You are the witness of change
And to counteract
We gotta take the power back
--Rage Against The Machine
Nothing crushes dissent quite like the first salvo of war. People return to their homes and wait for the end to come. We have been taught that it is wrong to do anything other than support our nation and stand together in times like this. Bullshit. This is when you need to make your voice heard.
We are haunted by echoes of Vietnam. Indeed. During the first Gulf War, all I heard was people talking about how this was our opportunity to "make it up to the troops" for our disrespect for them after Vietnam. They weren't the same troops and there was no mass movement to help the veterans of the Vietnam War deal with the medical and psychological damage they suffered in that conflict. It was all about yellow ribbons for our proud heroes from the conflict in The Gulf. This made them feel all sorts of better about things. Yellow ribbons didn't mean jack shit in the end. I know veterans of both Vietnam and the first Gulf War that can't get the government to help them with how fucked up they became as a result of these "conflicts."
I will wait. I will not support this pre-emptive action that is taking place in my name. I didn't believe in it two months ago. I didn't believe in it two weeks ago. I don't believe in it now. Yet you temper that with respect for those who are obeying orders and doing their job. At the same time it distresses me to hear the president of the United States dictating that Iraqi soldiers desert or face future consequences. Regardless of the fact that the man who runs their country is the worst kind of human being to walk the face of the earth, they are defending their country. To ask them to commit treason while urging us to rally behind our own troops is wrong. Twelve years ago we were liberating a country that had been invaded. Regardless of circumstances surrounding that, it is in the interest of the world to prevent invasion and repel those who would threaten their neighbors. It is in the interests of the world community to prevent any country from invading another because of a perceived threat or perceived wrongdoing. And therewithin lies the rub.
The first casualty of war is truth.
What happens if the U.S. led forces rolls over Iraq, encounters pockets of resistance, and no weapons of mass destruction are launched by Iraq? What if it proves to be just a steamroller effect where a path of destruction to Saddam's door forces a regime change? What if we are faced with killing people armed with sticks and knives trying to defend their homeland? Is it considered an effective measure with little cost in life on our side and therefore a precedent for future action? This is the real danger. It isn't the war, really. It is the precedent. It changes everything. This is what I fear, and I don't fear anything. I am merely an observer on this world. I am not really part of it any longer. I can feel the shift, and it is not a comfortable shift.
Buy a veteran a beer, for fuck's sake.
Oh, wait, I almost forgot
Chaos is so close I can taste it.