Iraq: What’s next and does anyone really care? (by Endus)
I woke up this morning not really knowing exactly what was happening until Howard’s voice finally started to penetrate: so I guess we’re at war now. The first thing I thought is that everything is different now. We’re in survival mode. We need to start being careful and thinking about what we need to do to win this war. The diplomay, the bullshit, the people we’re going to be slaughtering…it’s all secondary to us winning. Not because I think we’re right, or that we deserve to win, or anything like that… it’s just survival.
But when I get into the office and start reading reports, reading what Fatboy wrote, the only thing I can feel is depressed, defeated, and afraid. The entire world is fucking livid over this. There are leaders of countries doing everything but declaring war on us. If this was some great stand for freedom, something that I really believed in, something that might impact my life, maybe then I could accept this. But the truth is that I don’t care about any of it. I care in the sense of politics being interesting, but does it MATTER to me that we’re killing Iraqis? Is there anyone I know in the military that it would have a genuine and profound effect on me if they were killed? Do I believe that Bush is doing anything that will help me in ANY way, even if it’s making gas prices lower? The answer to all of these is no…and should we really be in a war that nobody except politicians cares about? The only impact this situation will ever have on my life is if I am killed in a terrorist attack the likelyhood of which, judging by the reaction of the rest of the world, is rapidly increasing. So why is this hitting me so heavily now, when I knew this would be the case when this whole bullshit started? Because I just realized the significance of what has just happened. Bush has given away what is probably the second most valuable thing that Americans have nearly always had, and have certainly had since I was born: security. The possibility of being killed in an attack right here in my own homeland was pretty remote. We were isolated from the horrors of the rest of the world.
I work in an old Navy Yard that has pretty much all been converted to office space, except for the area around the USS Constitution, which is guarded by (armed) park rangers and still has a Marine presence to maintain and protect the boat itself. I have seen things change: the concrete barriers, every car being searched for bombs when it comes into the area… but today is different. Today I see them leading a bomb sniffing dog around. I’m eyeing the truck parked waiting to come in with suspicion. I’m assesing how good of a target this area would be and what it would be like if a bomb went off here. These possibilities were never really real to me before now. This morning, though, I read the following passage on MSN.com…
A response from the 30-million-strong moderate Muhammadiyah Muslim group in Indonesia came within minutes of the United States and Britain launching attacks on Iraq.
‘This is not an attack on Islam but an attack on humanity,’ said Syafii Maarif, head of the organization.
What am I supposed to think when I read that? How am I supposed to feel? As I look around my office and watch people going about their daily business like nothing is going on I guess the answer is that I’m not supposed to think anything. I can’t just ignore it though. Every second I sit here, every bullshit conversation I engage in, every time I get up to go to the bathroom and see people talking or going to get a soda I just can’t help but think how absurd it is that nobody seems to care. Whether you support the war or not, the fact is that support for the war was shaky at best, we were facing the possibility of serious consequences for going against the rest of the world, and our reasons for doing this were unclear at BEST. Yet no one seems to care. No one cares about the 45% of the population that thought this was a bad idea. no one cares about the quote I read on msn. No one seems rattled by the possibility of reprisal by terrorism or economics.
I am scared as fuck because I may be dead by the end of today, tomorrow, a month from now, or in 60 years but that isn’t even the thing that frightens me the most. The thing that frightens me the most is that I have no choice and no voice as to the direction that things are going. I have said before that people don’t understand how slowly government moves and how change takes time, etc. but I was wrong. The fact is that this country is no longer a democracy. It is an oligarchy run by the rich and the powerful. The reason that my generation has no voice is because the establishment doesn’t want to hear what we have to say. They don’t CARE that we don’t like the way things are, they don’t CARE that we are moved to protest, to write letters. It’s not that these things aren’t enough to make a difference in the system we are supposed to have, it’s that the system we are supposed to have is an illusion…a dream that died somewhere around the 60’s when those in power realized that not everyone agrees with them anymore. There’s a reaon why the pro-war side doesn’t protest and doesn’t write letters and make calls: they don’t need to. It doesn’t matter how comitted to our cause we are, or how many of us there are, because it can never, ever make a difference. The system is set up by very powerful people to prevent us from having any impact on the direction of the country. It’s when the guys on the radio talk about how lazy and apathetic Gen X is, it’s when politicians lie to us and make us think they THEY are different from the rest, it’s the reply from your senator saying “thanks for your concern over this issue, but I’m still voting to support the people who pay for my campaigns”, it’s when they vote down term limits, it’s the age restrictions on who can get elected, it’s the news, it’s the fact that they don’t get why our generation produces angry music, it’s ignoring the symptoms of the problem, it’s welfare, it’s getting a college education, it’s raising and lowering taxes, it’s the downturn in the economy that prevented people from finally getting some status and money, it’s censorship, it’s the balance between the liberals and conservatives…it’s EVERYTHING. The fact is that we shouldn’t HAVE to work this hard to be heard. The other side doesn’t have to do anything to be heard…they are just as lazy and self-consumed as our generation, they just happen to agree with the policies of the establishment.
The net effect of this is that I just don’t know if it’s even worth trying anymore. It’s not like this movement towards change is new: it’s been happening since the 60’s at least, but the ONLY progress we have seen is in the opposite direction. The system doesn’t want us, and has plenty of traps set up to keep us out. Honestly, I don’t think I even care anymore whether I get blown up in a terrorist attack resulting from a war and policies I never supported, or I don’t. We sold our freedom and our way of life to a company and there’s no going back now. I wish I culd say that I could just not let that bother me, but it does. It bothers me every single second, and the fact that there is nothing I can do about it just makes me not even care whether I die tommorrow or not. Life in this country wasn’t meant for people who think or care about things, who want to live free and have the life that they want. This country is just another Iraq: the people live to support the lifestyle of the rich and powerful, and I don’t give two fucks what kind of car George Bush drives. All the political activism, the discussions, the letters… it’s all just a hopeless waste of time and I just don’t think I’m even going to try anymore. Things are set up to keep me out, and I guess they have officially succeeded.
Welcome to life in 21st century Amerikkka.