Letter: Room on bridge for varied no-war views
"No more war," says the sign I hold on the Post Road bridge Saturday mornings, across the street from the indomitable Estelle Margolis. Her signs (which she hands out to volunteers) say "Out of Afghanistan" and "Honk for peace."
Our two points of view show a difference in style. She is against killing anywhere, be it Afghanistan or Newtown. On the other hand, I am quite comfortable with some killing, such as drones over Pakistan.
What I do seek is some realistic thinking by our nation's leaders. By "no more war" I mean no more voluntary American participation in wars between and within other countries, factions, gangs and various organized thugs. For lots of reasons.
For one, wars can no longer be won. The "war on terror," of course, is not a war at all but a slogan. Real wars against real countries cannot be won today because every person on earth has access to the Internet and plastic explosives. If you "win" a war today, your enemies return at sundown.
Another reason, we can't afford it. Our economy is still in the toilet, and wars cost a lot. Bush put Iraq on our maxed-out national credit card, and Obama is still swiping the card while he winds down our wars.
Probably the best argument for "no more war" is that nobody likes us when we're the world's schoolyard bully, so we've been paying trillions of dollars to diminish the world's respect for us.
As Rodney King put it after L.A. burned, "Why can't we all just get along?" After World War II, that thought motivated the world enough to found the United Nations, which has had too little respect since then.
Westport has provided some of that respect, hosting the ordinary working stiffs of the U.N. on the last weekend in June every year. The also indomitable Ruth Steinkraus Cohen made sure that the flags of every nation would flutter on the bridge on that "jUNe Day."
Those 193 garish nation-scarves will be out there in the river breeze next Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon, and there is also room for 193 Westporters who like peace and don't like war.