Memorial Day 2007
I’m always somewhat disturbed on this so-called holiday, but never as much as this year, while war rages in Iraq with apparently no way to stop it. I mean, I did what I was supposed to do: I signed petitions, went to a demonstration or two, and voted for the guys who said they’d end the war. Unless you’re Cindy Sheehan or someone camping in front of Nancy Pelosi’s house—someone who works on this thing 24/7—you probably feel a lot like I do: prone to bouts of guilt for “not doing enough.” Which is such a load of crap, an insult added to injury. Like I said, I did what I was supposed to do; that the Democrats caved in and signed a bill giving The Nitwit more money to kill and destroy is not our fault. But hey, that isn’t even the issue.
The issue is this: according to the rules that politicians are always applauding (they like people who “play by the rules”), citizens are supposed to tell their representatives what they want, and the representatives are supposed to make it happen—or at least try. Last November a majority of voters said they were voting Democratic because they wanted to end the war in Iraq, and Democrats promised they would do that. When the Democrats got elected everyone was glad. Then the Democrats put on a little bit of a show of trying to stop the war… and then they handed over money to keep the war going.
It’s certainly not the first time elected officials have failed to keep their promises. But these guys said they were against the war way before the elections, and they seemed to be trying to end it; all they needed was a little bit more power—power we gave them in the election—to succeed. It looked like a majority of citizens had turned against the war, even those who previously supported it. Generals spoke out against it. Lies were exposed at every turn. The incompetence, corruption, secrecy and dishonesty of the current administration, particularly regarding the motives for going to war, have become common knowledge. The Nitwit’s approval rating is in the gutter. At a juncture like this, I fully expected the Democrats to end the war by any means necessary. Was I being naïve?
They invoked the feeble excuse of “supporting our troops.” The theory goes that if they don’t fund the guys already over there, we’ll be ensuring their failure and demise.
This business of supporting our troops is something I’ve never gotten clear about. I’m sorry about what happened to the Vietnam War Vets; I’m really sorry so many of them have been reduced to standing at freeway exits 30 years after the war begging for money. But my feelings about them don’t automatically translate, as they seem to for our elected officials, into a desire to nurture and care for soldiers in Iraq. Even leaving aside the large numbers of them who’ve been up to no good, raping and torturing and killing without reason, even if none of that were happening: I don’t support keeping the troops in Iraq. There, I said it: I don’t support the troops. I’ve puzzled over this for a long time, and I just can’t seem to see it the way so many other people do. Remember a song by Buffy St. Marie, The Universal Soldier? He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame…she sang. And added: His orders come from far away no more/they come from him and you and me…. Authorizing money to fund the war is supporting the troops in their mission to continue waging war.
I feel so betrayed by the Democrats it gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. (I could’ve said “it makes me sick to my stomach,” but that sounds like a cliché or metaphor; I purposely said “it gives me a sick feeling in my stomach,” because it’s the literal truth.) Someone suggested that every Democrat march down to town hall or wherever one registers, and change their party affiliation to Independent. I like the theatrics of that, but I don’t think enough people will do it – plus, how on earth can anyone put their faith in electoral action at this point?
I’ve been watching a great video series, Hometown Baghdad, which follows the lives of a few Iraqi 20somethings trying to survive in Baghdad. It’s been therapeutic in a way to get to know these ordinary young Iraqi men I can relate to for a change, instead of the radical Muslims I’m used to seeing on television. One of them even has a girlfriend who walks around in Western clothing; the only constriction they seem to suffer is they have to drag friends along when they go out in public; they can’t go out alone as a couple.
I had some gut-wrenching pictures of the war posted here, but they’ve vanished, as images frequently do on WordPress. Readers can search for some themselves–if you dare.