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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Do the American people have a choice?

    As our troops pull out of Iraq, it is becoming clear that tensions are rising steadily when it comes to western relations with Iran. Both sides are posturing, and Iran has moved on from enriching uranium at a high level to beginning work in an underground bunker.

    The United States, on the other hand, has developed and showcased a monstrously huge new ordinance that could destroy deep underground bases. The Iranians have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, and the United States and her allies have made it clear that such an action would draw military retaliation.

    It is almost certain that in governments around the world in places like Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Russia, leaders and military strategists are hunched over tables discussing the numerous angles that this situation could develop into. Surely a military strike by air on Iran’s nuclear factories has been discussed many, many times over, and all sides are trying their best to draw out the sequence of events that would result from that.

    Would it lead to open conflict that would further destabilize the already extremely volatile Middle East, or would things turn out in the western world’s favor as they did when the Israelis launched a surprise strike on, nuclear facilities in Iraq in the 80s? The Strait of Hormuz would surely become a point of contention in any conflict, and it is a major source of trade, especially of crude oil. The world economy would be shaken badly if there was a conflagration in the area.

    The further along this situation gets, the more unlikely a peaceful solution becomes. Sadly, every new day brings new developments that hint that we are headed for another war. Our military is weakened and worn from our decade long wars in the Middle East, and our soldiers are tired and weary of the death and destruction they have witnessed.

    It seems, however, that our politicians can’t wait to get us into another conflict. One wonders, sometimes, that if politicians didn’t run global politics but rather ordinary people from the conflicting countries did, would war still exist?

    Over the past month, the US Coast Guard has assisted Iranian sailors multiple times, and despite common perception, the average Iranian doesn’t harbor negative views against the average American.

    There are multiple instances in history where in the middle of war, soldiers from both sides have come together in peace. An example of this is the Christmas truce during World War I, when soldiers in three armies disobeyed orders to kill each other and instead put up Christmas trees and left their trenches to shake hands with and exchange gifts with “enemy soldiers.”

    There was laughter and dinner shared between the men of different nations who discovered that they weren’t that unlike from each other. They were people who wanted to be faithful to their nations, thrust into a conflict that was not of their choosing.

    After the truce ended, the machine guns opened up again, the poison gas once again flooded the ground and bloodshed returned to the battlefield. Why is it that politicians get to decide when we go to war, and they get to sit back and enjoy the spoils of war? It’s no secret who profited from the past 10 years of war.

    It wasn’t the family that has lost two out of three sons at war, leaving behind children and spouses. It is the CEOs and executives of the bomb-making companies like Raytheon, who made billions. It is the military contractors, like Blackwater who made billions. It’s the politicians that they are close friends with who enjoyed the campaign donations and expensive gifts and dinners that these companies offered them. They are the ones who relish war and all of the money that it brings.

    This is not to say that peace is always an option. There are circumstances where a nation and its people rightfully wish to go to war. However, at the sunset of the Roman Empire, it was the meaningless military escapades that the Roman politicians were engaged in that spread their armies so thin and led to an economic collapse in Rome, leaving a severe shortage of troops to protect their homeland from a Gaul invasion from the north. The same stupidity that led to the downfall of their once wonderous nation seems to be the same path down which our politicians seem intent on taking us. If the Romans had saved their armies and money for conflicts that were truly neccesary, they may have been able to repel the enemies that were really trying to kill them in a necessarry war. All of their uncessary war made effective war impossible when it was needed most.

    So while the media tells us that  we must go to war with Iran, it is our duty as Americans to step back and analyze whether this is what we the people really want. Do we want more death and bloodshed? In some cases war is inevitable, but often wars are affairs of convenience. Waged because politicians can’t be bothered to work their issues out like civilized people.

    It doesn’t hurt them, in fact they can get the population to rally behind them using nationalism. It is time we start to hold our politicians accountable and see where their interests really lay.

    Most of their sons or daughters dont go to war, most of their families dont sacrifice anything yet they ask other American families to give up everything for their decisions. It is the ultimate form of selfishness, and we owe it to ourselves to make sure that our politicians don’t throw us headlong into another conflict unless we are absolutely sure as a nation that it is the only way forward. The media is no better. By some amazing coincidence, out of the hundreds of editors that work for Rupert Murdoch ,not a single one opposed the Iraq war.

    Considering he owns a huge amount of the media in the world, it is quite convenient that all of his editors supported going to war in Iraq so enthusiastically.

    We need to stop letting politically connected companies, media moguls and selfish politicians decide our path.

    They honestly couldn’t care any less about the future of or country or about you or me.  They have no allegiance to America and shouldn’t be treated like they do.

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