Another day of things other people wrote and said…
Something deeply shameful has us in its grip. We carefully nurture a spirit of detachment toward the wars we pay for. But that means we cloak ourselves in cold indifference to the unnecessary suffering of others — even when we cause it. We don’t look at any of this directly because the consequent guilt would violate our sense of ourselves as nice people. Meaning no harm, how could we inflict such harm?
I would be surprised if the millions who marched against the war in Iraq actually expected that the march could stop the war. I don’t see that as something that was likely or possible, but I think that that march was really important. It expressed the fact that millions of people on every continent were against the war, and it indicated that to those governments who decided to go ahead and invade Iraq anyway. Obviously governments have learned to wait out these demonstrations. Resistance movements, on the other hand, have been hijacked in a way by their need to perform for the media. The theatrical aspect of civil disobedience, which is a very important aspect, has actually severed itself from the roots of real civil disobedience. So we’ve got to find those roots again, and we have to find the means by which we can actually get a foothold into this smooth cliff, this military industrial complex that is the engine of empire.
When non-violent resistance is shut down by governments, then by default, that act privileges violence. It’s as important for governments to show themselves to be open to non-violent dissent as it is for people to find ways of being effective using the techniques of non-violent resistance. It isn’t something that’s making a lot of headway now. My feeling is that the most important things to strike at are those corporations who have profited from the destruction of Iraq. The fact that those same corporations have operations across the world gives people a foothold to actually go in and shut them down. And it’s very important to do that; otherwise people keep saying something but nothing actually happens.
Then the only people who are actually engaging the forces of empire are the resistance movement in Iraq or the people in Palestine. And because they are not pristine and secular and feminist and democratic and perfect, all of us curl up in moral distaste. We have to find a way of becoming the resistance or we have to find a way of supporting whatever resistance there is.
Iraqis are being killed, as they were yesterday and the day before. At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed and we’ll have enough of the Iraqi security forces that they can take over responsibility for governing that country and we’ll be able to pare down the coalition security forces in the country.
―Donald Rumsfeld, in a “media availiblity”