"What does a war effort look like," I asked my elder? "Oh, I guess you've never really known one," he replied with heavy eyes.
The truth is, I haven't the slightest clue as a civilian what the military words "sacrifice," "cost of war," and "war effort" mean. Apparently, those older than I- that have lived through multiple wars remember and know these words well. I have recently inquired about what daily life for civilians looked like in previous wars- the answers I got made a few of the pieces of the puzzle come together in my mind.
The war effort included rationing on the part of the people- people could only buy gas on certain days, they saved and recycled rubber goods, and were forced to weep and pray as they watched the television every night and saw the images of flag-draped caskets coming home from overseas.
Today, war looks and feels much different. A war effort does not exist- civilians know no immediate sacrifice. It has become a white collar effort back home- companies like exxon/mobil continue to drive gas prices up while raking in record breaking profits...while no mention of rationing/conserving gas on the part of the people. The images once shown on the television have been removed "out of respect for the soldier's families," and the cost of war will not truly be known until 10 years from now when the war is over physically, but not mentally for the veterans.
I am sure most of you reading this now already understand why there is no war effort this time around- if there was, and civilians couldn't live comfortably- then I think this war would have been over a while ago. This is the same reason why I am pro-draft...if there was a draft, and the upper-class had to go to war- it would be over tomorrow.
It is vital that we have a war effort back home. I think seeing images of flag draped caskets help civilians to understand and remember the cost of war. If there is no effort now, why should the administration expect there to be one in 10 years?
So I ask blog[world]...how can we create a war effort stateside? Do you feel it is too late? Can we somehow usurp the conversation and re-frame it to include the importance of civilians sacrifice/cost of war/effort?
This war is bankrupt in so many ways because stateside it is effortless.
Ron Werner Jr
May 16, 2007While we may not be recycling rubber and rationing gasoline like wars of yesteryear, I hope that we all are making intentional efforts to remember that there is a war happening right now. As part of my Lenten journey this year, I am joining some peace activist friends (they have been doing this since the war started) on the corner of downtown Bend each Friday afternoon to protest the war and plead for peace. Come make a poster and join us- or just come by and say hi!
You can read my other posts on the "Pseudo- Sacrifice of War" from May 2007 here and here.