April 28, 2011

Are we at war or not?

Are we at war -- or not?
The reason I ask this is this:

If we are at war, then there must be a pretty good fucking reason that we’re at war. We must be facing an existential threat so large, so well-organized, and so powerful, that it could wipe our entire nation off the map in an instant. If that is the case, then surely, we must be at war. War is something reserved only for the most extreme situations. War is our Tool of last resort. Because we’re America, and we’re a peace-loving nation.

And so, if this threat we’re facing is so massive, and so threatening, then we better get all hands on deck. We need to institute a draft and be at war for real. We need to tax all income at 90% and fund this thing and get it over with. We need every man, woman, and child to be part of the war effort. We need to institute rationing: No more coffee, no more sugar, donate your steel appliances to the war effort, grow a victory garden. Let’s be all in! Let’s win this thing!

But wait-- we’re not facing down any threat like that. There’s no invading army perched on our border. We’re facing down kids throwing rocks, and disgruntled teenagers with no economic future building bombs in their own backyards, who are a far greater threat to our soldiers stationed there, than to our national security.

Less than 1% of Americans serve in the military, and it’s not fair that we should be asking them alone to shoulder the burden of fighting our wars of convenience. Wars that are the pet projects of pencil pushers in DC, with abstract foreign policy agendas.

Some people complain about the constitutionality of these wars-- and they aren’t wars. But I actually don’t really care about the constitutionality of it. That to me, seems like an academic exercise in the face of the fact that people are dying for no goddamned reason.

Yes, while people bicker about the legality (which is important), back in the real world there are people dying for no goddamned reason (which is more important).

I work with so many women whose husbands are serving right now, who are on their umpteenth deployment, who haven’t been around to see their kids grow up. We, the 99% who do not serve, are far too willing to throw other people’s families through meat grinders. We are too willing to let 1% of the population bear all the burdens-- the heartache, the worry, the lost time with their family that they will never get back, the lost limbs, the vivid nightmares that never go away-- while we talk in the abstract about "Supporting the Troops." It's not fucking fair.

So-- are we at war or not? If we are-- let’s institute a draft and be at war for real. If we’re not at war then BRING THEM HOME.


  1. to go along with that, we have to stop calling other things war unless we really mean to say it. the "war on drugs" or the "war on poverty." war is serious business, a business of shared sacrifice, shared burdens and shared death. i also know men and women in the military and everytime a friend gets shipped out to get shot at for something i disagree with the more i want to hide service members in my basement with the ping pong table. until every soldier is home from every base in the world we shouldn't be satisfied.

  2. Ditto and Amen. Untill everyone feels it, the war will just continue unopposed and troops will just be people we can support via bumper stickers and ribbons.

    We ALL need to feel it so that people can know how REAL it is!