Thursday, August 10, 2006

Word to the Wise

Let me explain something to you, friend -- and this is something that needs to be explained to all Sheehanites and Murthas out there, as well. There were no American children lost in Iraq. Our sons and daughters, yes, but we live in a society that is protected by a volunteer army. NOT ONE of those brave men and women were forced to serve. Please, please, please do not belittle their sacrifices by insinuating that their lives were somehow stolen from them. I am personally friends with many Marines (many in the more-than-you-can-count-on-your-phalanges sense). Based on this I can tell you those folks know what they're doing, they believe in it, and they'd do it again.

Sheehan's poor son has been completely politicized; his sacrifice has been forgotten in the wake of his mother's ravings. The woman is a lunatic, as is anyone who would use the death of a loved one as a spring board into the political arena. That, my friend, is truly sick.

While I do find fault with Murtha for his opposition of the war, that isn't the root of the my criticism of him. He's a hatemongering politician, who has shown himself utterly devoid of any inkling of understanding the phrase "Semper Fi", who has turned his back on his fellow Marines, who has sold out his integrity for a few cheap moments in the media spotlight. His allegations of "cold blooded murder" and the whole cavalier, gleeful attitude of "guilty until proven innocent" has absolutely ruined the careers of men fighting and dying for this country. Anyone who can sit there and say the things he said is someone whom I truly cannot respect. If those men did what they allegedly did (not to get into the supposed veracity of the Times' and subsequent reports) they should fry -- but to pronounce them guilty of war crimes before they'd even had a chance to be charged of a crime is downright ridiculous.

Whether or not you agree with the war, you should join me in condemning Murtha and Sheehan not for the stand they've taken, but for the utterly disgusting methods they've chosen to employ to get their message out there. Dancing on the grave of your son or impinging the honor of hundreds of thousands of brave American volunteers with little more than hearsay to go on should be things everyone is sickened and horrified about.


Matt said...

Might as well...

I truly respect your stance on this 100%. I find a part of myself feeling the same way. I don't really know how to respond to that with dignity. But I'll make an attempt.

I completely and utterly, from the bottom of my heart, oppose this war. I think it ruined any chance of global peace that the world may have seen after the end of the cold war, and especially after 9/11. We've shown our teeth to the rest of the world. Now they're paranoid about our intentions.

We were the last super-power left in the world. We had built up a military mighty enough to be able to destroy the Soviet Union 15 times over... then they were gone in a flash. What was our military complex to do? Any other society on Earth would have allowed their military funds to at the very least remain fixed, or (heaven forbid) to decrease government funding for defense. This is because there is only SO MUCH money you can use in government operations.

That money could have gone into humanitarian causes. Instead, every year the military-industrial complex expanded and became more and more powerful, eventually becoming an almost individual political force of it's own over the years. We could have tried to stop that progression a long time ago. If we were only concerned with pure defense instead of offense, our budget would be much smaller.

We could have become a country that was devoted and specifically aimed towards helping third world nation's economies, fighting diseases like AIDS, providing humanitarian aid to every corner of the planet. Giving and providing. Giving to other people looks a hell of a lot better than bombing them... agree? or disagree? I know, I know... we're already doing this. But take a closer look at our humanitarian contribution to the rest of the world based on the overall populations and GDP's of other western countries.

After the cold war, the world kept a close eye on us specifically because they were afraid that a politician may someday take advantage of that awesome military power. They'd look at organizations like PNAC (Project for a New American Century) and get the jitters because their geo-political aims resembled that of historical military empires. Then guess what happened... in 2000, almost every single appointee to the Bush Administration was or had been a member of the PNAC in the past.

Every single presidential term for the past 50 years has been in one major war at one point in their term. There hasn't been a president that wasn't in wartime since before the 40's. This in a day and age where every single arena of human experience has seen an exponential advance in understanding. Yet, we cannot figure out a way to end war and suffering. Starting wars, even the consideration of starting a war that does not involve an absolute IMMINENT THREAT to the well being of your country is immoral and WRONG. I'm going to finish this point in my post today.

The "Sheehanites" and the "Murthas"
out there are the ones that are trying to reverse this slow trend towards militarism, and reverse the world's perception that we'll bomb anybody that disagrees with us. That might scare some people away, but then what happens is you get things like rogue states and terrorist groups, filled with fundamentalists who are willing and ready to oppose your empirical intentions. We have to change the perception of the people who hate us. That is the only way we will truly defeat their idea. Remember, we are not out to defeat people, merely the idea that they are united by. And don't say "that's impossible". You don't ever give up on a cause in the military, so why give up on trying to convince these people we don't mean them any harm. Occupying people who don't want you in their country won't help reverse animosity. You can't kill every terrorist in the world, they aren't a nation or a government. They're loosely held together by an idea. That's it, an idea. Idea's are bulletproof.

Look, I don't care if it's a volunteer army or not. A lot of those soldiers enlisted because they had no other choice, nowhere else to turn in their lives. They either had no family, they had no job and they couldn't support themselves... say they're watching tv, as many people who don't have jobs do, and a commercial that the military has spent billions of the american taxpayers money on, comes on the tube. The commercial shows how great it's going to be in the army, (no mention of "this is a very dangerous job, you might die, because were planning on invading a lot of people soon"), how all you have to do is serve for 3-4 years and they'll pay for you college education. Wow, that really sounds nice. Then you get there and you realize that the government owns your body, literally. You are their property and if you refuse to do whatever they say, whether it be cleaning, cooking, repairing or shooting another human being with an M-16 in the head, off to prison you go. I don't mean to over-generalize, but I have seen this happen to people I went to high school with.

With all of THAT said... if you want to make a clear distinction as to whether or not I believe our soldiers lives have been wasted, I would say, yes and no. They're my heroes, they're dying for me, working their asses off in the 120 degree iraqi heat to protect ME. They're being thrown into these dangerous conditions and being killed in the hopes that I will be safe here at home. Were their lives wasted? Absolutely not. These young men and women mean more to me and to the rest of the american population than they will ever know. "I will die so that you can live". I respect that mentality more than I respect anything on this Earth. To say that they're lives were "wasted" sounds horrible. But there really isn't another word in the english language that can describe the extremely unfortunate circumstance of the death of a human being with all the potential in the world, as a result of powerful people who's honorable ends of setting up a democracy in the middle-east justified any means necessary.

I've noticed a lot of this black and white argument around the conservative blogs today. I hate that, because no one is ever 100% for or against something, we all have our doubts in our own convictions now and then.

k2aggie07 said...

The difference lies in this: human nature is human nature, and it can be extrapolated from limited social interactions on the small group scale all the way up into international conflicts.

Any time you have a group of people you'll have group dynamics that will fall into ordered, predictable cause-and-effect relationships. This is psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc, and I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in the field.

Anyway, you've surely interacted or played a part in group dynamics. You know that people run the gamut from nice to mean, good to bad, kind to cruel. Human personalities are, like most things in nature, subject to normal distribution in the form of a bell curve. That means that the vast majority of people are smack dab in the middle, with only a very few percent being saints, or truly evil, twisted folks.

Based entirely on those facts, I can tell you that war will never go away. For ever idealistic dreamer, theres a balance on the other side of a scheming, evil, corrupt, powerhungry individual. For every leader in the world that finds bloodshed distasteful (and I think Bush falls into this category) there's another who exults in the power that allows him to kill others. Bell curve.

Because of this, and other cultural dynamics such as the idea of fixed wealth and "the have vs. have-nots" war will never go away. The only way to really prevent wars is open trade. I'll make a prediction: as long as trade between China and the US is good, we will never have a war with them.

The only reason to go to war over economics (and really, all wars are rooted in economics) is if you think that there is no easier / simpler alternative. As long as you ascribe to the world view that wealth is infinite, can be generated, there is no reason to effectively steal wealth from another country. This is why fixed-wealth mentality is so dangerous.