The war in Iraq
posted by Chad, Eric, Jon and Mickey on 3/23/03
Sorry, Saddam! The upper hand is on the other foot!
You know, you're not gonna stop this war with this rally, by marching…That's what they do… They hold rallies and they march… They've been having wars for ten thousand years and you're not gonna stop it this way… Ten thousand years, and this is the game they play to do it… holding rallies and having marches… and that's the same game you're playing… their game…
-Ken Kesey to anti-Vietnam protestors
While watching the war on CNN today, like so many of us have been doing, I was hit with an idea to stop this war. Rallying and protesting has been done to death, and without success. But where I disagree with Ken Kesey is in his solution of apathy. I did that last night, drank until I completely forgot about the whole thing. But I awoke this morning to the war again. Saying screw it doesn't stop it, and it needs to be stopped this time.
This time, the war has broken the UN, and in essence, ruled it useless. Wars no longer need to be justified before committed – if you're the U.S.A., you can do what you want, regardless of what other's say. Half of polled Americans oppose this war. Most of the world refuses to be associated with this attack. We can't just turn this war off like we've done with so many others, because this war has taken us, as a society, as brothers and sisters in humanity, and broken the unity. All souls weep for what is to happen.
To stop Bush from leading this war, we need to undermine his authority, his right to conduct this war. We must show that he is not acting on behalf of us, that we are not part of his posse. The only way I see possible to stop this war is to stop feeding the beast what it needs to keep itself going. And we all know what keeps the world turning. Money. Screaming in the streets isn't going to stop evil dwelling in buildings. So what we need to do is empty the buildings. The leaders can't conduct their roles without people following them. And America can't work its ways in the world if Americans aren't working at home.
That's right; I propose a mass work walkout. All we have is each other, so let's use that against Bush. Bush has all the money and the power. Only he can stop this war. So we must stop him. And we can do that by stopping business. Bush tells the nation to keep working, keep doing your job, worry about your small world and not the world of others, because there's nothing you can do about it. Disobedience to that mentality is the only way to resist its broad strokes. The only way we can make Bush stop is if we ourselves stop working for him.
This isn't a call to overthrow Bush or to ask people to start blowing up government buildings – that's Bush's job. That's exactly what I'm reacting against, that sort of violence. Violence, in any form, doesn't solve a problem: violence creates problems. Communication is the path to peace. Now is the time to get that message across.
The date I propose as a no-work day is April 1st, despite the rather short notice of it. Most obviously, April 1st is April Fools Day, and a work stoppage is the only gag I can think of which will choke this unauthorized war. April 1st is also the beginning of a new month, and the beginning of the new fiscal year. The economy has been Bush's biggest stumbling block to date, so let us use the year's economic kickoff to trip up his war plans.
The only way this is going to be effective is if it is done in mass. From the size of protests around the world, I know I'm not alone in my opposition to these war actions. Spread the word in the streets, in your homes and workplaces, and to any ear that will listen, that April 1st is the day to stand up against this war. The digital world is the only one not regulated and controlled by the powers that be, so allow the word to be passed online, allow the Internet to unite us across the globe. If the fear of losing your job inhibits you for standing up for what you believe in, then use a sick day on April 1st. Lord knows you have enough of them packed away incase of an emergency, and this war is that emergency, as this war is the beginning of the breaking of the only forum the world has to make decisions together. Use these words I've written if you're afraid to use your own, just click print and post anywhere. Take April 1st and spend it with the ones you love. All we have is each other.
Unions have used work stoppages to prove their worth throughout the last century, as a last resort, as the greatest form of protest. We must voice our opposition in the greatest means available to us, force ourselves to be heard. The world can protest, but they can't stop Bush. They tried, and they failed. Now the weight falls on the shoulders of all Americans. All the world has is us.
On April 1st, stop work to stop war.
-Chad | e-mail
Dylan Mackay's favourite poet, Lord Byron, once wrote:
"War's a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art
Unless her cause by right be sanctified."
Actually, war is a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art whether or not it takes place with moral justification. Wars serve to demonstrate which countries have superior military power. The justice or injustice of the causes of a war have no bearing on its outcome. Nevertheless my two cents worth on the issue is that, by going to war without United Nations' sanction, America herself is behaving like a rogue state; and her allieslike so many lickspittles.
Anyone with any imagination can see that a lot of tragedies are going to emerge from this thing. I fear for the safety of all the brave American (and British and Spanish and Australian, etc) servicemen and servicewomen who are caught up in this event. I hope they are all delivered safely back to their families. I also fear for the lives and well-being of the people of Iraq. The peril they face is even graver and more imminent. Beyond the poor souls whose lives are going to snuffed out, or turned into hell, by this conflict, the actions of America and her allies have had a disastrous effect on the whole idea of collective security. Is there a person alive who seriously believes everything that could be done to avert this war was done? It will take the world a long time to recover, if it ever does, from George W Bush deciding that acting like a gangster is a preferable alternative to diplomacy. The consequences of this will take decades to work out, but anyone who thinks George W Bush is setting a precedent that doesn't have unlimited potential to rebound in America's face is a fool.
I know a lot of very moral people who oppose the idea of ever going to war. The way I see things, there are situations that arise from time to time (the obvious example is the Second World War) where war, however hateful, becomes the only acceptable path for a nation to take. To be involved, however, in a war of aggression, to be a part of the belligerent power in a conflict, is a novel, and unwelcome, development.
I have two young children. They are kind of confused about the situation. They dutifully accept that their parents' advice about politics is uniquely well-informed and accurate, and so, like me, they oppose the war. In fact, my older son led an impromptu demonstration in the playground of his school at recess, leading all the kids in grade one and grade two to yell out "No War!!" at the top of their lungs until Ms Spoljarek came out and asked them to consider her headache, as well as the international situation. On the other hand, as my children are young boys, the prospect of slaughter, and specifically the likelihood that a lot of people are going to get their heads cut off, or be impaled on spears, or blown into smithereens, or torn to shreds by machine gun fire, is pretty attractive to them, and there is a sense in which they would regret it if the world missed this opportunity to mount some realistic battle tableaux.
Yeah, so, Baghdad will be providing exactly those, as I write these words.It is a strange feeling. To think that my government is now actually involved in removing people from this strange and sad and beautiful world we inhabit makes me depressed and angry. I am not going to write anything more about this now. If I wasn't playing netball tonight, I would go out and get smashed drunk right now. Actually, I am glad I am playing netball tonight. I have been playing netball with my graceful friend Fiona for almost 8 years on and off, and when she puts on the Goal Defence (GD) bib and I put on the Goal Keeper (GK) bib, then music swells in the orchestra pit they must have somewhere near the courts and the two of us suddenly turn into the netball equivalent of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, sailing gracefully around opponents who seem hypnotised by the way we swoop and glide and float around the goal third. Those are the sort of moments when it is good to be alive. It is good to be alive. This war is fucked.
This is not entertainment. I am watching this to inform myself of the happenings of the world. I do not think that bombs are neat. I will refrain from making a crack at the way the night-vision footage looks.
That's what I've been trying to think to myself all day today. I did my best; I really did. But not 30 minutes of watching passed before I leaned over and told my co-worker, "What's up with Iraq and the color green? Do they have some sort of 'green' fetish? I bet that their weapon of mass destruction is the Incredible Hulk! Hahaha!"
I wasn't trying to repeat those thoughts to myself for the sake of those around me; all day I've been told that those camel jockeys are getting what they deserve and that Saddam Hussein should have been named Saddam IN-sein. Rather, I was doing so to keep myself from becoming a monster.
While I kick back with a bag of popcorn to watch the show, people are dying. Fathers and sons who are pressured by their government to brave the American onslaught are being mowed down. Families are without homes. A small child limps, searching vainly for her mother to the deafening wail of an air raid siren.
I'm not going to venture into the pro/anti-war argument here. Fact is, war is sometimes necessary, and perhaps these things I see are necessary to make way for a greater good, or at least an absence of evil. Perhaps not. But the suffering felt at humanity's most basic level cannot be denied.
It would be perfectly rational, not to mention a lot easier on my conscience, to distance myself from it. After all, there's no use in troubling myself with these things when there's nothing I can do about them. Things like these happen daily, and I can either paralyze myself with anguish, or accept it and refuse to let it hinder me.
But I found myself enjoying the spectacle before me on the television. How the fuck do I have this right? Just because I can fascinate myself with a nation's terror doesn't mean that I should. In a way, it sickens me that at times the only feeling I get from this is one of amusement.
Maybe I am only deluding myself into a mindset of righteousness, though. For what other reason would I watch or concern myself with this war than entertainment? I can excuse it away all I want, and claim that it's "because it is my duty to others and myself to know what is going on in the world." It's purely bullshit.
Though I would have expected to have plenty of fodder with which to work, I must say that the media networks have conducted themselves very respectfully so far. If nothing else, I'm proud of them for cutting down on the "waving American flag" computer graphics.
Since I don't have them to blame, though, it rests fully on myself. Next time I read about or watch the war, I will not do so lightly. Had I still the heart to believe in a God who would intervene with such matters, I would pray to Him. But though I don't, I will still give the soldiers and innocents in Iraq the distinction of being held in the heart of some inconsequential American, if only for a short while.
It isn't much, but surely it's better than nothing.
War... what is it good for?
I’m sure that anyone you ask, especially now, will gladly offer their opinions up for debate on the subject. But no matter who says what about it, no matter how valid or true their take on it is, it’s still war. People from all over the world are affected either directly or indirectly, and innocent people will die for a reason that most are unable, or unwilling, to justify.
It seems no matter where you turn, you can’t escape the reality that we are at war. We’re being bombarded by images of disaster and headlines of terror all over the television, the newspapers, and the internet, and it seems to be all anyone can talk about anywhere wego. In war, there are always two sides to the story... and your enemy is always the one in the wrong. No matter how long it took to get to the boiling point and no matter who did what, one side proclaims to be righteous and innocent while pointing the finger at what must surely be the antichrist. It’s almost like a bad relationship. Neither side is willing to admit that their doing things they shouldn’t be, and eventually, there’s no moreunderstanding or compromising and all hell breaks loose. And just like when you’re forced to choose sides when two friends of yours are in a relationship and it turns sour, you’re forced to choose a stance in war and to be able to justify your reasoning.
Am I for war? Of course I’m not. I believe that if there isn’t a way for peaceful negotiations, regardless of the circumstances, that there should be. Plain and simple. Sure, war’s interesting in the history books and can be great entertainment on film, but this is happening right now... and it’s a very, very real situation. I can’t sleep at night thinking of all the soldiers that we have overseas, that have families and people who love and miss them at home, who are on the front lines risking their lives. Not to mention all of the innocent Iraqis who have absolutely nothing to do with the way their country is run but will no doubt pay a huge price in some form, all because another country thinks they should be living their lives differently and has a fear of the unknown and a grudge against their dictator. The sad thing is that no matter who is killed or what kind of toll this war is going to take on everyone involved and even everyone who’s not directly involved, it’ll be written off as a casualty in achieving the greater good... whatever that may be.
But do I support my country? Of course I do. I’ve always been extremely patriotic, and from the time I turned 18, there was always a part of me that wanted to join the ranks and dedicate myself to the freedoms and liberties that the United States of America stands for. I was never as devastated over anything as I was over the 9/11 attacks, and the thought of something like that happening again, to me, partially justifies what we’re doing right now. We are, quite simply, protecting ourselves. I can, and do, agree with that. We need to prevent anything like that from ever happening again, at any cost. Saddam Hussein and his sons are considered a major threat and we need to remove them from power, giving the Iraqi people their freedom in the process. Two birds, one stone. It’s just a shame that, in this day and age, it still has to come down to war. But no matter what this country does, I will support it. Though I may not always completely agree with or be able to justify its actions, I will support it. That’s what being an American is all about... supporting and loving our great country and the freedoms and liberties that it gives us. When it comes down to a matter of “US -vs- THEM,” it’ll always be us.
USA! USA! USA! HOOOOOOOOOO!!
When the last Gulf War started I was only 10 years old, and didn’t understand the significance of what it entailed. Now that it’s twelve years later and I’m 22, I find myself wishing that I was a child again just to escape the reality of that war’s sequel. My hope is that all the 10-year old kids around the world now who aren’t able to grasp what all of this means won’t have to feel what so many of us feel when they’re our ages. Hopefully this will be the last major war our world will ever see. Hopefully we prove our point quickly and claim our victory, and this war ends soon... preventing any and all death and destruction that is possible. Hopefully. But no matter how long it lasts or what happens during this conflict in Iraq, we can all be confident in what the outcome of this war will be...
It‘s only a matter of time until Iraq is free, the United States eliminates this threat, and Saddam is Satan‘s butt-bitch for all eternity.
Declaring war on jailbait!