What is the civilian's
role in war?
There's an old socialist maxim that states,
"Rich men start wars; poor men fight them."
This is so horribly applicable to our current
situation in Afghanistan that it's not even funny. However, applicable
or not, the United States prides itself on
being a classless society, and in the
interest of maintaining this delusional fallacy we'll make a cosmetic substitution
or two with the preceding quote:
"Politicians start wars; civilians die
Sounds simple enough, right? Party A starts
a problem, Party B suffers for it. Simple as can be. All one needs to do
is define the players on each side.
First up, The Politicians:
On the first team of Politicians you've
got those al-Qaida chaps. Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden, whether responsible
for the Sept. 11 bombings or
not, is just like the rulers of our country:
intensely rich and intensely ambivalent to the lives of those he considers
more expendable than his own (i.e.,
those poorer and less politically influential).
Whoever was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks apparently wasn't too
concerned with the fact that the
human targets of the violence would have
absolutely zilch-o influence on (or knowledge of) the U.S. policies that
ticked the al-Qaida off so much in the
How much do average American air travelers
know about U.S. foreign policy? Not too bloody much — especially if they're
getting their info from the
typical bite-sized political/business
propaganda like most of us do.
However, these civilians were killed in
a horrible manner to send a message to the makers of U.S. foreign policies,
the ultra-wealthy Americans (a.k.a.
our Politicians) who actually have a say
in the focus of American imperial might overseas.
On the other team of Politicians you've
got the ruling elite of America: millionaire President Bush II and his
band of lackeys. These guys, the daddy
figures we let run our lives, are currently
spending their time crying for the blood of the infidel, shouting and pontificating
on blood, death, retribution, an
eye for an eye and all that Old Testament
bunkum one would've hoped humanity had outgrown several centuries ago.
This, it would seem to me, is the true
purpose of authority, the real design of the alpha male: to stand on his
soapbox, point off to the horizon and shout,
"Let's go get those jerks over there!"
After a while, it becomes clear that it doesn't matter where "over there"
is, so long as it's a place and people can
warrant the waste of large sums of money
and large numbers of human lives.
The human lives being wasted, known formally
as The Civilians, come in two different subgroups in this current international
The first subgroup, and the one you're
probably more familiar with, is the Dead American Civilians. The members
of the DAC were considered
expendable enough to be a great way to
send a message to the politicians of America. So the Politicians of Country
A use the dead bodies of the
Civilians of Country B to send a message
to the Politicians of that country.
And before you even consider feeling a
twinge of nationalistic moral superiority, keep in mind the Dead Afghan
Civilians. These people probably didn't
even know the WTC and the Pentagon existed,
let alone want to crash airplanes into them. Yet once again, the Politicians
of Country A are busy using
the mounds of dead bodies of the Civilians
of Country B to send a message to the Politicians of that country (though
the Politicians in our country are
"moral" enough to pretend these deaths
Why do we allow this sort of thing to keep
happening? What business do we, the Civilians of the world, have fighting
the battles of the Politicians?
Our boss has a problem with their boss?
Great — let them duke it out. Set up George and Osama, 20 paces with pistols.
Or maybe Cheney, Rumsfeld
and Ashcroft in a sword fight versus a
few members of the Taliban. Or better yet, let Boeing, Lockheed and a couple
of other arms and munitions
manufacturers, the only ones who truly
stand to profit from this debacle, stand up and fight. Let those who are
so willing to shed the blood of others give
a little plasma of their own.
Let the Politicians fight and die for their
ideals and policies. Plug your ears against their siren songs of patriotism
and duty to one's country. The
Politicians, whether running al-Qaida
or America, consider Civilians like you and I good for only two things:
funding and cannon fodder.
Do you really want to be either?
Woock, a senior psychology major,
can be reached at email@example.com.