Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Documenting the Horror of War

While randomly browsing the web, I came across this article by the author of Afterwar: Veterans From a World in Conflict.

Reading through the available excerpts definitely didn't help my natural cynicism regarding the brutal realities of human existence. Death & suffering are universal human problems that are exponentially increased through the business of War.

Veterans From a World in Conflict

People are inherently neither 'good' nor 'evil', both of which are completely subjective judgments exclusive to the human mind. Therefore, I try to maintain a sense of neutrality about the countless events going on in the world. However, the scale of human suffering & death inflicted by fellow humans throughout history can be nauseating to consider. Seeing images or reading gut-wrenching accounts of the products of war - slaughtered children, raped women, & mutilated men- is unspeakably painful and terrible. Understanding that these horrors exist is necessary, though, to keep a realistic perspective about the complex world in which we live.

These links are graphic & f*cking horrible
but should be seen on every nightly newscast
until people are completely sick of War

Iraq War Images Uncensored

Iraq War Casualty Pictures

Unfortunately, we must bear witness to & attempt to sublimate the worst in mankind if we are to try to embody the higher ideals that the wiser among us aspire to. Fully realizing these countless tragedies of human experience should be frightening. They make us see that life is constant suffering that can never be fully overcome. Despite this, we can take solace in the fact that people will always continue to work for positive change to alleviate even a little of that suffering.

The unthinkable atrocities committed around the world each day by people of every nation are also a startlingly clear indication that the idea of a loving paternal deity, "God the Father"/"Yahweh" (as well as evil incarnate, like a Devil) are fantasies that are like a safety blanket covering our eyes from the truth. What truth?...

The Absolute Truth is... that there is No Absolute Truth.

However, a 'relative truth' is that we have nothing to rely on- except ourselves and each other. Life in this physical realm will always be chaotic, sometimes good & sometimes bad, but ultimately 'meaning'-less in the cosmic scheme of things. I am not a total nihilist by any means, but I've come to be able to hold any number of simultaneously contradictory views in my mind.

For instance, I believe human life is an infinitely precious phenomenon that should be treasured... but life also has no abstract "purpose" other than to exist, so a human being dying is ultimately no different than an ant dying. Some people would say that these two views can't co-exist, but it is simply the way things are.

Despite all my existential bullshit, I am a very empathetic person, so the idea of war & vast human suffering deeply disturbs me. No matter how much of a jaded realist I become, the idea of barbaric violence among people will always cause profound sorrow.

Watching President Obama escalate America's offensive (either meaning of the word is appropriate) military actions has been hard for alot of people because now he, like George W. Bush, is a mass-murderer by proxy. Strong words, yeah, but it's not un-true. I voted for him & think he's dealing with alot of harsh realities. This escalation is antithetical to the beliefs of most people who supported his candidacy on the principle of reversing our aggressive militarism.

I've stated before that I, like any sane person, accept the realistic need for a military to defend the country. Many of my good friends are in the military & the actions of the individual soldier is not my issue. My concern is the overall objectives that these soldiers are dutifully following.

To the country we are occupying, every drone or bomb that takes out a village or innocent children 'by mistake' is a unnecessary murder by The President, the military, & the country as a collective. This may sound anti-American & outrageously unpatriotic... but only to an ignorant jackass with no conscious.

I am not a moral coward & I'm not afraid to look critically at my relatively tiny role either. The reason that our destructive Imperial Oil Wars conducted deceptively in the name of fighting 'terrorism' disturbs me so much is that I don't try to deny that I'm responsible, as well. A bit of my tax dollars go toward every Afghan or Iraqi civilian that is killed by our forces.

Sure, there are degrees of separation between my tax revenue & the acceptable 'collateral damage' of someone in a foreign land, but I do not accept that conceptual convenience. If I do not accept and internalize my role in the causality of inevitable needless death that I pay into, no matter how small, then I might as well be turning my eyes away while pulling the trigger myself. Some might say this is unnecessary worrying over issues way beyond my control. I say it is the ultimate expression of the social conscious that my parents raised me to cultivate & that my sense of compassion forces me to confront.

That is also why I feel compelled to express my thoughts like I am doing now.

I only wish that I could do much, much more
to make the world chill the hell out.

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