Sunday, June 25, 2006

Cold Comfort

All wars end, eventually. So we pacifists always “win,” eventually. Even the Courier-News recently admitted that despite anti-war protestors with plenty of hard evidence, clamoring for a public debate for months before the invasion, their executive board, like Congress, was taken in by the Bush lies.

Cold comfort for more than 2,500 American troops, dead, and their bereaved families. Cold comfort for the blinded, lame and mentally ill veterans. Cold comfort for well over 150,000 Iraqis dead, and thousands more Afghanis: ruined cities, starving children, all the normal fallout of war.

But these wars will end. One fine day, either the populations of soldiers or civilians will run out, or the enraged and yet stifled American public will somehow develop an effective way to get our media and our leaders to end one or both wars, with policy decisions to pull out, along with public and policy positions against force as a viable conflict resolution tool, and against the international arms trade as a legitimate source of economic activity.

Even then, though, we peaceniks won’t win, because what we want is not just an end to any particular war, but an end to the beginnings of all wars. I’m almost resigned to the fact that we couldn't stop these wars before they began. But sooner or later, the bloodshed will gush and then trickle to an end, this time around. I fear the build-up to the next one.

I put hope in the idea of the UN creating a “Pen Pals for Peace” program, in which individual suburban American families, with their two-car garages and Chem-Lawns, overbearing mortgages and hour-long commutes, will be linked directly with individual Iraqi families, so they can personally get to know the people whose lives their apathy, ignorance and gullibility helped destroy. So the sudden, violent death of an uncle or a daughter, or the destruction of a home, will move from being an abstract number in a news article buried on the international page, to become a visceral, tangible, horrible reality, and they won’t ever be able to go back to silent compliance. So that our people will refuse to participate in the exact same crimes committed by those who we reject as terrorists.


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