Normally, if you are bent on committing suicide you get hospitalized. Luckily, you now have the alternative of heading to Iraq to stand under bombs.
Former Marine Ken O’Keefe leads Human Shield Action Iraq. O’Keefe and company are gathering volunteers in Europe to join their convoy to Iraq, where they will try to dissuade American military action merely by their presence.
O’Keefe told CNN, “The potential for white, western body parts flying around with the Iraqi ones should make them think twice about this imperialist oil war.” I may be naive, but I’m willing to give the military the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll kill whoever happens to be there when the bomb drops, regardless of color.
These people say their aim is to prevent the deaths of innocent people. But the more people they convince, the more people will be killed. I’m pretty sure they won’t stop military action no matter how still they stand. I know rational people will recognize this for the foolish exercise it is, but rational people aren’t usually as vocal as irrational people. Anybody involved in this movement who persuades someone to join is committing murder.
O’Keefe renounced his citizenship in 1999. We’ve missed him ever since. He says, “I would rather die in defense of justice and peace than ‘prosper’ in complicity with mass murder and war.”
To me, that statement means that anyone who’s not involved with him is complicit in the war. This is the same “with us or against us” mentality he criticizes Bush for having. In an online commentary for the Guardian Unlimited Observer, O’Keefe asserts that he is neither with the terrorists nor the American government. But, he seems to be saying, since I’m not with him, I’m complicit in a war.
Another activist, Joe Letts, says, “What we are intending to do is to make it politically impossible for President Bush and Tony Blair to have this war.”
I think Letts is over-estimating the average person’s capacity to feel sorry for someone crazy enough to head for a probable war zone.
Regardless of what one might think about the war, sitting there waiting to get killed to make a point is a stupid thing to do. I hope Iraq sets them up somewhere and moves Iraqi citizens away. Iraq has used human shields before. Back in 1991, they used westerners to try to deter attacks after the Kuwait invasion. At least this time, the human shields are voluntary.
As much as I believe these people will take credit if military action is averted, I doubt they are capable of making any impact. I’m not happy about the fact that civilians will die if there’s a war, lest anyone accuse me of supporting civilian casualties.
O’Keefe’s Web site says he refuses to be one of the human sheep being led to his own slaughter by complicity or active support. What do you call sitting in Iraq daring America to bomb you? I call it waiting for your own slaughter rather than being led to it.
What O’Keefe and his contingent is doing is not a protest, it’s suicide. No matter what you think of the war, you can’t be a rational person and tell me what these people are planning to do is a good idea. I just don’t think O’Keefe realizes that if he dies, he won’t be able to be in the news anymore. I cannot see the use in pumping more people into Iraq to possibly be killed. If they really wanted to make a difference, why not move civilians away?
Chris Ricketts is a senior majoring in English.firstname.lastname@example.org