War Games

Bloggified by Jake on Friday, May 14, 2010

When I was in eleventh grade, our Model United Nations considered resolutions regarding chemical weapons and treatment of prisoners of war. I, as the delegate representing Djibouti, took the statewide assembly by storm by introducing resolutions in both cases suggesting that we lift all bans on chemical and biological weapons and abolish the Geneva Convention agreements regarding treatment of prisoners of war.

My justification for both was that Djibouti was a very poor nation. We couldn't afford the nuclear deterrent that richer nations used to ward off invaders. Chemical weapons, on the other hand, were cheap and easy to make and could serve the same purpose as nukes. Likewise, a poor nation like Djibouti could not afford to care for its own people, much less those who would take up arms against us. Prisoners of war, we suggested, should be drowned or hanged, but not shot as that would waste our already insufficient ammunition.

Years later, I was working on "Good Morning, Arizona" when a story came down about a Iraqi suicide bomber who'd blown up his car at a checkpoint and killed three American soldiers. The show's producer, whose brother was a soldier preparing to ship out to Iraq, had a minor breakdown, calling the act "cheating." "You can't do that!" she said. "That's not fair." I asked her to elaborate and she made the case that America had the better army and the better weapons and doing things like exploding bombs at checkpoints wasn't how war was supposed to be fought.

I tried to get her to consider what we as Americans would do if a superior army invaded our country. Would we be good losers and accept their occupation or would we fight with everything we had? Of course, she couldn't consider this hypothetical since America has the strongest army in the world and that nullified the premise.

The latter example brings to light a line from the speech I made on the floor of the Model United Nations in eleventh grade. "Rules are for games, and war is not a game. War should be horrific. War should be so terrible that the very thought of it should sicken anyone who considers it as a solution to a problem." The fact that Americans were eager to go into Iraq, and that months after the invasion we'd be upset that the people we'd rolled over in a race to Baghdad "weren't playing fair" is evidence that war has lost its meaning.

We shouldn't feel safe about our brothers and daughters and grandsons and nieces being in Iraq or Afghanistan. It should come as no surprise when someone we know is killed by a roadside bomb or in an ambush. In fact, I'd argue that we should only be surprised by the healthy return of our troops from their tours. We should all be sick to our stomachs, able to sleep at night only through the knowledge that the horrors befalling our soldiers pale in comparison to those they are preventing. And if we do not or cannot know that, we should not put them nor leave them in harm's way.

War should not be a job. It should not be a way of life. It should not be a showcase for how tough we are. It should be the worse than the worst things we can imagine. Those who die should be considered the lucky ones for those who survive should be irreversibly damaged by the experience, and those who did not serve should carry the burden of caring for those survivors all their days.

2 sarcastic replies:

smacky said...

Well said! We're too quick to slap a yellow ribbon magnet on our cars and wave an American flag and be done with it. We can't see it from the other side because that means humanizing the enemy.

Jennifer Juniper said...

Agreed. Obviously, I'm not HAPPY three soldiers were blown up, but to say it isn't fair? That makes no sense! It's a WAR! It's terrible, but there really aren't any rules.

I always got that "that's not fair" when someone tries to fight me and I bite them. Screw you, I won. ;-)

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