Graphic by ALLISON WOODLAND
Do you feel clueless about what’s currently happening in Iran? Have you felt confused about why the US is even involved in the middle east for almost your entire life? When you were young and people told you that soldiers fight for our freedom, were you ever puzzled as to how that even worked? Recently, have you quietly muttered “Who the hell is Soleimani?” Did you ever feel like all of this was common sense, and that one day when you grew up this would click for you? If you said yes to any of these symptoms and we’re afraid or embarrassed to speak up or ask questions, then you have been unfortunately infected by the loathed War Nerd.
It’s not your fault, most people have been infected by the War Nerd (including myself), but the first step to seeking help is knowing more about what bit you. And that starts with finally asking some questions.
So, what is a War Nerd? They are not your average Republican or Democrat voter, people interested in military history, they definitely aren’t your enlisted family members. They’re not even the people who tore down the “NO WAR WITH IRAN” banner hanging in Mac Mall.
War Nerds are the wealthy sell-outs who pretend to be smart so they can personally get richer off of warfare. They are the suit-wearing talking heads who appear on the news to tell you that this war is definitely a good idea and that anyone who disagrees is either ill-informed or a terrorist. War Nerds are parasitic creatures who have one singular goal: making you divert trillions of dollars away from improving your country and instead towards their careers and the careers of their friends, no matter the bloodshed it takes.
They use a variety of tactics, but the most common is making you feel stupid. When Trump launched a missile strike and killed an Iranian commander named Qasem Soleimani which put us on a path towards violent conflict (most likely in order to get reelected), the War Nerds came crawling out of their holes with their thesauruses and hastily scrawled note cards. “Soleimani (whom the vast amount of Americans had never heard of) was one of most evil men in the entire world!” announced the smug War Nerds on their slated cable guest appearances. The clear implication is that if you don’t know who Soleimani was, then it is you who is the ignorant one, it is you who isn’t American enough.
Since you not knowing about Soleimani is a you problem, so you shouldn’t embarrass yourself by asking questions or pushing back. “Prepare to ship out your children and your friends to die in Iran, because we must defend Freedom,” proclaims the War Nerd from his comfortably air conditioned television studio. He doesn’t mean his children or his friends, but that is left unspoken.
That isn’t the only fact that gets left unspoken when War Nerds start calling for violence. Take this article by Stephen Hadley (pictured in the top row, third from the left) in the Washington Post for example. The article opens with a byline that describes Hadley as a former national security advisor, then Hadley takes 914 words to say that these dangerous aggressions might be good because they could lead to the possibility of diplomacy. Nowhere in the article is there a disclaimer that the author also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board of directors for Raytheon, a defense contracting firm that stands to make enormous amounts of money if we go to war.
On NPR, Jeh Johnson (top row, first from the right) was introduced as the former Homeland Security Secretary and treated as an objective source before the host began asking him questions about Iran. Johnson responded by “sensibly” scare mongering about what Iran could do to retaliate against us. Nowhere in the NPR story is a disclaimer given that Jeh Johnson also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board for Lockheed Martin, another defense contractor that has the potential to make serious cash if people die. Both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have seen their stocks shoot up following Trump’s missile strike.
The poisonous effects of War Nerds can even spread to anti-war advocates. On the day after Trump heightened tensions by killing Soleimani, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) composed a 10 tweet long thread in which she talked about how evil Soleimani was before saying that the strike wasn’t strategic enough. In an effort to seem “reasonable,” you may also be tempted to add these disclaimers to your condemnation, you’re actually just further propagating War Nerd talking points. The average American doesn’t care about who this man was, they care about their kid coming home for thanksgiving instead of for their funeral.
“Aha!” says the smug War Nerd, “Did you know that Soleimani killed American troops in the middle east? I did, because I’m smart, unlike you.” This is where the mask of reasonableness completely slips off the War Nerd, because they always seem to forget why our soldiers were in the middle east to begin with. Maybe if they remembered to tell us that we sent Americans over there because War Nerds like Ari Fleisher (bottom row, first from the left) lied to us, the American people wouldn’t keep having War Nerds like Ari Fleisher on to lie to us again. War Nerds want to blatantly use their past mistakes to justify future ones.
If you are a fellow student on this campus, then you know our country has been at war for our entire lifetimes because older generations decided to listen to these leeches. We are not making the same mistake.
You don’t have to be a political science major to know that killing random people across the world––and getting our own soldiers killed in the process––so some corporate tool can make a couple more dollars is psychotic. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. We’re not going to listen to War Nerds anymore, we are going to shove these blood-sucking monsters back in the locker where they belong.