I’m not sure exactly when I started seeing myself as a pacifist. It’s one of those words which to Very Serious People means “you like it when the bully punches you in the face don’t you dirty fucking hippie!” But what I’ve learned over the increasingly many years of my life is that the existence of just about any war in which the US is involved means that the Very Serious People, with all the power they have, fucked up completely. Even if that war is, in some sense, “necessary,” it still means that the people who run this place screwed up and at the very least should resign in shame before sending people off to kill and be killed. But they don’t. They go on Meet the Press to talk about how awesome they are.
In our culture, “pacifist” is basically code for “dirty fucking hippie” or “liberal” or “you hurt my feewings during Vietnam,” but its Pavlovian trigger is any kind of opposition to any military or police activity anywhere. People may take the assholes on television and the politicians seriously when they throw these names around in reaction to things America does, but it’s no different than the junior high school yard.
I think I agree with this basic sentiment though, and it’s a better rendition of what I really think than I could have written myself. I don’t think war is good. I don’t think killing people is cool, even when done with a smart bomb. I don’t want to fight in a war, I don’t want to kill people and I don’t want to be killed. I might reconsider in the case of my home state being attacked (and by attacked I don’t mean by terrorists, I mean in some kind of real war), but for that to happen, several hundred Very Serious People would have been fucking up majorly for a long time.
Just because I think military action is sometimes necessary, and that, in theory I don’t oppose all war so I can’t be called a “pacifist,” on a practical level, I can be pretty sure that if the US (or any country with a nuclear deterrent) is involved, it’s not going on on our home turf, it’s at least partly political, it will last literally 100-1000 times longer than anyone thought at the outset, it won’t “count” for purposes of budget discussions even if schools do, literally 100-1000 times more civilians will be killed than anyone thought at the outset, it will result in all kinds of markets fluctuating over bullshit speculation over its effects on the supply or demand of some thing that will not really be affected by the war, Republicans will demand that we kill more people and use more troops and spend more money, Democrats will ignore people in their own party who want to wind it down, and the closest that 99.95% of people will get to the killing zone is on their PlayStation and, finally, that no one will think of any of these things at the beginning and mentioning any of them will trigger the aforementioned Pavlovian response.
We have completely lost clarity on the use of our military (which is bad even if it means less wars). Most of this is because some people got their feelings hurt during the Vietnam war.