Sunday, May 25, 2008

on war.

This weekend more than a lot of other times, I think it's important for us all to remember: we are at war. Yep, we're at war. You might have forgotten, or you might not care, but the fact is that we are. In fact, while we're talking about it, you might do well to remember that we're actually engaged in many wars right now.

We are engaged in: The War on Poverty. The War on Terror. The War on Drugs.

Hm. That's a lot of wars. It seems odd to me that they're all ideas that we're fighting... I mean, I thought this was America, home of the free and land of the brave? Don't we celebrate ideas? Aren't we the people who believe in liberty? Justice? The promotion of equality?

If this seems disrespectful, I'm sorry, but I think it's ridiculous that The War on Drugs can have such a devastating effect on our population. Are there still more people in jail for non-violent drug offenses than anything else? Have we learned nothing? Caveat: I actually support laws against drugs, and I don't support abrupt de-criminalization. I do, however, support thinking sensibly about a policy that would stop us from wasting so much money. I've written about this before and I'll continue to do so in the future, but I just want to make sure that my position is as clearly explained as possible. Which isn't a lot, I acknowledge, but that's only because I'm not exactly clear on what exactly I think should be done yet. But I'm still willing to talk and think about it... Unlike other people!

On the other hand, our War on Terror seems to be going really well, right? Yeah...more of the same. This BBC News piece was making the rounds a while ago and I've really wanted to write about it for a while, but every time I've sat down to do so, I've only been able to get out incoherent, impossible rants, as opposed to a clear, concise explication. Nothing has changed about my inability, so I guess I'll just present it, leave it out there for y'all to read, and come to your own conclusions:

Since we opened up our special detainment center in Guantanamo Bay, there have been many people who tried to commit suicide. This is especially unsurprising when we read about the conditions that occur there and the total lack of belief that things will get better, at least from the perspective of the prisoners. However, recently, three prisoners succeeded in their suicide attempts, only to have the camp commander label their deaths, "an act of war". That's right folks, not only are they trying to get us in their lives, but when they finally kill themselves (not in a public arena, not trying to take anyone else with them, but rather because their lives have become so miserable they can't bear it any longer) it's not just suicide, it's a continuation of their war.

As I've already mentioned, I think it's rather difficult to fight a war against an idea, but maybe this is part that I don't understand. Maybe when those people we're holding as enemies of said idea kill themselves, they somehow make the idea win. I took a lot of philosophy classes in college and I don't seem to recall killing yourself as a way to win a war for your side, but maybe I missed something.

So, happy Memorial Day. Remember to honor our soldiers who are out there on the front lines risking their lives so that we can continue to try to stamp out ideas. And say a little word of thanks to the wonderful leader who put them there, continues to leave them there, and ceases to care about them once they make it home.

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