saying no to war has a long and complicated history in america. as far back as the french and indian wars, human persons have said no. during the revolution, even, and then the war of 1812, and then the war with mexico, and then the civil war, and then the escapades of that warmonger teddy roosevelt, he of the friendly name who could not keep his big stick in his pants, and then the Great War which was supposed to end all wars, and with twelve million human persons dead you would think your species would have gotten the message, but no, then a second war, and then korea, and then vietnam, and then the first war in the persian gulf, and then a second, and then afghanistan, where you still are, and then there are human persons ulcerating for yet another one, this time with iran or… hell, does it really matter? war is a big business, after all.
and this does not count the hundreds of little wars against tiny countries in the carribean, like haiti, or wars in central america, or the wars in south america. this doesn’t count the hundreds of little wars you are waging right now as we type this sad account of america run amok! this doesn’t count the wars you don’t admit to, like cambodia and laos, or yemen. this doesn’t count your war on drugs, which is taking the lives of thousands all over the world every day, ruining the lives of innocent bystanders left and right, and still has only served to make wealthy wicked people while not ending drugs at all.
(you have actual troops on the ground in countries all over the world you know, killing other people, over drugs. yes, you american human persons. you’re paying billions of dollars for this, and no one is bothering to let you know, how your militarized DEA shot and killed two pregnant women and two young men on a boat in a river in colombia last month, because they thought they were ferrying drugs, when that boat had already come and gone. four human persons dead, and some potential human fry snuffed out. was it worth it? did it fix anything? no? we didn’t think so.)
this doesn’t even count the wars you fought to try to exterminate the human persons who lived on america first.
and in every single one of those wars, someone was asked to go fight, and they said no.
at some points in your history, if you said no, you would be thrown in prison and hanged. sometimes you would be flogged and beaten. your family would be threatened and perhaps imprisoned with you. during world war 1, men who refused to go and refused to do anything else to help with the war were sentenced to death, though it was commuted— to sentences like life, fifty years, twenty-five years. people who tried to help men escape the draft were also thrown in prison.
some of these people were religious, and did not believe in war. like quakers and amish and mennonites, who were sometimes tortured for refusing to go. some of these people were communists, who did not believe in killing their fellow workers overseas for the benefits of the capitalist bosses at the top. sometimes some of these human persons said no because they just got pissed off.
like in the picture above, when thousands of mostly irish immigrants rioted in new york against being drafted to fight in the civil war. they rioted because they knew full well, rich men were simply paying for their precious sons to not be drafted at all, but it was all right to send someone else’s son away. they rioted because they had arrived in a land that refused to treat them like human beings, but were just fine with them going off to do the dirty work.
the reasons for not fighting don’t always have to be noble. after all, the reasons FOR fighting usually aren’t noble at all. but it is still more difficult to say NO than it is to say yes.