: "The war is coming, but it won't be all that bad." After all, humans have made progress since the days of the cold war.

"We had been facing World War Three until the Soviet Union fell apart," he opined, adding that this happened -- not because of bankruptcy through Star Wars, but simply because "democracies are springing up all over the globe through peaceful revolutions." It was "because of communications," he said, "even though no one could understand Marshall McLuhan." (At least, Dyer couldn't.) And the best part, according to Dyer, was that "democracies" never go to war with each other. This war was just a "detour from humanity's steady improvement."

After saying that the Oslo agreement was good and that Arafat should have died in 1986, he warned that if Iraq were to send a scud missile to Israel, Sharon would retaliate 100 times over.

If only Dyer had taken his soap box to Iraq and spoken to the half million dying children, they might have died with smiles on their lips, knowing that their bodies would be the road on which the democratic United States would bring their country into the light of reason.

Speaking to the great man after the show, I asked him, "If the war is not about oil, then what is the coming massacre of dying children about?" He said, "I've talked to so many people, I've lost my voice." He moved on, to hold forth to another crowd of sycophants.

I whispered my profound apologies to Omar Khayyam and all the other brilliant scientists and philosophers who made that civilization great.