It really is a blunder that my generation (20-somethings), and those to come after it, will have to atone for decades to come. Blood. Death. Occupation. The remnants of imperial greed. Policies run amuck. Perhaps an empire can only function when it is dysfunctional. A kind of serial killer on life support. Indeed, chaos is the natural pattern of villainous deeds, and America has bloodstained hands.
The United States is not really even an empire anyway, as Slavoj Zizek recently put it in the New York Times. "That is, while pretending to be an empire, it continues to act like a nation-state, ruthlessly pursuing its interests." Even so, the "Land of the Free" still does as it pleases, despite international opposition and common sense.
I think the ol' adage that proclaims we should obey our elders is just a bunch of hogwash. What if our elders, those whom we should respect, tell us to kill? To murder? To vanquish entire cultures and religions? To tear men from their loved ones and detain them in offshore prisons where they will never be charged with an actual crime? Are we still supposed to obey the authority that tells us to do this for the health of the country? To accept it as the reality of war? I say no. Yet, ads on television and in our public schools prey on our youth to sign up for the US armed forces as way to see the world, pay for education, and succeed in life.
I don't blame the kids who think the military is the answer to their mounting woes. They've been lied to, inundated with patriotic babble about country and God, while their commanders order them off into battle from the safety of Washington board rooms. Voting won't stop the nonsense either. As President Bush calls for more troops in Iraq, the Democrats still can't fancy a thought on the subject of their own. They seem to realize we need the troops out, but haven't the slightest idea how to go about doing it. Redeployment, as Rep. Jack Murtha has called for, still won't bring our troops home.
It seems the only way the war will come to an end will be when soldiers start resisting by the droves. It's already happening with little fanfare all across the country. Many are finding refuge in Canada and elsewhere. These brave soldiers must be congratulated for taking such a path. They are the answer the antiwar movement has been looking for. Let's hope they lead by example. If their peers don't follow, we are in for a much longer, deadlier war.
Making sense of it all isn't easy, especially for those who have seen the mess first hand. I'm happy to say, I haven't. Nor do I ever want to, no matter how much better the government pays than this writing gig. Deep down Bush must know that more troops there will only lead to more deaths, more collateral damage. More anguish for families everywhere. It has to stop. And the best way to end the war isn't to march around in the streets on our designated day of dissent. Rather, the best way to help stop the madness is to get military recruiters off our school campuses. Plain and simple. No longer should the marketers of death be allowed to sell war to students.
I know this little polemic isn't going to end this mess Bush and his allies have created. When my generation and the soldiers in Iraq turn on this war by refusing to return, only then will it come to a screeching halt.
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