Club Politique by Che Tibby

Meditation on Freedom

This blog started out as a little rant about the events unfolding in the Middle East, but then I figured that life's too short to get wound up about things over which you have no control. As short as the life of a civilian in Lebanon that is. Ah well.

What really gets my goat is the faint air of threat surrounding this issue. A faint air that suggests it may widen into an actual inter-state conflict, instead of just a case of Israel pounding crap out of a neighbour. A neighbour apparently powerless to control a guerilla army on its territory. What we should all consider therefore is whether New Zealand should become involved in any such war.

The "hawks" among us, usually fat bastards who'd have trouble lifting a deep-fried Moro in anger, would doubtless have us enter such a fray on the side of the Americans and Israel. As I indicated way back in 2004, the enemy in this scenario is likely to be "Iran". In turn, our local peaceniks would likely oppose such a war and refuse to participate in what could be characterised as yet another war of aggression against "Islam".

Despite my ever-accreting belly and love for sitting on my ass pontificating, I'll not be siding with the Chickenhawks on this one (surprise surprise). But neither would I support the opposition. Frankly, and as I may well have stated before, all these overseas lunatics are as bad as each other.

Angry Islam has without doubt been picking fights with stupid Americans for a number of years, as you all well know, and kind of deserve to be given the wake-up slap. But on the other hand, these same stupid Americans have been doing their utmost, via a kind of ignorant, hypocritical arrogance we've come to know and love so well, to get themselves into grief with the kinds of people you just don't pick fights with.

Neither of these stereotyped groups deserves my support. Or yours for that matter.

Not that this stops the Chickenhawks. Good old Chickenhawks. Happy to see other people's people go get killed in a foreign war, unwilling to put their own expansive behinds on the line.

OK, enough condescension. Why do I think New Zealand should support neither side in this assumed future war? Because it will not be our fight. I know that there are voices claiming the 'War on Terror' to be a battle for 'freedom', and the protection of 'Our Way of Life', but this is simply bullshit.

Lebanon is not a battle to protect our way of life. If anything, the Lebanese demonstrated that they wanted our lifestyle. They wanted personal and political freedoms. They wanted to participate in democracy. Were the bombing and rockets to stop today, we have to assume that these desires would remain.

Naturally there are those that state that conflict in the Middle East effects us indirectly, via the price of crude oil for example. But why should we play that type of game? Look at recent advances in Brazil. They clearly show that petroleum is a necessity, it is not an absolute necessity. If anything, every Middle East crisis reminds us that this strategic competition is something we should seriously consider opting out of. I rather like the idea of guiltlessly driving a 4.1 litre V8.

And, if a Middle Eastern crisis widens into a war for control of the world's oil reserves, then I say we should not be part of that particular inhumanity. Any war to control oil is an unjust war. You want or need oil, then buy it. Too expensive? Find an alternative.

What it all boils down to is the simple decision whether to participate in someone else's war, or whether to tell both sides to duke it out without spilling the blood of New Zealand youths. Frankly, I think that the latter choice is the more rational, and the former a particular type of insanity only realised in the truly mentally impaired.

New Zealand has the freedom to make the choice not to participate in these conflicts. Not to spend our money and our children in a fight for a resource or ideal we can live without. I could not countenance sending someone else's children to die in a desert for nothing more than the desire to make friends with bullies and lunatics. I left Australia to escape that exact ignorance, and will not tolerate my nation making the same mistake.

We all need to seriously consider whether we are free to opt out of participation in unjust wars. We need to be prepared to oppose any voice within our nation that would have us spend lives fighting another people's fight. Think on it, and hope you never have to fight against the pressure to fight.