"Words are sometimes funny, they can change the way you feel
I've seen them break a heart, save a soul, make a grown man kneel"

1)Words are powerful. I think a lot of the time we don't acknowledge just how powerful they are.
2)I like words. I think they're great, and hey, I use them every day.
3)But I feel like it's important to remember that they are, at the end of the day, just words.
4)They're just symbols that we use to represent things: things we feel, things we share, things we dream about.
5)Those things can't be fully expressed with symbols, no matter how good they are.
6)When we talk about war, military action, invasion, and "blood for oil", we try to represent a badness, an evil in the world.
7)When we talk about morality, liberation, humanitarian aid, and "freedom from oppression", we try to represent an ideal, a good in the world.
8)But we apply all those words to what's happening in Iraq. We're all talking about the same thing.
9)And we're all, for the most part, right.
10)War is bad. Force is no way to solve an argument.
11)Freedom is good. Suffering should be alleviated.
12)So who's right? Which side do you choose?
13)The truth is that there aren't any sides. There are just people.
14)There are people who are hurting, and there are people who are worried about them.
15)There are people who are doing great, and people who are concerned with other things.
16)Civilians, soldiers, rulers, politicians. We try to label them to make them fit into our understanding of the world, but no one word can sum up an entire person, all their memories and meaning and motivation in that single generic label.
17)Someone told me yesterday that she didn't know what to think about this war.
18)I told her she wasn't alone, and that I didn't think that was a bad thing.
19)Since when do we have to "join up", get with the white hats or the flower children and start making signs and calling in to the radio stations to argue with each other over right and wrong while people live and die on what comes down to little more than a whim of fate?
20)It's not about good and evil, political doctrines, or moral obligation.
21)It's about people, everywhere, who struggle, triumph, fail, and question.
22)I don't have anything against war protests or freedom rallies.
23)We can discuss the ends, the means, and the philosophy of it all for the next few decades, and ultimately we'll be better off for the discussion.
24)But a discussion is still just words, and it's still carried on and, more importantly, illustrated by people.
25)Nazi Germany taught us not to ignore other people's suffering. If we don't speak up because they aren't coming for us, there won't be anyone left to speak up when they do.
26)Vietnam's aftermath taught us that the soldiers are not the war. Maybe it's right and maybe it's wrong, but they're doing the best they can and it's not an easy life.
27)If "Operation: Iraqi Freedom" (slash "Operationne: Damn Hegemony") teaches us anything, hopefully it will be that it's not as simple as "shining beacons" and "evil empires".
28)Yes, okay, I'm mixing my regimes and dissing France (I think Chirac can take it) but I feel the point is valid.
29)We're not the words we use, no matter how pretty or powerful they may be.
30)We are, all of us, just people, and if we can't try to show a little bit of compassion toward others, then it doesn't matter how we justify our actions.
31)War and peace, freedom and oppression, military and civilian.
32)The words are opposites. The people they represent are not.

"Hey, this is god
Can I please have your attention?
There's a need for intervention
I'm disappointed in what I'm seeing

This is god
You fight each other in my name
Treat life like it's a foolish game
Well I say you've got the wrong idea

All I'm asking for is love
I've seen you hurt yourselves enough
I've been waiting on a change in you"

--Phil Vassar
"This Is God"

Run Away