Wednesday, August 09, 2006

America the beautiful?

Last night I watched the movie "Why We Fight" by Eugene Jarecki. It's a great documentary because it saturates the viewer with facts and asks questions, more than makes assumptions. If you hated "Fahrenheit 9/11," this is much more your speed. I personally believe that peace is a feminist issue, so watching a film that asks that essential question, "Why do we fight?" was great and had me gasping out loud at certain points. For example, when Jarecki talked about the fall of Rome and compared its rise and fall to the current state of the United States, I got chills!

What Jarecki shows through his documentary is that the Bush administration's approach to Iraq and foreign policy isn't a brand new concept, but rather a path that our country has been on since World War II.

In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned America to beware the "military industrial complex." Our American way of life is so heavily dominated by military supremacy. We have troops deployed and in permanent bases in hundreds of countries around the world. I realized in watching "Why We Fight" that America has had her fingers in many foreign policy blunders, Iraq merely being the latest.

In one part of the documentary, Jarecki takes us to the morgue in Iraq where he runs through his book documenting the bodies that came in after the U.S. began air strikes. 90-percent of the deceased were civilian!!! As the Iraqi man ran his finger down the book, my heart was breaking, "Housewife, housewife, female student, soldier, child, child, housewife, student, soldier, child"-- on and on. Then we learn that of the first 50 "precision, "smart bomb" air-strikes" NONE hit their designated target!

Our federal budget for defense is more than all our other budgets PUT TOGETHER. Makes you stop and think. This documentary is chock full of information and was significant for me on many levels-- as an American and as an advocate for peace. I think everyone, regardless of political leaning or their opinion on Iraq, will learn something from this film.


Marcy said...

I was having one of those silly conversations the other day about what time period I'd like to have been alive during. I picked the late 1800's/turn of the century. But then it occurred to me: given an average life span of 70 years, if I were a young girl during the turn of the century, I would've lived to see both world wars. Had I been an older woman during the turn of the century, I would've seen the Civil War. I don't know about any other country, but as for America, I don't think there is anyone who hasn't seen a war, if they live a natural lifespan. My generation saw the the Gulf War (plus the current mess). My folks' generation saw the Vietnam War (plus everything since then). Hell, my grandma was born in 1906 and lived to be 92 years old, so she was alive for both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

That's fucking pathetic. Humans have been on this planet for tens of thousands of years, and this is the best we can do?

Anonymous said...

You find me any period in human history where fighting for territory, wealth, or power has not emerged and I'll give you a cookie. Seriously, try to. The druids on the British Isles fought with the Anglo-Saxons. We have the Vikings. I can't remember how much land the Empire of Rome seized from other peoples. Then there are the Greeks for that matter, the Spartans and Athenians were always warring. Until recently major European powers had been constantly bidding for power. The Spanish went to Latin America and rid it of such people as the Mayans and Aztecs. When the U.S. was settled plenty of Native Americans were killed for being certain land that was coveted. Also, the recent wars that have already been mentioned in another post.

My point is, while some people see how long humans have had sustained civilization (In pre-civ. all humans did was kill each other), they may have failed to ever read a goddamn history book. Take a peak inside once, and you'll see killing and war are not only natural for humans (highly advanced mammals-but animals in the end)but also natural traits for more creatures than I can count in my head.

Tobes said...

I don't think an argument can get any lazier than:

"We're animals and our history shows it's natural for us to kill."

There is nothing natural about war. In a patriarchal society, people in power try to convince you of the inevitability of war. But it's a lie.

I don't have the confidence to look back in history and label every human conflict unnecessary, but I look at Iraq, Vietnam and what Shiite and Sunnis are doing and I see the stupidity.

You can't fight terrorism with terrorism.

And please don't go around making assumptions about what history people have read. It's as arrogant as your bloated argument that "war is natural."