No Such Thing as a Winnable War

I’ve been talking with some fellow artists about how to approach my next choreographic project… I’m trying to figure out how to tackle the subject of non-violence. I don’t want to make a cute little suite of dances. I know I could do that. But I want something more whole. I want the message to be in each dance, in each part, not to have the audience have to read the whole in order to get the message. 

I find in non-violence a very personal means of relating to the world. But I don’t want to do, like, ‘the autobiography of gandhi’ in dance. I don’t want to use text to make the meaning apparent, or song lyrics. So I know what I won’t be doing…. Possibly un-relatedly, I watched the Presidential debate between Obama and McCain.

I noticed that Obama has capitulated to McCain’s sense that ‘security’ is something that can be bought with war. One of the things that is so brilliant about Obama’s ‘refusal to support the war’ speech is that it expresses the understanding of a need to protect through through avenues other than the military. Including the military, but not limited to it. Obama is now just fighting about who he’d talk to, instead of fighting the bigger point – how do we make our country safe? He would win that one. I know a lot of people are waiting for him to lead us there.

Today was listening to Sting in the car on the way back from getting my oil changed…. I always liked this song, and believe that this war – in iraq, and ‘on terror’ are not winnable wars. We cannot protect ourselves by fighting them. I wish Obama would get back on message. I think he could do good, good things, but not if he becomes like Kerry, and Gore.



A lot of people have noticed that democratic candidates when they go to the general get soft. Gore, Kerry — they seem to think that to win the middle, they have to act like the middle. They’re wrong, as the Republicans have shown. The Republicans have been very effective about staying Republicans but being the better choice for the middle. They don’t pretend not to have faith. Democrats need to not pretend not to have ideals.

We need to ignore them more. Not affirm their judgement when they act like they’re mature, and we’re silly children – unrealistic.

What is the ideology that sets us apart? Or, what is the ideology that sets us apart that we can win on? Off the top of my head:
1. Security is about more than military
2. The future requires us to invest not in bailouts, but in development – energy independence by all means necessary
3. Don’t give money to people who don’t need it – no taxbreaks for wealthy
4. Country needs all of us – tolerance is what makes america great, what we are founded on

No-one is really prepared for the job of president. But I trust Obama to make more right decisions than the 78 yr old crab-apple tree and his town idiot sidekick. And I trust him because of his ethical/moral sense. Obama is powerfully intelligent, moral, and idealistic. Would some democratic staffers PLEASE figure out how to let him let people know that?

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.