Monday, January 15, 2007

War ... what is it good for?

"I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind." The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.

I am convinced that it is one of the most unjust wars that has ever been fought in the history of the world. Our involvement in the war in _____ has torn up the Geneva Accord. It has strengthened the military-industrial complex; it has strengthened the forces of reaction in our nation. It has put us against the self-determination of a vast majority of the _____ people, and put us in the position of protecting a corrupt regime that is stacked against the poor.

It has played havoc with our domestic destinies. This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every _____. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.

Not only that, it has put us in a position of appearing to the world as an arrogant nation. And here we are ten thousand miles away from home fighting for the so-called freedom of the _____ people when we have not even put our own house in order. And we force young black men and young white men to fight and kill in brutal solidarity. Yet when they come back home that can’t hardly live on the same block together.

The judgment of God is upon us today. And we could go right down the line and see that something must be done—and something must be done quickly. We have alienated ourselves from other nations so we end up morally and politically isolated in the world. There is not a single major ally of the United States of America that would dare send a troop to _____ ...

This is where we are. "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind," and the best way to start is to put an end to war in _____, because if it continues, we will inevitably come to the point of confronting _____ which could lead the whole world to nuclear annihilation.

It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine."

The above quote feels like it could have been written yesterday. You can easily put "Iraq" or "Iran" into the blanks. But it wasn't written yesterday. It was written 40 years ago by Martin Luther King about the Vietnam War. What a perfect example of how we haven't learned a damn thing.

On a day when we should be celebrating MLK's life, we are confronted with the image of a decapitated half-brother of Saddam Hussein. Quite the beacon of humanity and democracy that we are creating in Iraq.

And our power drunk leaders defy both popular opinion and the Congress to push their own agenda and get more young men killed:

Bush, Cheney: Congress won't stop troop surge
Bush: "I fully understand they could try to stop me. But I've made my decision, and we're going forward."
Yet when asked if he owes the Iraqi people an apology for botching the management of the war, he said, “Not at all. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude."

Cheney: "You cannot run a war by committee," the vice president said of congressional input.

Happy Birthday Mr. King. I wish you were here now. There are very few that are speaking truth to power like you did.


Anonymous said...

How sad is that? I can,t help but be depressed when I see glimpses of what our future holds if "the Decider" continues in his delusion that God spoke to him and told him, "You the Man, Georgie, Go save the world."

My two cents worth from an old lady in California

dbackdad said...

Thanks for stopping by, anon. Your two cents are always welcome here.

Laura said...

The similarities are astonishing. I don't know why there are still people out there saying we can't use the "V" word about Iraq.

Did you hear the latest? The botched executions and violence are merely "growing pains" for Iraq (anyone remember that Democracy is "messy"?). I think he actually used the word "fumbled," nothing like sports analogies to appear statesmanlike). Oh, and Georgie also said that the Iraqi people owe the US a debt of gratitude.

How callous is that? He really can only see the world from one singular point of view, can't he?

Sadie Lou said...

I spoke to a young man, a friend of mine, that is in the Marines. He is currently working in the hospital for G.I.s in Iraq. I asked him what he thought of the war and I asked him what he would say is the genral opinion of all the soldiers and he said that if Bush pulled them all out right now, all of their efforts would have been in vain. The soldiers that have died would have given their lives for nothing.
He said that if they see this thing through to the end--at least there is hope that those lives would have been given for something.

Kvatch said...

Hey...just wanted to pop in and thank you for rolling Blognonymous.

I've added your blog to my roll as well.

CyberKitten said...

Sadie said: I asked him what he would say is the genral opinion of all the soldiers and he said that if Bush pulled them all out right now, all of their efforts would have been in vain. The soldiers that have died would have given their lives for nothing.

That's a good point - but it shouldn't be the only reason to maintain a war. There comes a point where the 'investment' already paid in time, money and lives is no longer enough to keep on paying the price. The question we all need to ask ourselves is this:

Is the price already paid - and the price yet to be payed - worth the hoped for outcome? And is that outcome even achievable? If the answer to either of those questions is 'No' then its time to think about leaving.

Military solutions are generally few & far between.

dbackdad said...

Iraq is not a country any more ... it's an abattoir. That would be funny if it was a Monty Python sketch. But it's not. We are indiscriminately putting younger (and older) recruits into a meat grinder. And despite what Rush may say, deaths of Iraqi's actually count.

My dad was in the Vietnam war. My brother was in the first Gulf War. I'm not coming at my position on all this from some effete academic perch. These are real people on both sides that are dying. We honor no one by continuing the slaughter.

Laura said...

I agree that Sadie makes a very valid point. I'm sure there were many soldiers in Vietnam who said the same thing. The question here is, do we want to wait until we reach 50,000 casualties before we decide we've had enough? This war is unwinnable because you cannot impose a political system upon a people with force. You certainly cannot do it after all the mistakes that have been made thus far. If Bush had a real plan before last week, if the administration had followed the reccomendations of its senior military leadership in the beginning, and if Bush had even the slightest ability to see events and opinions from another person's point of view and actually knew how to make compromises, then MAYBE we could have done some good. Now, I think it is a lost cause and sadly, the only decision we have to make is are we going to lose 4,000 troops (and several thousand more wounded, and don't forget the 30,000+ wounded or dead Iraqis) in vain, or are we going to lose more in vain?

I certainly don't blame the soldiers for wanting to stay optimistic either. It's a basic psychologically response to conflict. If you're risking your life for a cause, you will convince yourself that that cause is worthy.

greatwhitebear said...

At some point, a war becomes a lot like an older used car. The cost of keeping it running becomes more than the cost of getting rid of it and moving on.

Yes, this war is winnable, but certainly not at a cost any American is willing to pay. To win this war you would need to bring in half a million troops and ruthlessly surpress the populace.

First, you wold have to establish a draft. Nobody, including the senior military want this. There are a lot of colonels and generals who remember being junior officers in Viet Nam, and having to sleep in shifts, with there side arms, to protect themselves from being killed by their own "citizen soldiers."

And by ruthless suppression, I mean draconian measures like executimng anyone found carrying a weapon, and executing the entire family of anyone who is caught storing arms or kills an American.

Does anyone in the US really have the stomach for this?

If not, it is time to stop letting this war nickle and dime us to death. Move on.