Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Survivor Corps, Cluster Bombs, and Me

I recently received an email that said, "If you haven't heard, Russia has been dropping cluster bombs on the Georgian republic killing many innocent civilians. Those who do survive are often left horribly scarred or disabled. Survivor Corps is one of the lead organizations in the movement to ban cluster bombs and to assist survivors of this terrible weapon. I've put together this social media news release which explains everything. I would be grateful if you could blog about this very important subject ... "

I understand -- or at least, I understand that cluster bombs kill and maim, indiscriminately. As do the so-called "improvised explosive devices" that insurgents use without regard to target.

I oppose the war. I opposed the war when it began, primarily because I believe the United States should revert to war only when the nation is in direct peril. But I do not think I am a pacifist. And the corollary to that moral equivocation is that death by spear, by sword, by firearm, by napalm, by nuclear device, or by cluster bomb must relate rationally (if war can be considered rational) to what is to be gained by, or preserved for, our nation.

I understand cluster bombs inflict short-term and long-term injury and death upon the civilian population, which seems to be the Survivor Corps' primary focus. Not even the most ardent advocate of military action can object to minimalizing civilian casualties.

I do not, of course, but underneath my melancholy awareness of the deaths of innocents is my ironic comprehension of the moral hand-wringing over the use of atomic weapons to end World War II while relatively few understood the devastation and human suffering wrought by the firebombing of Tokyo, Dresden, Hamburg, and other Axis cities.

I hate war, and sadly, that is not enough.

1 comment:

Carter said...

I couldn’t agree more, Gary. I joined up for WWII because it was that or be drafted, but I’d have gone anyhow, because in that case there was a genuine reason for it and not going would have been unthinkable. Then I actually got shot at in Korea, which was unpleasant, but in those days we really feared that the Russians were out to get us, and they may have been. In Vietnam, the reason for going to war seemed less compelling to me, so I made speeches against it from the start and lost a congressional campaign at least partly because I wasn’t gung-ho for that one. Moreover, the generals did a terrible job. But Iraq is not even a war--it’s an imperialist venture that will get us nowhere, “surge” or not. I feel for the troops there, but they go where they’re told to go and do what they’re told to do. And the Iraqi civilians killed, thousands of them, for no reason--that is the saddest part or all. More power to anyone who tries to help them.