Thursday, May 26, 2005

Emotional Effects of the War in Iraq

It's long been my opinion that the war in Iraq is generally bad for the mental and emotional health of every decent person in the world. Yeah, it also sucks, sucks far worse, to have your country occupied and your family and/or friends blown up; to be deprived of electricity and clean water and live in fear of violence; and/or to be tortured and indefinitely detained for over three years in a prison far from home, with no rights whatsoever and no end in sight -- so no offense to any Iraqis or Afghans out there! But if I can whine a bit from my infinitely more comfortable, soft-as-pillows life, it's no great shakes to observe all this happening, too, and to be, as most of us critics of the war on terror generally have to admit we are, at this point, completely and utterly powerless to do anything about it. I mean, I've done my homework, I've marched, I've signed petitions, I've argued at frustrating length with those who support Bush, I've learned how to pronounce various rather challenging names, and I've spread awareness to my students wherever I could; but it's been pretty much completely ineffectual. I'm discovering this week that I've started to forget things -- the name of the recently elected president there, for instance; I don't think I could correctly spell it without looking it up. I even had to think a minute on seeing the word "Fallujah" in print to connect it to a meaningful reference. I mean... I'm kind of depressed this week anyhow, and in a way it's comforting to be able to locate at least one cause of it to events that are far removed from my immediate realm; but... damn, it can't be good for the world, knowing what's happened, seeing it, and being completely unable to effect any change.

On that note, here's a PDF on how to shelter your family, here in North America, from the emotional fallout of the war in Iraq. Here's a psychiatric article on said fallout, complete with banner ads for antidepressants. Here's a comforting American dispatch from just before the war in Iraq about how the war was unlikely to effect golf tournaments, which, to my knowledge, it did not do. And here's somebody else's blog -- a blog people actually comment on! -- mulling over the meaning of the death of Andrew Veal. I'm going to kick back and watch the Korean film Silmido and maybe read a bit of Gwynne Dyer's updated edition of War.

Hey, didja know that chimps wage war too? Was reading this interesting little bit of anthropology in a book called Demonic Males -- amply excerpted with added pictures here, including some from Abu Ghraib! Chimps will form raiding parties for the purpose of entering a rival clan's territory and opportunistically murdering any lone chimps they find there (or raping and abducting any fertile women). Chimps and humans -- we're the only two species known to do this. At least we're not alone, eh?

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