This Tuesday, March 20th marks the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War that has claimed over 59,000 civilian lives since 2003 (Iraq Body Count). To mark the anniversary, Ithaca Peace Vigil organized the Tompkins County March for Peace this past Saturday. The occasion was as festive as any Ithaca anti-war gathering despite the unforgiving snow storm that marched through Central New York.
People congregate atop South Hill.
Over 15 communities attended the vigil.
I had the pleasure of speaking with a few dissidents to the movement. The first was an older gentleman who claimed that “Freedom, Liberty, and Justice” were more important than peace. I think he was riding a wave of American nationalism that never subsided after World War II, so I forgave his illogical rhetoric. The second skeptic was a man of my parents’ generation who described himself as a fiscal conservative. He argued that while the war was a quagmire, to impeach the president and end the war immediately would lead the Iraqi people into more sectarian violence and ultimately schism the state that has been established. While I understand his concerns and agree with his philosophy of fiscal conservatism, I disagree that American influence can alter the course of sectarian conflict. In choosing to commit to war, America has chosen a side in the conflict, and its adversaries will be repressed. One point I strongly agreed with however: We have a tendency to simplify extremely complex issues and alter the course of history accordingly. There are innumerable variables which affect the course of these issues and no rigid ideology or doctrine can serve to resolve them.