The events of 9/11 could perhaps be called the first world historic event in a strict sense: the impact, the explosion, the slow collapse–a gruesome reality that took place in front of a global audience. The misery in war-torn Afghanistan meanwhile are reminiscent of images of something like a 30-Years’ War, yet this time with the impossibility of a Westphalian Peace. It has been six years today, as we mark the anniversary of the of the attack and the invasion. This year the war has become personal, however. My brother deployed to Iraq in the last few weeks. His Myspace profile is generally the only way we keep in touch. His page is currently playing “Mad World,” a song by Gary Jules which is unsettling, since it deals with issues like being an outcast, being unloved or unappreciated by everyone in your life, especially throughout primary education. It begins to look like a suicide note, for someone who is entering the most dangerous city on earth, Baghdad. From my perspective, there is almost nothing for me to say about this. We were both raised as foster youth before we moved out of our homes and joined the real world. We lived together in solidarity of this fact. Is he therefore entering Iraq willingly? And is fighting a war the way for him to demonstrate to everyone else that he is someone to be appreciated?
These issues are decidedly less philosophical, and sound more like pop-psychology. It seems almost trite to spell these words out. It would disgust me if I ever sounded like the politically-disengaged family members of soldiers who cannot reflect on the situation with critical resolve and intelligence. In general when someone has a family member entering Afghanistan or Iraq, they become suddenly much more sympathetic to the goals of the militarists and the War on Terror mission. Our family members have since ceased to debate with me about the politics surrounding the war. It has become a personal issue that disregards politics altogether. We talk about our brother as if he were just like any other relative living in a far-off place, maybe in Idaho or Saskatchewan. But in fact, he’s engaged in an immoral war of aggression that has been legitimized by our government. How does one deal with the issue, mainly, of maintaining this position, without giving credence to meaningless slogans like “Support the Troops,” which end up simply lending support to the war and undermining the entire position.