Government History

Not saying stop is not the same as saying go

In some ways I regret my Peaceblog no more writing, not because I don’t believe what I wrote — I do. And not because I feel like I’m selling out — I’m not. It seems to me this issue is on the minds of other people who marched and worked for peace. And it’s not an easy issue to discuss either.

I am aware that there are some people who are unhappy that I’m not continuing to protest the armed conflict in Iraq. That doesn’t bother me, as I knew that there will be people protesting the war until the end and that some will understand where I’m coming from, others won’t. I can accept this.

No, what does bother me is that others see this as a form of support for the war, as some sort of right-thinking move. (I hate that term with a passion, almost as much as I dislike neo-con.)

Let me be blunter: I am still against this war in Iraq. I believe, strongly, that the United States has no right to make what amounts to a unilateral invasion of Iraq. People are suffering and dying because of super inflated egos who have worked out a ‘strategy’ on paper and who refuse to acknowledge that they don’t have all the answers; in most cases, they don’t even know what the questions are. No, I believe the US screwed up.

However, I am also most interested in focusing my energy on what we can do to help the people of Iraq as soon as possible, as well as minimize the anger in the rest of the Arab world. In my opinion, this means establishing an interim government that will be acceptable to the Iraqi people and the majority of countries in the Middle East. At least until the Iraqi feel comfortable enough, as a whole, for everyone to “please just leave now”.

To me, this interim government should be overseen by more neutral parties, in my opinion, something joint between the Arab League and the UN.

I think the worst possible thing will be for the United States to continue in any form of controlling position in this country. Not only will this increase the stress and the anger in the Middle East, quite bluntly, I don’t trust the current leadership of this country not to screw up.

I also want to ensure that the US does not invade any other countries without cause. Not on my watch at least.

Now, taking all that, and borrowing from Jonathon’s upcoming “‘How to Respond to Idiots’ for Dummies” book, I don’t know how one gets from being sadly resigned to the belief that pulling troops out at this time would do more harm than good to the Iraqi people to I am now behind this war to give freedom and human rights to the Iraqi people.

However, there may be some confusion because of a mixed message I’m sending. After all, I am behind a war for freedom and human rights; it’s just that this war is being fought within the United States, not Iraq.

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From the Ashes arises the bird of converse

Sheila probably spoke for many yesterday when she declared no more war. The anger and bitterness surrounding the issue of the war in Iraq can drain even the most energetic of people. However, my hope is the war of rhetoric has managed to burn itself out, and from the ashes can come true conversation.

Soldiers are heading to Baghdad, and eventually, this city will be in US hands. This isn’t to say the ‘war’ will be over — this is not a typical war, fought by typical warriors. The question was asked — what next? Steve Himmer made a start on answering this question, without rhetoric, providing practical suggestions as to directions. In particular, his suggestion of the UNESCO loan program is a viable, reachable start to helping the people in Iraq. However, equally important, in my opinion, was that he was making an attempt to bridge differences between people with different views of the war in Iraq. And doing so in a non-confrontational manner.

Jonathon Delacour commented on Steve’s efforts, in the same writing where he responded to an accusation of racism levied against him in his comments. His remarks are about the most rational and effective response to that type of accusation I have seen. Rather let loose a stream of invective, and wade in with shirt sleeves rolled up, ready for a virtual showdown, he calmly refuted the accusation; managing to deflect the anger of the accusation, not back at the accuser, but outside the conversation, completely.

That’s what we need to do.

Primarily because of Steve’s reasoned response, Jonathon has also re-directed his discussion about protest marchers into expressing a specific issue rather than the use of more colorful and rather pithy adjectives.

Their conversation, and the comments associated with them give me hope. Hope that could only be increased if other voices join in.

(Hint. Hint.)

There is a conversation waiting to be born about the presence of the US in Iraq, about UN involvement, and the makeup of an interim government. There is also a conversation waiting to re-born about human rights at a global level — a closely related topic. Allan Moult pointed to two documents detailing human rights abuses in the world, including violations in this country. These are a start.

(How poetic that the twin issues of freedom and human rights for the people of Iraq are the same issues that we need to address here in the United States. )

From these conversations, common agreements can be found, perhaps even unified, positive actions. At a minimum, we may come away with a better understanding of our own reactions to the war, the UN, the US involvement, and human rights in general.

It’s just too bad we’re all so burned out. And I’m fresh out of Burningbird magic Rising from the Ashes Pixie Dust to sprinkle about.

And as I was finishing this, I looked up and out the window at a sky filled with black smoke. But it was just a fire at an auto shop nearby.

Government History

Peaceblog no more

I have removed the Peaceblog logo from the sidebar. I’m not sure at this point exactly what a peaceblog is. After three difficult days of thinking, I’m not sure what ‘peace’ is.

Before the invasion, ‘peace’ meant to me working to prevent my country from invading Iraq without good and decent cause and world support. By world, I mean UN support.

I never at any time considered Iraq an imminent threat. We are not justified attacking the country for this reason. We’re not justified attacking the country for 9/11. The only justification we could have for an armed conflict is to remove Saddam Hussein because of his oppression of the people of the country, but talk about Weapons of Mass Destruction is not concern about the Iraqi people. Too late the people of Iraq entered our regard.

Once we entered the country, once we dropped the bombs, we started something and to leave now will just result in a stalemate that will result in yet more death in a country that’s seen too much of it. The same type of death that resulted when we encouraged the Iraqi people to revolt 12 years ago and then didn’t stay around to help them. I bitterly regret that we started this war, but we can’t just leave now.

However, acknowledgment of finishing what we’ve started is not support. I do not support Bush and his administration. I do not support their short-sighted arrogance or their frightening long-term view for the Middle East.

The Sydney Morning Herald had a story today about disagreement within the Bush Administration about post-war strategy. It notes that the State Department (Colin Powell), as well as Britain’s Blair, believe in turning over the administration of Iraq to the UN after the war, though Powell has shown he won’t publicly refute the President’s and the Pentagon’s interest in maintaining US control.

I agree with turning the temporary administration of Iraq to UN control, as the country goes through what will be an extraordinarily difficult time. Replacing US control of Iraq with UN control is my push and my focus now, and that’s what I’m working for. The US presence will still be there, including our money and aid — we did start this after all — but under UN supervision as part of the UN forces.

And I do not agree with American corporate profiting from this war. Period.

The US staying in control of Iraq makes this a war of imperialism, regardless of how we want to wrap it. Not only will this inspire more terrorism, it will further destabilize the Middle Eastern region with fear of what the US will do next. I won’t soon forget the discussion about Syria and Iran last week. I won’t forget the implications of those words, and neither will Syria or Iran. Or, most likely, North Korea.

I also support direct Arab League involvement in the administration of Iraq. We have to start getting over our distrust of each other — Western world and the Arab world. Being the enemy without is not going to stop the spread of Muslim fanaticism or any form of fanaticism for that matter.

A most vivid image in my mind is that Iraqi driver the morning of the first bombing of Baghdad. The country was under war and the city had just been bombed, but the driver still signaled to turn, still stopped at a red light. Of all the images of destruction and violence and death from Iraq, this is the image that haunts me the most.

What the people of Iraq, and the Middle East, want is what we want — normalcy. Nobody wants war but the fanatical and the ambitious.

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