My EFF membership package came in the mail yesterday. A nice black ball cap, and an amazingly loud red t-shirt, with a picture on the back of a group of animals protesting, holding signs bearing the slogans, "Fair Use", "First Sale Rights", and "Time Shifting", with the caption, "Fair Use Has a Posse." And that got me thinking.
I am appalled at the hypocrisy and utter lack of human qualities I witness in the geeks I am surrounded by all day.
Slashdot Open-Source Acolytes. Microsoft Linux-hating Zealots. Holding hands for war. United in their contempt for all those opposed to an illegal, ill-planned, ill-considered, and ultimately needless war opposed by an overwhelming majority of the world, that will cost the lives of US Service men and women, tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers, and thousands of Iraqi civilians. That will cement the hatred of America and Americans in all corners of the world, that puts the final nail in the coffin of pro-American sympathy and support in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and that will only bolster the rosters of those willing to perpetuate future attacks.
And for what? Because Saddam could attack us at any minute? Please. You're deluding yourself. His army is at less than half the strength it was in the last war. If he actually had the infamous weapons of mass-destruction we accuse him of, we couldn't attack him. See North Korea. It's precisely because Iraq is so weak that we are willing to invade. Because he will provide "dirty bombs" to terrorists? We have been completely unable to establish a link between Saddam's regime and terrorist attacks. That hasn't stopped us from making those claims, which has only further discredited the US Administration in the international community.
Because Saddam is a tyrant to his own people? No doubt. I believe any "president" that would spend his entire budget to expand his illegal arsenal at the expense of his own people and their economy; that would illegally disappear citizens without due process, without even a phone call to their relatives telling them that they have been taken, held indefinitely and denied legal counsel; should be removed from power. But the way we'll do it in this country will be peaceful. We will vote, and Bush will leave. Assuming the election is a more legal one than last time.
Saddam has been a tyrant for more than twenty years. Why are we so keen to remove him now? We have been content to ignore the suffering of the Iraqis while we were supporting Saddam, and under our own sanctions against them. Our last war continues to damage relations with Turkey, as sanctions cut off much needed trade along that border. Our fight was not with Turkey, our traditional allies, yet that economy became "collateral damage", the term we reserve for the non-military targets we invevitably destroy during the course of war. And I haven't even brought into the equation the implicit value of human life, because I don't think that is something that is shared by many of my peers. I'm appalled that we as a class no longer seem to be able to tell the difference between Age of Mythology and real life.
But that's not why I felt I had to write something. What bothers me is that the nerds who squeal like stuck pigs when a law is passed that makes it illegal for them to copy DVDs are actually cheering the dropping of bombs that will cost people their lives . That spit on their friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who would show their outrage at policies that will kill people while they write their Congressman or Senator about the latest copyright bill that has been passed. And wonder why the "sheeple" don't appreciate their understanding of the truly important issues of the day.
It makes me sick.
So today I will wear my EFF t-shirt as a condemnation of my peers that are religiously opposed to the infringment of their fair-use and First Amendment rights, while being fanatically supportive of a needless, counter-productive, unilateral, undeclared war, in which people, not soldiers, not Iraqis, but people of all creeds and colors, will die.
Way to go, guys. I applaud your moral convictions. I envy your ability to digest the truly important issues facing us. Now let's go play some more Age of Mythology and try to forget this nastiness.