Tuesday, November 6, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 54



What is the civilian's role in war?

Randy Woock

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 in them."

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
first place.

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 fiasco.

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 are accidental).

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 nrrandy@hotmail.com.

To contact the Opinon Section Editor, send e-mail to dcampus@mail.uh.edu

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