this war makes me tired
The WP is now reportering, in their reportery way, that we no longer have anything to worry about, here in America. Those of us turned into despairing head-shakers of the behavior of our soliders in the middle east can finally relax our neck muscles, go take in a movie or something. The problems of behavior -- which is to say, the massacres like Haditha, the prison tortures like Abu Ghraib, the shootings of pregnant civilian women racing to hospitals, as just happened yesterday -- NONE OF THAT will remain to make us uncomfortable, after the marines watch a slideshow about "ethics" and "morals."
Oh no, you say. (You skeptic.) A slideshow? Are you SURE that's going to do the trick?
Ah, but this is not just any slideshow. Not like the sexual harrassment awareness luncheons at your office where everyone rolls their eyes, searches through the free sandwiches for the one they really like, and waits til it's over. No: this is a slideshow that will emphasize "'core values' training in how to operate professionally and humanely."
If soldiers in active duty don't understand DON'T KILL CIVILIANS, what on earth are you going to put in a slideshow to get through to them?
Okay, I feel a little better. Jesus god, this war is exhausting. Sarcasm falls in the face of it.
The truth is, I feel for the soldiers -- they're in an impossible position, embedded in an increasingly hostile community, facing an invisible enemy that never weakens, knowing that the government that sent them there has no plan for how to get them out and knowing that support for their mission back home has dwindled. That must suck. But you know who I feel worse for? The increasingly hostile community that's stuck in the middle of what may turn into a civil war, patrolled by soliders growing ever more trigger-happy and stressed out.
I just finished reading Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and I'm currently reading Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Both women take their frustration at the president, specifically at his drawing us into this unwinable war, and mold interesting books out of it: in Vowell's case, she takes the reader on a guided tour through the three successful presidential assassinations in American history (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley). Lamott struggles to love Bush the way Jesus loves him or, failing that, to be funny.
If you're as tired and cynical at this point as I am, I recommend both books. They may have been written as coping mechanisms, but reading them works as one too.
Dan Weiss’s Morning Coffee
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