Yesterday I attended a reading downtown as part of a class. Instead of a normal classroom we met in a gallery. During the reading I was distracted by the photographic exhibit ringing the walls of the room. Each picture was hung at eye-level, approximately 16" X 20" and displayed Iraqi citizens who have been permanently maimed by the war. After the reading was complete, I spent some time looking at every single photograph. Most were difficult to look at.
I wavered about this. There is certainly no proof that every one of these people were innocent victims, nor is there proof that they were injured by American weapons. Still, it is apparent that the war has affected the lives of millions of people who live there. Those who support the war will trot out the defense of our actions, tossing out numbers of people killed by a brutal dictator. I don't doubt the brutality of the previous regime, but I do not remember hearing about how he killed Americans, nor how he caused the deaths of Americans in our country.
It's a sad fact that there is an unimaginable amount of evil in this world, and I wonder why we are so selective in going after it. If we are going to rescue those who are oppressed by tyrants who hold little regard for the people they rule over then why haven't we deposed Km Jung Il in North Korea? Why is Robert Mugabe still the president of Zimbabwe? People are starving in those countries because their "leader" would rather spend their money elsewhere.
Yesterday, the day that I stumbled upon this photography exhibit, also happened to be the fourth anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq. I remember it well; I was in a hotel room in San Diego, insisting to my three golfing buddies that I hated the idea that the US was initiating a war against a country that had not attacked us. I've been against this action from the start. I think I've made that pretty clear in prior missives. I realize that it is hip to be against this war now. I was against it when being against it wasn't cool.
I take no pride in essentially thumbing my nose towards our Worst. President. Ever. and realizing that I was right. I would have preferred that he saw it for himself. Anyway, as I made my way home last night I could not stop thinking about how it was four years ago, when a cocky administration assured us that it would be weeks, not months, to get the job done and that when we did, the entire world would look towards the United States with respect and admiration.
They could not have been more wrong.
To be anti-war is not to be anti-troops nor anti-victory. I am forever done reading the words of and listening to pundits who insist that because I do not support this Worst. President. Ever.'s war that I am uncaring towards the plight of the American soldiers who have been shoved into its arena. Bull. I care because they are somewhere that they should not be. I care because more are being killed every day for a cause that has no justification. I realize that no one is forced to be a soldier and that every single person who has joined the armed forces is braver than I am. That's why I want to see them out of there. Let them come home to where they belong and become the people they deserve to be here; let them be teachers, lawmen, doctors, parents, etc. instead of corpses.
Recently both John McCain and Barack Obama got themselves into a bit of an embarrassing situation because they referred to the dead soldiers lives as "wasted." Each backtracked and apologized, claiming that they mis-spoke. They did not.
These lives have been "wasted." They were never a "waste." They have been wasted by the insistence of our Worst. President. Ever. that we must be in Iraq and "spread freedom" or as the rest of the world refers to it "initiate a Civil War."
Our Worst. President. Ever. has wasted these lives and should be held accountable for it. According to most media agencies (gasp-even Fox), two-thirds of the people in this country do not approve of this war. That's 67%. When I was a working man if two-thirds of the people who rated my performance did not think I was doing it right I would have been fired. And I would have deserved it.
It's too late to fire our Worst. President. Ever. He should have been fired in November 2004. As a nation we should have watched him clean out his desk and escort him to the door on January 20, 2005. I will never understand how such an incompetent "leader" got elected to a second term.
About three hours after I got home last night I came across this column on the Chicago Tribune web site, and it was printed in the Tuesday issue. It made me angry. It made me sad. And yes, it made me cry. I cannot imagine the level of heartbreak that this family feels, nor can I imagine the rage they feel when they see our Worst. President. Ever. on television pontificating that he has always been right, that he will always be right.
Read the article. If it does not affect you in any way, I suggest you go to the ER and see if perhaps you died some time ago. Whether you are for or against this war, this article screams one word: incompetence.
People are dying because of incompetence. People are dying because of arrogance. It's clear to me that this will continue until at least January 20, 2009, (a day that I look forward to as much as any day I can remember) when the reign of our Worst. President. Ever. ends. By that time there nay be as many as four thousand American soldiers dead in Iraq. And who knows how many civilian deaths there will be by then. I realize all civilian deaths since the first months of the war have been caused by Iraqi insurgents but because these deaths would not have occurred had our Worst. President. Ever. resisted getting in over his head he must be held partially responsible.
Lives are being wasted. Roughly two hundred million people who live here do not approve of the actions that are causing this, yet it is so quiet. Why? Why are we so quiet?
The column expresses my thoughts about this better than I could ever explain them here. Go, read it, and tell others about it. Speak up. Do something other than shake your head. Enough is enough.
The first comment after the column is mine. It says this:
"My heart breaks for every single one of the 3000+ American soldiers who have died in this senseless, ego-driven war, and for their families as well. Mr. Landeck should be proud of what he has written. He speaks for the millions of Americans who know that the blood of so many will never wash off George's hands.
Here's hoping Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and every other neo-con member of this administration live a long time so that they may be continually tortured by the legacy of their incompetence. And may they also live in perpetual terror of the judgment they will receive on the day each of them leaves this world."
I am screaming. You do the same. Please.