Anti-War Vigil - 9My friend José, one of the smartest and most careful-thinking people I know, has written something in his blog with a very good point about the war in Iraq, and the ethical responsibility of our nation. I realize it will not be extremely popular amongst a lot of activists I know, but I confess I have said and thought similiar things in the past. I remember the night of the September 25 anti-war vigil in Portland, on the Morrison bridge with my candle, a reporter from KBOO with a microphone and a minidisc recorder was interviewing people and she asked me what I thought should happen in Iraq with the troops. I expect that most of the folks she asked on that bridge that night said "bring em all home now," but I said, basically, that things aren't ever black or white, they're always grey, and it's complicated. it would probably be really disasterous to pull all of our forces out immediately, and yet obviously we're screwing stuff up there, so there has to be a middle path, where we start extricating ourselves, but in a responsbile way.

It's a really hard problem; all the important problems usually are.

re: Responsibility

i dont agree with the analogy of the relative convincing you with false information to beat up the neighbor across the street. in that scenario, it is *you* who are choosing and causing the violence. while we all have *some* interaction that causes situations like iraq to occur (for example, the oil which makes the gas which delivers my food to the store), i dont think the analogy holds water compared to those who didnt want the invasion -- let alone an agressive, imperialistic military -- in the first place.that aside, i agree with you (and to an extent, the article), that simply disappearing from iraq would be a good (moral) thing to do. i dont know what the solution should be -- its a complex area that has seen fighting (mostly agitated by the same groups of people on just about every "side" there is) for nearly a hundred years. perhaps things were even ugly pre-WWI, but i think that is when britain (and by extension, then) the u.s. started getting wrapped up in it.i truly believe there are plenty of NGOs there trying to do what is right (doctors without borders, mercy corps, etc). but if they stayed, and the u.s. military just disappeared, would things work out alright? i doubt it. besides, even if the military was gone, would that mean all the western (primarily american) corporation and "contractors" (read: mercenaries, spies, etc) leave too? no way.maybe we need to make ribbons and bumper stickers that say: "bring our corporations home from iraq now!" and "we love our contractors, send them home". hehyours, once again without any solution, -jon

re: Responsibility

Steev, you're too kind. Jon, hello, nice to meet you.I don't think I spent enough time / words on the analogy in my original post. So let me go ahead and clarify what I mean.What makes a democracy work -- and, our opinion on the fairness of Bush v. Gore aside, there were no tanks on the streets of D.C. back in the Winter of 2000 -- is that we are bound by the electoral process.You can't just "opt out" of the laws you don't like -- or the governments you like. That's what makes winning elections so important.Now, I understand that Steev and I imagine, by extension, some of the readers of his blog have a different understanding of their obligations to the state (i.e., not paying taxes since a large chunk of taxes goes to feed the armed forces and, at times, unjust and even illegal wars).But, that's what I mean when I say that "we" -- you, me, everyone who is able to vote in the U.S. -- are bound by the actions of our government. It is a democratic government.Keep in mind that nations often have to pay reparations for wars that are begun by dictators -- let alone a working legislative and executive branch.And I think the U.S. owes the Iraqis a great deal. That was my post.

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