Wednesday, March 19, 2008

five years too many.

today is the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the iraq war. i'm taking part in the iraq war blogswarm, and when trying to decide what to write, i took a look at their excellent and reasonable suggestions:
You are encouraged to write against the war from a variety of perspectives. The war is a huge problem, and that makes it an enormous subject for blogging. Here are some things you might want to consider if you are having difficulty making up your mind:
  • Attend an anti-war event and report on it.
  • Interview military families and veterans.

  • NEW IDEA: Blog reactions to Pacifica's Live Radio Coverage of the Winter Soldier testimony by Iraq Vets would be of great interest. Coverage from the event in Washington, DC would be great too. This event deserves all the coverage it can possibly get.

  • Examine current plans and the rather shadowy oil laws as well as long term military bases.

  • Compare and contrast candidates stated intentions on what they claim they will do with their records.

  • Publicize online action alerts by pro-peace organizations.
  • Discuss the economic impacts of the war on people in Iraq and/or western countries.

  • Discuss the casualties on both sides.

  • Explore issues and impacts often ignored by most media outlets

  • Analyze war propaganda."
but then i realized that i don't have the heart or the stomach to write a carefully researched analytical piece on the implications of the war (although i am grateful to the people who can.)

i just want you to think of the people you love best: your kids, your nephews and nieces, your parents, your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/husband/wife, your best friends, your grandparents, and then i want you to imagine them dead. killed by a bomb that fell on their bed while they were sleeping, blown up by a suicide bomber while they were shopping for food, shot in the head by a soldier because they didn't understand the command to stop, ripped apart by an improvised explosive devise that their tank ran over, burned to death in an explosion after a rocket hit their vehicle, tortured to death by militia members or american soldiers, wasted away completely by diarrhea from some water-borne illness, caught in the crossfire between someone and someone else...

stop and think about it. that tiny body you bathed and dressed and cuddled, broken. the form beside which you curled up every night, burned beyond recognition. the son who grew up to be a man in the army, reduced to a sealed rubber bag within a sealed wooden box, draped with a flag.

if you have been fortunate enough to escape the agony of losing someone to this war, thank god or the universe or fate or dumb luck that you were born where you were, that you know the people you know, and don't know the people you don't. because there are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends whose lives will never be the same. and you're not so different from them. you're just lucky.

i can appreciate the importance of the environmental costs, the geostrategic implications, the infuriating illegality, the economic insanity, and maddening feeling of inevitability that accompany this abhorrent war. but today, i don't want to talk about them. those are concerns for another day; they take us away from the basic point: loved ones are dying.

so call congress, write a letter, give money to anti-war candidates, the afsc, unicef; talk to people about the war; don't forget it. but today, stop and imagine your most precious ones in the places of these most precious ones. and think of it when you start to forget about the war, or when someone tries to convince you that the war is "necessary."

i feel sick. you should too.


nolo said...

very-solid post -- and perhaps
far better than my dry,
analytical, what are the
dollar-trade-offs for the
war piece -- yours is from the
heart. . . well-put!

[i am trying to read all of
the 'swarmed posts, by midnight,
thus i must be brief. . .]

vote for an anti-war president!

sen. obama [or, to a lesser extent,
sen. clinton. . .] in november 2008.

but you were going to anyway, right?


p e a c e

-- nolo

sarah said...

nolo: thank you for the compliment. your post was good too. there is nothing wrong with examining trade-offs; i just can't do it sometimes.

did you succeed in your attempt to read all the swarmed posts by midnight?

libhom said...

That post is incredible!

So often, when we discuss the war on Iraq, we abstract the people right out of it. Thanks for putting the human costs in the kind of personal perspective that makes it difficult to deny the reality of war.

sarah said...

libhom: you are welcome. i'm glad that this post was meaningful to you. i'm so tired of all the obfuscation surrounding discussions of war.

i checked out your sites too; it looks like you are doing really good work. keep it up.