[Kuypers’ home at artvilla.com]

[Books and CDs][Artvilla.com][JanetKuypers.com][Bio][Poems][Prose]


We’re in a War:
Is This World War III?
Or Are We In a Holy War?

We’re in a war.
Well, technically, we’re not.
We haven’t been in a war since World War II.
I know, I know, we had the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. I even saved The Daily Illini newspaper when the headline said fourteen years ago that we were at war in the middle east. But the thing is, only Congress can declare a war. We have not been in a war, although our leaders have allowed our troops to come into harm’s way repeatedly over this past half century.
But if newspapers need to call sending our troops to kill and be killed a war so that people can be okay with what our government is doing, then so be it (there’s nothing I can do about that). But in all honesty, the two World Wars are our last wars. And I’ve heard people referring to this war in Iraq, coupled with the War on Terror, as World War III.
Well, besides the fact that we’re technically not in a legal war, I’d have to figure out what even makes a war a “World War.”
I mean, think about it — what is the definition of a World War? It would have to be that it’s a war with all (or most) of the principal nations of the world. Meaning that yes, the United States would have to be in it, but considering that world War II had Japan and the United States and half of Europe, I don’t think that the U.S. against Iraq (with help from England and maybe ancillary forces from Poland and Australia) constitutes a World War.
So although I think we can safely rule out us being in World War III, I wonder if I can rule out people calling this a Holy War.

•••

Over the past few years, I have noticed a resurgence of religious beliefs seep into the United States’ government, thanks (I suppose) to President George W. Bush. It has only been since 2000 that there have been people talking about whether or not “In God We Trust” should remain on our money, or if the line “Under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. Although civil marriages are now considered legal, marriages have historically been used for religious purposes, and there have been a number of states passing laws to only define a marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
I’m not going to tell you that removing “In God We Trust” from our money is our way of neglecting the beliefs of the founders of this country (yes, because they were all quite religious). I’m not going to tell you that “Under God” was not originally in the Pledge of Allegiance, and that Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Congress amended the Pledge by adding the line “Under God” to the Pledge in 1954 to show Americans was better than those Godless Communists we were opposed to. I’m not going to tell you that gay couples in permanent relationships deserve the same benefits married couples receive, whether or not people consider it a marriage.
I wouldn’t tell you that. You’re intelligent enough to come to your own conclusions.
But I mention these things because of a war President Bush started that a lot of youth had no interest in fighting. It seems that to keep people fearing life and needing him as President, Bush started a war on a homeless enemy — meaning, there are no borders to fight, and there is no land conquest. The War on Terror is an ideological war, and as long as people have different opinions, there will always be an enemy for President Bush, and we will always be fighting.
Also, consider that if the economy is doing poorly because of the fall of the dot com industry in the end of the ‘90s, one way a president can help pick the economy back up is to actually go into war.
...How would a war help?
Yeah, I wonder that myself.
People say that going into war does a few positive things for the U.S. economy. One, it forces the country to increase its production of weaponry and things needed for the military in war. As silly as it sounds, we’ll will need tanks made, and we’ll need bullets mass produced, and I guess we’ll need all of the other crap that goes into making a well-equipped army. This increased need created jobs. Two, it rallies a country together for a common cause, and there is always strength in unity. Third, when the military goes off to war, the jobs of the people going to war will also have to be filled — creating an additional temporary surplus of jobs.
Now, I can get that part. I can’t quite figure out where those extra jobs go for the soldiers when they come back from war. I don’t know who the missile-creators and the bullet manufacturers will work for when the war is over (as they’ll lose work too). I also can’t understand how we get ourselves out of debt, after the president has created a debt to get us out of economic trouble.
I guess I’m not an economist, so I can’t justify all of those issues away.
And, as silly as this sounds, I’m only one person, and I probably couldn’t stop our country from going to war, just because I see some points that I can’t resolve about the meaning of it.
Oh crap, I guess i’m getting side-tracked. What I was saying was that President Bush got us into this notion of the unending War on Terror, but that probably wasn’t enough for President Bush, because people were catching on and saw no end in sight. So he turned to a country his Dad fought in the early 1990s and we didn’t have UN. sanctioning to kill the bad leader, a country he thought he could get easily, and he could make it sound like a moral thing we’re doing by attacking Iraq to get to Saddam Hussein.
So we’ve slipped into a war to liberate a country, not to protect ourselves (which is supposed to be the only reason this country goes to war). Suddenly our reasoning for stepping into wars has changed.
And our War On Terror is no longer a battle to get the enemy that killed thousands of innocent people in a civilian setting in the United States. President Bush even said (and this was mentioned in the debates) that he is not interested in looking for Bin Laden. That’s because the War On Terror has become a battle to fight an ideology.
If you ask Bin Laden... Well, I’m sure you won’t get the chance, but if you want to guess at his opinion, Bin Laden is screaming over there that we Americans just don’t get it, that they hate what we represent and what we believe and how we live, and that this is a holy war.
I don’t ever remembering stepping into a holy war.
But wait a minute. Define holy war. I’m near the Websters’ 1975 (sorry, all I have is an older dictionary with me today) New Collegiate Dictionary, and it defines holy war as

holy war n: a war waged by religious partisans to propagate or defend their faith.

Hmm. Fascinating. You think the War On Terror is not a holy war? Maybe we don’t think so. But think of how President Bush thinks of this war, that this is something that is a fight for our values (not necessarily as stated in our Constitution). Think of what Bin Laden thinks of it as. These people hate our values and ideas, because they do not adhere to their religion. They will fight to the death for their cause. They will mass kill the innocent to make a statement, because they think that killing those who don’t believe as they do is moral and just.
Yeah, to them this War On Terror and the war in Iraq is a holy war.
Yes, this is a different kind of war. And we haven’t learned how to fight it differently yet. The beginning of mass media in our country coincided with the advent of political correctness. In recent years we have become concerned with how not to piss anyone off in any situation, and since that time and the advent of television, and the soon-after advent of video reporting on wars, people have been able to witness the destruction of wars, and they have started to violently protest against wars. People never saw how bloody the World Wars were (you know, because we weren’t there, they didn’t have images flashing on wide-screen TVs of the gore and death no one can tolerate to look at now), and that may be why we can no longer condone fighting a bloody, unjust war.
Sorry, war is unjust. It is menacing. We get angry when we see our prisoners treating hostages poorly? Well, they’re hostages in a war. I think the point is to treat them unjustly. We get angry when we see the U.S. military being too angry or violent at enemies. Yeah, you’re right, liberals: they should keep a perfectly cool head at all times when people who look innocent could pull out a gun from between their legs to kill you at any time, or people could set off a bomb on their body to kill the both of you. You don’t need to really worry about getting an enemy, because we’re now supposed to be a politically correct military machine (think of a kinder, friendlier army, so to speak). Don’t like it? Then don’t be in the God-damned war.
Because that’s what war is, holy or not.

•••

Does it matter if we are the ones considering this a Holy War? Does it change the end result — does it matter to the families of the one who dies in battle? Does it matter to the people in the Middle East whom we apparently are “saving” from an evil dictatorship? Does it matter to the al-Qaida who want to get rid if Capitalism and individual rights, if we manage to hold them back for a while? Does it matter to those of us who don’t think it is America’s place to be in this war? Does it matter?







Books and CDs  Kuypers’ Bio  Kuypers’ Poems  Kuypers’ Prose  Chicago Poet and Poetry Chicago Artist and Art