Thursday, December 15, 2011

THE IRAQ WAR - FULL CIRCLE



I've posted this before -- found courtesy of the Wayback Machine -- of the post I made the day we invaded Iraq, on March 19, 2003.  This month, the war in Iraq officially ends, and our troops will be out of Iraq by December 31st. 

As we wrap up, and hope and pray that we'll be done in Afghanistan soon as well, I'd like to thank a few people who performed above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks to the "other" 1% -- the percentage of Americans who were actually asked to make real sacrifices for this war -- for all that they gave and all that they lost. Thanks to their families who lost them, for a while, or forever, depending on how or if they returned.  Thanks to President Obama for finally getting this done, despite my doubts that he would in the end.
March 19, 2003

My country went to war today. A deadline passed, a stand-off persisted, and then came the rockets.

If I had to sum up how I feel, I'd call it sadness. I'm so, so sad. I'm sad it's come to this. I'm sad that my feelings of overwhelming cynicism made me believe that it always would come to this. And I'm sad that so many people will not be satisfied, will not have had enough, until blood is spilled and people are dead.

When I was a child, I used to think that if we could just find a way to get out of Viet Nam, we would live in peace. After all, hadn't we learned our lesson about war? Now, nearly thirty years later, here we are again, sending troops to fight for something that vaguely resembles liberty. Something that's been dressed up in noble cloth and made to look like a noble cause. But try as I might, I can't see the Emperor's clothes. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Emperor is, in fact, naked.

My country went to war today. I pray that things will happen quickly, with a minimum of bloodshed and casualty, and then we'll bring our soldiers home in one piece. And maybe this time, we'll have learned our lesson.

The right lesson.

The lesson that we've learned? I'm not sure entirely. "Never bring a knife to a gunfight?" No, that's close, but not quite. "Who's the bigger fool? The fool or the fool that follows him?" Getting warmer.

Maybe it's something simpler and more straightforward. As a young man, my father served in the Air Force during the Korean War as a jet mechanic and one of his fellow mechanics, a big, gentle Alabama boy that never picked a fight, but never ran from one either had a favorite saying he'd use on my dad often.

"Don't let your alligator mouth run away with your hummingbird ass." 

Yeah... yeah, that's it....

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