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Friday, March 21, 2008

When The Chanting Starts, The Thinking Stops- A Guest Editorial

This post first appeared as a comment on Monroe Ward Neighborhood News and is reprinted with the permission of the author, Bill Lemmond

The group (the marchers) pictured looks older than a similarly-sized group that chanted past the VCU Cabell Library, around 3:45 PM, today (Wednesday). They seemed to have the same collection of signs.

I remember that last term, the VCU student newspaper, the Commonwealth Times, covered a discussion led by a group who were self-described as opposed to the US presence in Iraq. Yet they said that calls for immediate troop withdrawal were far more dangerous to the Iraqi people than any violent action in reaction to their presence. The speakers were quoted as saying that a withdrawal inside of six months would result in “a bloodbath.” I doubt there was anything magically appropriate about a withdrawal in seven months.

Iraq is Northern Ireland on steroids. There is a centuries-old hatred over religion. Most of the people don’t hate each other, but there are more than enough who want to kill “the others.” Right after the first Gulf War, we should not have given the Shia in the south false hopes. When they rose up and we wouldn’t stop Saddam’s helicopters, he and his helpers killed an estimated 230,000 people (according to National Public Radio), nearly all Shia.

Whether we like it or not, we are now in the role of preventing all-out religious war, on the scale of the fighting generations ago over the partition of India. But we are not just like the British Army. England started the Northern Ireland conflict by shipping to Northern Ireland Scots they didn’t want on the island they regarded as theirs. We didn’t start the fight in Iraq.

And as far as even Alan Greenspan saying it’s about oil, haven’t you noticed the price of oil? Mostly it’s caused by increased demand from China and India, but every time there’s even been concern over possible conflict in the Middle East, the price of oil has spiked upward.

And has everyone else forgotten that the US was supporting the embargo against the sale of Iraqi oil (outside the problematic Oil-for-Food program)? We were doing without their oil, thank you, at much lower prices.

I have friends on the extreme right and left who have brainwashed themselves through listening and reading only to the words from one or the other intellectually inbred bunch of opinion leaders. I’m tired of all of them. As far as the marchers today, when the chanting has started, the thinking has stopped. Not helping.

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