Friday, November 19, 2004

Forgive them father...

People often hide behind noble terminology and ideologies to push forward their own agenda that has little to do with the idea's they are hiding behind. Or they misapply it without probably realising it themselves, devolving noble causes into no more then curse-fests and an outlet for hate or ignorance. A prime example of the first would of course be Communism, which hid behind the guise of socialism. The system of course had nothing at all to do with socialism and it was just a smoke-screen to hide a cruel dictatorship behind. The second one you can encounter on a day-to-day basis in your own life.

It's this second misuse and in my eyes rape of noble goals that seems to have exploded since the great "war-president" and "leader of the free-people" (personally I prefer the terms warmonger and religious zealot) took over office in the US and started quite a few pointless wars. Most notably in Iraq.

I can never express how much I disagree with this war or war in general. But what bothers me is that many people here use this as an excuse to show blatant hate for their fellow human-beings under the guise of "peace-movement" or being "anti-war". People going off on how all American soldiers are cowards to deserve a painful death, think it's perfectly okay that Islamic extremists are decapitating civilians, and overall caricature Americans and especially American soldiers.

I think partly this has to do with sheer ignorance, and party forgetting that soldiers are human beings as well. As I understand it most American soldiers absolutely do not want to be there and are just trying to survive best they can. It's easy to comment on this from the comfort of your own home, when you never had to answer to the barrel of a gun. A comfort I fully admit I also enjoy. But take into account that most soldiers probably truly went to Iraq in the expectation they would be seen as liberators originally. The demoralising effect that not only are they seen as the bad-guys, but they also can not tell friend from foe apart is something that is very hard to imagine. In this sense it's the Vietnam scenario. Unlike more conventional "old wars" where you could clearly recognise your enemy.

This obviously all does not make war any more clean or the killing going on any less bad. But if I look for someone to blame, I look to Bush and Co. and not the ground soldiers fighting his wars for him. To a lesser extent I also look to the people who again voted Bush into power. But I honestly do believe with most they can not be held accountable for their sins under the "forgive them father, for they know not what they do" clause. Ignorance does not vindicate the effect, but it does vindicate blame sometimes.

What I also often hear are complaints about so called "collateral damage" and blame the soldiers personally. I fully agree this is something most horrid. Both the deaths of soldiers and civilians in war is exactly why war should be banished from this planet. But I find it a cheap shot at the soldiers who fight these wars. Obviously circumstances differ, but the practice of willingly targeting civilians got abandoned by western countries after World War II as far as I am aware off.

In Word War II this was still a practice for both sides. Both believing it caused demoralisation and as such would help them win the war. Studying the Second World War they discovered it actually works the exact opposite way. So that modern armies stopped applying the technique is perhaps not even so much for moral and humanitarian causes as for strategic ones.

What you never hear any of these people about is criticising those hostage takers and real terrorists. In fact when you mention this your often suddenly attacked as being pro-Bush and you just don't understand they poor plight. The fact that these people DO target civilians who are innocent gets excused all of a sudden. The fact they took (and I believe killed) a woman who has worked and lived for 30 years in Iraq trying to help Iraqi people gets ignored. The fact that most of these people, just like Bush, live to perpetuate an eternal war with no actual goal of actually rebuilding a nation gets ignored (most are not even from Iraq). The fact that these people kill many Iraqi's as well gets ignored. In fact all their crimes are either ignored or through spin doctoring get excused. Sounding very much like the same way some over patriotic Americans dislike hearing any criticism about their side.

Personally I think the second you take sides you can not claim anymore you are anti-war. You have in fact become pro-war. And hiding behind an anti-war image only hurts the true anti-war cause. But in this too I guess ignorance is bliss?

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