war 

i've been having a bunch of dumb thoughts so maybe i'll try writing them out. i dunno if they're overly pessimistic or incoherent or just dumb or whatever but i will let them out

- we ultimately have no control over the decisions of the us military in the short term. if those who have the power to start a war decide to do so, there is nothing we can do to stop them in time. the anti-war forces are not strong enough to overpower them right now.

war 

- that is my personal assessment, based on not really much of anything. maybe it's just an excuse that makes me feel better. there are people who say that americans should be literally throwing our bodies into the gears of the war machines and that we are failing in our duty if we do not, or just as guilty as those dropping the bombs. i might dismiss that as an appeal to individual moralism and spontaneity. but i don't know if they're actually wrong.

war 

- the feeling of powerlessness makes things feel hopeless. i wonder how much of that is due to the way war and the media have changed from the gulf war. when thích quảng đức lit himself on fire it shocked the world and i still cry when i think about it. today people sometimes do the same thing in front of the white house and you never hear about it. if even that won't stop them, what will?

war 

- the harsh answer seems to be the grand material forces and economic struggles, beyond the scale of individuals, the contradictions that play out until they reach the breaking point, blah blah blah, everyone knows that. but what do we do to push those contradictions? what is the actual best strategy for us, the fragmented, atomized american left?

war 

- it does still feel important to be doing the traditional kind of anti-war work, to make a war, if one breaks out, as unpopular as possible. but this work would probably not bear fruit for months or years. in the meantime thousands of people could die. if that is the reality we must face then we must face it head-on, as people in dire situations in the past faced it.

war 

- but what if that isn't the right strategy? what if we didn't have to face that particular reality, if only we knew the right thing to do? the protests against the iraq war were huge. some say they were still a failure and didn't save a single iraqi life, much less stop the destruction of that country.

war 

- it's depressing to think that that's the most that's possible from within the belly of the beast. but maybe those people are wrong. maybe those protests didn't accomplish nothing and maybe circumstances have changed since then. capitalism is both super fucked up and totalizing so it shouldn't be surprising that opposition from within can look impotent or distorted. can we be forgiven for that?

war 

- it is super popular on the broader left, as with a lot of people who consider themselves politically- or current events-minded, to "play risk" and try to make geopolitical predictions. while this isn't always completely useless it's also probably not something that everyone needs to be doing.

war 

- that said it's a temptation that feels impossible to ignore and like... i think iran is strong and the us is weak and that the us would have an extremely bad time if it tried to invade. i think parts of the us military know this. they must. but is that enough to stop a war from starting? who am i to predict anything anyway?

war 

- none of these thoughts, it seems, have caused my personal behavior to change so far. i want to feel like i'm showing up and pitching in, but honestly i feel like i'm doing very little. the rest of the time i'm just living the rest of my life like other people with the privilege to do so. and i guess i'm hoping that that's okay and that when the time comes and what should be done is clearer i'll be able to help more. i don't know if that's really the case, but i would really like it to be.

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war 

the current headline on nytimes.com is that the us authorized a strike on iran and then cancelled it

i'm going to interpret this as a good thing because they know they can't actually do anything

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war 

the headline serves to beat the war drums, but those drums just sound more hollow

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