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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 95 - 1/19/2003
How Do You Feel About War?
‘Yes I'm talking about this war dance/ A patriotic romance./And I know all you poets/Have seen it all before…’ – Colin Moulding, XTC
Colin: ‘The words were originally prompted by the Falklands War in 1982. But it was too much on one piece of history. Then along came the Persian Gulf War and I put the revised lyrics to a new piece of music. It was time to bring war out of the closet again.’
And again, it would seem. How do you, from your own spiritual perspective or tradition, view and/or cope with the ideals and realities of war and armed conflict?
Do your political leanings influence how you feel?
Do you have a difficult time explaining/defending/advocating your position to other Pagans or Heathens? Non-Pagans?
| Reponses: There are 153 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| War, What Is It Good For? ||Jan 25th. at 3:16:59 pm EST|
|December Rose (Central Illinois) ||Age: 42 - Email |
War is bad for the young men and women who must fight it. War is bad for their mothers and fathers. War is bad for the earth . . .and the sky . . . and the oceans . . . and the inhabitants of these places. War is bad for business (unless you build bombs for a living). War is bad for education. War is bad for poets and musicians and artists. War is bad for scientists and healthcare workers. War is bad for farmers and used car salesmen.
War distacts us from building homes, educating our children, curing disease, creating music and art, growing crops, and almost anything good, beautiful and worthwhile. War sucks up energy, money, and lives.
Haven't we moved beyond this method of population control?
| OHHHHHHHHHHHH CANADA................. ||Jan 25th. at 3:34:29 pm EST|
|diesel (washington) ||Age: 46 - Email |
as much as i hate to resort to it......i have to.
after the comments by the canadian i now know where they got the idea for the title to their national anthem.
shame on you.
as a matter of fact, i was recently insulted by another canadian. well, not really...but in her own simple way she tried. at a formal dinner she implied that all americans were vulgar, war mongering idiots. and then she asked me what in the world i would do if i didn't have a gun?
i laughed and said "i guess i would just have to pick up a stick and beat you to death". all tongue in cheek of course. good grief.....at LEAST we have manners down here. more than i can say for miss 'i'm canadian and so superior'.
no one likes war...least of all us americans. i mourn the fact that we have become the defacto world police force. i would rather just worry about us first....but then who would take out the trash[bullies]?......... canada??????? ohmygods..........don't make me laugh. it hurts. really.
canada and new zealand, both come to mind as countries that LOVE to bash us as capitolist pigs while reaping the benefits of the technology that we produce. and canada.......well, good grief, you can shoot off your mouths because we are protecting you. although, i have long thought that if you were ever invaded we should look the other way.
| "Now In Darkness, World Stops Turning..." ||Jan 25th. at 4:18:08 pm EST|
|Sara (Greene County, TN) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I cry to see a field mouse die, so of course I am not a fan of war, but even I realize that there are some situations where wars cannot be avoided. This, however, is NOT one of them. This is not Hitler's invasion or the Pearl Harbor bombings; the only attack we suffered was from Osama Bin Laden and his al Quaeda network, who are most likely running business as usual while we are so busy tormenting Iraq. I agree that Hussein is a bad person who must be kept from harming others, and if he does have illegal weapons, they must be found and disposed of safely. But spending billions of dollars a day, moving troops away from their families and a country that needs them, threatening invasion to an already impoverished nation and a madman who very well may have the ability to unleash chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons on the world if provoked--is this really the best plan our leaders can come up with? I am both disappointed and disgusted at the way our country is presenting itself, and sadly I must say that I am ashamed, not proud, to be an American. We must not allow a hastily made war; only when all other options have proved useless can it truly be justified. I am also tired of hearing people complain that the UN is impotent; the whole is only as strong as the sum of its parts, so of COURSE the UN is weak when its members refuse to work together! We should be actively supporting the UN, striving for a peaceful solution to this terrifying problem. It is ignorant, irresponsible, and unjust for our country to unilaterally toy with the fate of the world.
| OH CANADA! ||Jan 25th. at 6:11:32 pm EST|
|The Canadian (Toronto, Canada) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I realize that responding directly to other peoples posts is not encouraged, so I shall make this response both general to the topic question as well as individualized.
First off; War with Iraq. What do I think? Well, it’s not so much what I think, so much as what I feel. To have any defined “thoughts” on the topic would involve doing research behind the real motivation why both governments seem to embrace this drastic step. It would require me to fill my head with deep rooted facts, figures and technical information which I, as a civilian, probably do not even have access to.
So, I listen to the news (if you can believe half of what is reported now a days), I read the newspaper (ditto) and I keep my ear to the ground. Beyond that, I trust my gut. When speaking of war—any war— I get a knot in my stomach. I feel sadness for the loss of life, the suffering of innocents, and the rain of havoc visited on the land every war brings. Is war necessary? Yes, I believe so. So many people have died and suffered over time due to the effects of war that I am left with no other option but to believe that they did not die, they did not suffer in vain.
The thought of impending war with Iraq is no less unsettling. This will not be, as so many government agencies seem to be publicizing, a “hard and quick battle.” This war will leave scars between two nations which will take generation to heal, and even then only after the residual fighting has ended. If America hits Iraq “hard and quick,” it is almost assured that they will respond. Be that via more suicide bombers on American soil, through chemical or biological weapons, or what have you. War *might* be necessary, but let there be no mistake: There will not be a winner. Someone *will* be victorious, but being the victor dose not translate to being the winner. Less we forget that simple fact.
So there you have it. I have said much, and I have said little. I feel saddened beyond words at the thought of death, the destruction and pain my fellow humans will suffer. When I sit in silence and try to fathom the level of hate which will be born by open conflict, it staggers me. Nothing I type can convey my feelings in regards to this foreshadowed war, aside from a deep longing for peace to prevail. That option is on life support, I know. The odds of a peaceful resolution are about as slim as an elephant. But there is hope. There must always be hope. If we can not realistically expect peace now, then I choose to take solace in the face that one hundred, two hundred, five hundred years from now the present day politics will not exist. There will be new problems, of course, there always are… but not these. The strife we suffer now will be footnotes in history, things that future generations of children will read about and learn from. And maybe, just maybe, they will be the bringers of everlasting peace.
I can always hope.
Now, in response to a few of the Canada/America posts I have read… Oh! And please let me say here and now that the following statements are my own personal opinion. I do not attempt to speak for other Canadians, Canada, or any other man, woman or child. Just myself.
The cultures of Canada and America are not at all common. We share a continent, a boarder, a language… but if you take an in-depth look at our nations, you will discover that our similarities begin to end there. The ideals our people fight for are similar: peace, freedom, love of country and family. Yet the methods in which these things are/have been acquired over time are very different.
You will have to forgive Canada, or Canadians rather, if we view America in a cynical light. America was born through open war with Canada’s parent nation, after all. Canada gained independence with diplomacy; America bought theirs with blood. It took Canada over one hundred years to become truly sovereign (although we still recognize the Queen as our supreme head of state), it took America significantly less.
Why do I bring up this history? To illustrate the main difference between Americans and Canadians; Americans fight for what they want with force. You step on toes, make enemies, alienate other countries and cultures. Canada is a *peace keeping* nation. Our military is pathetic when it comes to force, but if you look at how our soldiers are trained you will quickly realize why this is. Canadian soldiers are trained as peace keepers first, battle ready second. I should know, half my family is in the Canadian Armed Forces. Coming from a culture where violence is seen as an acceptable way to enforce your views, get what you need, or take what you want, I can completely see how Americans might view Canada as being weak-- pathetic even. But we exist. We are here. We have not been overrun by terrorists, invaded by foreign countries, nor destroyed through war.
“Yes yes…” I can hear Mr. and Mrs. American say, “But only because of us! The Americans! We protect you little weenies!” True. Very, very true in terms of national defense. America *would* protect Canada if we were ever attacked (which has not happened yet, mind you). But why, I ask you? Why would America send its troops to fight and possibly die for a nation that, by some of your own standards, does nothing productive?
I’ll let you in on a national secret: Canada has more oil then most of the Arabian countries COMBINED. Yes, there you have it. America gets over half its oil reserves from... you guessed it; Canada. If oil is the lifeblood of America, then consider Canada a potion of your *heart.* You need us, and until you are willing to openly invade and take what we have (which I would never be stupid enough to rule out) then you *have* to protect us.
That is over simplifying the national interests of our two countries, mind you. There are hundreds of other reasons we are such close neighbors. Triad, business, international commerce, the list goes on and on. But in terms of the *major* reasons, I would have to list Canada’s oil as number one. Well, I should say “Canada/America’s” oil reserves. After all, since Oil is listed as an American necessity it means that you *will* (have and do) go to war over it. If Canada, for what ever reason, wanted to pull the American plug from our reserves I would fully expect to see US bombers rocketing over the skies of Toronto within that same day.
Hum. What other reasons could I think of for animosity between Canadians and Americans? Canada is a land where people are taught to take pride in group achievements; America is a land where personal glory is praised. You take the credit for everything you even glance at; You were late for every war you ever joined, yet every America text book lists you as (practically) the sole victors. The atomic bomb was not designed solely or even mostly by American scientists, heck, the Plutonium that fueled the blasted thing was mined by Native Canadians up north. How many of you knew that? But, it *was* tested in America. Yes, we can never forget that, can we? When other countries donated scientists, materials, and designs… America donated the testing land and the troops who were sent in, without protection, to walk *toward* the nuclear blast. But gods forbid you give credit where credit is due. After all, that would not make any very good, publicly pleasing war movies.
America refers to its President as “Leader of the Free World.” Need I go on? Do none of you see *anything* wrong with that statement? And this is not even something that is uncommon; it seems to be a national understanding. An unspoken recognition that, yes, your leader is *THE* leader. Why not just list your god as THE god, while you are at it? Whoops, I confused America with Christianity for a moment. I wonder how that happened.
So… what *would* America do if it didn’t have its guns? I shudder to imagine. Of course, the average American has been raised to believe that guns are not only a way of life, but a necessity for *preserving* that way of life. How utterly sad. There are hundreds of countries where hand guns are illegal, and although crime still exists, murders still happen, the countries are generally far less violent. The people of these nations also seem to be more patient, thoughtful, and peaceful. At least from my own experiences. They are exactly-- once again, through my own experiences-- exactly what America is not.
Canada gains protection from overseas physical attack by having America as a neighbor. But what do we *loose*? In a country where it is illegal for the average citizen to own a handgun, we see thousands of firearms being smuggled across the boarder from America each and every day. Yet the American government threatens us with triad embargoes if we legalize weed. Ya. That makes sense.
I witness my once easygoing and relaxed Canadian culture becoming more “Hollywood,” artificial and cold. Everyday life, fashion trends and even language are starting to reflect episodes of “Friends” and “Sex in the City.” I feel tainted with American ideology and politics. I know the US constitution, the American anthem, and the names of most of your presidents without every having taken a class or course on your Country. How many of you can claim any such knowledge of Canada? America’s Hollywood propaganda factory started with the spread of global communication and has been running at 110% efficiency in America ever since. And yet so many American’s wonder why people are tired of them. Imagine an obese, runny nosed school yard bully. You know the kind; he is a know-it-all and will beat up anyone who stands in his way. He is the kind of kid that either takes charge through force (or threatened force) or grabs his ball and goes home. Don’t get me wrong; this kid *is* just as tough as he says he is. But the problem is that this kid has just transferred to the school a couple days ago. The rest of the children are still getting used to his overpowering, annoying presence. That kid is America.
It seems to slip many of your minds that America is only a little over 200 years old. There are musical instruments being played that are older then your country. There are trees in the forest that have seen the rise of your lands. There are TURTLES that were swimming the oceans before your flag was even a twinkle in the stars.
So can’t you see how countries (or cultures, rather) who have existed for thousands of years are a little irritated, annoyed and scared by your overpowering presence? My country is younger then yours by a couple of decades, yet I too feel this sense of intrusion. I would not run out and start killing Americans over it, that’s just silly, but still, it is there. It is not a nice feeling to know that you live only two hours away from a Country that has a policy of “First we ask, and then we TAKE.” But what am I to do?
So yes, I do and will comment on the differences between Americans and Canadians. I will stand proudly and say “I come from a country that values peaceful resolutions. I come from a country that promotes peace for the greater good over war for my own gain. I come from a land where hand held weapons of death are not worshiped. I am Canadian.”
No one likes hearing their faults spoken of. Least of all Americans. But there you have it.
I do not feel Canadians “bash” America, but we do like to point out our differences. In fact, I think we *have* to point out our differences every chance we get. If we stop, then it is truly only a matter of time before we forget who we are, and that there ARE differences between our two nations. Those differences are what make us unique, not better.
Now that I have probably had my name and ISP listed on every government watch dog group in BOTH our countries, I will shut my mouth.
| How I Feel About War ||Jan 25th. at 6:11:45 pm EST|
|Katie (Norfolk, VA) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
OKay..I am petrified about the thought of war I won't lie to you...But more so than the average human being..why you may ask...because I live in Military USA...I live in the middle of the biggest military instillations in the USA....we have 5 naval bases, 2 army bases, 1 air force base, and a few reserve bases...as well as a marine base or two..completely around us....YIPES...do you know what it is like to drive over a bridge..that is a part of your major highway look out onto your water and see aircraft carriers, destroyers, and friggits??? If you live where I do..then yes you do...but stop and think a moment...you get used to seeing them..you are almost comforted by the fact that they are there..then one day you look out, like you always do...and THEY AREN'T THERE!!!! Why/ becasue they have been shipped elsewhere..leaving the coast of where you live vurtually unprotected...now do you see why I am scared?
you are welcome to email me with your thoughts...
| I Don't Agree With War ||Jan 25th. at 7:22:05 pm EST|
|kathy rodriguez (augusta, wv) ||Age: 31 - Email |
i'ts hard to understand why our government sees fit to involve the U.S. in every skirmish that comes our way. i don't feel that we should be going to war over this. everything in our history seems to revert back to violence. i don't believe we should have ever gotten involved in any of this.
| I Despise War ||Jan 25th. at 9:32:40 pm EST|
|BlueTornado (WV, United States) ||Age: 18 - Email |
It upsets me even when the smallest creature dies & i am anti-war & against violence of any kind. Although war & violence are embedded in the deepest roots of humankind's history, its about time that we learn for our mistakes. Don't go getting your rifle when you dont know what to say. Just because someone else gets their gun doesnt mean we have too. I think mothers from around the world said it best---"If one of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?!"
The Twisted One
| Oh Diesel ||Jan 25th. at 10:37:37 pm EST|
|Skeggi (New Zealand) ||Age: 32 - Email |
We dont bash you for being capitalist pigs.
There are so many reasons to bash America we dont need to resort to that.
What annoys us is your superiority complex. The leaders of the free world.
You save the world in every movie. You show the world how they should be living, how your culture is so much better than ours. How could we not love you.
We dont benefit from any of your technology that im awhere of, but i could be wrong.
I do have some questions for you though.
who decided that your governemnt alone should be able to decide who leads another soverein nation?
Who decided that weapons of mass destruction should only be held by countires you approve of?
How do you judge the worhtiness of these counties?
Why did you give them to Israel?
Why do you think you can dictate policy to other countries ie attempts to issolate us for our anti nuclear stand and resistance to GE food.
How can you talk of removing a dictators when you have backed some of the most ruthless dictators in history, Pal Pot, Papa doc, to name a few?
How is it that for a country that says it defends the rights of the individual and has an advanced judical system, that those rights do not apply to foreigners, the Suspects held in Cuba and the forced labour held in Saipan?
Why if their is condeming evidence against Saddam do you not present this to the UN and have the world unitied against him?
You and Britian, and Australia stand alone, doesnt that tell you something?
Now if Im wrong about anything please correct me.
But if you think about it you can see why America is debased by so many people.
Having said that the people of your country that ive met seem to be very nice, so no i dont judge you all by your government.
| ...the Pretense Of Benevolence ||Jan 25th. at 10:47:01 pm EST|
|MoonRose (Spokane) ||Age: 47 - Email |
...would seem to be the official policy coming out of D.C. This blatant act of bullying aggression by GW and his warmongering political/corporate puppets (read politicians/CEO's) on the people of Iraq is nothing short of shameful for this country & every fine thing we have ever been about in the eyes of the world. What this administration is doing is an indecent waste of human lives and economic resources; resources that could otherwise be used to improve the lives of countless people here at home and elsewhere in the world.
The flip side of this dirty coin regards the men and women in our military, most of whom are doing what they do for honorable reasons. The universally stated purpose of their service is to DEFEND our country from aggressors. I wonder how many are wondering when the job description changed so drastically, or if they were given the choice to stay on the job or go look for another when GW decided to act like a despot instead of their commander-in-chief. We have the right to put these musings to paper or voice them to the world. Do they?
The first paragraph was a snapshot of my thoughts on this matter. The second was something about how I feel. I'm frightened about what Bush is doing, or rather failing to do, with his absence of diplomacy & mindfulness. For us. For the people in Iraq. For my son, who is in the Army, and has been in Kuwait since January 8th. May we all continually hope & pray that compassion and reason will prevail.
| War... ||Jan 25th. at 10:49:31 pm EST|
|Allegra (Michigan, USA) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I'm in general not against war. War is a horrible thing, to be avoided at most costs. There comes a day though when enough is enough.
The US goverment is a bully. They're the kid on the play ground who will only be nice to you if you give them your lunch money. Not to get my wrong, our goverment has done quite a few good things, but always with some ulterior motive.
That's what scares me about this war. People I know and love are gonna die, over some petty fued. Chances are Saddams a goner any ways. Our constitutions being broken. (Are cival rights a thing of the past or some thing?) But hey, it will boost the economy. War always does...
The horse is dead, you can stop beating it now.
| Does It Really Matter How I Feel? ||Jan 25th. at 11:01:50 pm EST|
|Janet (Virginia) ||Age: 39 - Email |
One needs to ask oneself if it really matters how we feel about war. In my opinion, no matter how much we protest, argue, fight, sign petitions, talk to congressmen, and so on, the government does exactly what they want to. For instance the Vietnam, can anyone explain to me why we had to stick our nose into that one? I've asked politians, teachers, and the like, and no one has yet gave me a good reason for it. Bush is going to do exactly what he wants no matter how much we speak against it. It ceases to amaze me how power hungry and corrupt all the world governments are. It's not their family that goes out and gets killed, it is the ones who are just doing their job. To me, we are at war everyday, all the time, nationally and globally when you have children starving and dying from disease, families living in the streets, destruction of our natural resources, violence among families and others, and so many other things, it's hard enough just to live day to day. I am an old soul who has grown so weary of all the fighting, poverty, prejudice, hatred, greed, killing, hunger, and so on. The governments are not going to stop their little games, because that is all it is to them pure and simple. What am I doing? Teaching my children and others who are around me to stop being negative, help those who are in need, try to make the world a better place, and I'm involved in conservation and environmental organizations. But if we all could just try a little harder, maybe one day everyone will have enough and the government will change, but I seriously think it won't be in my life time. Blessings, love, and light to all.
| It's Stupid ||Jan 25th. at 11:47:03 pm EST|
|Rosalyn (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 16 - Email |
it's stupid & idiotic & is only a way of showing off & being an asshole.
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