I was born in 1969, it wasn’t until I was taking high school history than I got a full accounting of the tragedy and horror of the times of Vietnam, and even that was at a safe distance. Text books do little to relay the monstrosity of war.
I had an uncle who fought during Vietnam, in fact, I ended up having two uncles. When my mom remarried, my “step” uncle was a Vietnam survivor and I remember the story of how the marines showed up at my grandmother’s door with a telegram. The shock and horror she must have felt could only have been described as crippling. As it turned out, he was classified as “mortally” wounded – but survived the shot in the head which was later replaced with a metal plate.
My other uncle on my dad’s side survived physically intact, but was a mentally disturbed man. He was known as the “dirty” uncle. A title he only earned after his tours of duty. It was rumored that he saw so many things that were too grim to discuss that is made him “not right” in the head.
I was not a fan of Vietnam, and if I had been of age during that time I would like to think I would have verbally and physically protested the purpose of being there.
Fast forward to March of 2003. Saddam Hussein, a very bad man, an ever worse political leader, and doubly worse a horrible human being that happens to also be in charge of a country that we “suspect” of having weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. had been recently and brutally attacked. On OUR soil. An attack that was so personal, so destructive, so vile in nature as to change the fabric of what it meant to be an American. At least that’s how I feel about it. September 11 polarized our nation. We were finally VICTIMS of war. We felt the terror, the loss, the pain of our innocent men, women and children ripped from their lives for no justifiable reason.
After the shock, many people wanted revenge. I didn’t just want it, I demanded it. And heaven forbid if I had been touched in any real personal way by the 3000 dead from that day. Afghanistan was an abstract target. A poor, devastated country with only illegal drugs as their main export. Where was Osama Bin Laden.? Did we kill him? I think so. But until I see his body we will not be vindicated. And even that really wasn’t enough, not for me anyway. I didn’t feel justice was served. Not to mention Bali. HOW DARE THESE FUCKERS KILL AGAIN?
It was time to strike and by golly, Saddam is the number one man on our list. Even now, I feel that removing Saddam was the right thing to do, not for any hidden weapons he might possess, but for the fact that IF he had them, he damn sure was going to use them. Does this make it right? I don’t know. But it sure feels right to see a man so bloodthirsty and blinded by hatred as to systematically kill, torture and maim his own people be removed from his post.
So here’s my problem? American servicemen and women keep dying, every stinking day, at a rate that I find appalling. As if there is such a thing as an unappalling rate. It hurts. I don’t want this on my head. What is Bush doing? Is he ever going to make it stop? Does he call these families personally and tell them that what he is doing is right and that their loved ones died for a good cause?
DAMMIT, I want to see Bush weep for the dead. I want to see the guilt ridden faces of his administration so that I KNOW they feel each soldiers death and take it as their personal responsibility to care for those they left behind and to take EVERY precaution possible and every action available to prevent any needless death. Johnson seemed tormented, the ruthless fuck. Nixon got what he deserved. The death of a citizen of this country who is defending my right to buy groceries, wait impatiently at a light, lay peacefully on my couch should not be just some number on the news.
WHAT ARE WE DOING? I want to know that my choice to support my government’s actions were not in vain. Each day I hear of another death of another soldier, civilian, aid worker it makes me want to, well it makes me want to kill someone. What are we perpetuating? Hey BUSH, when are you going to show the grief for the dead. When? And when are we going to get the hell out of there?