After reading Gary Kamiya's brilliant Salon piece "Where's The Outrage," I've been thinking about why there are few street demonstrations in the streets against the Iraq War.
Obviously the lack of a draft (for now) is one key reason. But at least to me it is not the only one.
I have at least one other working theory. Empirically unproven, but largely on target, I am convinced.
The problem is that unlike in the Vietnam War- where the middle and lower classes were snared- the middle class largely are not the ones fighting and dying in Iraq. In fact the ones whose blood is being shed is part of a class invisible to the middle.
Let me explain.
At least in my corner of the world (Oregon) it seems that the significant majority of obits I read for our tragically slain soldiers in Iraq contains biographical elements that point to evangelical Christian piety. Either by upbringing or conversion, we often read words to this effect... loved his country...loved the Lord...brave young man...wanted to serve his country as his father did.
And then when we look to see where these services are held, we see very few of these held in, say Methodist or Presbyterian churches. No, we see a preponderance of generically titled, Evangelical denominational houses of worship as well as free-standing churches.
The dominant behavioral theologies in these churches is not one of contemplation or quest, but of obedience to a higher authority. That would be God, and you-know-who, and country. And the President of your country.
Your country, right or wrong.
Your country calls, you go. Your President calls, you go.
These are believers who are taught absolute matters of GOOD AND EVIL, right and wrong, black and white, and to question is to waver and to waver is weak. Believers in whose homes "Hanoi Jane" Fonda and Bill "draft dodger" Clinton, are reviled still.
Delve into some the theology that these churches espouse, and you'll often see a literal interpretation of The Bible. Given some of these beliefs- absolute lines of good and evil without any shades of grey, prophets riding down from heaven and he who ascended- well, it isn't hard for someone who believes in that movement of prophets between celestial and terrestrial realms to buy the false notion that Saddam moved the WMDs to Syria.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is a part of America that when they lose their son or daughter, are more likely to say "this was part of God's plan" than "screw this war." And the part of America that is going through these terrible experiences are- as a general rule- not given to demonstrations.
Why? Because, well, we lost our son but that's not due to an ill-advised and ill-fought war.
It's because the Lord willed it.