I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The war in Iraq has to be the worst foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in my lifetime. Certainly it’s the worst foreign policy mistake that I can remember (I wasn’t old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that got the U.S. more deeply involved in the fighting in Vietnam.)
That being said, though, this has to be the stupidest idea for a protest against the war that I have heard of in a very long time:
Hollywood stars Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon are to join a fast protesting against the Iraq war.
Protestors will each give up food for 24 hours, with the “rolling fast” due to last until International Peace Day on 21 September.
The protest has been organised by CodePink, a woman’s anti-war group who are concerned at the loss of life on both sides of the Iraq conflict.
Other celebrities due to take part include Willie Nelson and Danny Glover.
Around 150 protestors began the fast outside the White House on Tuesday morning, including leading anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq.
A “rolling fast”? What the hell is that? So each star will fast–be still my beating heart–ONE WHOLE DAY? Geez, Lindsay Lohan probably goes longer without food than that when getting ready for a role. Heck, I’ve gone longer than 24 hours without food on several occasions during my residency. (OK, it wasn’t willingly or planned, but it certainly didn’t do me much harm.) And who wants to bet that a few stars who could use to miss a meal or two won’t be participating?
One of the organizers even seems to think that this is a major sacrifice that will impress the American people:
“We have been continually sheltered from the actual cost of war from the beginning,” said Meredith Dearborn, of human rights group Global Exchange, explaining how anti-Iraq war protests have stuttered.
While 2,526 US soldiers have died since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures, the impact of the deaths has rarely dominated headlines.
While it is not unusual to see an Iraq-war veteran or amputee in an airport for instance, or newspaper features on horrific injuries inflicted by roadside bombs in Iraq, the United States hardly feels like a nation at war.
Some protestors and experts in public opinion put that down to the absence of the Vietnam War style conscription draft, which means only professional soldiers or reservists can be sent off to war.
“We have done everything we could think of to end this war, we have protested, held marches, vigils … lobbied, written letters to Congress,” said Dearborn.
“Now it is time to bring the pain and suffering of war home. We are putting our bodies on the line for peace.”
Yeah, that’ll show ’em. I’m sure Bush will be bringing the troops home long before September 21.
What I’d like to see is for these pampered stars to emulate a few of the more hard core protesters:
The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.
“I don’t know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended,” said Wilson.
Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a ‘rolling” fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade.
If you’re going to launch a hunger strike, then launch a hunger strike–like Wilson. Otherwise, don’t bother. After all, if you don’t take the concept of a hunger strike seriously enough to do an actual hunger strike, then why should anyone else take you seriously? I can see the right wing blogosphere practically salivating at the comic possibilities this “protest” offers.
Only in Hollywood…
(Hat tip to my sister, who sent me this!)