Elegant Despair

Jonathon writes:

Dave adds: “I just hope we’re up to this challenge. With the right leadership, I’m sure we could be. I’m not at all confident we have the right leadership.”

We don’t have the right leadership. To put it bluntly, we’re fucked.

Unless the anti-war/peace movement can come up with something more sophisticated and useful than red-daubed faces, drumming, banal chants, puerile street theater, trite placards, histrionics, self-indulgent moralizing, and wishful thinking.

Before this war started in Iraq, there was a growing number of anti-war protests happening in the world. Aside from a very few occurrances, these were peaceful and they were impressive. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, marched peacefully.

However, we went to war anyway and it’s easy to sit back and say, we failed, but that’s defeatist because we didn’t fail. At a minimum, we forced Bush and Blair to realize that this is not a universally popular war, this is not a unversally accepted method of dealing with one person in one country. We forced them to be aware that we are watching them. Who knows how bloody this fight would be without this?

So I am disappointed to see Jonathon mock those who have marched for peace, who continue to march for peace. Who continue to let Bush and Blair know that we are still watching, even though in this country we now face riot police, pepper spray, and being called terrorists.

Dave Rogers writes:

All that being said, folks should be prepared for this to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better. And that means we’re going to have to gut it out and win this thing. None of this “peace with honor” crap. The Battle of Baghdad is going to be as bloody as anything from WW II. I know it’s kind of hard to grasp that sometimes the right thing to do in the face of death and destruction is to cause more death and destruction, but that’s the unpalatable truth. If we fail at this, we’ve dishonored ourselves and the sacrifice of all who have already given their lives in this debacle; and failure will only guarantee far more death and destruction in the years to come. We have to win this thing, and leave something in our wake that means something. The dead in this war are an enormous down payment on something, let’s make sure it’s something worth what they’ve paid.

Dave is, in some ways, representative of what’s happening in the US now — well, we’re in war now, we might as well finish it and not say anything because to do so shows the military we don’t respect them. Let’s just get this thing over with and move on. No offense Dave, but that’s about the most passive-aggressive pro-war statement I’ve seen among the weblogs.

What Dave and Jonathon don’t realize, or seem to realize, is that Rumsfield and Colin Powell are already setting the stage for the next war in Syria and Iran. That our blind ‘support the troops at all costs’ attitude is, bluntly, giving them a green light to continue a policy of aggression that can only result in further hostilities.

Dorothea wrote in response to Jonathon’s post:

Ah. Well, that pretty much leaves me out, ignorant and impotent fool that I am. And since Jonathon presents no useful alternatives, I—do what? Despair, I guess. If someone were to make a case for a given action as being more useful than what I’ve done, I’d do it. I’ve read cases for public demonstration, and I’ve demonstrated publicly. I’ve read cases for contacting elected officials, and I’ve done that.

So. Despair. I can do that, sure. I’ve been very close to it for some time now.

Was that the intent, Jonathon?

Elegant despair is as supportive of Bush, of Blair, of Howard, as more vocal pro-war statements. It says we can do nothing — why try?

It is so easy to stop protest — you just tell the protestors that their effort is sending a message to the soldiers you don’t support them. You tell the protestors that their effort is silly, trite, self-indulgent moralizing. And when all voices in dissent are quiet, what then? What is the message that you send to Bush, and Blair, and Howard? That whatever they wish to do, you support it, not by choice, but by despair?

I and others know that this ‘war’ will not stop until the US is in nominal control of Iraq. But if we don’t speak out, Bush and Rumsfield will continue with a policy of US domination in that country as well as a continued rejection of UN and Arab League and EU suggestions. They will continue their dismissal of world concerns that are now being heard as far away as North Korea. If we do not speak out now, suppression of freedom of speech and even freedom of religion will continue to grow in my country. If we do not speak out now, all the world will hear from the United States is the arrogance and the beligerance of the Bush Administration.

So, we continue to speak out, amidst our pictures of daffodils and stories of youth and gentle teasing of each other. We link to alternative news sources, and we watch for and make note of oppression. We demand unbiased news reporting. We point out lies and inconsistencies and we march in the streets and tell the world that support for the troops and the administration are not the same. What else can we do? Give up?

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