Anybody else tired of hearing about the “blood and treasure” we are spending in Iraq?
What’s that all about, anyway? Is that supposed to be some sort of euphemism, so we don’t think about the dead and broken bodies and the hundreds of billions of dollars that are swirling down the drain? What’s a little blood, after all? Everyone’s cut themselves. No big deal, right? And treasure.Â Oooh, you mean like in “Pirates of the Caribbean” Yeah, pirate’s booty, not the pallets of cash, shipped literally by the ton in C-17’s, only to disappear down the Iraqi sinkhole. This happy talk is an extension of the U.S. policy of not showing pictures of military coffins as the dead are brought back, and the policy of not allowing cameras in the hospitals where the wounded are being treated. Sure it’s dishonest, but we’re talking about the Bush Administration, so what else is new?
And why is every military person, especially the grunts, now called a hero? Most of these kids didn’t know what they were getting into when they joined. They thought it was a good way to get out of their boring hometown, or they thought they’d learn a trade so they could later get a good civilian job (ha ha, the jobs are now in China), or they were packed off to the Army to get some discipline into their lives. Some of them were deluded into thinking they’d be defending freedom, or making the world safe for democracy, or liberating an oppressed people, or avenging the terrorist attacks on New York and DC, or [plug in the hyperpatriotic bullshit phrase of your choice]. Sure, now that they’re in, they’re doing a tough job and performing well, but who wouldn’t if the alternative was death or dismemberment? I’d like to see more of them stand up and say “This is wrong and I’m not going to take part in it.” That would be heroic. That would be taking a moral stand against overwhelming opposition.
In the sixties there was a bumper sticker that read “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” It was expressing the foolish idea that if we stopped lending our bodies to take part in the depraved militant fantasies of greedy old men, there would be no war, because there would be no one to fight it. We assumed that the politicians and generals wouldn’t do it themselves, and I don’t think we were wrong about that. And it recognized the reality that we — you know, The People — have the power to change things.Â All it takes is unity, across social class and national borders.Â If we stand up en masse and say “This is wrong and we’re not going to do it,” it’s over for the depraved, greedy old men who move us around on their chess board map of the world, “sacrificing” a thousand of us here, a million of us there, destroying whole countries, dislocating entire populations.
I’m not stupid enough to think anything like that is going to happen. I can’t say why, but it seems an impossible dream.Â Most of us will say we want peace on earth, but we stand ready to join up and kill our enemies, even though most of the time the enemy is us.