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Monday, May 29, 2006

My Inner Frenchman thinks about Memorial Day

I'm miles from an internet connection as I write this. I'll sneak into town later tonight and steal a few minutes of wifi bandwidth to post it, but I probably won't have time to find links to some of the things to which I'll refer. Sorry about that. It’s the best I can do from here.

I've been thinking about what I'd post for Memorial Day this year. I really liked last year's
photo essay (I've republished it below). It expresses many of my feelings about this war: the sadness, anger and frustration I feel as I see fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters sacrificed for little more than to fulfill a spoiled rich kid's oedipal-fueled desire to escape from beneath his father's shadow.

But as much as I like the essay, it falls far short of adequately expressing the true horrors of this war. The young Americans who lost their limbs, their health, and their sanity are not represented. Neither are the carefree boys we grew to love as they camped out in our living room, vying for the attention of our daughters. Now, they’re returning from war, souless, their psyches destroyed forever.

And what about the Iraqi people? Thousands of innocents have paid the price for W's hubris, families--fathers, mothers, children, infants--torn apart by neocon greed and shrapnel. They are absent from the essay as well.

The American people are also missing. I watched the documentary, Control Room, again last night. One of the scenes featured an Al Jazeera reporter, Hassan Ibrahim, discussing the run-up to the war with a number of Iraqi intellectuals. He told them that he did not believe that the American people would allow the war to happen. He said that we were a rational people and a people who revered justice above all else. I once thought that too. With all of our faults, I believed that we were a people who truly believed in reason, justice, and the principles of democracy, and maybe we did, but it is no longer true.

We became vengeful and bloodthirsty, striking out against the innocent and the weak to ease our groundless fears. We are now Fox News. We are a nation of Malkins, Hewitts, and Charles Johnsons, frightened of everything that is different or alien to us and reacting violently.

My America is dead. Or perhaps more accurately, The America I believed in, and the people Ibrahim thought he knew, never existed. As saddened as I am at this realization, I now understand that I must fight even harder to ensure that we do not lose our way again.

That's why we must do everything in our power to ensure that America understands not only what happened at Hadditha, but why it happened. For those of you unfamiliar with that name, I urge you to read We found the Real Villain, the Republican Jesus post I did last week or look for an article titled "Details Surface of US ‘atrocity’ in Iraq" in Saturday's Globe and Mail." In short, a squad of Marines, distraught over losing a comrade to an IED, murdered at least 20 people, including a 61 year old, one-legged man and at least four children, the youngest two being 3 and 4 years old.

Although I’m disgusted by the Marine’s actions and believe that they should spend the rest of their lives in prison, I also feel very sorry for them. They were placed in a very bad situation and snapped. They’ll have to live with the knowledge and consequences of what they’ve done for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, those who bear the most responsibility for what happened that day, the president, vice president, Rumsfeld and the rest of the administration (including Colin “the ultimate ‘yes man’” Powell) will likely never be made to pay for sending young people like these Marines to be consumed in this shitty fucking war. That’s a terrible injustice. The evil fucks deserve life imprisonment at one of their secret Eastern European prisons.

War is a horrible thing. It destroys generations. It puts soldiers into terrible situations where they are forced to mortgage their souls. It is not something that should be entered into unless no other option is available. That’s Bush’s crime. War with Iraq wasn’t his last option. It was the only one he pursued.

So on this Memorial Day, please take a few moments to remember all of the casualties of this war and take a vow that those responsible will not go unpunished. It’s the only right way to truly honor the dead, the disabled, and the damned.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.