Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006



I am an ostrich about war. In South Africa, there was a war against apartheid and even though I wasn’t actively liberating my country myself, I opposed the despicable regime. The toll it took emotionally to live inside something you loathe was so great that since our liberation, other wars have become almost meaningless to me. I deplore them, especially ones like the war in Iraq, which so patently comes out of greed, or the suicidal war that Robert Mugabe is waging on his own citizens out of his own insane lust for power and money, but often I ignore them. It’s just easier.

So it’s strange for me to come to you with a post about war. It was inspired by one of my blog-friends, the BikeProf, who has written so movingly about his position on Iraq and what it really means to support the troops. His own father is a veteran and is now in hospital with cancer that has probably grown out of his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. BikeProf is vehemently against America’s current war, but is wholeheartedly in support of the troops. His particular concern – apart from unpacking the political rhetoric around the bumper stickers “Support our Troops” which he shows really means “Support Bush” – is how troops are treated on their return home from war, if they are lucky enough to do so. Do they get the support they really need as they try to make their way in society? And years later, how does society ensure that they get the medical treatment they require?

Here is what BikeProf has to say:

So, here is my plea. I want to start people talking more and more and more about supporting the troops. I want people to think more about how we treat the people who have made the sacrifices for our country. I want people to think about how cynically politicians exploit the troops for their own ends. I want people to think about how a drunken frat boy draft dodger can be seen as a hero and biggest supporter of our troops, and I want people to think about just what this absolute and complete collapse of meaning says about our country. Please, write something about this. Spread the word. Talk about how we need to support our troops in real, tangible, material ways–starting with bringing them home from this evil, stupid, stupid war. Reference me or not, link to me or not, but talk about it. Ask everyone who reads your blog to write about it–just one post–until everyone in the blogosphere is talking about it. Create a chain blog, an enormous pyramid of entries. It may mean nothing–probably will mean nothing–but things only start to happen when people talk and agitate.

Read both his posts. Spread the word. And while you’re doing it, read Courtney’s post about growing up with a war veteran in the house, and Emily’s post on language and how it is used to political effect.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

10 thoughts on “War

  1. Thank you for this link, Charlotte.

  2. My view on war is quite a different one. As an Israeli girl who lives in the north of Israel, I have just witnessed war not more than six months ago. My city was bombed, one bomb falling a street above my house (Haifa is a mountain city, it’s all stairs and ups and downs here), and a friend of mine got killed in the army.
    I still jump when I hear loud sounds or sirens. (And hope so much that there won’t be another war this summer).

    I remember after the twins buildings went down, and the u.s.a went to war, we had to go to school with our gas masks in tow every day. I was so scared then that we’ll get wiped off the face of the earth in this war between all the huge nations.

    About your troops, I can’t state an opinion. Although I was born in the US of A I grew up in Israel since the age of one year old. All I can tell is about my views towards our army.
    I don’t serve because I’m on anti-depressant medication, in Israel that immidietly means you can’t serve. We have a law in Israel, making it obligatory for every eighteen year old to go into the army. Two years for girls, three for guys. In Israel draft dodgers are frowned upon. People here appreciate those who do it. It’s hard to get a job in all sorts of places if you haven’t done your time in the army and don’t have a legitimate reason to do so (a legitimate reason would be a medical one).
    When the war was raging, I felt so bad for not being in the army, with my friends. I used to talk to my best friend who was in a military base near the border with Lebanon, and during the conversation I could here the bombs falling on the roof of her shelter.

    God, I’m drifting here to unrelated issues. I’m sorry that I’m not really responding to what you asked. As that person you quoted said, this war IS stupid and wicked, and I just wish we’ll all have peace again. (Actually, ‘again’ is not the right word. I don’t believe there ever WAS peace in the middle east in the past sixty years if not more).

    Leore Joanne.

  3. Thanks for the links – I’ll definitely go and read them (all loaded up in other browser tabs but will have to wait till tomorrow!)

    So far, nothing has happened which has put me in the position of having to explain to dudelet what this stupid , horrible, wasteful habit is about. It’s a conversation I hope to defer as long as possible.

    I’m dreading the next election. Who to vote for when voting is a moral obligation (for me personally) but all the electable parties are ethically bankrupt?

  4. Pingback: Aphra Behn - danger of eclectic shock Support the Troops «

  5. My pleasure, Ms HMM.

    Leore, thanks for commenting. It’s very different when you’re living in an country at war. I’m glad to hear about the support for Israeli troops.

    (Un)Relaxeddad, I can understand your dread at having to vote. How do you choose when the choice is invidious?

  6. Thanks Charl. This is good. Let’s have more of this talking!

  7. I didn’t feel able to post on Bikeprof’s topic because I felt that I was discounted, living outside the US, but you’ve shown me the way to do it, Charlotte, and maybe I can post something that supports Bikeprof now.

  8. Thanks for continuing the conversation, Charlotte – it’s such an important one to have!

  9. Pingback: On supporting the troops. « Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

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