Veni, Vidi, Not Quite Vinci

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Walk On!

Walk On!

Another bites the dust. Another Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan, the 67th. Americans casualty ? 427 soldiers, if no one dies by tomorrow. Operation Enduring Freedom ? Yeah, right.

We somehow got used to it. I can’t remember a time when, flicking though the TV channels, I wouldn’t see fuzzy footage of cities covered by thick layer of dust, tanks, and suddenly a bomb explodes. Soldiers running away, picture of an hospital somewhere and some wounded kids laying on a bed, passerby testifying “the car just blew up” or “my house is destroyed“. Casualties. Such a modest word for so many deaths.

The war again terror. Gee, I wonder how they feel over there but I’m guessing anything but safe.

We all remember how it started. The World Trade Center attacks. “None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world”, said Bush.

Al Quaeda and its leaders were to go down. Operation “infinite Justice”, as it was to be called in the aftermaths of 9/11. Sounds more like a revenge than a carefully designed plan. But who could blame the USA ? The attacks were sudden, shocking and full of hate. The USA looked like the idol with feet of clay and most of the world backed the mourning country. Terrorism isn’t fair. The world stared at the footage of the planes crashing into the WTC. Let’s catch the bad guys. Oh, sorry : let’s use the act of collective self-defense provided for under Article 51 of the UN Charter (sounds more proper this way).

But it didn’t go as planned. Osama was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, soldiers were killed, civilians were bombed (clean war is a nice concept on paper) and detainees were sent to Guantanamo Bay – not that we knew what was going on there. Tough beast. And we were the hunters.

And then it was Irak. All the pretexts were good : Irak was developing weapons of mass destruction, there were a strong bond between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Yipee comrade, the dictator is dead – where are the weapons, where is Osama ? Still looking for them. Man, the “axis of evil” was deceptive.

I can’t possibly support the terrorists nor I can support the Talibans, Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, North Korea’s hard liner system or religious zealots, whoever they are. But bombing countries hardly helps, especially when there are no post-invasion plans.

Here’s the deal we’re offering to most countries we don’t like : we were here first, we rule the world, we know what’s right and what’s wrong – deal with it. A few decades ago, it was perfectly fine for the USA, the USSR, the UK, France, China etc. to develop atomic weapons. Once we realized our stupidity (blowing the planet is basically a no-win situation, right ?) we all happily signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. The treaty mention complete disarmament that liquidates nuclear weapons but we didn’t read that line and failed to meet our obligations. Not that it matters, right ? The very same treaty entitles us to go to war against the countries who don’t respect it.We think we’re within our right. We think our civilization is more advanced, we think we are tolerant and open-minded. We believe in our democracy and freedom. Only problem is, we set the rules.

I was happy to see women voting during the Afghan presidential elections. I’m not happy to see Muslims targeted as terrorists all over the world. I was glad to see a dictatorship falling. I wasn’t happy when this same dictator was hanged, nor that I was happy to see human right abuses in Irak. War isn’t about bringing our wonderful civilization to a bunch of oppressed citizens. If war there is, it should be for the people and for their right to self-determination.

But it seems that recently, our personal interests collided a bit too much with the nation’s legitimate right to self-determination. I still remember when the Talibans ordered the demolition of the two statues of Buddhas at Bamiyan in March 2001. At the time, it was just a news briefs. No one cared about the Talibans, even though they had been in power for a few years already. Foreign powers were at first supportive of them as a matter of fact. It wouldn’t have been for 9/11, would have we gone at war against them ? Did we actually care about women’s right there ?

I’m not sure where we’re going with these wars. I’m hoping Iran won’t be next. I’m hoping we won’t go towards a war of civilization, because I can tell you fundamentalist Christians worry me as much as fundamentalist Muslim. I’m hoping for a better balance of power in this world because the western world also has a lot to learn. I’m hoping we won’t fight blindly against everything we don’t agree to or we don’t understand. I’m hoping we will stop using the force to push for our goals.

Basically, I’m an Utopian. Oh well.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

22 Comments

  1. We’re humans. We war. That’s just the way it is, unfortunately. There will never be a time where we don’t war.

    Just to add some perspective to this, 51,112 soliders were killed in less than 3 days of fighting at Gettysburg during the American Civil War.

    Every single death is horrible, but the war in Iraq can’t even compare to any other war ever fought. It’s not even close. And that’s a GOOD thing.

  2. You REALLY don’t want me commenting on this hahaha.

    All I will really say is that the people who say things like “Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam” have no idea what the number of wounded and dead was in Vietnam. We’re talking < 4000 soldiers; this is most certainly NOT a huge extermination of Americans going on. While each death is, in itself, a tragedy, we shouldn't act like we need to be in a rush to repopulate the huge deficit the 'war' is causing. See, I didn’t even WANT to say anything and you got that much out of me. I have SO MUCH to say about politics right now… grr…

  3. I think the war in Iraq is the WORST in history. And its not only soldiers that die everyday…so manu innocent Iraqi civilians die everday as well.

    its just a total waste of lives!

    Keshi.

  4. I know this act of terrorism happened six years ago, but this war is just dragging on. THey haven’t caught Bin Laden. Sad thing. Soldiers have no choice but go to war when called upon. I hope it’s over soon.

  5. Dan : I know, I know… yet it hurts. I thought we were more civilized now, that we wouldn’t sacrifice people anymore for whatever ideology. Hey, I’m a dreamer !

    I still believe we can live without war. Now I said it. I feel stupid but I believe.

    Jessica : thanks for the add ! I’m also following your posts 😉

  6. T.D. Newton : I want you to speak cause you’re smart and I value your opinion and your point of view on the world ! Yes, even if we sometime disagree, I never left a discussion with you thinking “whatever”. 🙂

    I know, I know, one soldier dead is already too much but it’s not that bad. However, the number of wounded soldiers for this war is huge I’ve heard… and badly wounded.

    Anyway… did we need to go to war ? Are we going in the right direction ? Don’t think so… Our arrogance is somehow making me sick. That baother me a lot.

  7. Keshi : it is a waste… and what are we fighting for, I’m still wondering.

    Shari : you said it, it’s dragging on now. I wonder what will be the outcome of all this mess…

  8. All the hatreds and debates about the senseless war, sadly the ones who perished do not have the choice while the debate is still going on and on and on………….. ;(

  9. There is a movie ‘zeitgeist’ that show the 9/11 was a fake.

    i hope i did not offend christians here by bringing this up as the first part of the movie is about debunking it.

    btw, i replied to your comment with a post here 10 things i did to

  10. I don’t like the way Saddam ruled Iraq either, but I salute him for being the only country leader who had the guts to stand against the “Super Powers”.

    A wild beast attacked a caribou for a nice meal, the flesh of the animal were scattered around the place due to the horrible attack, a few ugly dogs ran to grab and share them as the other animals in the place watched the scene and said, “don’t go against, we must build a good relationship with the beast, otherwise, we’ll be the next.

    And thanks to the guy who “accidentally” captured the video shot of 9/11 WTC attack.

  11. Hi Zhu!

    War is never a good thing, but it was by the use of arms that our countries were formed. Will it ever cease? No, it is against human nature *nodding*! Besides, after 9/11, there was this need to show the Islamic radicals that the West would not sit around while they’d fight the “infidels” (who is the true infidel here? Radicals kill innocent people; not soldiers only…innocent people). I won’t even mention the economic advantages that it bears….c’est pourri, je le sais; quand même c’est la verité *hausser les épaules*!

    War is never clean: nor in paper nor while being carried out! I can’t imagine what soldier might feel when they’re out there defending our security (yes, we are over here walking freely, going to work, coming back, cooking dinner, dating, making love, watching TV etc; cause soldiers are out there providing us with the security needed to do all these things); but I am much obliged to them, and I think they should be admired for their valour!

    Iraque, to me, was not a case of mass destruction weapons, cause it was clear from the beginning (clear to those who read in between the lines) that there were none! To me it was a case of bringing down that monster which was Saddam (“he” killed thousands of people, “he” tortured people, and his sons raped women, who were later sentenced to death for having allowed them to raped them! Osama and Saddam? How could that be? Saddam was Sunni, Osama is Shiite…I don’t see how, since they can’t stand each other..unless they were fighting against their common foe: “the great dog” (United States and its allies)!

    The West has been setting the rules for a long, long time: since colonization! Half of the problems in the world exist because the Western countries even had the nerve to decide on how to divide sovereign countries (re-design borders exhibiting a total disrespect for the locals’ history, and culture) *nodding* (the example of israel/Palestine, Kurdistan are the most shocking ones).

    We don’t care about women’s rights over here let alone over there!

    As I said wars will continue until the end of humanity…

    Being an Utopian is philosophically gorgeous, but you are up to chain disappointment when beholding the world out there!

    Cheers

  12. It is a neverending cycle of violence…

    This world was not build on human emotions and good intentions just on people’s greed for power and money. All we can do is maintain some optimism that things will get better before they get worse…

    I am sure this hope is what keeps people “in the thick of things” hoping for a better tomorrow and trying to survive one more day…

    Great post Zhu!

  13. Shionge : It’s sad. For both the soldiers who are doing the dirty job (and I’m sure they don’t enjoy being there) and for the civilians.

    Jaklang : I’ve heard of the 9/11 debate but as far as I know, the attacks were caused by Al Quaeda. I wouldn’t have the proof they weren’t… However, to me, the war is questionable.

    Don’t worry about offending people.:) We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, education etc. so we’re bound to have different point of view. 😉

  14. zunnur : I can tell a lot of people “respected” Saddam in a way for that. Despite its dictatorship…

    This is a big schism in the world right now cause the USA are always seen as the bullies… and I can understand why some nation don’t like them and would rather turn to questionable leaders. That said, I don’t think the USA are the only bully : unfortunately, it’s a Western culture vs. the rest of the world war right now…

  15. Max : I am bound to be disappointed, I know. I just can’t help it ! Being a dreamer… 😉

    Our countries were formed by the use of war and I’m not proud of it. And I do respect soldiers fighting over there, they do their job as I said and I don’t think they enjoy it. Some mission can be rewarding, like peace keeping, but reading the testimonies of soldiers back from Middle-East… yuck, it sucks. And they feel this way too. So I’d never blame the army for sure !

    On the West… I’d never support any radical system, and I’m certainly not going to support the Talibans. I can’t even understand them as a matter of fact, they’re evil for sure. But what I’m thinking right is… what if the East sometimes legitimately saw us as evil as well ? For all the wars we started (not talking about the current ones… but history…) ? For the colonization ? Slavery ? WWII butchery ? They would have the right to think we’re barbaric as well… how can we say we have the right to rule the world ?

    I’m trying to see the two sides of the story. I’d compare the Talibans to the Nazi. Both evil, both ideologies have to be destroyed. But the in-between ? When kids grow up seeing western soldiers with weapons around them, they might no think they’re here to help… but here to “colonize” them.

    There’s a thin line…

  16. Deadpoolite : I’m trying to be optimistic. I’m just not sure what to think. I’d like people to try to see both side of the story – me included. It’s just not evil vs. good anymore. The story isn’t that simple…

    *sight* hopeless dreamer that I am…

  17. I’ve just been watching the news this morning… 3 more British soldiers killed by ‘friendly fire’ from an American plane.

    Almost every day, we hear of more fatalities. Another life lost… another family shattered… and as you said, even if we put aside the loss of life. There are thousands with serious injuries that they will have to carry for the rest of their lives.

    In my opinion, one death is one too many. The question is, what will constitute the end of the war? A new American President? All muslims agreeing to become christians? I totally agree with your last comment to DP. “It’s not to do with ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ anymore”. It’s economics, it’s politics, it’s greed, it’s power – dare I say… it’s domination.

    I was wondering after reading your previous post, what would the world be like if we were all atheists? With no religion to argue over… we’d probably fight over the price of fish!

    We still have a lot to learn from mother nature… Scientists say that Whales are more intelligent than us. Well, perhaps the Whales have got it right.

    Big friendly hugs ~ Graham 🙂

  18. Very insightful I must say.

    Revenge is one of our most basic instincts and be assaulted by terrorists bring up that kind of feeling.

    As much as we want the modern wars to be clean, it simply can’t be. You have to remember America is not fighting a nation nor a conventional war, it is fighting terrorists. Their purpose is to terrorise and their methods involve guerilla tactics and anything to gain an advantage over a numerically and technologically superior “enemy”.

    If we go about using conventional methods of war, more will die.

    I totally understand that civilians are the ones who suffers the most by the activities of the minority but that is war for you.

    The world’s most powerful nation combined fighting with one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups and you get what you get.

    We do what we have to do protect those we love and that may involve killing innocent bystanders because well, that’s war.

    We as humans have not evolved to the point where we can resolve our issues with diplomacy.

    I like Max’s post, she puts what’s on my mind onto paper quite well but I feel my philosophy is more stronger worded than hers.

    As a true blood Chinese, we mindset is a bit different than many.

    If you live in harmony with me, I will do the same. If you mess with me, I will hurt you back twice the damager and I won’t stop until you have suffered what I have suffered twice.

    But I still like DP and getty’s comments as well. It’s coming something like domination hasn’t it…

    But America is going to suffer badly if it goes to war with Iran and i know it will suffer very badly. Iran’s technology is advanced enough to do serious damage to America’s Navy which will be crucial in any invasion.

    If it does, I feel it may really drag into 3rd World War… I remember an Einstein’s quote: “I don’t know what kind of weapons will be used in the third world war, assuming there will be a third world war. But I can tell you what the fourth world war will be fought with — stone clubs.”

  19. Paper Fan Club on

    I was just saying yesterday to someone that this seems like it will be a never-ending war. What if our children have their own children before the end is in sight? Canada says it will pull out in 2009, but unless the Conservatives are out of power, that won’t happen. Very sad situation.

  20. Getty72 : really good question “what will constitute the end of the war?”. Well, no one seem to be able to answer…

    Shan : do you think it’s just about revenge ? I’m not sure to be honest…

    Yeah, I like the Chinese way of dealing with international diplomacy. “We’re the zongguo, don’t bother us and we won’t do anything to you”. I wonder why people are so scared of China… it is a pretty peaceful place ! :$

    Paper Fan Club : it is never ending… and I’M not even sure Canada will pull out in 2009 as they said.

    Max : thanks for the award ! I’m gonna put it in my (empty) trophy room ! 😉

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