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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Loog » Politics » The War, Monger

The War. Bombs Over Baghdad. It’s just like Vietnam. The War It’s a quagmire. The War. Stay the course. The War. Cut and Run. The War. The Invasion was under false pretenses. The War. Bush Lied. The War. Cheney’s making Billions. The War. Valerie Plame. The War. Support Our Troops. The War. When Clinton Lied No One Died. The War. No Blood for Oil. The War. Go It Alone. The War. Worst Foreign Policy Decision in our Nation’s History. The War. Protecting Our Freedom. The War. Nigga had yellow-cake son!

It is easy to resort to sloganeering and bumper sticker-style arguments. It is easy to take the gimlet-eyed view of uber-patriots who “Thank the Soldiers for Protecting Our Freedom,” all the while debasing our national symbols with their gaudy flag/eagle/yellow-ribbon stickers plastered all over the back of their cars, never lifting a finger, or lifting their foot off the gas to help the cause.

It is also easy to take the pessimistic route, and think that only the stupid or the underclass are even in the Armed Forces, and that the are fighting a battle for people who don’t care about them. A battle so we can keep our faces filled with fries. A battle fought by people who have wasted their lives.

After being bombarded with these messages for over three years now, I can barely discern a meaning on either side. I don’t think either care about the people fighting the war. I don’t they even care why we are there in the first place, and even if they do care, they will never agree what that reason is, or more importantly what to do about it now. I think that both sides just want to be right.

It hit me today, though, that the war will come home for some of us. The War is fought by people who will understand the consequences of conflict better than anyone reading this column ever can. Three people I know came home from Iraq within the past 3 months, and all of them have taken different paths there, and different paths home.

One, a Marine Corps Lieutenant, joined over a sense of duty after a solid if not spectacular career playing fullback at a large SEC school. His dad played there, too, and afterward made a boatload of money, so this guy didn’t need to join the Marines, His community rallied around him. They sent his unit care packages, and notes with things like “Thanks for doing what you do” written in them. He came back unscathed and will most likely go on to a long and prosperous life, where at the end he will be celebrated and lauded for his courageous service to his country.

The next, an army reserve specialist guarding the Baghdad Airport, came home to Walter Reed with 100% hearing loss, but with all limbs and brain function intact. His mother said “As long as he’s alive, we can figure it out. They have great hearing aids these days.” He’ll probably do some rehab work and get whatever job he can hold. Or maybe just live off disability. He’s got a good enough support system that he likely won’t fall through the cracks.

The last, an Army corporal came home to find his wife had taken up with another man. She even told him he “needed time alone with the kids,” to go out and tryst with her paramour. He found out, and smashed her head into the hood of the stove while she was cooking a pizza. Cops, sirens, beat-a-bitch charges, divorce. Now he cannot re-enroll in the military school he left to serve in the war, and he is going to lose his future commission, his wife, and his kids.

I understand that there is a duty to service in defense of your country. I also understand that there is a duty to question the decisions your government makes. Such is the duality of the American thing, to steal a phrase from Patterson Hood.

What I don’t understand is why we are not even having a conversation about what to do now. Is the war about oil? If so, how to prevent another? Is the war about establishing a beachhead in the Middle East to protect our interests and bring the fight to the terrorists? If so, is the fact that we haven’t had any attacks on American soil since proof that it is working? Do we need to wean ourselves off of oil? If so, how to do it without destroying the infrastructure and economy of our country? Some Democrats (including this one) would like to see a “Space Race for Energy Independence.” The Republican philosophy seems to be that the market will correct itself when needed, so there no use in tree hugger shit like “bio-diesel.”

See, the sloganeering is easy. It’s the solutions that require thought and compromise.


Blogger xo said...

“Space Race for Energy Independence” -- unfortunately, JFK isn't here to blast it into action. But, I agree, it is indeed what we need. We, the public, also need truth as truth and not regurgitated sound bites that paint proven science as a matter of opinion.

Every citizen should see these 2006 films:

Who Killed the Electric Car?

An Inconvenient Truth


5:10 PM  

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