27 October 2006

War and peace, the disconnect

“If we leave, then they will come after us.”

Let me get this straight, George. We send our soldiers – our kids, our dads and moms, our brothers and sisters, etc. over to Iraq so they can be targets for the terrorists. For us. In our places. If we bring them home, then the terrorists will just come over here. They’ll just pack their suitcases, catch the next flight over.

You know, I’m no innocent. I don’t believe for a second that dedicated, single-minded terrorists of many types and flavors (and Muslim jihadists are just one of them) might NOT one day wreak destruction on American soil again.

The world is what the world is. Terrorism is nothing new. It’s a horror, an attack visited by the oppressed and ultra-righteous against those they see as their unrighteous oppressors. That holds true whether the terrorists are Muslim jihadists, Basque freedom fighters, members of the Irish Republican Army, the old Bader Meinhof or dammit, Timothy McVeigh.

Terrorism didn’t suddenly wink into being with Sept. 11. Pretending we’re dealing with terrorism over there so we don’t have to deal with it here is naïve. No, scratch that. It’s criminally stupid.

***

That was the post I’d started working on last night.

Then, just before I toddled off to bed, I saw the story in which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s architect of death and destruction in Iraq, tells critics of the war to “back off.”

This morning, the first thing I see in the headlines is that 43 people, including 23 Iraqi police officers, were killed during house-to-house fighting near Baghdad while I slept. The U.S. is claiming that 18 insurgents were killed too, but who knows, really.

Then I read about the Republican attack, initiated by Rush Limbaugh, on Parkinson’s sufferer Michael J. Fox for appearing in a political ad urging voters to vote for candidates that support stem-cell research in the hope it may someday help or even cure people with terrible, debilitating and often, ultimately fatal diseases and injuries.

Finally, I read that the Replicans are shrieking about the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling yesterday that allows civil unions for same-sex couples so they can share the rights enjoyed by married couples. Somehow, this benign ruling besmirches the sanctity of marriage.

Yet all these couples are asking for is the right to be legally considered “family” by the law, so should one or the other fall ill or die, they can make medical decisions on behalf of one another. They want the right that says the person dying can make sure his or her financial assets and property go to the loved partner, and they want the right to enjoy the same tax breaks heterosexual couples enjoy – whether they were legally joined by civil union (like I was) or by some pompous, bloviating, self-righteous God-person in a church.

No one is trying to destroy heterosexual marriage or deny heterosexuals the right to be married under their personal beliefs, have children and raise them however they wish. Sheesh.

Yet somehow, this non-issue is trumpeted by the self-righteous as Satan’s work on Earth.

Here’s something that’s niggled at me for a long, long time. How can people like George W. Bush (who signed legislation banning most stem-cell research) -- pro-life people – in the same breath cheerlead and support the useless deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands Iraqis?

It just doesn’t play. There’s a huge disconnect. Pro-lifers will protect blasocysts frozen in Petri dishes from being used for stem-cell research – which has the potential to save millions of lives in the future -- but enthusiastically send 18-year-olds, who have their whole lives before them, to Iraq to risk being killed for nothing more than George W. Bush’s frickin’ ego.

Because that’s what it comes down to. Our troops in Iraq are not making us safer here at home. According to the key judgements of the National Intelligence Estimate, released in part in September, our presence in Iraq is making us less safe. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with -- has never had anything to do with -- the "war on terror."

We're making moderate Muslims into extremists as we murder their sons, wives, children, husbands and families, and jeez, who can blame them? Turn the tables, and we'd be doing much the same thing. Al Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq before we overthrew Iraq’s government, then continued killing people and looting and destroying the country as occupiers – and turning a blind eye to the sectarian divisions which had existed there for centuries.

Saddam kept a tight lid on sectarian clashes in Iraq by imposing a secular government -- and killing anyone who opposed him. Bad guy, sure. But when we toppled him, then stood by as the populace exploded around us, we created the perfect conditions for terrorists, insurgencies, sectarian violence and civil unrest. We’re responsible now for the deaths of thousands more Iraqis in the nearly four years since Shock and Awe than Saddam was in 24 years of rule as a tyrant and dictator.

We are standing up to our hips in our own shit right now. Bush is telling us, with his fingers crossed behind his back, that no, no – that’s not shit you’re smelling, and even if it is, it’s not ours. In the meantime, he’s forcing our sons, daughters, husbands, brothers and sisters to take the bullet for us even as he screeches holy righteousness about smears on a Petri dish and the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy in its earliest stage – before the blasocyst becomes a person, grows up and is sent off to die as cannon fodder for his unholy wars.

And yes, I know we have an all-volunteer military. But once they sign the dotted line, they have no choice but to fight, whether the war is legal or not.

This is madness. We have allowed lunatics to take control of our country. And why? Because America was wetting itself with fear after 9/11. These madmen – our fellow Americans -- saw the opportunity to capitalize on it and make a mint for themselves and for others of their ilk.

Sept. 11 was a spectacular attack in terms of audacity, scale and numbers killed, but more, it was incredibly successful. For the last five years, America has been completely cowed and terrorized. Osama, who hasn’t had to lift a finger since that morning, just has to be completely satisfied with the results our leaders have given him. In fact, they took up the reins and drove that terrorism horse right on home.

Gotta stop it, folks. All of it.

Please vote on Nov. 7. Mine will be against anyone who supports the war in Iraq, supporting George’s ego by sending our sons and daughters to die violently for us by proxy while doing as little as possible to make us more secure at home. My vote will be against those who’d continue banning stem-cell research and who, in doing so, could be coldly condemning hundreds of thousands, even millions all over the world, to death. Finally, I’m voting against those who’d take away the right of women to choose whether they wish to bear a baby. Frankly, it’s none of their friggin' business.

It comes down to these things in the end. Will we, as Americans, choose war, death and cruelty over fairness and love?

1 comment:

Wil Morat said...

Excellent post, Blue Wren. Your writing is always a pleasure to read...if only I could sound so clear in my writing.

The Rumsfeld interview on Thursday bothered me as well. I don't like being told to "back off," or better yet, "not to worry - it's complicated."