War without end

Mommybloggers, do you want your kids to grow up in the middle of a war? Because that’s what’s happening. I’m feeling very scared and fierce.

How is my child going to grow up? As a citizen of a country that is committing terrible war crimes. As the child of parents who did nothing to stop it.. nothing except vote, and go to a couple of big anti-war rallies, and then vote some more, and called our already anti-war senators, Boxer and Feinstein. Fat lot of good that’s doing.

Are we are in a war without end? As “terrorism” and “enemy” are defined more and more broadly? Are we about to bomb Iran, as this writer in The Nation suggests? “Our” country is moving ships into the Persian Gulf.

How about placing your bets on the October Surprise? I’m cynical. The thousands of people detained by the U.S. without recourse to law or trial, and I’m reading estimates of 14,000 right now, already stabbed me to the heart — the heart of my patriotism and love of this country, and my greater commitment to international law, like the Geneva Conventions, and my even greater commitment to my responsibility as a human being to do what is right. Now that we have lost the right of habeas corpus, I’m broken hearted. What will be too much? What will cross the line? When will we know? When our country invades other countries unjustly? Oh wait, we’ve done that. When our country imprisons and tortures and “disappears” people? We do that too. When we claim the absolute moral right to violate the sovereignity of any other country? What next?

Why aren’t more of our people in the U.S. military speaking up, as they are required by law to do, to defend this country not by shooting people but by holding true to its principles? They *must* disobey. And be court-martialed. Must. This is not easy to say or to ask of our soldiers.

If it were one of your friends put in prison, accused of being an “enemy combatant” because they donated money to a Muslim organization — or whatever other things become the qualifications for “enemy” status — what would you do? Would you know what to do? Who would you call?

Where is the line, which, when our government crosses it, we’ll engage in civil disobedience?

Where are the protests against the terrible war we’re in? When, or if, “we” bomb Iran, and its nuclear facilities, what will happen here?

I think about what history I know, but strangely, what keeps coming into my mind are children’s books I’ve read — children’s books from World War II, published in the U.S. They all follow the same pattern, of children keeping a watchful eye out for anyone saying unpatriotic things, or anything negative about the war effort. Those people always turn out to be German or Japanese spies. The children report on them, are given awards or medals, and the spies are “caught”. I wonder, will we start seeing these books for our children? About how to identify suspicious behavior? About our country, right or wrong, and how it’s always right?

Because I do love my country… in this sense so well expressed by New Model Army in their song “My Country“… Is it too idealistic?

How can I teach Moomin, who hardly understands the idea of justice and human rights, right and wrong, that there might be some extremely good reasons not to mouth the words of the Pledge of Allegiance every Friday morning at his school? And yet, to love the idea of the hope of good government, of real justice? I know that what I love is utopia, and we have never reached anything like it. So in a way what I want to give him is belief and hope…

What of the people who, in the last few years in the United States, have already been arrested, accused, and disappeared? Do you think their families had the power to defend them and fight for them? For a moment, I imagine a scenario, based loosely off stories I have read, of men (always men!) arrested for donating money or being part of a religious organization. And instead of their families being abandoned by their community, I imagine a small brave collective act of civil disobediance. What if every other parent at those men’s children’s nursery schools, and public schools, and workplaces, and mosques, had donated money to that same organization, in protest and solidarity? Can they arrest us all? That is just a thought of a possible strategy, just in case something happens to one of you, or someone you know, or someone you hear about in your community.

Excuse my demogogue moment; I’ve been very upset, increasingly upset, unsure like so many of us what to do; and the suspension of habeas corpus in particular makes me very afraid, angry, and determined.

If we do end up in a more politically repressive country then, please realize, I will be absolutely screwed, because I will never shut up, not even to protect myself… or my family. That’s what people like me are good for.

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