America: Society Iraq War Journal Society

Shaking My Head

All I can say about all the collapsing of American pipe dreams in Iraq is that this is what I stated from the very start, before the descent into the Afghan war, would happen; what all the people who shouted for deliberation and tolerance before losing our minds to stupidity and knee jerk reactions, were trying to tell everyone? It is truly bitter to see all the worst of my fears coming true (not that I’m surprised any more). And I have to ask, why is it that people like me can see all this coming, while so many others can’t? Why does it take the deaths of thousands and the flashes of horror to remind everyone, over and over and over and over again, that war is ugly and that it has never, ever left its participants with satisfactory and morally acceptable results? Why does war awaken nightmares? I lost friends because I stated, the day after the New York tragedy (an event that I REFUSE to reduce to some media slogan by referring to it with the trite name of “9/11” as if it were a football game) that the American reaction would lead to war without reflection. I stated that the New York tragedy was an opportune moment for Americans to once and for all examine their place in the world and what their unrestrained power and arrogance has done to others. But no… they had to react in the predictable and immature way, by going to war. A bully punching out bystanders because he can’t find the culprit. Really I shouldn’t be concerned about how Americans feel or what image the US has in the eyes of the world, but in fact I deeply care about the States and many people there, and would hope it would learn to grow up.

Charley Reese ponders why it is that the Iraqis have treated their captives with respect and dignity, whereas the American occupiers haven’t. I feel the very question arises out of naivete and disrespect, making an assumption that somehow Iraqis ought to be less civilized than Americans. But all evidence points to America as a nation that loves violence, cares little for people outside its borders (and even for its own citizens within), sets the military upon this unrealistic and ridiculous pedestal ( went to the video store last night to look for a movie… I was very disturbed by just how many war movies and movies about murder and destruction there were… almost all of which were American… I decided to rent the French documentary “Le Peuple Migratoir”, a beautifully filmed account of birds migrating around the world), and absolutely adores war (as long as it doesn’t touch its own borders). How many times have I heard an American tell me that their joining the military made them into a better, more mature person? I always guessed that meant that people who don’t, and don’t want to, join the military are somehow not mature or are “lesser” people. Reese talks of “dishonoring the uniform”. Exactly why is it that the military deserves such a cult status? It is a job that those in it joined of their own free will. Why is this idiotic “giving their lives for freedom” dogma followed, instead of giving priority to learning how to talk with other people to achieve peace and understanding before needlessly throwing away such a valuable gift as a life. “Dying for one’s country” is treated as if it’s the epitome of all that should be aspired to in life.

So many questions of “why” that I have to ask. I’m not so much angry any more so much as stumped for sense. I feel like I am witnessing a prison yard full of blindfolded murderers all fumbling about and beating each other because they refuse to take off the blindfolds. I have turned off the TV. I don’t think I can stand watching Rumsfeld or Bush tell another face saving lie.

Meanwhile, while the Iraqi deaths soar outside the baseball stadium’s wall, unseen, the media tallies up the numbers of Americans dying like counting home runs. There are no screams, no entrails spilled in the street, no charred meat, or clouds of flies. No death. Deaths. Dead. Dying. The “Ultimate” debt, a finality that cannot be paid, and which never had a price.