Britt (twowayaddiction) wrote in hatefree_debate,

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Yesterday, I took the AP english language exam, and one of the free response questions asked you to pick a current issue and present an argument. I really wanted to write about gay marriage, but i knew that it would be hard for me not to get emotional and make it totally one sided, so i discussed the Iraq war.

Afterward, i got into a heated debate with my friend about the topic. She said the war was necessary, and that although the whole WMD thing was a horrible disguise, it was necessary because America needed to stand up for civil rights/liberties and protect people from injustice (which is quite funny, i think, given the recent exposure of the POW abuse). The main premise of my argument was that this "war on terror" is being fought in the entirely wrong way. Using violence to deter violence makes no sense. All the guns and tanks and bombs in the world couldn't solve the fundamental problem of lack of understanding between cultures. All the fighting and killing will do is create more resentment and create more martyrs. It will fuel the fires of hatred around the world, and paint our country as a bully rather than as a peaceful, generous, benevolent nation. And perhaps the West should step back and examine why there are terrorists in the first place. Do we really think that the other side will just give up? Do we really think that they're any less devoted to their cause than we are to ours? You can't just stamp out misunderstanding and years/generations of injustice and anger.

And the whole concept of enforcing democracy is ridiculous, it's a paradox. And America's expectations going into the war was incredibly naive, people acted like everyone was going to be soooo happy and creating a democracy out of a war torn nation would be simple. It'd be just like America, right? Wrong.

But my friend said that that wasn't what America was fighting for; not democracy, not oil, not WMD's... it was about the civil injustices occuring there every day; it was to protect the kurds...saddam was gassing them. Well, i have an issue with this:

1. Saddam DID gas the years ago. So it wasn't necessarily a present danger. (he wouldn't dare make such a move with the U.S. and the rest of the world pressuring him the way we were)
2. There are civil injustices everywhere! Should we just go and invade every dictatorship or third world country and rip it's infrastructure apart?!?!
3. You want to talk about civil injustices? What about war? What about all of the atrocities of war?
4. I think that the civil liberties of people across the globe was the last thing on the administration's mind when we went into Iraq. Although now i don't really know what to think, since the American public has been lied to repeatedly.

I agree that it is important to move toward change, but i feel that the way the United States handled the problem of saddam was horribly irresponsible, and just made things worse and escalated the situation. Especially the way we practically disregarded the UN and the rest of the world opinion. Sure, we got across the message that we were serious, but now we're arrogant war-mongers too. I didn't see the urgency. I didnt see why WAR was necessary. War begets war, aggression begets aggression (dont we love ani?). It's a horrible cycle. I feel that if the West could just take a step back from war and violence, and take a step forward towards peace and reconciliation (rather than total destruction and annihilation) then perhaps we could start to build the bridges of understanding, and civil rights and democratic revolutions could come about naturally, out of globalization. I don't see how peace can come about out of war. Sure it would be nice if we could just blow a bunch of stuff up and kill a couple people and say we put a democracy in place and have everything be okay, but that's not realistic. Sure, it would take time for the seeds of peace to grow, but do we really need to continue this cycle of war and violence and resentment and hatred? By using this violence we're just adding to the list of reasons why the world should hate us.

And i also have an issue with the whole concept of unilateral pre-emptive strikes. It's a very dangerous idea that could eventually backfire on the U.S...

It might sound a bit naive, but if the world doesn't strive for peace and just sits back and accepts the fact that there will be wars then the cycle will never end. We've all been brainwashed into thinking that war is the only way to settle conflicts. Sure, it's probably the fastest, but it's also the most costly, and does nothing but slash the hopes our generation has for future peace. Someone has to stand up for peace and understanding and knowlege. I just wish that was my country.

What do you guys think?
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