Has Something Good Come Out of The War In Iraq? I Missed What That Was

Some of my friends are arguing about War Mongers, draft-avoiders, and the start of the Iraq war on Facebook. Most seem to be pulling away from my position on war in general and they certainly have the right to do that. I still want to interject those thoughts back into the conversation.

Here’s my premise:

1) Killing people is wrong.That’s it. After that….

2) Killing people on a massive scale (aka war) is wrong on a larger scale.

3) Telling or coercing people to kill on a massive scale is wrong, but if you have the willingness to do it yourself, you’re at least consistent in your belief. If you won’t go, or won’t send your child, then you have no right to a) send somebody else or their child to war or b) punish them for not doing something you won’t do,

4) Killing people not only takes their lives (your intent) but a part of your psyche. Witnessing death or taking part in it is traumatizing. There is no argument about this. It is not open to interpretation.  It is simply a fact of human life. In “The Good War,” people didn’t talk much about taking other people’s life. They talked about risking their own lives for someone else. There’s a reason for this. The first is shameful and traumatizing. The second is heroic and perhaps necessary at times. Jesus did the second. He never did the first.

5) Assuming, for the sake of the argument, that my argument is wrong, but the first part of #4 is true, if you want to send someone to war, you’d better have a damn good reason to do it.

All of that is about war in general — all war, all gang wars, turf wars, religious wars, “holy” wars — all of them.

Now, about Iraq:

5) Lying is wrong.

6) Lying to get people to do something that traumatizes them is, frankly, evil.

7) I believe (but could be wrong) that the Bush White House lied about the Iraq war. They implied that Saddam Hussein was behind Al-Queda and the 9/11 plots. The told us, in no uncertain terms, that Saddam possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. They sent Colin Powell to the UN to explain things they knew to be wrong to make the case for the war. Powell intimated later that he couldn’t work with people like that.

8) Hussein was neither behind Al-Queda or the 9/11 attacks. A ruthless dictator, yes. A brutal man to the Kurds, yes. Behind 9/11? No.

9) With that argument out of the way, they had to lie about the reason to have a war. One of the UN inspectors published a piece in the New York Times that stated that they couldn’t find any. In response, the Bush White House (in the person of Scooter Libby) leaked that the inspector’s wife was a CIA operative, This put her life in danger, but Libby was later pardoned.

10) By my reckoning, if you need a damn good reason to go to war, and you don’t have one, you don’t go. The Congress didn’t have one, either. The best they had was the possibility of a good reason. They voted for going anyway, as is their right and/or job, but I will never believe that the reasons for that war were good enough to put people on both sides of the conflict into danger.

11) We’re already well over my standards for war, but to make matters worse, we sent troops into harm’s way to inflict harm on people, and we did it while 1) Calling our people “patriots” and 2) Not giving them the proper equipment to be patriots, making it more likely they would die. When this was raised by the soldiers, Donald Rumsfeld, of the Bush White House, told them “You go to war with what you’ve got” and implying they weren’t patriots for complaining.

SInce we went there, we have put those soldiers in contact with some illness called “Gulf War Syndrome”, destroyed the oil wells and put huge amounts of pollution into the air in Iraq (and said “global warming/climate change is a lie”), gave them sub-par medical treatment via the VA, and destroyed our economy paying for the war.

The Iraqi people are sort of free, but I’m not seeing how that makes up for all the losses involved. The Iraqis still fight among themselves. Their psyches are scarred by it all as well. They had to deal with the pollution we created. We looted their treasures while we were there, after destroying many of their resources. The kind of terrorism that Osama Bin Laden wanted and we (supposedly) went to fight against is stronger than it was before the war.

We’ve made the world less safe, destroyed our economy by raising the debt paying for this war, while cutting social programs. Are we any safer because of our actions? No. Do we trust our politicians? No. Did anyone profit by this but the weapons manufacturers? No. Is there a growing income inequality in this country? You bet. So, unless you are one of the 1%, nothing good came out of this war — a war we shouldn’t have been in in the first place, and we did it all for no good reason.

I could be wrong, but that’s my view.




Fifty Shades of Red

This is an opinion piece, rather than a Very Important Topic and I have a piece on caring for the homeless that I want to give air to in my “opinion”/current events blog, so here this is. Still, I’m not sure that this topic isn’t an eternal question — and that’s part of the problem.

Today, Valentine’s Day 2015, the sexually “kinky” movie “50 shades of Grey” comes out. Last night, my wife informed me that the kids in Middle School and High School are talking about the movie, that “fetish” is a “regular” word now but that kids mean something different than the clinical definition and more…

I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and say “la la la” loudly so that I didn’t have to think about it because we’re talking about my girls and sexual topics. I get that there’s a personal emotional side to this, as a Dad. I would expect myself to be queasy as my girls grow up and start talking about sexuality because I don’t think my brain should go there. I don’t want to be able to form mental pictures of my kids nude with somebody of their choosing doing sexual things, for the same reason I don’t read their journals. I believe in privacy. Their bodies, their lives, their decisions. Cross-generational sexual thoughts give me the heeby-jeebys and I think they should.

That said, I was mostly sad by the news that it’s a topic. Is there any place left in America where kids can just be kids anymore? Why do they need to know about BDSM? I remember the Clinton years and having to explain oral sex because it was in the news. I consider that to be a relatively normal topic in the adult world between partners or people at the age where sex is everything. Bondage/Domination/Sado-Masochism is, I think, at least a full standard deviation from the mean in terms of sexual expression. Why does any parent have to discuss it with kids who should thinking about the playground swing and finding the other genre “yucky”!if they think about them at all!?

Isn’t there kids world and adult world anymore? Why do kids need to know everything? Aren’t there things their little minds shouldn’t know about because they have no meaning to them? Does bondage really need to be on the Today show? Or the radio? Or the previews at the movies? In the Super Bowl commercials?

Isn’t sexuality a private, adult thing anymore? Is anything? Shouldn’t there be something? Maybe I’m just old and prudish. I’m certain that’s part of it and I know I don’t have any adult reason to dislike the topic. I just think it’s weird.

I get that sex is “natural”. I get that communication between parents and kids is important. I get that people do whatever they do and have the right to in private. If I wouldn’t let my kids in my bedroom in real life because it’s private, why would I let them into the virtual bedroom? More to the point, why would I move my sex life into their life at all?

I know how we got here, but really, did we need to go there?