April 09, 2003

A Peacenik’s Guide to War

Exactly when did peace go out of style?

In these bizarre times, political debate is taking some crazy turns. With the biggest abuse of war power in history going on, who knew that the burden of philosophical proof would fall on the peace camp? At any rate, anti-war sentiment seems to have gone the way of, uh, love beads.

Between the current media propaganda and peer pressure, we anti-war people have our work cut out for us. At every turn, war supporters badger us, aiming to undermine our patriotism and our metaphorical manhood. For the world’s sake, however, we must be as ironclad in our beliefs as the fighters are in theirs. The best way to do this is to believe in ourselves!

Boiled down to their essences, the beliefs of both sides are more alike than different. We all want peace and democracy and all of that nifty stuff, don’t we? Who knows, you too could be a peacenik! See if these traits describe you:

1) You are a patriot. The war on Iraq refutes the principles upon which this country was built: freedom of speech and dissent, checks and balances, aggression only as a last resort and government by and for the people. It takes courage to exercise your rights and stand up to the intimidating power structure that would have you think otherwise. However, that kind of patriotism is better than a thousand flags.

2) You fully understand the value of fighting for your homeland. Consequently, you are not surprised that Iraqis feel the same way.

3) You care about the Iraqi people. You care so much about them, in fact, that you see the injustice and hypocrisy in killing them and forcing a puppet democracy upon the survivors. News flash: they already have that!

4) You want democracy to flourish around the world, but are convinced that it does not emanate from burning bomb fragments embedded in huts.

5) You support your troops. And what better way to support them than by wanting to get them out of harm’s way as quickly as possible?

6) You want the facts and real discussion about U.S. foreign policy, not just catchphrases. Press conferences, in your opinion, should echo Douglas MacArthur or Norman Schwarzkopf rather than Forrest Gump.

7) You favor logic and reason over passion. Contrary to what Fox News would have you believe, noise does not trump intellectualism; nevertheless, you recognize the value of a well-placed verbal jab. This gift of speech, not ideas, separates the Bill Clintons of the world from the Michael Dukakises. Recent history shows us which man better captivated American minds.

8) You are disgusted by perverted religious fundamentalism. Christianity, Islam and Judaism (among others) are, by nature, peaceful religions. No belief system is to be blamed for any of the warmongering around the world; the blame lies solely on those who shape parochial teachings to their own destructive benefit.

9) You question the motives of leaders who, having avoided service in the military, are only too eager to commit our sons and daughters to battle for profit.

10) You realize that being pro-peace is not just about carrying a sign. Sure, protesting is all good and necessary, but anti-war sentiment is hardly confined to the picket crowd. A lot of people who share the feelings of protesters are simply less outspoken; who knows, one could be sitting next to you right now!

There, was that so bad? More Americans are probably united under these 10 points than we even realize. We must never forget that peace is the true weapon of the strong.


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