Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Hearts Would Break

War Against War: A Meditation on Bradley Manning’s Mind by Scott Tucker via

If we contemplated these fields of dead soldiers without illusions, our hearts would break and we might go mad; if we recognized at long last the greed and presumption of the ruling class, then we might hear and know the real burden of these words, which the poet Wilfrid Owen wrote before dying as a soldier and an officer in World War I:
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est,
Pro patria mori.
[Editor’s note: The Latin phrase translates roughly as “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”]

One example of war, real-time, and shorn of all illusions.  Its rumored that we can see this video because of the actions of Mr. Bradley Manning.

Rally, June 4th, in Leavenworth, KS in support of Mr. Manning.

Back to Scott Tucker's article, I don't know who Susie Day is, but I think I'd like her. :)

Concluding that Manning “was probably not fit for overseas duty” is breathtaking! Yes, this oracular wisdom comes from “progressive” venues such as “Frontline” and The Guardian, and was then paraphrased on Truthdig. As Susie Day, a lesbian writer who is no friend of empire, wrote to me, “The whole fakakta-osity of this b’cast wasn’t only showing Manning as infantilized and unstable; look at the ‘friends’ they got to talk about him—and his father’s the one who belongs in prison; he obviously has such contempt for a kid who, surrounded by such dolts, did well to survive.” Manning has indeed done more practical good in the fight against war and empire than the great majority of “pragmatic” bleeding hearts will ever do by voting as instructed by MSNBC, The Nation and deadbeat Democrats in Washington.

There's so much in that one paragraph. Begin with the small town idiocy of sending a troubled kid into the Army during wartime because "he needed structure." My own personal bias would be that Mr. Manning might have had a much happier life if a hippie bus on its way to a Phish show had wandered into his town and if he'd gotten on that bus and gone far, far away. But then again, because of the path he was pushed along, Mr. Manning did indeed strike the most substantial blow against war and empire of my generation. Or at least that's what the military is telling us. But, since no good deed goes unpunished in this world, because of that he's been psychologically tortured and is now held in a cell in Leavenworth.

Underneath this all lie the concepts of Democracy and Freedom. Those concepts in who's name we bomb Libya, Iraq, and on some days it seems like half the world. Democracy is a guarantee of Freedom. Democracy is the concept that power resides with the people, and thus the people have the power to guarantee their freedom. Democracy requires information. If government officials hide the truth about our wars behind a veil of secrecy, then they are usurping power from the people. When officials decide what the people know and don't know, they become the rulers and make the citizenry ignorant and powerless.

If Mr. Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then he struck a blow for Freedom and Democracy. He enabled our Democracy to have a chance at functioning by letting the people know at least a few of the secrets, and in doing so letting the people have a chance to make democratic decisions about the policies of our nation that they otherwise could not make if the secrets had stayed secret. My own vision of a free and democratic America would be one where Mr. Manning would be receiving our highest awards and medals for his courageous acts in the defense of freedom. Instead, he's locked away in prison.

Scott Tucker's closing words are too good, too true, and too powerful to ignore.

War against war does not mean we volunteer to be shot down by offering the government the provocation of taking up weapons. Violence is an abyss, and we do not show courage by jumping into an open grave. Resistance, however, can take a thousand forms that do not depend on brute force. The war against war must therefore be grounded in ethics, and guided by daily enlightenment. War against war means this government can no longer depend—smugly and brutally—on the uncontested consent of the governed.

A class-conscious struggle against the corporate state is also a struggle against war and empire. If this government makes the free election of real democrats and of socialists impossible, then we, the people, have the right and duty to elect ourselves as public citizens; and to begin creating a new republic founded upon peace, social wealth, ethical obligation, ecological sanity, and the solidarity of labor across all borders. Every workplace is potentially a free council of workers; every street and neighborhood is potentially a public space of freedom.

In Europe, many thousands of working people have already taken to the streets against the austerity programs imposed by parties of the earnest right and the bogus left. What we may call the political warm spring in Europe may yet become a hot summer. In Greece, workers and students waged a general strike, and in Spain they still occupy public squares—recently braving an assault by riot police swinging shields and truncheons against citizens who peacefully linked arms in a mass sit-down protest in Barcelona. We, too, have a history of urban general strikes in this country, and of class-conscious struggles against war and corporate rule. This government depends on our obedience, but our lives depend on open rebellion. Start small and start now.

Remember, the 'anti-war movement' has already won the hearts and minds of America. Depending on the wording of the poll question and the particular war about which its being asked, somewhere between 55% to 70% of Americans want these wars to end as soon as reasonably possible. The problem in America is that our democracy apparently is failing to function, as these beliefs are not reflected in our government. What America needs is not an anti-war movement, but a democracy movement. Are there any cool colors left unclaimed?

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