One of the things about being an anti-war activist is that a long-term commitment comes in handy. Here at Irregular Times, we've been at the online anti-war business for quite a while. So, we've accumulated a lot of extra material around the edges, and when we re-organized the Magniloquence Against War front page, we didn't want to lose that material. That's where this archive comes in handy - some odd notes on war that have come in since George W. Bush started his militant nationalist crusade.
For more up to date material, the Magniloquence Against War front page is available, with a cleaner, if somewhat darker, look.
Bob Garwood, who respectfully leaves us with the dignified email address "firstname.lastname@example.org", writes,
You people make me sick. The pictures of the poor souls leaping from the WTC is sickening. Are you so stupid that you truly believe that this evil can be ended by not responding? I thank God that my grandfathers generation had the balls to fight evil and help stop Hitler. There is a time for peace and there is a time to kill some fuckers. Can't you understand that these asshole's hate us and want to kill as many American's as possible?
Bob, We're not so stupid as to think that "this evil", as you put it, can be ended simply by not responding. We're also not so stupid as to think that the problems underlying the attacks of September 11 and the anthrax attacks since can be solved by just any old kind of response. We disagree with the Bush administration about what kind of response is appropriate.
The Bush administration advocates a campaign of vengeance which has already killed hundreds and will undoubtably kill thousands of innocent bystanders by the time it's completed. We at Irregular Times advocate a complex non-violent response of criminal justice investigations and prosecutions along with a thorough review and reform of the deeper political, economic and social problems that give rise to violent groups such as Al Quida overseas and militia groups here at home.
Waging a war against "evil" is as fuzzy-headed as waging a war against negligence or greed. Just as the military victory against the Nazis did not put a stop to genocide and totalitarianism, Bush's crusade will not end rogue attacks against the US. We believe that an intelligent rational, truly compassionate and open-minded response is the only response that will work. History already shows that war will provide no lasting solutions.
We'll never stop people from attacking us until we understand the reasons they have for attacking. Painting our enemies as cartoonish villains will only result in our own development of cartoonish responses, as this war shows, with Bin Laden alive and comfortable while otherwise uninvolved Afghani civilians die by the score. The problems our nation faces won't be solved by "balls", but by sober minds. We believe that these irregular times call for irregular courage: in place of the unthinking suicidal obedience usually described as courage during wartime, the courage to seek creative solutions other than those dictated by image-conscious politicians -- solutions that will end the violence by resolving the deep conflict that leads people to organize for violent ends in the first place.
Inspired by a combination of the foolery of George W. Bush and the persistence of Sheharazad of the 1,001 Arabian Nights, we spent many months collecting so many notes on the large and small disasters of the Bush Administration that we felt we had no choice but to place them together into a book. 1,001 Reasons to Boot Bush is the result of this effort, and serves as a testimonial of America's resistance to the abusive power of George W. Bush just as much as the 1,001 Arabian Nights serves as a testament to Sheharazad's courageous stand to change the heart of a murderous tyrant in her own time.
Specialist Clinton Dietz of the 3rd Infantry Division: "If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd ask him for his resignation."Don't give up the struggle for peace! We all know that W. has more war in store for us. One step you can take to keep up anti-war pressure is to get yourself a good Anti-War Bumpersticker. Don't let people assume that everyone supports Bush's trooping!/font>
Are you tired of listening to Bush Administration officials preach about how no one could have foreseen the problems with the Iraq war that have now become so obvious? Take a trip down memory lane. Former President Jimmy Carter issued a strong statement oppposing the war against the people of Iraq. Carter writes: "Despite marshalling powerful armed forces in the Persian Gulf region and a virtual declaration of war in the State of the Union message, our government has not made a case for a preemptive military strike against Iraq, either at home or in Europe."
To read President Carter's entire statement, click here.
"The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support. Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterized by surprise, human loss, and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political, and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world".
It is easy for Americans sitting in the midst of the greatest level of luxury ever attained in the history of humanity to express their enthusiasm for a war against the poorest nation on earth, one where the life expectancy is only 46.8 years. Before we argue for the merit of dropping bombs on such a nation, we ought to consider it through the eyes of an American who has actually been there for purposes other than war. Photographer Luke Powell captured images of life in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and again in the spring of 2000. We challenge those who so enthusiastically advocate the bombing of Afghanistan to view his photographs and read his comments, written in October of 2001 after the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. They are available on his home page, LukePowell.com. One need not agree with all of his ideas to appreciate his central, haunting question: "How best can civilization be defended, by engagement and education or with bombs and metal detectors?"
A Contingent Dictionary of War
Innocent Victim: Noncombatant person killed in United States
Collateral Damage: Noncombatant person killed in Afghanistan
Violence: Damage and death inflicted upon Americans
Force: Damage and death inflicted by Americans
Freedom Fighter: Killer of innocent civilians to whom the U.S. is currently funneling weapons; United States' current enemy
Terrorist: Killer of innocent civilians to whom the U.S. is not currently funneling weapons; United States' future enemy
Enemy Assets: Forcibly conscripted Afghan teenagers
Tactical Advance: Killing of forcibly conscripted Afghan teenagers
Reduced Assets: See "tactical advance"
Anti-American: Person who opposes the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan. See also Traitor, Enemy Within
Patriot: Person who tolerates the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan. See also Politically Correct
Blowback: Term used in American intelligence circles to describe unintended consequences of prior operations; ex. funneling weapons to militant Afghan "freedom fighters" (see above) in 1980s
Whoopsie: Term used in American intelligence circles in reaction to "freedom fighters'" current attacks on the United States
Justice: Retribution; Revenge
Ineffective: Pertaining to legal methods of conflict resolution
Moderate: Refers to Arab states currently supporting U.S. policy
Extremist: Refers to Arab states currently opposing U.S. policy
Degrade: Kill; Destroy
Robust Response: Killing of many people; destroy a lot of "Command-and-Control Infrastructure" (see below)
Command-and-Control Infrastructure: Roads; Bridges; Electricity; Running Water
To those Americans who mistake anti-war activism for anti-American hate we offer the following clarification: We who oppose the militaristic ambitions of President George W. Bush are zealously pro-American. We do not in any way support, celebrate, or condone the United and American airlines attacks of September 11, 2001. We are repulsed and angered by the violence and hatred of those attacks and hope that nothing like them ever happens again. We have no respect for anyone of any nationality or political philosophy who uses violence as a means for self-promotion. In our view, groups like the Taliban, the government of Saddam Hussein, and the organization of Osama Bin Laden are scourges that threaten the harmony of human civilization. However, we're not so naive as to believe that its attacks against such groups makes the United States government an innocent protector of global righteousness.
What separates us from the nationalistic, pro-war supporters of President Bush is that we do not believe that vengeance will prevent any further attacks upon targets in the United States of America. In fact, we believe that wrathful, impulsive, violent retributions on the part of the United States will make future attacks more likely. Because we are pro-American, we want the United States to avoid making new enemies. Because we are pro-American, we want our country to be known for its peaceful assistance to democratic partners throughout the world instead of impetuous, unreflective attacks against nations it would make its enemies. We want America and Americans to be prosperous and safe, so we support the development of a wise, thoughtful, democratic American government instead of the deterioration of the United States of America into an imperial, autocratic police state so obsessed with security that it is always at war with new enemies at home and abroad. We believe that the United States is unique in that it has the power to stop the cycle of global violent retribution.
We believe that Americans possess the insight and the ability to put a stop to centuries of crusades of bloodshed. Unfortunately, we also believe that Americans have the tendency to be easily seduced by unscrupulous leaders who promise easy solutions through the slaughtering of scapegoats. We have watched as the American people have supported military campaigns that provided emotional satisfaction without creating any lasting solutions to the serious problems their violence was supposed to address.
We are pro-American, and that's why we want solutions that last instead of solutions that merely provide a temporary mask for our collective anxiety. We want the world to be made truly safe. We want the world to be at peace, and that's why we're willing to avoid the feel-good shortcuts of bloody revenge. As we challenge the violent, repressive tactics of the Bush administration, we're challenging Americans to rise above their anger and frustration and truly provide the best of themselves to the world. When that happens, we will gladly declare that we are proud to be Americans.
~ Martin Luther King, Chaos or Community, 1968
And Now For A Compassionate Conservative Viewpoint...
"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."
- Ann Coulter
Note: Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez's son Greg was one of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center. They have asked that people share these letters as widely as possible. We are glad to oblige.
Not in Our Son's Name [Letter to the NY Times]
Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World Trade Center attack. Since we first heard the news, we have shared moments of grief, comfort, hope, despair, fond memories with his wife, the two families, our friends and neighbors, his loving colleagues at Cantor Fitzgerald / ESpeed, and all the grieving families that daily meet at the Pierre Hotel.
We see our hurt and anger reflected among everybody we meet. We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news about this disaster. But we read enough of the news to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.
It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son's death. Not in our son's name. Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world. But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times.
Dear President Bush:
Our son is one of the victims of Tuesday's attack on the World Trade Center. We read about your response in the last few days and about the resolutions from both Houses, giving you undefined power to respond to the terror attacks.
Your response to this attack does not make us feel better about our son's death. It makes us feel worse. It makes us feel that our government is using our son's memory as a justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands.
It is not the first time that a person in your position has been given unlimited power and came to regret it. This is not the time for empty gestures to make us feel better. It is not the time to act like bullies. We urge you to think about how our governement can develop peaceful, rational solutions to terrorism, solutions that do not sink us to the inhuman level of terrorists.
Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez
Reporter: We saw a barracks, a garrison being attacked. Do you have any idea if there were Taliban forces in those buildings and any idea at this point of how many casualties you've caused on the ground?
Adm. Stufflebeem: We don't know, and we don't keep those kind of statistics.
Pentagon Briefing, 10/17/01