Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Walking Through This War

October 24

Since every blog on the Internet has a position on the current war and the possibility of that next one out there (North Korea), you may wonder where I stand. In a nutshell, I hate this war. I can't think of a war I have ever not hated, and that goes back to the Punic Wars between ancient Greece and Rome.

I am opposed to war. If I had lived in prehistoric times I would have been one of those cave babes who said, "Put down that stupid club, you might hurt somebody!" I just never got it, the need to protect or expand our borders, to quell or vanquish the invaders, to make the world safe for our way of life. Just let's mind our own business and keep life serene. Maybe that other guy is thinking of ways to maraud, rape and pillage. Then again, maybe he's not. Let's not send our boy over there to lose his life or his innocence in such a cause. Look out the window: that's the kingdom of God. It looks pretty good to me.

When I thought about posting on my feelings about war, I realized it's too big for one post. My whole life has been involved in one war or another, and just that is a lot of ground to cover. My earliest memories are of blackouts and all the daddies being gone; rationing of food and creative meals; men in uniform; war games, and grim black and white newsreels called The March of Time before the picture show started.

Tom Brokaw called those boys who fought that war "The Greatest Generation" because, being the same vintage as me -- 1940 was a very good year -- he and his friends had never been put to such a test, and he could only observe and write about it. I feel great sorrow rather than pure admiration for that "greatest" generation, having been married to one of them who eventually died of alcoholism and never spoke of the war. There were many such, and they did not get the glory of being interviewed, nor did they want to be. Booze was an easy refuge from all that life had dealt them, and I think having been taught and required to kill at a tender age had something to do with their great need for a hiding place the rest of their lives.

Now we have a war that has been going on for four years with no end in sight. It's easy to get mad at the "liars" who got us there, but look at the events as they developed. After a vulnerability shown when attacked on our own ground on September 11, 2001, we went after the guy who did it. When finding him proved impossible, we decided to demonize a guy we were pretty sure we could find. Our leader went from "I hear you!" to "weapons of mass destruction" and "slam-dunk." Fighting words. "Smart bombs." "Surgical attacks." I bought into it, only marginally, but I remember saying, "I hope this doesn't turn out to be another Vietnam."

It turned out to be much worse. And now I'm old enough to realize I may not see the end of this fighting in my lifetime. After all, there has been fighting in that region for at least as long as I remember, and our invasion has done nothing to lessen it. My daughter, who is neither stupid nor a child, asked me, "Why are we going to war there? What reason are they giving, other than that we can?" and I had no answers. She has two sons, ages 9 and 11 1/2, and she is thinking of moving to Canada. The little boys are the most militant anti-war activists of their age I have ever met. They are getting a very one-sided view of American politics.

Now the guys in charge are saying they are not willing to "cut and run" like the Democrats. They say it's somehow better to "stay the course." Then they decided that it would be smarter not to stay the course after all, so they are trying to come up with a phrase that didn't sound so bull-headed and, let's face it, stupid. They have tried out "anticipating victory," and by the end of the day today you'll here an arsenal of new phrases, all of which were designed with more thought that the necessity for going to war in the first place was. They must be getting tired of being called liars all the time, every day. They must, somewhere in their hearts, yearn for a way to cut and run without calling it that.

I want them to find a way out. I want it over as soon as it can be. Actually I want it never to have happened. I'm not interested in whether the Democrats would have done a better job -- they couldn't have done a worse one -- but I want somebody to appear with a positive message, a modicum of awareness and taste, and the ability to get this killing stopped.

So there you have my war blog. I don't claim to know anything about why wars get started or why we need them so desperately every few years. It baffles me. I guess I'm a pacifist, which is to say naive, uninformed and ostrich-like, who just will never learn the reality of life in this world. I don't even have a fair hope of success in learning, either.


Benedict S. said...

OK. Good. Now get out there and vote three times for the Democrat of your choice.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Will that stop this war? Will it stop all wars?

Bert Bananas said...

Being an admitted Human, I admire War, as an ideal. Just as I admire chess and football as being emblematic of War. American Football and rugby and lacrosse and the other 'violent' sports are wars with rules and time limits. And men die in these games, a few a year.

Humans = wars. Some wars we like, albeit in retrospect, and some we don't like. Some we say, "how could we have not gotten involved!!" And others, "How on earth did we get involved!!"

I have no personal opinion on the Iraq War. Had I been consulted about it, I probably would have said, "Why not? We can use the experience."

Viewed from one side, all wars are simply horrible! Horrible, I tell you!

Viewed from the other side, as any afficiando of The Military Channel can tell you, War is one Hell of an exciting venture.

I don't know how they're dong it, but our all-volunteer Armed Services keep meeting their recruiting goals. What can we extrapolate from that fact? And please, I'm not arguing politics, but the human penchant for war.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Somehow I just knew you'd be that cave guy with the club, bananas.

cold warrior said...

Since it's your blog and you are free to express your thoughts on any subject, which you do, your blog of today was written through a sense of confessed naiveté, and as such was failing to understand the reality of things. One thing is what we'd like things to be and the other is how things are -the reality-, and that is especially true when it comes to the reality of man and the wars, little or large, he conducts.

No one will argue about the terrible things that take place when wars are engaged in. So if there is such a terrible price to pay, why do men engage in them? It is all a question of a view of the future and interests. The aggressor envisions rewards coming out of his attacks. The attacked envision losing what they have, he resists, and a clash results, maybe a war.

Broading the perspective a bit more, we could ask, Isn't there a better way to get to the future than through war? Of course, there is, but where you want to go and where I want to go could be two completely different destinations. So how do we resolve that difference? Some would advocate sitting down and working out a solution that would be acceptable to us both, a noble and peaceful approach to say the least. Others would say that it is impossible to work out something with you because you are so ignorant that you don't even what a good future would be, certainly for them, so your point of view is ignored, as they figure out non-combative ways, such as cut off your markets, your credit, your food supply...your water to bring you in line with their thinking. Still others would say that their interests are more important than yours, and they are going to do whatever it takes, including all of the above and war, to see that theirs prevails. Now we have a real potential for a combative situation, but war can be avoided. Remember, it takes two to fight. One fighter in the ring is not much of a combat, one team on the football field is not much of a contest, one country that surrenders up front is not much of a war. So if you don't want a war, don't fight.

Applying the above to the situation in Iraq, we clearly see that Bush & Associates were determined to have their interests prevail, and at the beginning there was little resistence, now there is a lot, a lot of terrible things have happened and will continue, and we call it what it is: the war in Iraq.

Let's me quickly say that I am not in favor of war, of any kind. But if there are those who are determined to have their interests prevail over mine, and with a complete disregard to mine, then I have two choices: acquiesce to their interests prevailing or resist. The reality of it is that there has always been some men -and women- who insist on their interests coming first, and there has always been men- and women- who have resisted; that's why there has always been wars, and until there is a change in consciousness wars will continue. Now that is the ugly reality of it.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Well, my consciousness has changed, so why hasn't anybody else's? Why does mankind keep repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result?

It could be that humankind itself is a weapon of mass destruction.

Bert Bananas said...

Even-Handed Hope postulates an interesting possibility: "It could be that humankind itself is a weapon of mass destruction."

It's not at all a danger for us to wonder about that as we look in the mirror. But what about a civilization existing out there in the cosmos? What if members of that civilization, with the power to do something about it, ask that question of us?

John Sweden said...

ff. You can learn, and here is a place to start.

“Peace is not an absence of war but an active force for justice and understanding. Read the theory of waging peace”

I'm a pacifist, which is to say I an not naive, but well informed and owl-like, who just knows the reality of life in this world.

As many of you know from our conversations on this blog, concerning those "truths" that are held "to be self-evident", which are embodied in the founding document of America, I have often made reference to Mr. Sykes of JHS 142. He also introduced me, and my classmates, to the ideas and values of Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Years later, when according to some I should have been studying a certain 16th century philosopher, still “Sykes” inspired, I began to wrap my mind and my life around the words and works of these two men of action.

This article was a nice reminder of the value of JHS teachers.

Twenty Ghandis

Less importantly I think it supports my argument, that despite the momentary irrational fears that the world is going to hell and there is not much fair or unfairhope for our survival, the peacemakers can, do and will, in the end, win every time. That is the real history of civilization and the reality of this fact is what has and continues to make human civilization possible.

For those who toil in the darkness and the lower level crevices of humanity designing, building, using and advocating the use of weapons of both minor and mass destruction, for what ever noble or ignoble purpose you may rationalize, I offer this "self-evident" proven "truth" and a fact of "LIFE" (taken from this more this more than fair hopeful article).

"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind," …"It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man." said by a first of twenty-one Ghandis.

"Every problem which now confronts civilization will be solved eventually only by education" Marietta Johnson (teacher).

Waging peace is an idea whose time has come. Maybe you could start the action by organizing a “Waging Peace” class as part of the new global curriculum at the Marietta Johnson school.

I hope you are all sleeping peacefully.

P.S. This not war but a “War Crime” perpetrated by the American “People”. “Americans” have now murdered and sacrificed the lives of 655 thousand innocent men, women, and children in Iraq. “American Troops and mercenaries supported by the American people have raped, murdered and tortured thousands of innocent men women and children. “Americans” have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions. Eventually Justice will prevail.

Maybe you shouldn’t sleep so peacefully.

Robin said...

Humankind's self-destructive, self-interested apocalyptic urge is
the real, abiding enemy within. Beware that old Armageddon buzz. It's the thrill that kills.