Friday, November 19, 2004


I'm gonna keep this short. This war needs to end. The summary executions have to be stopped. The civilan casualties have to be stopped. The endless appropriations for this conflict have to be stopped--we're paying troops to knock buildings down and then also paying for them to be rebuilt, usually so some fatcats can make a killing both on the reconstruction and on the business that goes on there afterward.

Don't Assume

So it seems that the reason this is allowed to go on is that people are trained to assume that we have to be in Iraq. Almost every pundit show and news article and opinion piece more or less bases arguments on the supposed fact that we have to be in Iraq. In other words, they assume Iraq.

There are so many articles to link to in order to demonstrate this, so here's one I read today. It's a Slate article basically defending the soldier who shot the unarmed, wounded Iraqi.
Now, it doesn't really argue for or against our being in Iraq or anything, but I use it as an exhibit of "assuming Iraq" because, if it weren't for the fact that we're in Iraq, the article wouldn't need to be written. The poor bastard that was shot wouldn't (necessarily) be dead, and the poor bastard who shot him wouldn't have been put in that position by George W. Bush.

But the article prattles on about how saintly the U.S. military is and how the killing of the Iraqi isn't morally equivalent to the killing of Margaret Hassan as war critics might like to say. They say this is true because Hassan was never a combatant, unlike the headshot Iraqi.

What they conveniently leave out, because they assume Iraq, is that we invaded their country under false pretenses. Were the tables turned and the United States was being occupied by Iraqis, we in America would surely think that the unfortunate deaths of the combatant and Hassan were morally equivalent. Here's the interesting way the Slate authors look at it:

As it turned out, the Iraqi was entitled to mercy, but Hassan was truly innocent. There is no legitimate moral equivalence between a soldier asking for quarter and a noncombatant like Hassan.

So what the writers (two former military men wrote this article) are saying, by contrasting Hassan and the headshot Iraqi, is that the Iraqi is guilty because he fought. Well, according to this logic, the logic put forth by these writers, fighting makes you "guilty." Well, guess who the Iraqi was fighting? The Americans, who are also fighters.

So these Slate writers are doubly hypocritical in that 1)they're apologists for war crimes (just as they accuse those who would criticize our involvement in Iraq as "insurgent apologists" and 2) they're arguing that the insurgents are the guilty ones, not U.S. soldiers, while they make the implicit case that combat taints a person--but both sides are engaged in combat.

And that's what frustrates and angers me. Like I said at the beginning, we shouldn't have to be puzzling through this. We should not have gone to Iraq in the first place, we should not be there now, and we should never go back in the future unless Iraq actually does attack us.

I thought the "war on terror" was supposed to be a "new kind of war." Well, what we see on TV every night seems like the same old kind of bloody, imperialistic, nasty, unnecessary, foul, hellish business it always has been.

What We Should Have Done

Given that we've spent between $100-200 billion already on this stupid, unnecessary war and sustained thousands of casualties, we should have just given Saddam $10 billion if he would agree to move to a compound in Paris, where he would be monitored but could enjoy the billions any way he saw fit as long as he was not using it to build up armaments to attack other countries or anything else of a similar nature. Not a shot fired, not a life lost on either side. And much cheaper than what we're doing now.

Could that be construed as "rewarding" Saddam for his bad behavior? Well, I suppose one could come to that conclusion about as easily as one might conclude that going to war under false pretenses like we've done is punishing our soldiers for joining the military.

We shouldn't even have an army when we're not at war. And we should only be involved in wars of defense, yes, after we've been attacked. Sorry, Bushfucker, that's they way it works. The "pre-emptive" doctrine and the "war on terror" are designed so that we will always have wars and therefore the people will always be on edge and always ready to sacrifice liberty for security.

It's kind of like an ex-military man I might right before the start of the war said when I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to go to Iraq--he said, "Well,we've got the most powerful military in the world--it seems a shame not to use it." And I was in the company of another soldier years ago and we happened to hear the song "War" by Edwin Starr ("War/what is it good for/Absolutely nothing). The soldier said "I hate this song--if it were'nt for war, I wouldn't have a job."

And even my own dear departed grandmother once said "I love the military" as we were looking through photo albums. How she could say this after living with my grandfather in the years after his nervous breakdown during WWII after which, according to all accounts, he was never the same again.

What is wrong with people?

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