Wednesday, August 24, 2005

And now, a popcorn break

Interesting all-day bloodletting that went on over at Kos yesterday, when he posted an entry he surely knew would rile up many of his readers (and contributors who fund his site):

I'm not anti-war. As I've said before, I'm a military hawk. I supported the Afghanistan War and I supported the Bosna and Kosovo interventions. I'm not one of these touchy-feely hippy types that thinks war is inherently bad. I laugh at people who think they can "visualize peace".

Unlike most people reading this, I grew up in a country at war. I've seen the effects first-hand. I also served in the Army. To me war isn't a video game or an abstract concept. It's real. Yet sometimes, many times, military force is a force for good. There are evil people in the world, doing evil things. And all the sanctions in the world, all the strongly worded denunciations, will never have the effect of a 1,000 pound bomb.

I oppose the Iraq War.

But I refuse to be labeled "anti-war". I'm not. I'm anti this war. Why? Because I'm a war pragmatist. I understand the costs of war, but I also understand the potential benefits.

...I oppose Iraq not because I'm anti-war. I'll have nothing to do with any of the anti-war rallies planned in the near term (and the crazy cast of characters that seek to inject their unrelated own pet causes into the proceedings).

Kos makes two separate but related points in this entry. First, he follows the DLC/GOP playbook by smearing a large swath of opponents to our occupation of Iraq as "touchy-feely hippy types" notwithstanding the fact that he isn't old enough to have actually experienced a "hippy type" from the 1960's and clearly hasn't grasped the underlying philosophy from that era. Perhaps a review of the 1968 Democratic National Convention - yes, the opposition was led by Yippies but who were the troops? - would modify his "touchy-feely" prose. I would also remind Kos that the '68 convention was a mutiny within the Democratic ranks refusing to accept another "war pragmatist" as our nominee, a lesson we should keep in mind for 2008.

I'm tired to the bone of so-called "war pragmatists" smugly throwing aside the very core of opposition to this war in an attempt to frame this struggle as a messy problem best left to the grownups. The anti-war movement stepped aside for another "war pragmatist" (with a Crackerjack-like salute and "reporting for duty" bray that made me literally want to vomit) who happened to be the Democratic nominee last year and it kept public opposition to our Iraq policies from crystalizing until this summer - far too late for any meaningful change. Our only hope was in 2004, and the "war pragmatists" guaranteed that the bloodbath will continue through the second Bush term.

If Kos truly opposes the continued occupation of Iraq, one would think that he'd accept a broad range of opponents, unwashed as he may consider them to be, or risk the anti-war movement becoming a simple policy debate, shorn of anger over the lies that led us to Baghdad or moral objections to the "Shock and Awe" that destroyed cities and lives for nothing other than a stragetic position in the Middle East to protect our oil supply in the event of destabilization in Saudi Arabia or Iran. The passion of our moral position is our greatest strength, but Kos would rather we step aside so the "war pragmatists" can support the concept of war to a war-weary public who, frankly, are sick of this militaristic bullshit but pick and choose which wars, with their attendant civilian casualties and destruction of entire societal structures, are good. All done, of course, while Kos "laughs at those who visualize peace".

This me=adult and you=unwashed hippy bullshit espoused by Kos, ridiculous as it is, won't harm the peace movement. It will only harm individuals such as Kos, who will find himself increasingly irrelevant because the call for an end to the bloodletting in Iraq is larger than any one individual. People will react according to their own moral beliefs, not because they sit and stew over how they can position themselves as "war pragmatists" so the big bad attack dogs of the GOP won't snap at our ankles. Fuck 'em. We have a war to end, and Kos can either accept all segments of the anti-war movement or be left on the sidelines with his granny-like lectures.

He also takes a me=adult you=crazed cast of characters tone when he addresses what I assume is the demo taking place in Washington in September and the participation of A.N.S.W.E.R. in this event. Yes, I believe that A.N.S.W.E.R. dilutes our message with the free Mumia crap, the Coca-Cola in India speeches and their insistence on addressing Palestine before Iraq. Still, they were the first organization that planned (and financed) many of the early war protests, and while I don't agree with many of their positions far be it from me to dismiss them as a "crazed cast of characters" and petulantly sit at home pecking away at my keyboard while thousands of Americans take to the streets next month to demand an exit strategy from Iraq and accountability for the lies that led us there. I have every intention to be in Washington next month - via the Peace Train from New Orleans - and I hope to blog from both the train and the demo. I can overlook the call to free Mumia and focus on what's important, rather than distance myself from the "crazy cast of characters" who so frighten and repulse Kos. I can do this, you see, because I'm an adult.


Blogger eRobin said...

I'm tired to the bone of so-called "war pragmatists" smugly throwing aside the very core of opposition to this war in an attempt to frame this struggle as a messy problem best left to the grownups.

Here, here! I don't support any violent actions but I don't know what bugs everyone so much about the peaceful fringe element who show up at peace rallies. I mean, I understand that they can be a distraction from the main idea of the rally, but as you said, we acknowledge them, lift them up and move on.

And what qualifies as a distraction anyway? The 17 year-old mother in Haiti who had her infant shot dead in her arms (by U.N. troops) is praying for someone in the US to take notice of her suffering. If it takes ANSWER to do that, then god bless ANSWER.

P.S. Mummia's trial was a travesty. He's no saint, but he's sentenced to die for a crime he probably didn't commit.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Kos is a self confessed male chauvenist too.

I'm red blooded male too - even at my age - but I've no time for insecure [for that's what they are] chauvenists.

I kissed Kos goodbye a while back. I think when more folk learn he's now being more & more controversal, simply for his OWN [and his blog's] benefit - a lot more will be doing the same.

Just sayin'. ;^)

12:16 PM  
Blogger -simpchimp said...

I get irritated with Kos himself, but I still like to browse the diaries over there on occasion.

He's getting fairly self-obsessed these days, and huge egos frankly bore me. One would think someone who has grown up in a war zone would find 1,000 pound bombs a bit of a turn-off, but far be it from me to say...

12:45 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I grew up in a war zone, too.

A WW2 war zone, chimp. That helped make me what I am today. And it ain't no Kos.

Take a look at this piece [with pics] I did a while back.

2:32 PM  
Blogger -simpchimp said...

What you can't see here, is the so-called, collateral damage. You know, that's the term the brass use. It's how they describe the dead, the dying, the dismembered, the disfigured and the disabled -- not to mention the dispossessed, the demented and the bereaved. And, remember that collateral damage applies almost exclusively, to innocent civilians -- not armed troops with at least a fighting chance.

That blog entry is incredibly powerful - thank you for providing the link.

I can imagine how sick you felt when our countries launched something horrible with the Hollywoodish-like caption of 'Shock and Awe', as though it was a comic book we all could share. I still feel nauseated thinking back on that day. Murdering civilians should be something we all should mourn - even the 'war pragmatists' - and to see people thrilled at it like it was a NASCAR event made me ashamed to be an American.

I think back to Wouk's thesis for The Winds of War - either war is finished, or we are.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Flippy said...

That's cool that you're going to Washington. Is that why "baby needs new shoes"? :)

I hope you're able to blog from the train & the demo - that would be great!

And, don't get shot or nothin'.

4:11 PM  
Blogger -simpchimp said...

Naw, I just wanted something smart-ass to say. It hit me as funny.

I'm going to try and blog from a cell phone on the train, and from a laptop in DC. I'm not worried about getting shot, but I'll be pissed if I get tasered and mildly annoyed if I'm rubber-bulleted.

My nephew really wants to go with us, but he's a starving college student and I'm trying to work up a way to raise funds for him. Maybe I'll sell the cat :)

5:21 PM  
Blogger -simpchimp said...

By the way, Flippy, you need a photo. I recommend Cricket.

5:23 PM  

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