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Worn down

Last night I went to J's party. I was a bit apprehensive about going because I felt that I would be surrounded by people who wanted to do nothing but rant about how evil Bush and the U.S. government are. Fortunately there wasn't too much of that. But I did end up standing out by refusing to get a peace sign stamped on my hand. I'm sorry, but I don't feel peaceful and I am not going to wear a peace sign just to fit in.

Someone I don't know very well turned to me and asked what I thought about displaying a flag. What I really think is "I approve, and should do it myself, and I also don't like that there is peer pressure to do it." But I wasn't in the mood for an argument so I said, "I don't have a problem with it, but I haven't done it myself yet." It turned out that she and her girlfriend were disagreeing about it -- one of them wanted to display a flag and the other thought displaying a flag stood for "I want unreasoned vengeance." I said that I was thinking of printing out a flag and adding the words "Justice. Restraint." and displaying that. A few people said they thought that was a good idea.

I am getting really worn down by feeling that I disagree with all my friends and family and extended network about what should happen next. (For the record, I support limited military action on the part of NATO with the purpose of crippling the organizations responsible for this so they can't do it again.)

I'm torn between going into hibernation and continuing to express my opinion in public. For some reason this has re-awakened my desire to clear out junk from my life, so I might be doing a big charity run. (waves to nimma)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2001 11:03 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'm in a pretty similar place about what I want to have happen, with a few minor changes -

If there's a way to cripple the organizations that did this, without making martyrs who can provide a focal point for further problems, and without needlessly either harming innocents or making people fight/contribute to fighting who haven't consented to do it directly, then I'm all for that.

I don't think that's the most likely *option* unfortunately, but we seem to be somewhat closer to it than I was afraid we'd be at this point.

I haven't had a lot of stress from friends, though, oddly. Most of the people I'm closest to are aiming at 'Justice, but we need more data to make an intelligent decision about the next step' sort of thing.
Sep. 16th, 2001 11:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know.

I agree.

I am quite impressed that the government seems to agree about the "more data" in spite of lots of people calling for blood.
Sep. 16th, 2001 11:20 am (UTC)
I feel much the same way. I support a military response. I want to see the people who did this, and their backers, thoroughly eradicated. And yet I also recognize that the majority of the people in Afghanistan are victims of their own... not even government, really. Their conquerors. I hope that any military response by NATO will be accompanied by efforts to lift the innocent civilians of the Middle East from their misery.

I don't really think it will, though.

Stef, I hope you'll continue to post in public about this, although I'll understand if it's too stressful. I'd like to see more of what you have to say.
Sep. 16th, 2001 11:29 am (UTC)
I only want governments and terrorists to be targeted, not people. Maybe I am naive to believe that it's possible to carry out such a mission. But I continue to hope. And every day the U.S. continues to gather information instead of rushing in with bombs, I feel more hopeful.

And yes, I would also like to see civilian victims of all kinds helped. And I hope the governments that have in the past used terrorists to destabilize other countries will decide that's not such a good tactic after all.
Sep. 16th, 2001 12:29 pm (UTC)
Whf... it appears that I never actually posted this comment. =@.@= Er, sorry. Here it is now.

I agree with you on the best-solution-idea. If nothing else, I feel a bit heartened to keep in mind that the people screaming for "paving over" the Middle East are not the people who will be making the actual decisions. Regardless of how many US citizens froth and demand retribution, Bush and the rest of Our Fearless Leaders (snrk) have no choice but to act diplomatically. If the US went in bombing the hell out of everything in sight, other countries would see it... and sooner or later, the US would get a backlash from the rest of the civilized world. And OFLs know that.

It took me a while, thinking about it carefully yesterday, to understand my extreme reluctance to fly an American flag. I finally encapsulated it as: It's a human thing, not an American thing. Yes, it happened in America. Yes, Americans were the targets. But it's more than that, and I think that nationalizing it is - seeing the wrong side of what happened.

I wish I had a flag with an Earth globe on it. I may make one. I'd fly that.
Sep. 16th, 2001 12:41 pm (UTC)
I see your point that flying an American flag might be seen as denying that it's a human disaster and a global issue.

On the other hand, I think it is an American thing because it was specifically "America" that was the target because "America" is a symbol for what the terrorists hate.

So in a way, displaying an American flag is a way of saying "I think America stands for good things, too."

(Which is NOT intended as pressure for anyone else to display one.)

I like the idea of displaying an Earth flag too.

OH suggested displaying a rainbow flag.
Sep. 16th, 2001 03:57 pm (UTC)
I have been wearing a thistle badge (one of the national symbols of my own country, Scotland). I have been wearing it because I draw strength from the example and beliefs of my parents and grandparents, and adopted grandparents for that matter, and from the culture which formed those beliefs, and the symbol helps to remind me what I want to stand for.

FWIW, whenever I see someone else displaying their national symbol, my first thought is that perhaps something similar is going on for them. So I'm not interpreting the displays of the American flag that I've seen on the news as denying the international implications of the attacks, or as disrespectful of the dead from my own country.
Sep. 16th, 2001 04:21 pm (UTC)
It's an important lesson that we keep learning in all sorts of different ways:

Don't assume you know what someone means.
Sep. 16th, 2001 06:05 pm (UTC)
I wish I had a flag with an Earth globe on it. I may make one. I'd fly that.

We have one, somewhere. I'm thinking about flying both flags, side by side.
Sep. 16th, 2001 03:47 pm (UTC)
Justice. Restraint. I really like that.
I've been a bit torn on the flag issue- this is the first time in my life I have ever felt the desire to display one. I probably won't, but I understand why people want to. I did burn a candle on Friday night, it felt like the right thing to do.

I'm a peaceful person, although pragmatic too.
Someone else made the comment that it won't endear us to our allies in other countries if we just start indescriminately bombing the hell out of Afghanistan or anyplace else. I'm sure our leaders are aware of that. There seems to be enough similar sentiment in this country around needlessly taking innocent lives that I think (hope) they will be keeping that in mind as well. It is Bush's first term, after all.

I'm okay with discussing these events with people close to me, but I'm not up for heavy debate right now. My close friends and I are more discussing how this/and will affect us in other aspects of our individual lives, rather than the war in general. That and posting my thoughts this format are just about it. And I have absolutely no desire to debate with people on the street about it. Too emotionally taxing. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on this but I completely understand if you are feeling a need to take a break from it.
Sep. 16th, 2001 04:22 pm (UTC)
The leaders do seem to be aware of the need to tread carefully, and I am grateful.

Thanks for your response. I have really appreciated your journal entries lately.
Sep. 16th, 2001 04:01 pm (UTC)
There are pragmatic reasons why we don't indiscrimainately bomb civilians as a rule, mainly that it has a poor track record of accomplishing anything. If Hitler had spent some of the military resources he had spent pulverizing london on, oh, lets say, aircraft factories and airfields, history would have been very different. Bombing civilians just increases enemy morale and consumes military resources without accomplishing anything useful.

As to nuking them, there are those who say that Russia declaring war on Japan had more of a motivating influence on them than the A-bomb.

Of course, that was two industrial societies fighting each other, and as our opponents lately were in the general locale of the Stone Age anyway, bombing them back to it really doesn't accomplish much except give our primal urges a massage. Not to mention the fact that bombing the subjects of tyrannical regiems only means they have to spend less on oppressing them this year.

I personally favor an invasion, as the Taliban is truely odious to the point where one can make a strong moral case for thier overthrow, even without them harboring Bin Laden.
Sep. 16th, 2001 04:26 pm (UTC)
If they show restraint for pragmatic reasons that's fine with me.

If an invasion would get rid of the Taliban without making things worse, I would be in favor of it. (The Economist said that prior to the Taliban's taking in bin Laden, the U.S. was supportive of it because it was in the U.S. interest to keep the country destabilized. I hope that policy changes.
Sep. 18th, 2001 04:01 am (UTC)
Well, yeah, the US has a habit of making a lot of enemies based on those kind of geopolitical calculations. In fact, the reason why our country's populace tends to be rather skiddish about fighting its wars is that for the past fifty years, it has rammed wars down our throats based on arcane geopolitical calculations.

For the vast majority of us, our brains, and almost certainly our hearts, don't respond to those calculations, even if they were made public.

As to my stance on ethics, which has weakened our friendship, I feel one must choose the most ethical option among the options that actually work. Not solving the problem due to ethical reasons is unthinkable to me.

Our country has a very serious problem, which must be solved, and ethics has a place, but only if it doesn't get in the way of solving the problem.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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