Tuesday, March 25, 2008

...Wear It.

Five years.

Four thousand people are dead. Four thousand families shattered. People I knew, people I never met, people--maybe--a lot like me. The war on terror continues apace.

It was supposed to be "a cakewalk." It was supposed to be a "slam dunk." But it hasn't been. Instead, I've watched marriages crumble, family bonds erode, and human minds slide into decay and instability. Meanwhile, the civilized world hems and haws. It urges us to leave, urges us to stay "for the troops." Let me tell you this: the jump to fifteen-month tours wasn't done at my request. And our Vice President be damned, nobody who "volunteered," as he so callously reminds us, ever volunteered to die. And all the while, the exceptionalists who sold us this bloody venture go on to posh jobs in the corporate sector, and write self-serving memoirs designed to absolve themselves of any blame.

Do you actually believe this is going to end? Do actually believe that there can be a solution within the accepted frameworks?

It hasn't ended. It's not going to end. Don't talk to me about "honoring the sacrifice of our veterans." I sacrificed, without complaint, and you pissed on it. You threatened my life, threatened my career, told me I was a lesser human being for speaking out. No, I say: you don't get to say a word. YOU are no longer a part of this conversation. For five years, FIVE YEARS, we listened to you in your cries for more blood, more treasure. We bowed to your dreams of secular Arab utopia, and look what our passivity has wrought.

And even if this does end, how long will it be until the next one? Where will you send me next? Iran? And where after that? Will you call me back from civilian life to do your dirty work? Will you stand silent then, too, turning away from the photos of flag-draped caskets, stacked inside the belly of a C-17 like so much cordwood?

I know you. I know how you think. This is never going to end, unless someone grows the integrity to stand up and stop you. Stop destroying my reputation. Stop interfering with my life, my marriage. Stop destroying my country. Say what you will about it being the fault of feminists, and gays, and immigrants, and secular humanists; the blame for our situation rests with those who would choose to remain ignorant. It rests with you.

And I will not enable you anymore.

Iraq today, Iraq tomorrow, Iraq forever. Iran is the enemy. Iran has always been the enemy.

This may not end. But it's ended for me. We may well be in Iraq for the "next hundred years," as our candidates say. But this time, I won't be there to help you.

If the shoe fits... wear it.


Blogger thepoetryman said...

the blame for our situation rests with those who would choose to remain ignorant. It rests with you.


A beautiful post! Eloquent, raging, quiet, honest, hopeful, humble, honorable, and sad.

Thank you.

8:21 PM  
Blogger cinnabari said...

Mr. President described our venture in Iraq as "costly in both lives and treasure."

Treasure. Really. Is this a fucking D&D game, now? World of Warcraft? I'd've said lives were treasure, but I am just one of those traitorous left-leaning people who thinks one should not go to war in order to spread democracy, or whatever reason is official this week.

Supporting our troops, to paraphrase hilzoy over at Obsidian Wings (where we lost frontpage blogger Andy Olmsted, first American casualty of 2008, and hilzoy's good friend): supporting our troops should mean that we do not abuse their lives, or waste them, or ask them to go into war lightly. Stickers on a fucking car is not supporting. Neither is silence.

Shorter me: bravo, and agreed.

3:55 AM  
Blogger iamcoyote said...

Excellent rant, Milo! Nailed it perfectly. Thanks!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

Absolutely. It may be necessary to have war somewhere, someplace. This wasn't the the place or time and it almost never is.

For 30 years I've been saying that until we have an equal draft - that means Jenna's ass on the line along with all of the other children of the rulers - we will continue to wage wars of folly.

Had Bush been forced to actually go and do what he was obliged to do - we probably wouldn't be in Iraq today.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Army Sergeant said...

I hate to solicit, but are you still interested in speaking up? Once again, I agree completely with a post of yours. Feel free also to email me privately, armysergeant (at) ivaw (dot) org.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Catherine McHenry said...

Thank you for writing. I know how difficult that can be, especially while still in active service. Please continue. Your voice is important and your perspective incredibly helpful. However, as I used to console my AF sister, it is not your job to bring change to your chain of command, it is ours. This war has been a long time coming (http://www.ithaca.edu/gagnon/talks/us-iraq.htm) and will not, as you know, end quickly.

However, be encouraged. We WILL bring an end, both to this war and to the sort of thinking which gestates such grim, wrong-headed and ultimately devasting action.

Be safe and keep the posts coming.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Seven of Six said...

Iran is the enemy. Iran has always been the enemy.

And where did, bu$h/cheney/rice's man, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, of the Dawa party, seek refuge and protection from Saddam... Iran.

6:17 PM  

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