Friday, December 2, 2011
We haven't forgotten about war
Where did my giddiness come from? I have found these last couple of days to be very upsetting ones in terms of U.S. war policy. Monday morning began with our local paper's front page announcement of a local National Guard contingent of engineers being sent off to Afghanistan for the next year. Their assignment? To clear roads of explosive devices. Will they come back to us? Will their bodies and their minds be whole?
Adding to my upset was knowing that every day the U.S. Senate was on the verge of passing on an obscene War Budget of nearly $ 700,000,000,000 for just one fiscal year. All dedicated to Killing -- or the Threat of killing -- to keep our top-dog position throughout the planet.
Then came the whopper. Embedded in the War Budget was a more frightening commitment to an already out-of-control escalated Anti-Terrorism policy (and what is that stipulation doing in a $$$ appropriation bill anyhow? Is there no Rules Committee in the Senate?) But it came to the floor and passed with 61 votes! The U.S. Senate moved a little closer to facism where THE U.S. MILITARY can summarily pick up a suspected terrorist & be her/his police, prosecutor, judge, and jury, putting a person away secretly and pretty much forever. The MILITARY in charge in this country. How is this different from the situation in Egypt? -- is the question I've been flinging about all week.
A lot of us were despondent.
So when I looked at the computer after dinner and saw that the Merkley Amendment had passed by a voice vote, I was astonished and delighted.
By the time I went to bed still trying to process all this, I was left with two explanations. The Senate needs a cover-up, a sop to what they will be about today (thursday) when the entire $ 600+ Blllion comes up for a vote. We citizens may well see them do what they've done before -- admonish the Pentagon and the President about the Wars one day, and then turn around the next day and vote all the money requested to execute the same wars.
I was still restless before I fell asleep. Where was this next thought coming from? Is it possible to look deeper, back into the younger days of some of these hapless Senators? Did they once glimpse what world peace, what the public good, etc. could look like? Was there an element of altruism in the voice vote yesterday afternoon?
These men and women, these Senators, so caught up in corruption on a scale never before possible in a governing body in all of history, may occasionally have a moment of collective recognition about the loss of youthful idealism. I suppose I'm thinking of the confused senior senator from my state, John Kerry, whom I often give up on, while still having a need to explain his thought processes to myself.
Is there a way to appeal to the traces of altruism in some of these Senators, instead of just denouncing them ? Still retaining the piercing insight we in the anti-war movement bring to the scene, I was wondering if I could add just a pinch of forgiveness for the human frailty of people with too much power which derives from too much money from too many unbearably ugly corporate connections in our society and the lies necessary to cover them.
What will happen today? Same old same old, most likely. How do we influence that? Drawing on the new energy of the Occupy movement and on our own inner resources and on the community we create as a movement, we can infuse our own overstressed bodies and brains and the organizations we work within to figure it out together and keep on struggling and doing what we do.
-- Sally Weiss, PDA End War and Occupations