Open your eyes to truth about war

Open your eyes to truth about war

by David Morain

After reading a recently circulated mass e-mail by a Simpson student entitled “In case of war…”, I have come to two conclusions: 1) mass e-mails are the worst possible forum for an individual’s personal feelings and 2) people who believe the tripe contained within that particular e-mail don’t know shit about reality.

I have so many issues with the utter nonsense some illogical malcontent felt the need to expound upon that I could not possibly fit all of them into our 16-page newspaper. I think that his or her statement about a fourth of the way down sums up everything that I would say quite nicely: “I will not pretend to understand.”

Folks, we simply cannot rationally view the entire situation in Iraq by labeling ourselves as “good” and everyone we fight as “evil.” I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. I know that some of us would like to go on believing that the world can be a very happy place as long as the United States is at the head of it, keeping the bad men away while ushering in democracy all over the globe in some sort of “pax Americana.” If this categorizes you, wake up.

When did we become a nation of sheep? Can we not comprehend that there are some things that our government does that are absolutely atrocious and devoid of any feelings of empathy or compassion? We are responsible for many atrocities that you were never taught in school. Don’t believe me? Just look up “My Lai” on any major search engine and you’ll understand.

Don’t think that I’m anti-American just because I rant and rave about how the United States has its share of black eyes. I am very much in support of the United States, but before that, I am for the world. Shouldn’t we all be? Aren’t we in this together? When a man gets shot in Iraq, it shouldn’t matter what color his skin is, what flag he owes his allegiance to or what god he prays to. It’s a tragedy in any language.

People believe we should support our president at all times. That type of blind faith ensures that we’ll never see the light, as in Plato’s cave in “The Republic.” What we can do is hope that he makes the right decisions in the right situations. Do I believe that George W. Bush is an intelligent man? Of course. He wouldn’t be where he is now if he were a complete buffoon. However, I also believe that he stacked his defense department with crypto-Reaganite war hawks that look at Iraq as the first step toward democratizing the entire Middle East. Will it work? I don’t know, nobody does. What I do know is that there are better ways of freeing a nation than bombing the hell out of it.

It makes me sad to think that some could go to an institution of higher learning and come away with nothing more than what they could have learned by watching a Pat Robertson television special. Take a look around you. We are surrounded by so many sources of information on today’s headlines of Iraq if we’d only take time away from FOX News to notice.

Our political science department could tell you about how democracy could hope to be achieved in an Islamic state. Our history department could tell you how we got to the point of conflict with Iraq, of the different types of people that live there and the ways they interact with each other. Our religion department could tell you how we would define a just war in accordance with the church. You can educate yourself if you only open your eyes.

Whether or not you support an armed conflict with Iraq, you have to understand that war is wrong. Many have a romantic view of war, that it’s “I have not yet begun to fight” and “once more into the breach, dear friends.” It’s not. When Dan Rather reports that U.S. forces sustained heavy casualties outside of Karbala, these are not merely statistics. The American soldiers that are dying in Iraq are our friends, our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives.

It’s the same on the other side of the line, too. You can write off an Iraqi soldier’s death by labeling him as a bad man, but you can’t mask the fact that some girl in Baghdad will never see her dad again.

No one suffers more during an armed conflict than civilians. Not only is their world turned upsidedown, they become war casualties when mistakes are made. Did you think that our missiles were accurate all the time? One tailed off into Iran, hitting an oil depot, while 37 Syrians were killed when another errant bomb unintentionally hit their bus. Just another cost of Iraqi freedom.

You can’t go on believing that the things our government does are always right. Our nation may be the self-appointed leaders of the free world, but that doesn’t mean we have the right to pull a gun on anyone that doesn’t fall in line. Battles may be fought and won, but no one can win in war.