|by Mike Blanchard|
|Published on: Mar 19, 2003|
|Unlike those who believe there is absolute right and wrong in this life, I subscribe to the idea that there exists a balance, albeit a cruel and loveless balance. On one side exist the oppressive regimes of the world (remembering that there are more than three) are only thrust into the spotlight when the self-interest of an administration can be served by capitalising on the fear and loathing of a ‘true evil.’ An evil that resembles something a lot like one the world was said to have dealt with a decade go. On the other side of the scale is absolute freedom, but it has been tainted by years of political compromise and faded by patriotic zeal. We have all forgotten what it means to be free, for we are blissful in our ignorance.
For as the evil villain clambers an army together, one just crazy enough to think it may prevail; many in this world question how good the good guys really are. Contrary to the claims of our global sheriff, this paranoia is not at all arbitrary. In fact it is absolutely necessary. To question the motivations of the United States – indeed any other nation - is to act like a responsible, 21st century citizen. People must ask themselves not only whose self-interest a war in Iraq serves but also if the means to achieving success comes at too high a cost.
The answer to this question is not dependant on walking the full mile. After all, the world has walked it before. We know what the cost of total war is, for we understand its everlasting repercussions; the public holidays and the march of old and bitter men, whose numbers fade away in time, and we know of those walls riddled with names just like mine and yours.
But we also know that ‘things will never be the same.’ They never were after 9/11. They never were after Ypres, Normandy, Dresden, or even Stalingrad either. After the battle for Baghdad, we can’t expect things to be the same either. This generation will have been witness to the fury of ultra-modern warfare. Burnt into our minds forever will be the memories of seeing far-away homes engulfed in clouds of dust. The life of the Iraqi will seem distant of the troubles of our own existence, but somewhere inside us will remain a quiet grief. We will think we’re sorry for having to do that to them, but our wise leaders claim to be acting out of respect for human life, and that is will comfort us as we work through our 8 hour days and hour long lunches. However, we will move on, and we will forget.
The good guys really aren’t that good. They are not really that different from who we are at all either. They are ordinary, basic creations who think about the same things we do and who recite the same prayers and even have the same dreams. Those who bring us to the brink of war are not extroadinary, visionary people. They are just like us.
That is why we must cease using violence as a means to an end. We cannot bring a conclusion to the reign of terror by using such an absolute and unforgiving method as violence. If we do, we manifest the most treacherous enemy the forces of good have and will ever see. An enemy we have acknowledged and are resolved to destroy. Evil.
It may come in many forms; through indifference, a lack of empathy, bigotry, or ignorance (or any combination thereof). But what plagues the well-meaning people of the world right now is the misconception that right and wrong are absolute, free of a middle-ground. We must understand that there exists in the fog of war a grey area, one where civilians, soldiers, bombs, and officers come together and create one great, big, god-awful mess. We can pretend that it was always going to happen, but it does not lessen the cost
We cannot pretend to be carrying out good when we must use evil to achieve it. Believing that leads us into an abyss not unlike that of Nazism. The people of the U.S cannot expect to be led by a President who is right by inheritance. The Bill of Rights was created by ordinary and unremarkable men who had one brilliant idea; in pledge of a truth they believed was self-evident - they claimed that all men were created equal. One day we will recognise that we exist as equals too.