So last time I left a lot of questions unanswered in my own head. I also realized I haven’t really touched base on the Iraq war much. I’ve mentioned it but really haven’t discussed what happened, how it started and the people’s reaction. Nor have I discussed the most important thing there is: why did the event of what Natalie Maines said in London in 2003 have such an impact? Was it just her words and actions or was there something else going on?
Allow me to try to answer some of these questions.
First, the war on Iraq has many names. Other than the typical and most common name of the Iraq war, there is the invisible war or even the well known “war on terror.” Why did it get this particular name? Many would argue that it was after the terrible events of September 11th, 2001 when planes crashed into the twin towers that the war truly began, but actually the United States did not officially declare war and go to war with Iraq until March 2003 when the United States began bombing Baghdad. The goal was to get Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay to surrender. President Bush made the claim that it was all in the idea”to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger” (Singal). In April of 2003 the United States took control of the capitol. As stated in previous posts the Dixie Chicks statement was made on March 10th, 2003. So it was during the beginning of the war. But why all of the distress and anger? And why so soon after the war began?
Many would argue that the Dixie Chicks had made their statement so early in the game because so many people also viewed the war in the same way that they did. Many thought that we had gone to war for the wrong reasons. Many also thought that this war could turn out like so many others have, such as the Vietnam war. And by far, many people were just afraid. Fearful because of what had happened on September 11th just a small two years prior to declaring war. People wanted to feel safe and secure in their own homes, in their own country. This is what Bush and so many others played off of in their game of war.
Before the official claim of war, there was obvious opposition. Many did not want another war. There were all kinds of protests to try to discourage the declaration. One of the largest protests in the world was in London. “Police said it was the UK’s biggest ever demonstration with at least 750,000 taking part, although organizers put the figure closer to two million” (Million). Many in London had gathered with the mindset to mislead and prove the Prime Minister did not have the support of his people if he chose to back the United States’ decision to go to war with Iraq.
London was not the only place protests occurred, but it was by far one of the largest. On the home front in the United States many were unhappy with the idea of war as well. “Demonstrators converged near the United Nations to protest the possible war in just one of the more than 600 anti-war rallies around the globe. Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 375,000, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated turnout at 100,000. Besides protests in large cities such as Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California; rallies were held across the United States in smaller towns such as Gainesville, Georgia; Macomb, Illinois; and Juneau, Alaska, according to the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice” (Cities). One of the groups had a mock dummy of President Bush holding fake blood over the people as they were barricaded against a wall by police. The group in New York had many speakers such as “Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actors Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover” (Cities). The people urged the President and the United Nations leaders to rethink their position on this war, to try for peace and to give it a chance.
As stated earlier it was believed that although Saddam Hussein was an “evil man” and an “evil dictator” people still believed that instead of the United States getting involved in another fruitless war, they should try for a peaceful end.
The impact of what Natalie Maines had said on the stage in London in March of 2003 was significant not because of the songs they sang, but because it was less than a month after the largest protest in London and also because it sided with the protesters. But why was it such a big deal and so many people were becoming angry with the women? Was it because war had already been declared or was it simply because of the lack of pride in their country and president that their statement had?
Singal, Jesse, M.J. Stephey, and Christine Lim. “Seven Years in Iraq: An Iraq War Timeline.” Time. March 19, 2010. Accessed October 15, 2014. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1967340_1967342,00.html.
“‘Million’ March against Iraq War.” BBC News. February 16, 2003. Accessed October 19, 2014. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2765041.stm.
“Cities Jammed in Worldwide Protest of War in Iraq.” CNN. February 16, 2003. Accessed October 22, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/15/sprj.irq.protests.main/.