Tuesday, April 20, 2004

It is becoming clear that war is not only an undesirable method of "forging ahead" but also a futile one. Up until now, as long as war has been profitable there has always been someone willing to try it, to weigh the overheads against the net gain, the broken lives against the financial ledgers.

Trench and chemical warfare, the first cases of shell shocked survivors, starving civilians and livestock, the burned villages and pillaged fields of WWI were enough for people to declare never again. A scant few decades later, humanity outdid itself in the hellstakes with WWII. Since then, public response to war, although always silently disapproving, has grown increasingly vocal. Vietnam, Algiers, the horror of Cambodia's killing fields, pages and pages could be filled with war and the names of the places it has taken. Each time a war breaches public consciousness we recoil, and in trying to comprehend our atrocities we look for a villain, for a Pol Pot, a Milosevic, a Saddam, someone to lift the blame from our shoulders and unburden us of guilt. How could we let this happen? Again. And again. And again. And the tests. The Christmas Islands, the Mururoa Atolls, the hidden military laboratories, the people, the primates we sometimes substituted.

Each time we hear of a new war our resolve solidifies, our horror fixes, the danger seems a little closer to home, the image a little too real. It becomes clearer and clearer that war can never be conducted tidily. Each has its own hidden cripple that sooner or later crawls towards the light where we can see it. The Falklands, the 1990's Gulf War, Kosovo. Finally Kosovo. Suddenly what seemed to be a simple minimal collateral air run became hundreds of thousands of people streaming towards borders, a humanitarian crisis within weeks. An unexpected tragedy, and just one more reason for the UN's reluctance in endorsing this latest middle eastern misadventure. Has there ever been a successful war? No. The short answer, is no. Has there ever been a war somebody made money out of? Yes. There have been a handful of people who have profited at the expense of everyone and everything else. Is it worth it? No. It is not worth it.

And am I going to march down some street bawling "troops out now"? No. I am not. Let W Bush have his troops. Let him deploy them all over the world. Let him chew up his military budget, and then his domestic budget, and finally his own salary. Let him deploy his troops and never give them a moments rest, until they are tired and weary of their futile expeditions, of the dirt and sweat and grit and noise and stench and uncomfortable clothing and infrequent sleep and lost companions, let them grow tired of the empty jaws their administrations slap together, mashing out words between teeth and tongue till no one can understand anymore. Yes, let W Bush deploy his troops all over the world until tired and sick with war and its false promises his own troops turn on him.

the United States under W Bush has troops in 135 countries. Here is the list:

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Antigua
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burma
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Chad
Chile
China
Columbia
Congo
Costa Rica
Cote Dأƒâ€ڑأ‚’lvoire
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Guinea
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Liberia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Mali
Malta
Mexico
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia and Montenegro
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovenia
Spain
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

(a lot of prospective purchases for ihath, may prosperity shine upon her megalomania.)

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