Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Liberals and conservatives admit to a great many divides between their ideological stances, but few are as heartfelt as their beliefs (or non-beliefs) in war. Right now, conservatives are the primary voice to stay the course in Iraq, just as, two generations ago, they called for staying the course in Viet Nam.
Liberals are cast as demons in an almost biblical sense by the more rabid conservatives -- 'if thine eye offend thee, cast it out.' We are Americans in name only to those conservatives, they see liberals as soft, spoiled children with no inkling of how the world works.
I would suggest that how the world works is by centuries of habit. Generations of people passing down their prejudices and biases along with their wisdom. This idea has been percolating in my head for a bit, but then I saw a Discovery Channel program named 'Busting Out' and it was about the American male's fixation with female breasts. The announcer was adamant that the American culture was unique in its love for breasts and I couldn't even begin to fathom that. I assumed they were incorrect at best and lying, at worst, for some kind of feminist agenda. But, they interviewed people from other cultures, who seemed to not "get" our fascination with breasts.
That's when it hit me. Certain Americans love war. They believe war is good for business; they believe war is virile; they believe war is holy; they believe war is natural. And, they are part of a global community of fans of war.
I think certain liberals simply see another way to go. And, trust me, NOT making war in a world that is enamored of the stuff is a delicate balancing act. For instance, does the power elite spy on and squelch all resistance? How much opposition is healthy and how much leads to armed rebellion? Is mind control a viable alternative to warfare or should we weed out opposing voices the CIA way -- covert assassinations?
With those kinds of considerations, being a liberal is not for the faint of heart. Are there wars we have to fight? Yes. There are wars for the survival of those you love against people with whom reason has not worked. Is Iraq one of those wars? No. Our economic and military might is such that we could have made Iraq another Cuba. Embargoes, blockades, sanctions -- all the tricks of the trade. There would have been no way Iraq could have been a terrorist training ground, or WMD storage site if we had so chosen.
What the Gandhis and Kings of the world understood is that a learned behavior can be unlearned. War is a learned behavior. And, it plants a potent seed. Most see war as indivudal outbursts. That makes it more palatable and understandable - Jimmy hit Johnny so Johnny goes to war. Military historians know it is one, long fight with interruptions. For instance, it is not unreasonable to some Muslims to see present-day jihads as responses to The Crusades -- which happened in the MIDDLE AGES.
War is interrupted, but it grows in the refractory periods. Refractory periods are those moments when an organism or system is resting; recharging for its next outburst. Sex, athletics, musical performances, romances, war -- all have refractory periods, a fallow time that erupts into the activity at hand.
Even now, as we are at war with Iraq, there are millions of little refractory periods that began with an injustice and are simmering: eight-year-old brothers shot to death by U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint; daughters killed mistakenly by mortars; soldiers who see their best friends blown to bits by RPGs.
Who has the courage to say war isn't always the answer? I haven't seen any moves by conservatives to wean our society from the teat of war.
link | posted by Jae at 7:52 AM |
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