W. Hunter Roberts
Transformative Arts



Winning and Losing
Spring Equinox 2003

Virginia Woolfe said that one should not write in the red light of passion, but in the white light of reflection—or something like that. Well, this past week I was in the red place, unable to write anything except maybe four letter words on walls. Searing red-hot pain; deep, dark red anguish; and flaming red, red rage. I lay down and asked myself “what’s the point?” You know.

Feeling as though global struggles were playing themselves out through my body, I doubled over in fear and despair. Glued to the television, I found it harder look at Bush’s face without flinching, than to look at the bombs falling, or the faces of the injured. It was the smugness, the body and soul armoring that prevents any access to the real self, including the ability to doubt and question oneself, which I couldn’t stomach. I thought, “I wish I could, for one moment in my life, be as sure of ANYTHING as Bush seems about everything, whether the facts add up or not—it doesn’t seem to bother him.”

I wanted to scream. I did scream quite a bit actually, driving down the street listening to the radio. I screamed, “That’s not true!” when I heard Bush or his advisors lying about what they were doing and why. I screamed even louder when I heard call-ins from people who believed him unquestioningly. Losing all sense of loving kindness, I screamed, “You’re too stupid to live!” into my car radio, at a caller who declared that this attack on Iraq was not pre-emptive, because, after all, did “they” not attack us on 9/11? Sigh. I discovered I can be compassionate with almost anything . . .except bull-headed, venal, self-serving ignorance. And I have to admit, one thing I do have in common with Dubwa is that we both hate to lose.

We lost last week when the bombs fell on Baghdad. We lost big time. Call me naïve, but right up ‘til I heard the news on Mon. morning announcing Bush’s “message to the nation” that evening, I thought we might win this one, hoping that there might still be some way for the Pathetic Coalition to save face. I believed they’d at least postpone war with “honor” through some new UN Resolution, giving inspections more time. After all, Saddam was arguably complying with the inspectors, and there had been no resolution requiring him to step down, for godsake. No one of note was on the US side, except the misguided leaders of Britain and Spain, who were paying dearly for it in political currency, while the peace movement worldwide was building. So, last Monday morning, as I drove down through freshly snow-covered mountains of Oregon into verdant spring green of Northern California, I felt joyous, at peace in myself. Everything seemed possible. Then.

When I heard the news I screamed “Why?” I still do not entirely understand the geo-political motives for this massacre, although when I read of the contracts already awarded to Bechtel to rebuild Iraq, and to GE to make more weapons to replace the ones we’re using, well, it makes some sort of “sense” (personally I’ve always found it easier to understand the logic of schizophrenics, but that’s another story). When I heard the solemn self-satisfied speech of our non-elected president on Monday evening, I felt like we, all of us all over the world, and the land, people, and wildlife of Iraq, had lost a great deal---in the service of the worst sort of shortsighted ego and empire building. For several days, I didn’t know what to do. After all, if our purpose was to prevent a war, you’d have to say we lost.

But so did the US Government. They lost power, credibility, and favor in the international community. Oh sure, the US will “win the war on Iraq,” as surely as a schoolyard bully can beat up a cripple. But, withal that, George lost a lot more than he’s showing. He wanted to have the whole world behind him, just like his Daddy did. Instead he had to gather a “play” coalition, by hook and by crook, which everyone knows is bribed and bogus. So his swagger is a pose, a little boy pretending to be as big as Daddy. He’s not, and to his shame, the entire world knows it. If he can’t pull this off quickly and easily, even the network pundits say that popular support is paper thin, and will fade if they don’t get Saddam, or if there are significant casualties, any time soon.

In the meantime, the international peace movement grows. Daily. You know, in the long view of human evolution, this peace thing is a very new idea. A hundred years ago, it was just beginning. There was significant pacifism before and during WWI, and certainly during Viet Nam, but the world has never seen anything like this before. This is a worldwide movement of people of all ages, faiths, and economic classes; all saying “This is wrong. Humanity must solve its problems without violence.” This is new to human consciousness as a mass sentiment. Never before has a government had to take pains, to keep its citizens on board, to avert civilian casualties among the “enemy.” Never before have people cared what happened to the innocents, as people do now. One need only remember Dresden, or read the war poetry in the Old Testament, to see that wishing—and doing-- harm to ones enemies was the norm. That norm is now gone, due in large part, to the consciousness raising efforts of people like you and me.

In the words of War Times (www.war-times.org) Editor Bob Wing, “Whatever sense of immortality and invincibility {the US} once had, has been seriously undermined . . .Small and poor countries like the Cameroon, Chile and Angola felt empowered to snub Washington's war drive. Its longtime allies France and Germany fought it to the end. Its newfound crony Russia said forget about it. Its partner in globalization, China, said no. Formerly dependent South Korea rose against U.S. militarism. One Latin American country after another is electing progressive, anti-globalization, anti-U.S. militarist leaders. Turkey could not be bought for $26 billion. Washington's lone allies, Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar, are in deep political trouble . . . Most important of all, and underlying all the other developments, is the emergence of a new superpower: the world's people. “

These are our victories. So while we didn’t prevent a war, we did change the way it was fought, and the way many people are thinking about it. More people in more places are more conscious. Where for centuries war was taken for granted and left up to the leaders, now people, many people, at least question its validity and justice. Now it is time for the Anti-War in Iraq Movement to acknowledge one level of defeat, claim another level of victories, re-group, re-think, and ask what is next to continue to raise consciousness, to heighten the contradictions, so that the new superpower, the world’s people, may evolve to the point when soon, very soon, no one would dare to suggest a war, for fear of having no support at all.

© 2005 W. Hunter Roberts. All Rights Reserved.