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Choose Where Your Dead Lay

by on February 18, 2011

For years I have considered myself staunchly anti-abortion, pro-life. I saw abortion as some of ignorance sees suicide- the easy way out (I’m obviously excluding rape; it’s only in the context of a failed ‘loophole’ like birth control). The ‘easy way out’ is usually classified as avoiding one’s own problems, refusing to face the same world as someone else would- the challenges, the obstacles, the overwhelming pressure that builds up days at a time. However, just through introverted, isolated contemplation, I see the fault in the initial argument surrounding this highly controversial issue.

When we, as a nation, go to war, whether against Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, wherever, we coin the term ‘collateral damage’ not in an idealistic euphemism, but in a practical sense. The term is nonetheless a euphemism, but it is there to account for the costs of such an activity which is not suppose to include such victims, yet unavoidably does. This seems to be a practical response to the cost of war does it not? What war was fought that did not cost civilian lives? What country was not invaded that did not result in women and children dying for causes that in their country they weren’t even literate enough to understand? Yet, in this country, involving the Right; conservatives, Christian-right, traditionalist, etc. the statement is echoed ad nauseam: ‘It’s a Child, not a Choice,’ yet, in the supposed defense of this country, how long did we truly weigh the consequences of the dead children in Iraq, Afghanistan? How about under the Cold War pretext? Did the leaders of this great nation truly care about the children of South and North Vietnam? How about East Timor? Nicaragua? Chile? Guatemala?  No, and if we did, it was on the back burner of ‘National Security,’ Placed in the classified folders that Pentagon Papers help to unfold, the Wiki leaks that helped us to understand. It seems that in this country, war must be seen pragmatically- sure, civilians, women, children are going to die; in fact I’ve read and heard that it might even serve as a deterrent for other countries- knowing that their laborers and families will be destroyed along with the infrastructure, military, and economy in the battles.

If we are told to see our interventionist foreign policy as a practical solution in the face of our inclusive global economy, then we must understand the plight of life domestically. How can we simply understand a foreign country’s loss of children as a simple ‘cost of war’ when a woman in this country who is alone and pregnant attempts to free herself of the unknown responsibilities that will undoubtedly come  upon her is labeled a whore, a slut, a killer? Is there not a double standard here? For how long has it been since a country truly posed a threat to America? The last instance I have come across may very well be Japan in 1941. Yet, Since then, we have pissed all over our own ‘backyard’ (South America), Southeast Asia, and the Middle East under any pretext we desire- be it National Security, Communism, Democracy Promotion Abroad, etc. The list goes on and on and on and on. If we are willing to allow the death of children for the mere sake of economic interests (ref. Nixon/Kissinger’s treatment of Chile, US support for Tito, Marcos in the Philippines, Shah of Iran, and more countries under many more administrations), then how can these same war hawks celebrate the ‘sanctity of life’? I am not merely attempting to rationalize, yet I can’t escape the double standard. Pro-lifers love to ‘glamorize’ the dead fetuses of abortion victims at their rallies, yet, the children of foreign countries we invade are ‘over there’ and a ‘casualty of war’ sung under the banner of ‘all is far in love and war,’ etc. If life is life, then we better start treating it equally and not selectively under some illusory banner of citizenship or nationality.

In my honest opinion, one is either pro life or not- one can’t be pro life with domestic life and ‘who gives a shit’ about them ‘over- there’ whose ‘leader’ isn’t ‘doing what we say.’ Our military, our defense, let me reiterate, our DEFENSE, is suppose to be as such, so in Grenada- there was no ‘threat,’ there was something going on that ‘we didn’t like.’ This country needs to either respect life or not- this selective, ideologically founded garbage needs to end. To those on the right that talk about a fetus as a viable human being, life starting at conception, life being sacred, life being a gift from God, etc. then I only hope that you maintain such consistency in the face of such advertised foreign engagements as those labeled under ‘national security’ and ‘democracy promotion.’ My main point being that in the case of an actual defense of our country- an actual cause to go to war, there will be civilians lost in the carnage, just as in the course of life, there will be women who choose to not carry their pregnancies through fruition- the reality of life does not start and stop at one’s convenience. However, we should be careful to go to war only in the cases where it’s a must, and at the sign of a heartbeat- be careful to end a pregnancy only in the case of a must. To those who end a pregnancy because ‘they’re just not ready’ is equivalent to a nation going to war because ‘we don’t like their leader.’ You want to find the potential of a country- look at the citizens and you’ll find it.

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From → Politics

2 Comments
  1. Malt permalink

    Either you are wrongly comparing the apples of abortion with the oranges of conflict casualties or your whole “double standard” argument is undermined by your own double standard as described in your second sentence.

    Or, to put it another way: man rapes woman–life gets terminated; strong nation invades weaker nation–lives get terminated…where’s the double standard?

    For an entertainingly succinct explanation on why I’d go with the former above, go here:

    • I do appreciate George Carlin and have enjoyed his comedy for years and years. However, the case in which the double standard exists does not include the instances where a woman is raped. The double standard exists in the ‘over there’ vs. ‘here’ approach to death in general. When, in the case of interventionist foreign policy going back to Teddy Roosevelt and Wilsonian Idealism (war with Mexico, invasion of Haiti, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc.), the costs of civilian/innocent lives obviously did not weigh enough. For not one of these countries posed any threat whatsoever- yet it was the Monroe Doctrine and remnants of manifest destiny that caused us to patrol our ‘own backyard.’ In the case of abortion- I believe that it is not a practice that should be taken lightly; as with our foreign policy. But the inverse of ‘NIMBY’- ‘Not in my backyard’ (sociological term; for example, a citizen would be in favor of building a prison or a military base, etc. but just ‘over there.’) includes this notion of death ‘over there’ signifies something different than here. It is interesting that you state the term as ‘conflict casualties,’ – we, again, embark on more jargon to cover the massive killing that occurs. My comparison is not between apples and oranges but two different apples grown in different areas of the world. If the ‘Right’ is going to scream and rave over the sanctity of life for example, then the destruction that occurs in other countries by our actions is just as disrespecting of life. Ronald Reagan, while governor of California passed the first abortion laws that stipulated a woman’s right to ‘self-defense.’ This is correlative to our nation being able to defend itself- these two notions are based on the same principles. However, when one acts merely due to emotional whims, it creates a softening of any sort of moral principles. So, when we assisted in the coup of Hugo Chavez, when we helped over throw the leader of Iran in 1953 simply due to him nationalizing the oil (which this company later became BP), when we assassinate democratically elected leaders because they pass minimal agrarian reform legislation, it is the same form of inconsideration as ‘I just don’t like this.’ I’m simply calling for a consistent standard if one wants to argue in favor of life at all, in favor of sovereignty, a call to accountability.

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