Tuesday, March 20, 2007

wars stain forward

* athenae:
"What's it going to look like, in a year? If our politicians are still cowed by those who prop up their own careers by calling other people pussies, if our leaders continue to shirk their leadership and make their lives a testament to the ordinary and achievable? What's it going to look like, in a year, when people are still marching, and the windows are rattling with the sound of their songs, but the people we elected are deaf to the sounds? Are still talking about one last chance? This war could go on forever, because that's what wars do, they go on, unless someone stops them. What's it going to look like, in a year?

Four years on, we've lost thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians, we've destroyed two countries, theirs and our own. If you think Iraq won't be the issue in 2008 you're kidding yourselves; if you think Iraq won't be the issue in 2024 you're kidding yourselves even more. Every even-numbered year is going to be about this, from now until the last veteran of this war dies, because that's how wars work, they stain forward, bloody those who fought them and those who waged them. Killing someone doesn't just end that person's life. It divides yours, too, into before you were the person who did that, and after. Four years on, we can't face what we did to Iraq; fifty years on I'll be shocked if we can face what we did to ourselves.

America is a young country; we forget that Vietnam was just a moment ago, in the timeline of a civilization. Maybe that's why we haven't learned, because we don't have any distance. Because five years, ten years, twenty years, thirty years, forty years on, we're still tearing ourselves apart to have the conversation after that we should have had before: Can we do this, can we carry it? We can't answer that question because we can't even ask it, can't look that hard at what lies underneath our actions. We're afraid.

(Every time I talk about Douglas Feith I get asked about the layers of incompetence within the Bush administration, the way in which someone like him was allowed to happen, made to happen, flourished. Every time I say when you're led by people this craven and frightened, Doug Feith is what you get.)"

* atrios:
"Four Years Already?

All you anti-war people sure will feel stupid in six months when things are better."


«—U®Anu§—» said...

You know, even after living through Vietnam, and signing up with Selective Service in 1971 with Nixon as president, which was scary as hell, I still thought there could be a war which was necessary, of a good purpose or at least a necessary evil--even though Vietnam didn't rise to those standards.

Then a funny thing happened. I started to travel, and I saw the memorial parks, large and small, scattered all over the country, left from the Civil War. As the graves I saw counted hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands, I suddenly realized that war is stupid; without exception, all of them, past, present and any and all yet to be started. There were no issues so urgent people had to die, and certainly not in that number, guessed today to be between 600,000 and 700,000. (One hundred fifty-two years later, the names and locations of the graves of the Civil War dead are still being updated.) Furthermore, seeing so many graves made war look not a little stupid, but really stupid, big, stupendous stupid.

Consider The Lancet study which estimated the number of Iraqi civilians killed at 665,000, which is roughly how many Americans died in the Civil War. Those are people Washington swore we were helping. They didn't have to sell it to me, because by the time it began, I'd already realized for two decades that it was a totally stupid thing, staged by people who can only be called stupid killers. It's no surprise to find out I was right, and there's no pleasure in saying I told you so.

lukery said...

no pleasure at all.