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Changed Your Mind About War? Maybe You Can Return it at Wal-Mart Customer Service

By Steve Backus  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Recently on National Public Radio, a woman explained why she had changed her mind about the war in Iraq. She said, "It's no longer worthwhile" as if talking about hanging her laundry, as if it were something she'd purchased at Wal-Mart and decided to return. It occurred to me she had exposed in that single word the cavalier violence not only of the war itself but the violence of the American mind: We can kill at whim. We can waltz into other countries with our guns loaded when we feel like it. We can skip off to Granada or Panama and bomb away as easily as hanging our clothes on the line or throwing them in the dryer, whichever is more "worthwhile."
Everything is weighed in its exchange value: how much can I get out of this adventure? If we only kill a few people and end up with a lot of oil, it sure sounds worthwhile to me, never mind the moral and legal aspects, never mind the lies and the fact that some (the oil men at the top) benefit lots more than I do.

It is vile to promote the war, vote for it, support it with your flags and stickers, and then, because the violence continues, or it seems it might be siphoning all your money, or that it might be ruining the economy, or that it's just not going as expected, decide it is not "worthwhile". War is not worthwhile. War is the last resort when you are confronted with imminent attack. We were never for one second confronted with such a situation. And now when people talk about how they have changed their minds, it is sickening to hear it.

How can you change your mind about something about which you are absolutely certain? It is pathetic to do so, and the fact that we see this phenomena in the United States points to deeper cultural, social and moral problems. Is it the case that those who have shifted their position have done so because we are not winning the war? Is it the case that because we are losing, it now appears to have been a bad idea? This alone undermines the reasons for going to war in the first place. If you go to war as a last resort, then winning or losing is not something to be taken into account. If you go to war as a last resort, you go to war with everything you have: You make sure you have as much personnel as possible, you fund it as much as possible, you demand sacrifice from all sectors of society, you respect your enemy, and you focus all of your attention on ending this regretted decision as soon as possible, win or lose.

We're seeing, however, that war can be as easy a choice as which flavor ice cream you prefer. This week I feel like fighting, maybe next week I won't. It depends on the money. It depends on the outcome, and the latest fad or feeling. I'm in now, but maybe later I'll pull out. Who knows? I'm an American. This is the land of the free, which means I have the luxury to change my mind any time I like.

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Except in war.

War is a last resort, a final absolute option in the face of impending attack. War is defensive, a taking up of arms only when all uncertainty has been eliminated, as when the enemy is within firing range.

This was never the case with Iraq.

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We were told from the beginning the hijackers on 9/11 were from Egypt or Saudi Arabia. We had the French and the Germans and the Russians telling us we needed to exercise patience, that there were questions which needed answering regarding Saddam Hussein and WMD's. They humbly wrote out their scripts after Mr. Powell's ludicrous performance, where he sold out to the Neo-cons, telling us that while there was compelling and provocative information we needed to examine so as to de-escalate any tension from Iraq, there were no "imminent" signs that Saddam or any other individual in Iraq planned to attack the West.

Now we have the Downing Street Memo, we have absolute proof there were no WMD's, we have plenty of information which concludes no connection between Iraq and Al Qaida, and we have created a massive human catastrophe. All of the escalating problems in Iraq (resistance fighters, civil war, suicide bombings) were predicted before Mr. Bush gave Saddam and family 48 hours to get out of his country.

When you go to war, because it is a last resort, while it is absolute tragedy to lose lives, those lives are exalted. There's no questioning the war and there's no questioning the deaths of the people fighting it. When you go to war properly, it is absurd to change your position on whether or not you support it in the first place. It is obvious, when war is the last resort, that you must support what your country is doing. There is no other choice.

Now that 2000 soldiers are dead, 100,000 plus Iraqis are dead, and now that most of the world is horrified by America's despicable nature, it is too late to change your mind.

Unless those responsible for executing the invasion have lied.

And if that is the case, those responsible must be held accountable, meaning, they should be removed from office and face the legal system.

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Steven Backus lives and writes in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota and can be contacted at sbackus@css.edu


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