What Now? Why Now?

Philip S. Wenz
March 2003


As the war in Iraq began, I sat glumly in a restaurant with one of my closest friends. "What is the point, "I asked her, "of publishing articles about a hydrogen fuel revolution that will take three decades to mature when the whole world is coming apart at the seams as we speak? Maybe I should just give up and volunteer full-time for the peace movement, go underground, move to Canada, sell my possessions, go on a binge. Why work so hard to create a roadmap to a future that may never stand a chance of coming to pass."

Earlier that day, I told my Yoga teacher that I was a bit strung out and depressed because it seemed that nothing the international community, that is, the world's people did in the way of protests had any effect. The gates to Hell were about to be opened by people who are, frankly, too ideologically blinded, intellectually stunted and emotionally incompetent to understand the nature and consequences of their acts.

My friends and I had just brought ECOTECTURE into the world after a very long and painful labor. Now our baby appeared retarded, and postpartum depression was beginning to set in deeply.

It seems that the world may indeed spin out of control. Whether or not they know of the long range plans of the right-wing ideologues who staff the upper echelons of the Bush administration*, there is nothing that the Iranians don't understand about being branded as one of the "Axis of Evil,"powers. Syria, too, can see the handwriting on the wall. As a "terrorist state,"bordered by Israel on one side and American occupied Iraq on the other, they must know that they are next the hit list. Both Iran and Syria are making increasingly open contributions to Iraq's defense effort.

Whatever chance America may have had of healing Arab-Western relationships damaged by our lopsided support of Israel's agenda evaporated with America's first rocket attack on Iraq. The arrogance of the Administration's plan, if it ever really was a plan, to "liberate"the people of Iraq and set up a model, Western-style democratic state that would serve as an "example,"to the rest or the Arab world was insultingly obvious to those very people we hoped to convert.

It is only the most liberal interpretation of the Muslim faith that allows for the creation of a secular state to begin with. Most Muslims believe that their religious leaders should run their state, that God intended it that way. But for the Bush Team to understand that our style of democracy would be anathema to those very people we are trying to foist it off on, it would have to have educated itself in the ways of the people it is is trying to influence—and listening to others isn't one of this Administration's strengths. Rather than persuade or embarass Iraq's neighbors into adopting a Western perspective, we will simply deepen their hatred for everything we stand for.

The war in Iraq at the very least will destabilize the Middle East, likely touching off a series of revolutions, civil wars, terrorist campaigns and military conflagrations into which the Bush Administration will see an opportunity, if not an obligation, to insert itself. When it is "won,"the I war will only have begun. Iraq is the first Vietnam of the new century.

Arab-Western relations are just the first casualty of our already-failed policy. Nuclear countries as distant from and, at the same time near to Iraq as China and Russia are more than a little threatened by the prospect of American colonization of the world's principal oil producing states. The fact that many on the Bush Team publicly advocate a foreign policy that extends American hegemony globally by military force leaves little room for doubt of the threat from the Chinese perspective at least. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush promised America 50 years of warfare. So far, he has delivered.

As I sat in despairing contemplation, my friend in the restaurant answered me. "But we need ecological design, ECOTECTURE, more than ever,"she said. "People need hope that there is something beyond the current catastrophe. They need direction, something to look forward to so that the struggle for peace is worthwhile. More than ever."

I remembered, in that moment, that my Yoga teacher, who has focused not so much on anti-war activities as on keeping her many students strong and healthy to resist the stress associated with the war, had told me that "this too shall pass."She is Jewish, and was quoting a phrase used by her people to get them through the myriad pogroms and persecutions they have suffered for two thousand years.

I also then remembered that two of my favorite master works, Bertand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy and J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of The Rings, both massive productions, were written in England during World War Two—written as England was bombed, as Russell was off-and-on imprisoned for his pacifism, as Tolkein worked daily at a government post in the supply ministry and wrote at night, and while England was under constant threat, in the early years, at least, of falling to Hitler. Both men knew, somehow, that life would go on, and, even if it didn't, they would go on living the only way they knew how—doing their important work—until they could no longer breath. A half a century later, we are still enriched by the fruits of their labors.

Then it came to me that ECOTECTURE, too, will go on—with new resolve. There has been a short delay in the publication of this update due to my work in the peace movement, and there may be more delays depending on global political circumstances. But ECOTECTURE will go on, and it will grow, and it will get better with each update. We will report on hydrogen fuel developments, on building better cities, on beauty and nature and the wonderful planet we are fortunate enough to inhabit. We will also report on ecological design strategies for peace. Another installment in that series, called "SUPER POWER II: Emergence and the Global Peace Movement,"will appear in our next update.

We will report on those things that make life worth living and looking forward too, and on the possibilities of a better world. As remote as those possibilities may seem at the moment, they could be much closer to manifesting themselves than any of us can imagine. One day there was a massive, apparently monolithic, deeply repressive political regime called the Soviet Union. A few months later their was a diversity of independent and, for the most part democratic republics. Today, there is one super power, armed to the teeth, rapacious and aggressive. Tomorrow the vast majority of the world's people could lead their governments to a truly new world order characterized by peace, universal prosperity, equality and sustainable development.

But that will never happen if we give up on the vision or the hope that there is a world beyond war, division, hatred and unbridled greed. So we will go on envisioning that world, telling everyone about it and guiding them toward it.

ECOTECTURE's very first editorial, published to celebrate the Millennium in the first issue of the Journal's original version, was called "A Message of Hope."We are here today to say that that message is every bit as alive as it was when it was first written. That is who we are, and whatever the outcome of the present conflagration, that is who we will be until the end.

Join us by doing your good work with a renewed sense of importance.Stay strong, work for peace, and know that good deeds always have good effects.

—Philip S. Wenz

*In his article "Welcome to the New World Order,"published through another venue, ECOTECTURE Editor Philip S. Wenz details and documents the connection between members of a right wing think tank known as the "Project for a New American Century"(PNAC) and the Bush Administration higher ups including Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz. The PNAC advocates the "extension of an international order"compatible with America's prosperity and interests through the use of military force.

If you would like to receive an free email copy of "Welcome to the New World Order,"please send your request to editor@ecotecture.com.