06 September 2007

Only sadness ...

A reader sent me an e-mail regarding my post, “On Bush’s bloody hands ...” below.

“I just came across your blog tonight and read what you had to say. My heart aches for you as you seem to be filled with so much hate and bitterness. I will pray for you as I pray for the families of the fallen. My son proudly serves in the Navy and is currently deployed to Iraq.”

I’ve left the writer’s name out as she clearly didn’t wish to be identified. But I’ve decided to respond publicly.

Really, I'm not full of hate or bitterness, though this president and the war in Iraq, and the threat of another war in Iran surely combine to make me feel both for the first time in my life.

As I wrote the post, though, I was feeling only sadness and anger for the mostly very young Americans who've lost their lives in Iraq, 83 in August alone.

I wrote the post to recognize that the soldiers who died in Iraq last month have real names and had real lives, like the more than 3,500 others who died before them. I wanted to honor them. I wanted to try to make them real for my readers rather than simply, angrily rattle off more disembodied numbers.

We can’t cry for numbers. We can only cry for people.

I'm also very sad for the many thousands of soldiers, those brave men and women, who've come home from Iraq alive but missing limbs. And I’m sad for those who are now blind or perhaps brain damaged, or who are suffering post traumatic stress disorder, all of this suffering because of our president's madness in attacking and occupying another country. Their wounds didn’t disappear with their discharge from military service. Most of them are under 35 years old, and they’ll continue to face physical disability and mental pain, financial disaster, poverty and emotional distress for the rest of their lives.

Why were they asked to make this sacrifice? What was the compelling reason? Honestly – I’d like to know. I really would. I’m sure they would, too.

Finally, I'm terribly sad for the Iraqi people. They’ve borne the brunt of America's shock and rage over being attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. The 19 young, fanantical terrorists who hijacked those jetliners and crashed them into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania cornfield were nearly all Saudis. Yet Saudi Arabia is a country America still considers a friend. In fact, President Bush literally holds hands with Saudi leaders when they visit.

Gentle reader, not one of those Sept. 11 jihadists was from Iraq. And yet, more than a million Iraqi moms, dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, grandparents, kids and grandkids have suffered violent deaths as a result of George W. Bush’s terrible war, which was built on the hot air of lies, hubris, greed, convenience and vanity.

Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11, nor did Saddam Hussein. Certainly, the innocent Iraqi civilians who’ve died violently since America launched its war had nothing to do with it either.

Just for the record, none of the other reasons we’ve been given for attacking Iraq have proved true, either. There were no WMD; Saddam was no threat to America. And truly, democracy cannot be advocated at gunpoint.

I'm a Cold War Air Force veteran and I worked closely as a civilian with the U.S. Army in Germany. I'm an American patriot, too, but I'm not religious and I don't pray. I admire your son for his courage and integrity in choosing to serve his country as a sailor in the U.S. Navy. You and he both have reason to be proud – taking that oath is something only a small percentage of Americans are willing to do for their country. Now I can only hope that he's able to come home from Iraq to you soon. I hope he arrives on your doorstep safe and sound, in spite of Bush’s bloody plans for him and his fellow service members.

And I hope that if there IS a god, he'll open the eyes of good people like you and let you see the horror, the utter disaster and catastrophe this president and his enablers have caused for America, for Iraq, and for the world. Working together, perhaps we can stop them before more innocents die for no good reason.


Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

My own personal feelings about the war aside, I always find it a bit hypocritical when people invoke both religion and pro-war sentimentality. According to Christianity, one is supposed to "turn the other cheek" when wronged. In other words, when terrorists fly planes into your buildings, you should I guess shine a spotlight on another building and say, "Hey, here's another if you're still mad at us."

Of course, that shit isn't as practical in 2007 as it was in 33 A.D., I suppose.

Now, I for one think if someone flies a plane into your building and you're a super-power, you figure out who did it and you retaliate disproportionately. A message needs to be sent in those situations that, if you attack us, your time on this earth is limited. If Truman were in office today, there'd be a crater on the map the size of Saudi Arabia, don't you think?

I think you have a solid point about Saudi Arabia. Why we invaded Iraq is a mystery to me. But somebody deserved a serious ass whipping. Maybe the wrong people got it.

And furthermore, I suppose it's prudent to also tack some numbers onto things. Someone killed 3,800 (or whatever it was) of our civilians. So, how many do we kill in justified retliation? 30,000 (10x), 300,000 (100x)?

Seems like we did that about $200 billion dollars ago into this thing. No one seems to care much about the national debt anymore. (Just a side-observation there.)

Anyway, on another tangent, I'm not sure why people join the military in the first place, but it's not always for heroic reasons. Many of these folks just needed a damn job. I don't believe they're being "asked" to sacrifice their lives for us; I believe they're being "told" to. And that's 180 degrees different in my book -- especially for people who've served their agreed upon time and are being held in the military against their will, which does happen -- or national guard members who have no business being in Iraq or anywhere else besides the USA.

Of course, almost by definition, anyone who *did* join up since 2001 did so for reasons related to their belief that we *should* be in this particular war.

FWIW, I didn't sense hate and bitterness with your post the other day. As you said, it really hit home that these aren't just numbers -- they're actual people with lives and families, etc. And so are the million non-US people killed by this thing.

So, there you have my brain dump for the day -- terribly conflicted by my rage at these Islamic wack-jobs and yet my pesonal value on human life. It's a really ugly situation all around...

CV Rick said...

I just found your blog, via an interesting internet search. I like your posts - very emotional, very raw, and 100% accurate . . .

But on a tangent, I'm curious about your name, Wren. Is that your real name or related to your real name? I too once lived in a small mountain town and went by the name Wren. That's why I ask.

If that's too much detail to release on a blog comment, I completely understand.

Wren said...

BSUWG: I get the same odd feeling of disconnect when someone rah-rahs war and praises god at the same time. Probably explains why I've felt off-kilter since, oh, about 2002. All this holy warrior crap we've been fed constantly makes me cranky. When I joined the USAF, all those years back, there were a lot of reasons, and patriotism was only one of them. My Dad was a Marine. He didn't have any sons. I wanted to make him proud, but being a grrrl, I figured I'd better not try the Marines. So I joined the AF. I also needed a decent job and I desperately wanted to leave the ol' hometown and see the world.
It worked.

cv rick: "Wren" isn't my real name. I just like it, and I like that LBB (little brown bird). Makes me smile. It's quick, busy, neat and round, perky and sings a gorgeous song. I can only aspire to such perfection. I'm pleased you piped up; birds of a feather, and all that. Thanks for stopping by.

blue girl said...

Hi bitter, bitter Wren. Just kidding. I didn't think you sounded bitter and cynical in your post either. I have to *laugh* though, because my husband's constantly saying this country should be MORE bitter and angry and expect NOTHING but the worst from this administration. He says that if we haven't figured that out by now, we're impossible optimists!

Your point about Saudi Arabia is an argument that I've made to anyone who'll listen for years now. But, the sad fact is that we need their oil because our economy is propped up by it. And they play ball with us. And are in bed with the money men of this country. We went into Iraq because we could. To show our might and also to establish some sort of "control" in that region. An American presence in the heart of the Middle East. I'm not even sure Bush & Co. CARES about it going well. I'm not sure "going well" matters to them at all. I think there's a lot of money to be made in chaos (at least in my experience with corporate America) and they're gettin' theirs. Sometimes I think it's as simple as that!

I feel bad for the soldiers who are pawns in this Rich Man's Game. They're being used and abused. And they're going to continue to be used and abused cuz there is not getting out of this easy.

I don't think we ever will.

blue girl said...

I also meant to say...I *love* your "Never Forget 1/31/07" thingy! Hee-hee.

Wren said...

"We went into Iraq because we could. To show our might and also to establish some sort of 'control' in that region. An American presence in the heart of the Middle East."

So true, BG. I think we all know that, but such cynicism makes Americans uncomfortable, so we don't like to talk about it. I'd like it if BushCo would just come clean and admit that it was really all about oil, profit and power, you know? It would make my idealistic head hurt, but maybe that's okay, too.

On the other hand, while there are a few folks raking in the cash, we haven't done a particularly good job showing off our "might" or "control." Ouch.

1/31/07. Are we wimps, or what??

blue girl said...

Have you read this piece by Mannion?


One of his points is that we're going to LEVEL Iran. We're going to "move on" from Iraq because we have to focus on more important things. It's a great post, if you haven't read it yet.

I wouldn't say we've shown much might or control either. Or good sense, for that matter. But, that just doesn't seem to matter to these guys. There's a piece missing. That's why I think the chaos doesn't matter to them at all. They're getting "something" out of it. And I guess it's money. What else could it be?

I mean, so much of it just doesn't make any kind of sense at all.

Kevin Wolf said...

BSUWG: As angry as I am about 9/11, there are ways to deal with these things. Bombing the shit out of another country ain't it, so I respectfully disagree.

Unfortunately, these perfectly understandable feelings have given Bush the go-ahead to endless war.

Wren: I, too, saw nothing hateful in your earlier post. There's nothing hateful in stopping to take stock of this war, and then pointing an accusing finger at its architects.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Kevin: You say that so casually, as though such attacks on American soil are routine -- attacks that leave 3,000 plus dead, god-knows-how many wounded (from the event itself as well as long-term physical ailments), and hundreds of millions of people around the globe psychologically affected. If an ass-whipping, as I so crudely stated it, was *ever* justified in the history of this country, that was it. There aren't simply "ways to deal with these things" because these things are unprecedented in recent times -- unless you want to go back to, say, Pearl Harbour.

I'm not, btw, defending the war in Iraq. I'm just saying that we were justified in responding militarily to an attack. I'm not an advocate of using force, unless attacked. And, in this case, we were.

Madison Guy said...

"Utter disaster and catastrophe"? You must be kidding. The Preznit's strategy is working, we just need to give it some time. Really: "Nothing but blue skies from now on."