Doc Searls made me cry…

Doc posted a lengthy examination of our response to the war this morning.  He calls it "War in pieces."  It brought tears to my eyes.  I mean that in a good way.  The emotion I felt reading Doc’s reflections and the thoughts of so many concerned bloggers around the world is something we all can share.  It was that "lump in the throat" you get watching a really good movie, listening to powerful music, hearing a speech filled with truth. 

Doc examined writing from dozens of sources, from Iraqis and US soldiers, from American bloggers and pundits, from the left and the right.  There is so much information and perception in what he quotes from all those sources that it is almost impossible to find a point of entry for discussion.There are so many things I agree with in what Doc presents that it would be small and mean-spirited to pull apart what he wrote over the differences.  One of the observations I found most compelling was this:

… we’ve lost our sense of what Good Governance is. In
the midst of our prosperity, I feel a deep sense of ennui in the
country, not unlike what I sense might follow a coup d’etat. In fact, many of us have never gotten over the sense that something very like a coup
happened when the Supreme Court sided with Bush on the ambiguous
Florida results in the 2000 election. That was a constitutional crisis,
right there, and it was resolved in a creepy kinda way. Meaning, it was
never resolved. I think it left the nation with a form of cancer. Maybe
it’s benign, but I don’t think so.

I suspect this must be what it felt like during the prosperous years of the eighties in Iraq under the despot.  The oil revenues were feeding a growing middle class, the people were unfettered by the sectarian mugging that had brought chador back to the women of Tehran, but absolute power was found in the palaces on the river.  True freedom was compromised by totalitarianism.  Here in America, we have all the creature comforts, but we are beginning to know the boundaries that a war on terror dictates.

I watched a good movie the other night,  Samuel Jackson and Juliette Binoche in In My Country.   The movie is about South Africa, truth and reconciliation.  I was moved by the hard-boiled racist Afrikaaners’ characterization of the ANC insurgency as "terrorism."  The brutality of their own occupation was excused by the exigencies of apartheid "freedom."  Social and political circumstances seldom map one-for-one when we compare a situation.  Viet Nam was quite different from Iraq.  But this use of "terrorism" as an excuse for repression needs to be surfaced.

Anyway, Doc’s thoughtful post is worth reading.  I’m sure it will bring up a lot of thoughts and feelings for anyone who give it a read.

Posted in Peace and Politics
6 comments on “Doc Searls made me cry…
  1. Mike Golby says:

    “…this use of ‘terrorism’ as an excuse for repression needs to be surfaced.”

    Right on, Frank. While I’d not nitpick with you (okay, what the hell–white English speakers tend to be greater racists than white Afrikaners), I look forward to seeing the movie.

    I’ve a feeling South Africans felt a greater ‘oppression’ than ‘ennui’, as Doc puts it, but the cause was the same. A bunch of goons (a small, radical minority) ruled a relatively easygoing, middle-of-the-road majority with a rod of iron.

    One thing I learnt when very young–a minority has seldom ruled a majority very long (beyond a few generations).

    I think the ANC (formed 1912–if I remember correctly) would be the first to admit it–it didn’t really chuck ’em out; it waited them out. As with most revolutions, violence was orchestrated more by the state than by their eventual ousters.

    In short, totalitarians tend to be their own worst enemies and it’s something we should always remember.

  2. bobi says:

    Frank, I ran into you (you coming out, me going in)at the Memorial Union the day after Nixon was elected (Nov 1968)–you said, we’ve elected a crazy man.

  3. bobi says:

    re: South African movies, check out “After the Rain” with Paul Bettany (the invisible guy from “The Beautiful Mind”)

  4. fp says:

    re. nixon… In those days my keen discernmentand wit were perhaps only exceeded by my charm and good looks.

  5. Jon Husband says:

    Also. check out a recent 92004 or 2005) wonderful movie titled “A Beautiful Country”, about a Vietnam war *orphan* (GI dad) who makes his way to America from saigon to find his father .. beautiful cinematography, tough and touching story, interesting ending …

  6. joared says:

    I read Searls post, also, earlier. You have described my feelings well, even focusing on the same passage that strongly impacted me.

    I think if the rest of the country had listened more carefully to learn what I learned after moving to CA some years ago, Nixon would never have been elected.

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