Saturday, March 29, 2008


Everyone thought it was spring today. As I roller-skied around the neighborhood, folks were bringing out greying Adirondack chairs, throwing grass seed on sad and sorry lawns, briskly raking and cleaning and preparing for the season still to come.

With their minds clearly reaching even farther afield, Annie and Kathryn went shopping downtown. A brought home filmy summer camis and several pairs of teeny, tiny white shorts. I gave tacit approval to the wardrobe additions once I saw them modeled, as the more important body parts will actually be covered, once spring temperatures arrive.

Hope springs eternal in the White House, too. As we hit 4000 US deaths this week, George W. opined that "the outcome of the war will merit the sacrifice". That's a standard justification in war, that the ends justify the means. Helps mothers and fathers at 2am when they lie awake in the dark, fearing their children died for no good reason.

Or maybe that's simply what Bush wants to believe so he won't feel guilt over sacrificing other people's children. After all, deciding to sacrifice young men and women is hard work. Cheney let us know that this week, how burdensome this whole war thing has been for Bush.
"Well, it obviously brings home, I think for a lot of people, the cost that's involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. It places a special burden, obviously, on the families. We recognize, I think -- it's a reminder of the extent to which we're blessed with families who have sacrificed as they have. The President carries the biggest burden, obviously; he's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans."
Obviously. It's much harder for Bush, who goes home each evening to the White House, eats his catered meal, then is regaled with plans for his daughter's upcoming wedding, rather than the father of a fallen soldier, who will plan no wedding. Ever.

Cheney went on:
"But we are fortunate to have the group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us. You wish nobody ever lost their life, but unfortunately it's one of those things that go with living in the world we live in. Sometimes you have to commit military force, and when you do, there are casualties."
Good thing he emphasized the voluntary aspect of service. Takes away a bit of Bush's burden, since those soldiers had a choice about serving in the war. Well, except all those who signed on to the National Guard, not knowing they would be called to a war overseas. Nor those who have ended up being called to duty three times longer than they originally signed up for. Nor those who actually believed what their recruiters told them, that they'd never end up in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But for everyone else? Hey, Vice President Cheney wants you to know that it's really not Bush's fault that you were killed. You shouldn't have signed up to serve in the first place. You should have known that George Bush would declare war by lying, then keep lying so soldier would keep dying.

I'll move away from sarcasm and irony for a moment. Clearly, if you believe in war as a solution, then it has to be acceptable that people will die to solve seemingly intractable differences. Though a pacifist by nature, I'm not willing to completely discard war as a solution. Hitler wouldn't have left Europe alone through diplomacy.

But it should be the last choice, rather than the first. And it should be entered into honestly, with eyes wide open by all parties. 4000 plus soldiers deserved to make a this choice based on facts, not governmental fiction. They were denied that right. And they died.

Now that we've passed a milestone number, the war will recede back into low level media coverage. Covered or not, more US soldiers will die. Then there are the totally non-voluntary 82,000 to 90,000 Iraqi civilian deaths that have occurred since the war began, which have received little US coverage from day one. They will continue, too.

On the other side of the world, the rest of us will prepare for spring. Rake our gardens. Kick back in the evenings and watch a bit of fluff on the tube. Plan for summer fun, warm breezes whisking away any thoughts of far away deaths, voluntary or not, in Iraq.



Blogger Ann Allen - Flying Woman Designs. said...

I think it is high time for a new blog post from you Ms. Elizabeth. Write one. Right now. Thanks.

5:22 PM  

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