FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Do You Know What War Is?

It’s a woman with 3 children making her way along a dusty road at sundown. Her man, her family, have been torn out of her life. As the sunlight leaks out of the bleak dusk of another bleak day, she pulls up her filthy shawl and runs a hand over the brow of the baby she’s carrying. He has a fever, has had one for a couple days. The 2 other kids scuff along behind her, one holding vacantly onto her dress, eyes wide in the growing blackness of a night without streetlights, without buildings, without food. Emptiness, and sniffles.

The other kid’s eyes are half closed with fatigue and hunger, her mind shocked into a torpid, mock adulthood. A brilliant catalog of disasters and collaterally damaged humans flips its endless pages within her silent, groping little brain. “This,” she decides, “is what life is.”

The woman is not beautiful because this is not a movie. No one will come to artfully arrange her hair for the big scene when her baby dies. No one will give her a hug at the end of the scene and tell her she’s doing a great job.

She is doing what refugees from the dawn of “civilization” have done, outrunning disaster, using all of her animal wit to just keep 4 people alive until tomorrow. Just tomorrow.

She last danced at her wedding.

* * *

Civilization dates itself from the ancient Iraqi city-states of Mesopotamia. With civilization came war-the mindless, wanton child of civilization.

From comfortable chairs in the quiet rooms of State, decrees are penned that consign nations to the flames, for war is the ultimate game of the wealthy. Only in popular revolutions do the poor utilize war, and then only to gain immediate ends. Still, the under classes must fight all the wars.

War, as a concept, a necessary evil, must be sold to the people, who in their hearts hold a healthy dread of it. And so it is idealized as patriotism, the enemy is demonized, and God’s protection is invoked. Young men are turned from their natural pursuits, the sacrifices of mothers are lionized, and the old shake their heads in disbelief at the recurrent folly of humanity.

Is it any wonder that the trumpet, loudest of all instruments, is the actual and metaphorical sound of war? Or that it is the violin, so like the human voice, that plays the somber, mournful sound of war’s aftermath?

War is the death of Law. And when nations have sickened and wasted their wealth, both human and capital, and when the original point of the war has become a fossilized memory, and when men have become indistinguishable from beasts in the lone pursuit of survival… they lie down exhausted, and this is called Peace.

* * *

As the United States lumbers closer and closer to the disaster that every war eventually becomes, as the flames of international hate rise, it is well that we turn our thoughts to that woman and those children on that road.

To believe that the world would exact no penalty on us because we failed to visualize her would be a dangerous lack of imagination on our part.

JOE QUANDT is a member of Voices in the Wilderness. This interview was conducted in Baghdad in October. He can be reached at: ytonthemoon@aol.com

Gore Vidal The Erosion of the American Dream (Interview)

Jason Leopold Rumsfeld and Bush Sr. Opposed 1989 UN Investigation of Saddam for Human Rights Violations

Josh Ruebner An Open Letter to My Former Dean, Paul Wolfowitz (and Other “Court” Jews)

Mitchel Cohen The Gulf War 12 Years Later: Why Class Matters

Carlos Fuentes The Insulting Insinuations of the Bush Regime

Fareed Marjaee The Road to Jerusalem Goes Through Baghdad

Rick Giombetti The Savagely Soft Underbelly of the Anti-War Movement: Misquided Faith in the UN

Rich Procter Rove Memo: How to Launch a War

Ritt Goldstein Oil War: the Smoking Guns

Website of the Day Give War a Chance: the Anti-Peace Anthem

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail