Protest and Support
The war in Iraq has stirred our nation into a frenzy of ideological movements. Current Gallup polls show the majority of Americans supporting the war efforts… but those in opposition had produced some large and public shows of their disdain.
When it comes to the public sneering between the pro-war and anti-war camps, I cannot suppress my own disdain for both sides. It seems that, like in almost every other politically divided issue in this world, the arguments and splits wrestle with propaganda and paranoia rather than rational inquiry.
The problem with the war protestors is that they argue against war on ideological and emotional grounds without considering the reality of this harsh world. Non-violence is a wonderful ideal that most humans do prefer to live by… but it cannot be an absolute creed because this world is not a fairy tale. If you have a threat to your survival, then you must protect yourself with force.
Protesting war because it is war is like protesting a woman’s right to shoot an oncoming rapist. There is one and only one viable reason to protest war, and that is if the war is unjustified. Giving peace a chance is always the best way to solve conflicts initially, but the true burden of people who want to protest war is to prove that Iraq (or any other alleged enemy) is not a threat.
That is the dilemma facing anyone who wants to judge the validity of this war on logic, survival and justice. Is Iraq really a threat to America? Given the information that we have been fed by the media and government, we have to try to answer that question. And it’s a question that almost every single American is not equipped to answer, because we only see filtered images and facts. We are not in Iraq. We don’t know what our government knows about Iraq. Not one of us can say that Iraq does or does not have weapons of mass destruction.
News media tries to disseminate facts about world events and scenarios. But even the most demanding viewers are at an impasse to seriously judge all they hear and see. Different news organizations have conflicted political and philosophical outlooks behind their reporting, and they choose to focus their commentary on angles that support those views.
Add to that chaos the even wider confusion of the information thrown across the Internet, and you are led to a virtually impossible situation.
This mass media frenzy of conflicting SoundBits encourages the mindless hysterics of political rallies and protests that are backed by emotion and propaganda. People feel that their emotions need to be heard and they want to effect the world situation based on their personal reactions to the chaos they see. But emotions and instincts are ill-equipped to deal with the complicated entanglements of the world political scene; worse even is that emotion (the very experience that makes life so worthwhile) is a terrible bedfellow for management and justice.
Now the war protesters are not the only mindless crowds cheering for political efforts without taking a logical look at the world. I would say that majorities of the people who scorn the war protests as Un-American are of the same mental capacity as the protestors. I have received plenty of Spam from these right-winged groups that imply that we should ship protestors off to war. I read a letter to the editor in my former home at the Messenger where a reader called for a Columbus Councilwoman to be prosecuted for treason as a traitor to America because the councilwoman wanted to pass a resolution denouncing the current Iraqi war.
The sad truth is that this letter expounds an attitude very similar to that held by the regime controlled by Saddam Hussein—suppress ideas and thoughts and opinions.
Most of us want Utopia. Unfortunately we will never have that. It’s too bad that all conflicts couldn’t be resolved over a tabletop conversation… But the world is not put together intelligently or with logical harmony. It’s a haphazard project constantly evolving, and even its crown jewel cannot escape the red tooth and claw of history and unavoidable conflicts.
If we are to get through this time with a sense of accomplishment we must take a long look at what it means to be an American. An American is simply a person with the freedom to make decisions about the actions in his life and freedom to let the world know how he feels and thinks.
Several nations around the world might as well be America, because America is more an ideal than a place. Even our estranged friends in France are part of America. Britian, even Germany—who was a criminal animal seventy years ago—is really now a part of this movement called America.
There is no lasting regret to the world that a tyrant who hates America loses his tight control over a nation. If that tyrant loses his life, so-be-it. If the nation called Iraq wakes up to a new way of enjoying its presence in this world, that is a good thing for the people of Iraq and their neighbors. America is not out to destroy and suppress. Just ask Japan, Germany and now Afghanistan. America isn’t altruistic, but it is empathetic to the plights of enslaved people.