Monday, May 28, 2007

Duty

Iowa Victory Gardener writes an excellent Memorial Day post.

No matter how low our opinion of the “Commander Guy,” we must never lose sight of the people that he’s sending overseas to die for the glory of his ego. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of our underequipped, thinly-stretched soldiers would rather be home with their families today (you and me) — enjoying a Memorial Day barbecue, or even doing house work — but duty calls, and the good soldier answers. As Gordon Dickson wrote: “Soldier, ask not - now, or ever, where to war your banners go.”

On this Memorial Day, as we are engaged in the Second Oil War, let us all — soldiers and civilians alike — remember that we all have our duty. Let us perform it to the best of our ability.

For those of us who want our troops home with their families next Memorial Day, we too have a duty, a duty to act on our convictions. I don’t use the term “Second Oil War” lightly — the first was Desert Storm, aka Kuwait — as it’s easy to see that this is about nothing but oil. The proof is as easy as looking at Iraq and Darfur — why are we embroiled in one and not the other? I remember a protest sign from the First Oil War: “What if Kuwait exported broccoli?”

So what is our duty, those of us who want an end to this waste of time and lives? If the true reason for war is oil, then it’s up to all of us to make oil less important. It’s not easy, though: oil pervades nearly everything in our lives. It’s in our fertilizers, plastics, (of course) our gas tanks, and the asphalt we drive on is what’s left over when all the other stuff is pulled out of the oil. Manufacturing, mining, shipping, lumbering, agriculture, all require diesel fuel.

Admitting that oil is necessary to our “non-negotiable way of life” is one thing, it’s quite another to admit that we are past — or at best, very near — “peak oil,” the maximum point of oil supply that we will ever see. Supply is dwindling, and will continue to do so, while demand has just kept going up. That’s why we’re already paying post-Katrina prices for gas before hurricane season has even started. We can’t do anything about the supply, but we can — and it’s our duty to — do something about demand.

One of the lasting legacies of WWII is the collection of posters and other artwork, exhorting the civilians of the time to support the war effort — by supporting rationing, growing one’s own food in “Victory Gardens,” recycling scrap material, carpooling (even though we, hard as it is to believe, were the Saudi Arabia of the day), and all sorts of other sacrifices. Quite the contrast to Commander Guy’s “go shopping,” huh? Even during the 70s, we had myraid PSAs on the radio that drilled us with all sorts of tips to save gas. Where are those PSAs today? Well heck, we don’t need them — we know what our duty is. Let’s get to it.

Our friends and loved ones overseas are depending on us.

6 comments:

  1. Extremely well done, Far. Your thoughts on sacrifice for a common goal is a subject I have thought frequently about for quite some time. It's just that we as a nation have become so self-absorbed and downright selfish that it's hard to voice such ideas with many people.

    I'm hoping that people will embrace some of the thinking that Al Gore has written in his new book (The Assault on Reason) and we as a nation can take them to heart and begin to heal the wounds and right the suicidal course on which we presently find ourselves.

    Somber thoughts yes, but ones we all need to consider seriously. Thanks for such a cogent and heartfelt piece ...

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  2. Thanks, IVG. But credit where it's due: I probably wouldn't have written it without seeing your post.

    I think it's possible to get people to start caring enough to do what's right... perhaps using viral marketing techniques. One thought I had was to make up a bunch of stickers with slogans like "save gas - it's good for you, it's good for America" and put them on gas pumps (where people are going to be thinking about gas anyway). People won't think, but they can be led by the nose. ;-)

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  3. Hi FARfetched.

    I've been thinking about what you and IVG wrote and one thing that I see is missing from the saving and scrimping of WWII is the thought that the war could be bought to our door. Don't get me wrong, there have been bombings and so on, but no threat of a full scale invasion. If that thought ever came to everyone, then a lot of people would be willing to save. Plus when you have things going on as normal here with a president that says keep on spending what can you expect.

    Memorial Day has always meant a lot to me, since I am retired Military, but it means even more to me to think of all the millions of innocent people who have been killed for nothing. Such a waste.

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  4. Really moving post FAR. Your comment on the sacrifices made in past at such times compared to today is striking. There is such a disconnect. The people don't know what they are asking others to do for them ... they don't know what is being done in their name ... the question is, do they want to know? I think not ... I don't know what the answer is, but this post by Arthur Silber which was forwarded to me, Against Annihilation of the Spirit: Let Us All Become Cowards, has me thinking a lot about humanity and it's quest for wars.

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  5. FM, Olivia, thanks for the kind words. That link was quite a powerful indictment of war in general too....

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  6. Thank you Farfetched. We all need to be doing our part, however big or small we can, and work forward from there. We do need to make sacrifices, each and every one of us.

    Although that is a far cry from the 'message' we get from our 'leaders', we certainly do not need to do more shopping. Thank you.

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