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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A few rambling thoughts from Today's Speech

"Freedom is the destiny of every man, woman and child on this earth."
"A time of war is a time of sacrifice."
"We must fight the terrorists and Saddamists."

Bush is speaking as I write this.

"There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of [the troops] which is to take up their mantle, carry on the fight and complete their mission."

Anyone who says "There is only one way" is always lying to you.

Essentially, Bush is responding to the massive uproar in the Senate and in the public against the war. The American public is incredibly late to the debate, and so is Congress. What's amazing is that this speech is the same as the ones that he was giving a year ago, two years ago. The debate heats up, the debate changes, the realities in the desert change, and you hear nothing new.

Now, I know it's very easy to say "This is the same old garbage" and it is. But what is increasingly dangerous about this is "completion of the mission" is increasingly vague, hard to pin down, and has been changing year to year. The congressional vote gave him permission to carry out UN resolutions (lest we forget that the UN voted against this particular method of going into Iraq) and permission to stop the "threat" that was in Iraq (there were no weapons of any particular danger to us in Iraq, besides roadside bombs and machine guns and digital cameras.) So the mission has changed to the undefinable "spread of freedom in the Middle East."

Now, it's a slippery slope argument to be sure. His argument is "if everyone lives like us we will be more safe." Of course. It's an Orwellian argument. If everyone thinks the same, no one argues. It would also be easier for my boss to give me a frontal lobotomy, some water, and a cott in the back room, so I'm always here and don't have other ambitions.

I would like, very much, to remove the term "terrorist" from the lexicon. The more specific the language, of course, the clearer the enemy. We are fighting, for the most part, Sunnis who feel disenfranchised, an organized guerilla movement that views us as a partner of Israel and enemy to Islam, and people who are easily recruited by such arguments by the US's brutal treatment of civilians and torture tactics.

They are guerillas and this is a guerrila war. We don't have a great track record in guerilla warfare, and for an obvious reason: we fight them on foreign soil with political motives. That's two strikes against you.

1 comment:

MattJ said...

Yeah, you're bringing up some great points that I've given a lot of thought to. I referred to having to listen to "loaded terms" in my blog and there is none so loaded as "terrorism." It comes back to one major political motif of the futility of fighting an ideology (especially with guns). Could we fight "communism" in Vietnam? No. So can we fight "terrorism" in Iraq? No. Expecially when the word is so loaded that it doesn't have a face, isn't tangible enough to shoot at.