Saturday morning mainstays on South Whidbey for the past 10 years have been people demonstrating for peace at Bayview Corner.
Some demonstrators date back to opposition to the Iraq war, while others came later when the war in Afghanistan was accelerated. They’d had enough and figured it was time to do something — anything — to speak out for peace.
One problem with war, win or lose, is we never know what had happened without it. The Revolutionary War is considered a heroic American uprising, but was it necessary? Revisionist historians have said most Americans were against it at the start. Many fled to Canada rather than fight (as happened 200 years later in another war). The British Empire eventually fell apart anyway. We could all be Canadians. Not quite the worst fate imaginable.
The old Star Trek TV series dealt with such ideas. In one episode an American peace activist was winning the day in the late 1930’s, and America would not enter World War II. The script had her conveniently hit and killed by a truck, assuring four years of total war. The assumption was that otherwise the Nazis would have ruled the world. They were probably right on that one.
Vietnam turned out to be a war for independence and the home team was determined to win. The Korean war kept a country divided and created a crazy state. Maybe not such a good idea in hindsight.
The Gulf War seemed a result of poor diplomacy, as Saddam Hussein never had a chance to keep Kuwait. The Afghan war started out as vengeance against Al-Qaeda but morphed into nation building. The Iraq War was hatched by Dick Cheney and his gang, hoping to create a new Middle East. They did. Millions of people were killed or displaced and now Iraq is helping its friend Iran arm the evil Syrian Assad.
Every Saturday, the Women in Black stand silently on South Whidbey, while a more vocal group of men and women waves signs and speaks loudly for peace as friendly motorists honk their horns.
The activists haven’t stopped any existing wars, but maybe they’ve helped shorten them. At least now many Americans will think twice before being stampeded into war with Iran, Syria or some other annoying country. It’s been a worthwhile 10 years standing at Bayview Corner and participants should be congratulated.