This is the world we live in

Since 2002 the United States has been in a prolonged conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan and since 2003 has been in Iraq doing something or another. Beginning in March the US has been contributing naval ships, bases and resources to the rebels of the Libyan Civil War; simultaneously, our country has been bombing southern Yemen as that nation too teeters on the edge of civil war. Add on to this the fact that we may or may not have had a US spy drone shot down over Iran (and the fact that a citizen cannot even be sure what is or is not true) and there should be major cause for concern in every American’s heart.

Our bombings in Yemen, most of the credit of which has been “claimed” by the Yemenise government,  have only intensified over the last months. According to Yemen analyst Gregory Johnsen:

My reading of the situation is that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has actually gotten stronger in recent years, largely because of U.S. airstrikes. The U.S. has managed to kill some key mid-level commanders, but many of these individuals have been replaced quite quickly. And as the U.S. has killed them, there has been a significant amount of what’s often referred to as collateral damage. That is, innocent women and children or unaffiliated civilians who are killed in these airstrikes. That tends to not only fit into al-Qaida’s argument that Yemen is a legitimate theater of jihad, but also the people that have died tend to have brothers and uncles and cousins. We’re seeing more and more people becoming radicalized. (Italics mine)

None of this is should be surprisingly; in fact, it’s a trend that has been going on since we first marched in to Afghanistan and Iraq – to draw from the Herculean myth: we’re facing the Lernaean Hydra where the more we strike the more heads we find ourselves up against. (And for those wondering what that “collateral damage” was in the most recent  bombing: it was at least fifty civilians. Having graduated from a small high school on the prairie, fifty is approximately half of my graduating class).

Yet how much of this are you even aware of? How much thought have you given to the fact that your money is funding two wars, and at least two operations? All of which is happening as we live in a nation that has 13-17% of its population living below the poverty line and is willing to end major cultural initiatives like traveling to space.

Instead, if you were to turn on the news you would only hear about the fact that the NFL lockout has ended, Amy Winehouse died, Michele Bachmann said something ridiculous, the president is still a socialist, ad nauseum. What you would not be hearing is the fact that there are those in this country who have enough of a social conscience to stand up and truly fight for what they believe while rejecting the idea that it is morally permissible to turn off the news and waste another day fucking around on Facebook blind of the blood stains on our keyboard. But the truth is that it we are stained with it and even if one were to organize to wash themselves clean, we live in a nation whose media would never cover it.

According to Nieman Watchdog, the last seven months have seen over 550 documented arrests of antiwar protestors each of which has been covered only by local media and not the mainstream; when it comes to the trials, these too are also ignored because the only trials worth covering are the sensationalist. The fact that some octogenarians were arrested for their activism just does not stir the masses like that of Casey Anthony.

… In a Tacoma, Washington federal courtroom in March, an 84-year-old Society of the Sacred Heart nun, Anne Montgomery, 82-year-old Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, and three other activists over the age of 60 – another Jesuit priest and two women – were sentenced to jail terms. Montgomery, it should be noted, was one of the Plowshares Eight some 30 years earlier. Their sentences ranged from six to fifteen months, plus one-year supervised release. Their crime: attempting to “symbolically disarm” the Trident II missiles stored in the Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) at the U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, 20 miles from Seattle.

This is the world we live in, my friends; this is the world we have created via passivity and complacency.


3 thoughts on “This is the world we live in

  1. Lucas says:

    And what do you suggest our next step is, sir? I fully agree this is the time to act now, maybe more so than ever, but how? There are so many battles to fight at right now, how can we win this war against apathy and disinterest while keeping our hearts in the specific battles we hold dearly?


    • joshuapreston says:

      We must write; we must organize; we must begin a conversation that is so easy to not have. Right now I am personally looking for grant money to use to travel to the colleges across the state so that I can begin asking my peers the very questions that are a fundamental to philosophy: Is this just? Is this morally permissible? If not, then how can we justify our inaction?


  2. Kristian N says:

    A common theme that I have seen throughout the world in recent political movements is the lack of an organizational formation (i.e. Spain (indigents), Greece, Egypt, Tunisia…). They occupy the capitols and form legislative bodies where everyone has a voice (not just the organization leaders). They are for a societal change not just organizing a party. I think that this may be the best way to fight many different battles at the same time. Organizations are often times to rigid and self interested. Do you guys think this could be translated for our use in the US of A?


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