2007.03.21: March 21, 2007: Headlines: Figures: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: The Capital times: Margaret Krome writes: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Special Reports: Cameroon RPCV and Columnist Margaret Krome: 2007.03.21: March 21, 2007: Headlines: Figures: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: The Capital times: Margaret Krome writes: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war

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Margaret Krome writes: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war

Margaret Krome writes: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war

"Monday night a group of maybe a hundred cold souls stood in the freezing winds off Lake Monona for an anti-war vigil. The group's voices sang strong and clear, even though candles kept getting blown out by the winter wind, and the guitarist's fingers were stiff from the cold. The peace movement must find its strength in deeper truths and elevate the fundamental wrongness of killing people to resolve conflicts. We need to ask, "Have we first used nonviolent strategies economic sanctions, propaganda, every diplomatic tactic for long enough for them to be able to work?" "Are the people our enemy, or are their leaders?" I've attended many anti-war rallies over the years with their slogans, chants and zeal, but I appreciated that Monday's event was a vigil instead. The respectful tone and thoughtful awareness seemed appropriate for contemplating something as big and awful as this, or any, war." Journalist Margaret Krome served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon.

Margaret Krome writes: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war

Margaret Krome: Peace vigil appropriate response to awful war
By Margaret Krome, March 21, 2007

Monday night a group of maybe a hundred cold souls stood in the freezing winds off Lake Monona for an anti-war vigil. The group's voices sang strong and clear, even though candles kept getting blown out by the winter wind, and the guitarist's fingers were stiff from the cold.

As the nation observes the fourth anniversary of the misbegotten war in Iraq, Congress is debating how to manifest the public's clear and democratically expressed desire to end the war.

Can it cut off funds without harming our soldiers?

Can the U.S. leave Iraq without leaving a wrecked country whose citizens are caught in killings and counter-killings?

The Pew Research Center reports that only 40 percent of the public still supports the war and that Republicans who say the war is going well have fallen from 77 percent to 51 percent over the past year. Many things explain this waning support:

* The administration's failure to find WMDs and anger that the public was intentionally misled about them.

* Perceptions that the administration has mismanaged the war and the war's predictable social and cultural consequences for Iraq.

* The war's $409 trillion and growing cost, and consequent loss of funding for important domestic programs.

* The discovery that the administration is spending funds not approved by Congress for purposes it wishes to keep secret.

* And of course, tragically, the growing number of killed, physically wounded and psychologically wounded servicemen and women, in addition to the scores of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed.

All of these make sense as reasons to oppose the war principally if they replace a different set of expectations, beliefs and emotions that fueled the nation's support for war in the first place.

When I read quotes from former war supporters, it seems that their disillusionment largely addresses tactical, rather than fundamental moral, realities.

Imagine President Bush or Sen. John McCain or any of a number of future presidents proposing war. Could these reasons overcome another season of war hysteria to actually prevent a war? I doubt it. After all, many people predicted exactly this result.

So news that poll numbers are slipping doesn't thrill me. Poll numbers carry an almost sporting way of framing issues is our side winning? The opposition to war should not be a popularity contest, where people who hate Bush get to vent their spleen. It should reflect careful, steady consideration, the kind one cultivates in meditative silence or worship or diary writing.

Although war certainly affects issues of social justice, environmental harm, civil liberties, democratic process and other issues I care about, it is inherently different from other political issues. Because war is all about intentional killing of other people, its brutal realities are always carefully translated into patriotic terms that obscure the truth.

There's a reason military generals use drum and fife corps and the Defense Department needs its public relations office. Politicians deploy standard tactics of patriotism, fear of enemy, machismo and stirring words and music to sell war, and smear tactics to suppress opposition.

What are the soundest tactics for people who support peace? Although in the short run the realities that are turning public opinion against this war may succeed at slowing its funding and pace, the next time war is proposed they won't counter the passion of the business community, the blind patriotism, the cynical agenda.

The peace movement must find its strength in deeper truths and elevate the fundamental wrongness of killing people to resolve conflicts. We need to ask, "Have we first used nonviolent strategies economic sanctions, propaganda, every diplomatic tactic for long enough for them to be able to work?" "Are the people our enemy, or are their leaders?"

I've attended many anti-war rallies over the years with their slogans, chants and zeal, but I appreciated that Monday's event was a vigil instead. The respectful tone and thoughtful awareness seemed appropriate for contemplating something as big and awful as this, or any, war.
Margaret Krome is a Madison resident who writes this column every other week. E-mail: mkrome@inxpress.net
Published: March 21, 2007




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Headlines: March, 2007; RPCV Margaret Krome (Cameroon); Figures; Peace Corps Cameroon; Directory of Cameroon RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Cameroon RPCVs; Journalism; Speaking Out; Wisconsin





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Story Source: The Capital times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Cameroon; Journalism; Speaking Out

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