how is the war in Iraq like a well-established piercing?

Landisdad and I went to see Stop Loss last night. It’s a pretty good movie, especially if you like your propaganda wrapped around a center of chewy eye candy (mmmm….Ryan Phillipe….). After the movie, landisdad and I grabbed a bite, and during our post-movie debrief, he told me that he feels as if, because he is not doing everything in his power to end the Iraq War, he must at some level be okay with the war. And about his frustration that millions of other people are the same way.

When I was washing my face before bed, it occurred to me that the Iraq War has become something like a well-healed piercing. It started as something painful and bloody, but now that it’s five years old, it’s become a familiar, numb hole.

On Friday night, we had some friends over for dinner–one of them was a political scientist, who told us about a study she had just read that contrasted the effectiveness of political persuasion when it was presented as fiction, as opposed to news. That people are more moved by political arguments that are presented dramatically (and not first and foremost as political arguments) should not be news–after all, political propaganda has existed since at least the time of the Greeks. But it did give me hope that this movie might heighten the urgency of ending the war for some of the people who aren’t feeling that urgency now.

It’s been a war-filled weekend, in a weird kind of way. My MIL came in on Friday, and she brought me a book called Street Art and the War on Terror: How the World’s Best Graffiti Artists Said No to the Iraq War, which is basically pictures of all kinds of graffiti that appeared around the world in the period before and during the war. Each photograph is accompanied by a short description that includes the location and artist, if known, and the date the photo was taken. The blurbs are spare, and so far, my favorite (annotating a picture that just combines a picture of Bush and the single word, “FUCKER”) has to be: “Anti-Bush stickers seem often to have a pretty direct message; it’s all in sharp contrast to the normality of the street sign. Few previous US presidents have been treated with so little respect.” Perhaps because few US presidents have treated the US population with so little respect?

All this thinking about our current war made me go and dig out a letter that my oldest step-brother, who was deployed to Kuwait in Gulf War I, sent to me after that war had ended but when he was still in Saudi Arabia, waiting to get shipped home. I doubt that his sentiments would be foreign to most of the soldiers fighting in Iraq today. I’ll close this post with his words:

I frequently wondered if the objectives here were worth dying for. Unfortunately though, I came to the conclusion that there isn’t much of anything worth that.

I volunteered, so here I am.


March 30, 2008. books for grown-ups, politically motivated.


  1. elise replied:

    I just really hope that a democrat wins the presidency and ends this thing! McCain seems to be on the team that says “the surge is working” and if we just pull out, everyone will think that we lost. I think I even remember him saying something about how no one would respect us anymore. I wonder how many of those people/countries that wouldn’t respect us actually respect us now! My opinion is that we CAN’T win this war. I believed that before we started it and I still believe it today. It will never just end with us “winning”.

    I really get scared that McCain will win. I was shocked that Bush won the second time. If the country is not ready for an African American or a woman, then he could win….McCain seems much more likable than Bush and that worries me. If he wins, then it is possible that the war would go on for 4 more years (in my opinion). I live in a very republican area and feel lonely…funny because Pennsylvania is usually very democratic.

    Enough negative Nelly for one morning!

  2. PunditMom replied:

    So much food for thought. Now I’m going to be thinking the same thing as your husband — am I acquiescing to the war by not taking a more active stance against it?

  3. Anjali replied:

    What an incredibly beautiful and enlightening post. Will be chewing on this one for some time to come.

  4. byrningbunny replied:

    Very thought provoking post. I’m in total agreement with your husband. I’ve wondered for some time why the impeachment of George Bush has never really had the momentum to get off the ground?! Nobody seems to be for it, but nobody knows how to fix it (especially me). It reminds me of that old poem/story about “when they took the “fill in the blank”, it didn’t affect me, etc., etc., and then when they came to take me, there was no one left to care.”

  5. BBSP at five years, the remix « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] you read my blog at all, you can’t avoid the politics. Or the peace […]

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