But Ya ARE Pro-War, Blanche! Ya Are!

As I was catching up on the news this afternoon, something jumped out at me in this Washington Post article about the counter-protestors at yesterday’s anti-war march in D.C.

Deb Meyer of South Bend, Ind., was standing next to Ellsworth and holding a picture of her son Jason, who was killed April 8, 2003, in Iraq. She said that another son has enlisted in the Army and that a third son plans to enlist when he graduates from high school.

“It really irks me when I hear people describe us as pro-war,” she said, “just because the other side is antiwar. I am not pro-war. I don’t think the president is pro-war. I don’t think any of the soldiers fighting are pro-war. They have a mission, and they are going to do it.”

No disrespect intended to this lost one son in Iraq and is apparently ready to send the other two, but does this sound like trying to have it both ways to anyone but me? How exactly can you support the war in Iraq and not be pro-war. Isn’t supporting a war the very definition of being pro-war?

The movie queen in me wants to borrow a line from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane here: “But ya are pro-war, Blanche! Ya are!” You can’t have your cake — or, to extend the joke here, dead rat — and eat it too.

It seems to me that if you were for going to war in Iraq during the build-up, and you support continuing the war in Iraq, then you’re clearly pro-war. And the argument about war being a “necessary evil” doesn’t fly in this case, because the war in Iraq was never necessary. You might be able to make a case for the necessity of going to war in self-defense, but in the case of Iraq there was nothing to defend against in Iraq. It was clear from the beginning that the counterfeit “intelligence” suggesting there was a threat was half-baked and then stovepiped to officials in the Bush administration who were salivating for any reason to launch their pre-planned war against Iraq. (Even Powell now calls it a blot on his record.)

Some of us knew it was bogus before the first bomb dropped on Baghdad. And some of us spoke out against it then. Some of us did what we could to stop it then; before Casey Sheehan died; before Deb Meyer’s son, Jason, died; before 1900+ other American mothers’ children died along with countless other Iraqi mothers’ children.

Granted, given the daily reports of gore and death in Iraq, I can understand the dance of distancing oneself from the inevitable results of the war you wanted. But that doesn’t make it any less dishonest.

So, to the “not-pro-war-but-pro-”staying-the-course“ crowed, at least be honest with yourselves if not the rest of us. You wanted a war. You asked for a war. You got a war. Own it.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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12 Responses to But Ya ARE Pro-War, Blanche! Ya Are!

  1. Tom says:

    You are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, Terrance. Understand, please, the Tom Friedman & Joe Biden [& me] position on all of this. We wanted the inspections to continue, were stridently opposed to the US’s boy Saddam in Iraq, were upset plenty by the 469,000 innocents killed during his reign of terror, and his unending regime with Nero & Caligula [Saddam’s sons] at the ready to continue Dad’s ruthlessness. We opposed Bush usual laxidazical preplanning and overeagerness to use his faulty instincts. Wanted the inspections to continue. Wanted peace. Like everyone else, were fooled somewhat by faulty intelligence — but certainly agree with you that Bush hyped/twisted what intelligence he had to try to justify/rationalize war.

    The question is What do we do now from where we’re at? If we have the soldiers drop their guns where they’re standing and high-tail it home, then won’t we leave Iraq in a high state of chaos, put Iraq in a Medusa-headed civil war? Mighten there be a chance to establish a fragile democracy that can stand up the the ruthless amoral insurgency? Mustn’t we nurture that democracy for another year and give it a chance to build up a capable Iraqi army?

    As The Nation reports, the so-called Peace position has no plan other than to leave.

    As a Buddhist, I care about the millions of Iraqis who deserve a good life. Yes, tradgically nearly 2000 Americans have died, but we must not be purblind to the suffering of others who do not happen to be Americans. It *might* be possible to do so very, very much if we stay a little longer.

  2. Terrance says:

    The problem is that much of the misery caused by the insurgency can be laid at our door because the occupation is a major cause of the insurgency; an insurgency that is, by the way, mostly Iraqi. Juan Cole also has some pretty good arguments about why the presence of U.S. troops is making things worse in Iraq. Steve Soto, offers a pretty good follow-up.

    I think there’s some truth in the argument that though we may have “broken it,” we can’t fix it; or even effectively help fix it.

  3. Tom says:

    I agree that it was incredibly stupid for Bush & Co. to have defied the Powell Doctrine. We need to have known the way out before going in.

    But now that we’re there, What is the way out? It would help a lot if the Peace crowd would elucidate/flesh out its position. It is simplictic — even childish — to complain without offering a real alternative. The US forces are buttressing the weak Iraqi police and military. At least McCain, Biden, Clinton, Friedman [and Bush] with their different versions of “stay the course” have visions of how we can leave with Iraq making its way toward peace and prosperity. I don’t see how the Peace crowd offers anything other than abandonment and a willingness to ignore the tumult that is likely to ensue.

    The US participated in operations that have brought peace to East Timor and Bosnia. Sometimes, the way to peace is through force and by putting American soldiers in harm’s way. Terrance: Would you say US participation in East Timor was “pro-war?”

    Perhaps Blanche isn’t pro-war. Perhaps Blanche has just always depended upon the kindness of strangers [who are American soldiers].

  4. Chance says:

    Tom,

    Whether we stay or go, a civil war is going to be started. You must want this to turn into another Vietnam.

  5. Chance says:

    I have a suggestion. Why don’t they just divide Iraq up into different areas? One for the Shiites, one for the Sunnis, etc. And then find a way to start a government that is represented by all ethnicities/religions.

  6. Terrance says:

    Actually Chance, there’s a good chance that a partitioned Iraq won’t work either, even if that’s the likely outcome of what we started there.

    The problem is the Kurds. If the Kurds are to get their own homeland, it will probably include the oil rich city of Kirkuk, which was predominantly Kurdish until Saddam “arabafied” it. That alone will be enough to piss off the Shiites and the Sunnis, any other ethnic hostilities aside.

    Additionally, a Kurdish state would border on Turkey, and Turkey is vehemently opposed to the idea. Again, centuries-old ethnic hostilities.

    Add to that the involement of Israel in the movement for an independent Kurdish state, and you have enough to inflame the entire region. So you end up with a tiny country surrounded by bigger countries that despise it. Sound familiar? The difference is that this country would also be oil-rich, but land-locked forced to export its oil through hostile territories; thus ensuring our involvement in the region for generations to come.

    Of course, people knew all of this, and predicted all of this before the first bomb dropped on Baghdad.

  7. Chance says:

    As you can tell, I don’t know much about Iraq. I was just trying to offer suggestions.

  8. Tom says:

    “Whether we stay or go, a civil war is going to be started. You must want this to turn into another Vietnam.”

    This is the peace movement’s solution. And THAT would be fine! [That is, America leaves; many Iraqis leave for the US; but ultimately things are not terribly bad and the war is clearly a mistake.]

    The problem, of course, is that it is hard to imagine that if we leave suddenly [or if we don’t] that everything will work out OK in Iraq. I just sort of estimate that if we leave suddenly there is a 5% chance that things will be ok, and that if we stay another year there is a 30% chance. It is a terrible calculus, but the better chance may be worth more American lives.

    — Tom

  9. Chance says:

    I seriously don’t think staying another year will do anything. I’m sorry but I have to disagree.

    I say the same thing to any warhawk I see: If you are for the war, why don’t you sign up? Or encourage some of your family members to sign up? That’s just like Bush. He wants other sons/daughters to die but not his own.

  10. Chance says:

    The Bush administration said the same exact thing one year ago. If we stay another year, things will get better. Well, one year later and it looks even worse.

  11. Chance says:

    Tom,

    Like I said, I don’t want to sound like I know everything but I don’t think staying a year is going to help. Maybe if another administration was leading the cause, but I lost all hope in George Bush three years ago.

  12. Lin says:

    The “pro-war” mother and soldiers… Supporting the men and women of our armed forces doesn’t make someone pro-war. Not participating/supporting the “anti-war” protest doesn’t make someone pro-war either. Soldiers do not make policy. They are given a mission/orders and expected to do as they are told.

    About the only thing Deb Meyer said that is remotely debatable is whether the POTUS is pro-war.

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