The War

20 03 2006

So much has been in the news about the war in Iraq since it just began its third fucking year. A lot of things I’ve been seeing and hearing have been making me think more and more that this is fucking awful. As usual, a list:

1. What sparked this thought:
Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Doonesbury strip from Monday, 3/20/06
The war involves the using of primarily lower class US citizens to fight and die at high rates. I know that several men and women say that it’s the only way they’ll pay for college or support their family. It’s unfortunate that it involves putting your life on the line. If the reason is simply to “serve your country”, that’s bullshit, I’m sorry. I’d never say that to the face a service person, but you’re serving greedy top politicians and special interests.

2. I just saw “V for Vendetta”. That movie is amazing, and though I saw through the plot before the kicker was revealed, I think the messages of the movie held value. There are images of the Holocaust and WWII, American surveillance, secret police (ala the Gustapo), government media control (which is always happening) and more. One of the most powerful messages of the movie is the question of how “right” terrorism is and at what cost we are willing to work for freedom.
SPOILER ALERT——– The main character, “V”, is a one-man resistance force who blows up a symbolic building to send a message. At the end of the movie, he blows up British Parliament as Guy Fawkes attempted to do on November 5, 1605. The question posed is, “What extreme does one need to go to to change the government?” It suggests that violence and “terrorism” of a sort may be necessary for a change. My conflict with this is non-violent resistance can be as powerful as militant, violent uprisings. Mahatma Gandhi and most of the black rights movement showed us that.——–END SPOILER

3. I heard a story on NPR by a journalist who was in Iraq during the first wave of the war (the air raid). She was one of 16 total US journalists there at the time. She interviewed her cab driver and interpreter who protected her during some of the worst shit. The driver spoke about the progress in Iraq. The most interesting statement he made was that he wept when the US forces pulled down the Saddam statues at the Palestine hotel. He felt that it should have been the Iraqi people who rose up against the government and eventually took down the statues. he felt it was a sham to see what he did. He added that no one in Iraq trusts each other, not even brothers and other family. No one knows who is part of the insurgency. Commenting on the police, he said that the forces there are still really bad. He thought that US troops still couldn’t leave because they were the only ones that could prevent civil unrest (and eventually civil war) between militant Sunni and Shiite factions. I’ve seen documentaries showing day-to-day life of soldiers, and I believe that soldiers are needed there to keep order. It may seem to counter my earlier statement to say that I believe that soldiers do good in Iraq, but that’s not the case. The difference is, a soldier should know that it is (some) politicians’ greed and corruption that got us into the mess. At the same time, the media portrays the idea that no good is coming from US occupation in Iraq. I feel like we’ve gone about it the wrong way, and I feel like we need to withdraw mostly, but it seems we’re still needed for many things.

4. Another thought I had after hearing about the destruction of the Shiite Golden Mosque was that this place is similar to the US during the civil war, except that the lines aren’t so clearly drawn. I know that Sunni and Shiite Muslims pray alongside each other and can get along here, but in Iraq, that’s rarely the case. The cabby was Sunni married to a Shiite, and he said it was a strain on the marriage, but that they resolved those issues. From what I know about the situation, Saddam contributed to the hatred by making the religious difference a classist and political issue as well as a religious difference. The bombing of the Golden Mosque makes me feel even more that these people are fucking their own countrymen over. I’m starting to give more and more merit to the inflammatory statement that eventually, they’re going to bomb themselves back to the stone age. When are they going to realize what shit they’re doing to each other? Never? Look at the Palestine/Israel conflict. I mean, damn, the Jews have been persecuted since the dawn of civilization. Who’s to say that areas with militant muslims won’t always be at war?

In digression, what direction is our own country headed in? I feel like here, political polarization is going extreme. There are a lot more right right people and neo-cons, and a lot more democrats are moving to the left to contrast and distance themselves from the right. I think a lot of it comes to just not wanting to concede anything to the Republicans. By the way, kudos to Russ Feingold for calling for a censure of Bush over the wiretapping issue. Boo to Lieberman for defending Bush’s shit agenda.

5. My dad, who usually keeps his political beliefs to himself, said he truly believes Bush is nuts and that the dems aren’t much better. I know that politically, this is a very superficial thing, but it still got to me.

Well, there’s a loaded essay for you. Please, comment and feel free to contradict or add.

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