Benjamin & Aaronson have to warmly congratulate Xcitement Magazine on their ten year anniversary. We have always believed that Xcitement began on the frontier of adult entertainment magazines and continues to provide cutting edge reporting of our industry.
We as First Amendment attorneys have always recognized and respected the power of speech and expression. No example can remind us of that power more than last month’s rallies around the world in opposition to the war against Iraq.
By the time this article is written and read, we may be at war with Iraq. Yet, nothing changes the fact that last month’s rallies changed the United States’ course of action and had a profound impact around the world.
Before we go any further, we must state “we are not for, nor are we against war with Iraq”. Rather, we do not believe that we have been given enough evidence and facts to make that decision to go to war. We also are mindful of our government’s history in misleading the masses, whether the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or the slander towards the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, or whether for those of you who remember the bombing in Cambodia while our government was assuring us that the same was not occurring just to name a few. Because of these concerns, we are not willing to follow our government propaganda blindlessly. We are also mindful that after 9-11 there are many out there who believe anything but blind obedience to the government’s point of view should be interpreted as blasphemy of unpatriotic behavior.
History has a short memory. But it is not hard for us to remember back to the first week in February when all indications were that we would be at war within the next month. This was right after the governments of Great Britain, Italy and numerous of the former eastern block nations came out in support of our President’s position. President George W. Bush and his advisors made a point of classifying France and German as old Europe and came out with statements that other countries were now in the process of getting on board.
All was going according to plan, the American populace still somewhat numb by the 9-11 experience, had been whipped up into believing that somehow our world would be safer without Sadam Husein. Numerous countries around the world, or at least their governments, were coming on board. Some, maybe because they even believed that it was the right course of action, but others because they realized it was in their political best interest to side with the inevitable winner of the war i.e. the United States and others because they just wanted to curry favor with us. But, in a forty-eight hour period, speech and expression may have just derailed George W. Bush’s plans. First, Hans Blix did not come down on Iraq in front of the Security Council at the United Nations. Rather, he spoke of better cooperation from Iraq and the need for more time. Our President may have been willing to endure that, after all, he had already started painting a picture of the United Nations as a do nothing irrelevant organization.
However, twenty-four hours after Blix spoke, so did several millions of people around the world. In rallies reminiscent of the Vietnam era, hundreds of thousands complained about the United States’ policy in Rome, even though Italy had already decided to back us. Hundreds of thousands more protested in England, again after that country decided to back our President’s position. Throughout the world millions wanted their speech, voice and expression heard. In unison they expressed their outrage and dissatisfaction with George W. Bush’s eagerness to go to war.
As was said previously, by the time this is written maybe we will be at war with Iraq. But, if we are not, one must point to those voices, those speeches, those expressions of millions around the world as the reason why we are not.