Thursday, January 11, 2007

"War, What's It Good For?

Absolutely Nothin'!" Elaine Benis, "Seinfeld"
Remember that episode from Seinfeld, when Elaine insisted that is what Tolstoy wanted to title "War and Peace"?
The President's brief address last night concerning troop escalation (they refuse to call it that) in Iraq, was not at all funny. The war is not funny - nothing about our involvement in Iraq is funny. We created the mess, it seems to me we have to clean it up.
The President's proposal for an increase in military is relying on two things, the willingness of young men and women to enlist, as well as keeping our National Guard troops on extended tours of duty. The later are National Guard troops - meant to protect the homeland, yet they find themselves on foreign soil. These men and women are our co-workers, our neighbors, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, away from family, home, job and country. I am in total awe of our military, their dedication, their courage and generosity, their sheer goodness, as well as their fidelity to duty, God, and Country. Male or female, their virile dedication is awesome. They are daily in my prayers and thoughts. Daily! Even all day!
Curiously, in the workplace, or out and about in daily life, I rarely hear much from others about the war. No one discusses it, except to criticize the President or his cabinet. In the United States, one would never be able to tell we are at war - it's business as usual. The mindless obsession with celebrity is the only indication that there is some disconnect...something is not right in our society. I think the distraction by media, reality programming, along with celebrity has become an escape for our anti-depressant drug culture these days.
Just as psychedelics, grass and rock were a distraction for the Vietnam Stateside generation. Certainly there were massive demonstrations against the war - which seems to be beginning now with this war - yet on a much, much smaller scale. In the Vietnam era, we were not attacked on our soil, as we were on 9/11 - this experience presents an entirely different dynamic.
Despite the "massive protest" in the Vietnam era, there were many people who just floated by, unaware of what was really going on. Many kids just dropped out - my friends and I were among them. Most of us never participated in rallies - unless there was a rock band, or dope was there. We loved Crosby, Stills and Nash and raised our fists at concerts, but we were usually doped up. Sure, we were against the war in a "didn't want to go" type of way. A couple of friends did some stuff to protest, and seemed to be really into it, two of them, girls at the time, were pretty much infatuated with a couple of the guys who led the group - the ladies really were not political.
Freaks my age, all grown up and successful, albeit still uber liberal, want and expect massive protests against Bush and the mess we have to clean up (because it really is justice that we do so) while I believe some, along with the media, want to bring back the '60's in many ways. Hopefully, we are all much more sensitive to the sacrifices our soldiers are making - learning our lesson on how badly the Vietnam vets were treated, than to discredit those who have died, as well as those fighting in their place; we can't just bail on those who have died and bring a premature end to our involvement in rebuilding a nation we pretty much destroyed in the first place.
Support the war or not, most people just don't act like it's going on at all. It's a little conflict "over there" someplace, it's not affecting us. My advice: Skip a few doses of prozac or other antidepressant drugs that keep you happy, really think about what is going on. Turn off American Idol, or Grey's Anatomy, or whatever veges you out - think and pray about what is taking place in our Country at this time. Stand up for our troops - don't ever let anyone sell our military short, just because they hate Bush. (I'm not in love with him either!) It doesn't matter if they are a movie star, a rock star, or some bull-dyke Rosie on morning TV, or Nancy Pelosi, or Teddy (Drunk-Again) Kennedy. Support our men and women in harms way!
I'm ashamed to admit it, but it was 30 years after Vietnam when I realized that some Credence Clearwater and Crosby Stills and Nash songs were about Vietnam. Part of the culture was doped in the '60's; and surprise, surprise, more people are medicated today than they were then. "Prozac Nation" don't ya know.
(And, did you know, if we would have stuck it out in Vietnam, we would have been victorious? We must support our troops! Pray for our troops! )


  1. For me, there are two issues here...

    As far as I'm concerned the culture that came out of the sixties ruined this country - it is such a shame that such a spoiled, selfish generation of party-goers had such influence... this is a general statement of course - every era has its true saints & heroes.

    And you're also correct that the war isn't talked about much - the way 9/11 isn't discussed, especially by the people who were there. Those affected have struggled to maintain their sense of normalcy - as have the family members & friends of those who serve...

    Your prayers for them are so needed!

  2. Those are two very good points.

  3. Amen, Terry! Outstanding post.

  4. I have to take issue with the idea that we destroyed Iraq. Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraq. But regardless of who did the destroying, it is for us to rebuild. I can't understand why we don't do what we did in Germany and Japan after World War II. Those were a couple of nations in the grip of murderous ideologies, and today, they're democracies (and, incidentally, not waging war against their neighbors).

    I also find it very interesting how easy it is to forget about the war. If I may make a small plug, here are my thoughts on it from August:


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