Thursday, October 1, 2009

Please remind us... why are Americans still dying in the Middle East?

Anchorage conceptual artist, Mariano Gonzales will open a stark, straightforward exhibit at Alaska Pacific University's Grant Hall Art Gallery Friday. Here's how Mariano explained it to me Wednesday:

this show is about getting feedback from regular folks about our involvement in the Middle East. What do normal people feel about this?

There will be several pages of very large, lined, yellowish blank pages, on the wall. Writing instruments will be there for people to express their views.

There will be several American flags. Some will be displayed provocatively.

All will be displayed with respect.

I'll be performing the premiere of Shards IV, for bugle and electronics, at around 6:15 p.m. It will be the first performance of Shards dedicated to our most recent dead in Afghanistan. All previous performances have honored our most recent Iraq War fallen. The Shards series was begun to both honor our fatal war casualties, and protest the growing mechanization and dehumanization of our expanding policy of total war all the time.

It is especially sad to have to continue the series under the administration of a president for whom I voted and donated.

Mariano Gonzales
October 2 -25, 2009
Art Gallery
Grant Hall - APU Campus

1st Friday opening reception:

October 2, 2009 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.


Bill said...

It is sad. But never forget that what happened on 9/11 originated in Afghanistan. It can happen again. Afghanistan is not Iraq. Iraq was a distraction and a terrible one.

Barack Obama campaigned on sticking with the war in Afghanistan and he was right. I do not know if the strategy is right. It may not be, it may be. I just don't know and you don't either. This does need to be debated.

But we cannot just walk away. We must find a solution. It will be a disaster for us if we don't and it will be tragedy for Afghanistan. I'm as opposed to war as you, but this is not one to walk willy-nilly away from. This is not Iraq, this is not Vietnam.

Philip Munger said...


You're right. This is Afghanistan.

Mariano Gonzales' exhibit asks you and me to go to Grant Hall, and write what we feel on the paper on the wall.

All performances of Shards versions have been to honor Americans who serve, whether it be in Afghanistan. Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea or during WWII.

Polarbear said...

Bill: Thanks for your comments.

My concern is, again, we have combat troops at war with one arm tied behind their back. If it is a righteous war, then make it an utter and complete hell on earth for the enemy, instead of for our soldiers. If we are not willing to do that, for whatever reason, then we should not be using our military force.

If we are not willing to wage war, then the situation is really a police action. Engage the UN, who specializes in police actions, and get our troops out.

To be honest, I do not believe the American people have the stomach to wage war right now, and I do not believe our European allies will support war. I hope Afghanistan is taken to the UN for an extended police action.

Bill - your last paragraph was well said. These are not easy choices. I just want to add a couple of comments specifically to that paragraph. It bothers me to see us, again, supporting what appears to be a corrupt and cynical Karzai government. Now we are right back in the position of trying to defend an illicit government over a fraudulent election. We see ourselves as acting in a honorable fashion, fighting those who directly attacked our country, but the population sees us as just another corrupt foreign power propping up just another in a long line of corrupt Afghani governments. And so we set our combat soldiers the task of "winning the hearts and minds" of the people? That is not how I want our combat troops used. I really do not care what the Afghani people think of us. All I want them to understand is, if they attack the United States, then they will die. That's it.

Lazarhat said...

Well, perhaps now more Pakistan than Afghanistan. A fine mess GW left us all. War without end indeed unless we find a solution quickly. Unless they can decapitate the monster Al Queda soon and quickly what solution is left other than the 'ultimate' one?

So it's either go after the leaders, go big or go home. I'd like to think there has to be a diplomatic solution. Perhaps America could prove that an eye for an eye just makes us all blind. It's not defeat or retreat, it's allowing regional problems to be handled by those regions and quit trying to be world cops. That is SUPPOSED to be the UN's job.

GW's wars are all about war profiteering just like dear old Grandpa Prescott. It is extremely unfortunate that so many young men and women were sacrificed on the altar of this craven folly that has lacked any coherent plan or strategy from the outset -- and now do we want Obama to pick up and dust off the wreckage of Bush's failed policies? Not I.