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.