Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Death in the Family

This article totally changed the way I view the Iraq war.  I think I belong to a unique community of knowers, and my political views are pretty complex, though I generally trend liberal.  In terms of foreign policy, this article changed my foreign policy views from isolationism to interventionism.  This quote in particular struck me:

"Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics"

The link is in the title.  Please take five minutes and read it.



AmyLM said...

Wow, that was a really moving article and just goes to reaffirm my inability to take a definitive stance on the Iraq war. Like Meredith, I am a person whose political and moral beliefs don't tend to fit cleanly in with any major party of thought, and this article reminds me why.

In my opinion the war in Iraq is terrible because of the loss of life on both sides, the waste of money and the imperialistic actions of the United States. However, there is much to be said for taking a stand for your country and to upholding the beliefs practiced in our "normal" lives. To me it sounds like this soldier felt he had an obligation to make a difference and I think that is commendable. Sometimes we forget to keep our disapproval for our government from spilling over into our perception of the young men and women who make up our armed forces.

J.Malone said...

Great post Meredith... I hope everyone, no matter their stance on the war take some time to read it and see this side of it all.

How does the emotion of the article affect your knowledge of what is happening overseas? or is there another WOK at work?

CJ said...

I don't know about anyone else here but that was a gut wrenching article to read. Not only because of the emotional story at hand but also because in the last few weeks of this summer my family and I traveled to Columbus, Georgia to celebrate my cousin's graduation from basic training from the army. He should be deployed to Iraq as a medic sometime in the next year. The author of this article knows how to evoke emotions in his readers, but it was doubled with me as I realized as I was reading it all of the similarities between the soldier in the story and my cousin. Quite frankly this has made me really think hard about our foreign policy. I could not be more proud of my cousin or those that die for our country, but this story has demonstrated to me that we need to be ABSOLUTELY SURE about where, and why we intervene in a situation outside our borders that puts soldiers lives in danger before acting on it. I hope that I have not too greatly biased by being brought closer to the center of this particular situation's communities of knowers (remember that target picture we got at the first break out session?) but we all have mediatory factors that filter the information we get from the media and such and I guess I could have worse influences. I hope that made sense....

firefeather said...

I suppose if you're considering the "target" idea, i have to say i'm close to center. My grandfather served in the Vietnam war, and never ever speaks about it. I regret this greatly. Several of my cousins are doing the same thing as CJ's; i'm extremely proud of them, and fully support their involvement in our country. What i don't agree with is our government's use of these brave souls who go out there so the rest of us are safe.
It seems like although this article evokes emotion, it focuses on remembering the soldier himself, which is an admirable topic. However, the knowledge issue is that we can't get entangled in emotion when we're considering something as potent and all-encompassing as the war. Logic then seems the best answer. But sometimes you need to work on gut feeling and forget logic. So what works then? it seems like this is the question that most Americans are asking. Why are we there? to support Democracy in the world. For selfish reasons too, perhaps. But does it matter when it comes down to the lives of the young men and women who are fighting it? i don't think so. I think that all that matters then is keeping them alive, so they can enjoy the freedom they're protecting.

Nels said...

I don't feel like getting into TOK language right now. I know that this was started a long time ago but that was a moving article, and TOK language doesn't really do it any justice.

It definitly played upon my emotions. I never viewed soldiers in Iraq as the one described here. I always viewed them as people like my cousin, who doesn't know anything. Or like my grandma, who for all of her good qualities once told me that we should deport all the muslims because they cause trouble. I know this is wrong. CJ and Ms. Firefeather show this to be wrong. This shows me to be like Sandra Bullock in the first part of Crash. Part of this is because I have always seen the military as a place for people who failed at school. The subject of the article disproves that. While he alludes to the fact that there are some people like the ones I described, he says that there are others. This article used emotion and sense perception to convince me that my view on soldiers was wrong. While it doesn't change the view that I had on governments handling of the war, it changes my view on those who partake in it themselves.

This article shows me that their is a good honorable side to humanity in contradiction to my pessimistic belief, and maybe I should listen.