Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Friday, November 25, 2005
 
And We Sent Them To the Wars To Be Slain, To Be Slain

Rhinocrisy and Talking Points Memo, link to today's LA Times article by Paul Richter and Tyler Marshall: trying to make it look good on Bush in time for the midterm elections, the administration may try to significantly withdraw troops from Iraq over the next year or so.

I was cleaning my room yesterday and I found my copy of the Readymades album, by Chumbawamba. There's a sad, angry, beautiful song early on the album called Jacob's Ladder. It's about the 1,591 British sailors whom Churchill let drown in the cold waters off Scandinavia rather than risk the evacuation of the Norwegian Royal family. It's a chilling reminder that even when you're on the right side of a necessary war, your leaders might very well be more concerned about class loyalties and the status quo than they are about preserving freedom and protecting the people as a whole. (You're not going to get any postcolonial love from me for Mr. Churchhill. He did his jobs, one of which was necessary, all right. That's about all.) There's a line in the song that we might want hanging in the newsrooms:
In a file marked ‘Secret’, In a drawer kept closed, Nobody wonders, Because nobody knows.
I'm unapologetic about being a sucker for hooky pop music, and the ubiquitous Tubthumping is a favorite, despite being terribly overplayed. I had no idea that Chumbawamba was actually an incredibly political group until the fall of 2002, I think, when Salon.com released a mix of anti-war songs and I first heard Jacob's Ladder (mp3 link)--albeit the version from the end of the album, retooled for our times:
Like the sermon on the mountain,
Says the dumber got dumb,
Hellfire and brimstone swapped for oil and guns.
When we're pushing up daisies, we all look the same
In the name of the father, maybe, but not in my name.

On this Jacob's ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacob's ladder.

And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain,
And they sent him to the wars to be slain.

A million lifetimes, left lying in the sun,
In the streets down at Whitehall, dogs picking at the bones,
9/11 got branded, 9/11 got sold,
There'll be no one left to water all the seeds you sowd.

On this Jacob's ladder, the only way up is down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacob's ladder.

And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain, to be slain
And they sent him to the wars to be slain

On this Jacob's ladder, the only way is up and down
One step from disaster, two to make the higher ground
Jacob's ladder.

Well, puppydog leader, sooner or later,
we'll dig up your cellar, and try you for murder.
Well, puppydog leader, sooner or later,
we'll dig up your cellar, and try you for murder.
Well, puppydog leader, sooner or later,
we'll dig up your cellar, and try you for murder . ..
I don't think I've listened to this recording since right before we invaded Iraq. Listening to a song after such a long time can be a bit like plunging into the ocean of the past--back when we thought marching might stop a war, or letter-writing, or something. There was a time when we hadn't invaded, when this mess might have been avoided. I remember marching, I remember sitting out on the lawn in San Francisco, and seeing my fellow protesters clamber to sit in the tree branches with their puppets and their drums, and suddenly realizing with despair that nothing would help at all. And up out of the memory-sea I escape, breathless, stomach slightly queasy with swallowed regret, face slapped by the cold reality of the present: 2300 dead coalition soldiers. 3643 dead Iraqi security soldiers. Approximately 55 dead journalists. At least 286 dead contractors. God only knows how many, many dead Iraqi civilians -- at least 30,000, most likely 100,000, only as of two years ago. At least 15,000 wounded Americans, who knows how many wounded Iraqis. $220 odd Billion gone, much of it simply wasted.

Our troops have six months at least, maybe a year or more, to slog through and try to survive. The Iraqis have the forseeable future to deal with the hornets' nest of death and disorder we've stirred up for them. We've found no weapons of mass destruction, and there's no evidence that we're any safer, nor that our allies bordering Iraq are any safer. Despite my opposition to this war, I'm still hoping that in a few years time, Iraq could be better off--at least set on a better trajectory--than it was a few years ago. But no matter how much better off it is, it will be missing 100,000 civilians from a population approximately the same as New York and New Jersey states. Imagine walking around New Jersey and New York, and every time you meet a licensed medical doctor, imagine that that they stand for one violent civilian death. Then imagine what that would do to everyone's psychology, and to the economy. Much more than that happened in Iraq because of what our government decided to do, and because of what our president decided to do.

We didn't stop the war. We sent them all off to be slain.
 


<< Home
Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

ATOM FEED



Spring 2006: Guest Bloggers!
Colin!
Rishi | Scott | Emily
Echan | Robert | ToastyKen

MAIN:ssrdatta.blogspot.com
Email me!
Ways to help the Tsunami Victims Here

Want this badge?

ARCHIVES
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 /


Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
Dave Barry
Neil Gaiman
Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


A Note on Comments
Haloscan is not very good at counting comments. If a comment thread is more than three months old, and you think there might be comments, please click the comments link even if it indicates zero comments. It won't display the true count properly. Thanks!


A note on permalinks
I find that a lot of people don't know about permalinks. When you want to have someone read a specific blog entry, then you should find that blog entry's permalink, click on that, and send them the resulting browser address. Otherwise they will just be sent to the blog in general, and between your reading the blog entry and your correspondent's or audience's getting to it, a whole slew of material may have pushed the entry off the front page. In this blog, the permalinks are the timestamp at the end of the entry. (Feel free to frequently send your friends and family permalinks from my blog!)







Weblog Commenting and Trackback by 
HaloScan.com Powered by Blogger