Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's just a number, right?

I'm having an opinion. My opinion is based upon contempt prior to investigation because I didn't watch Bush's speech last night - I assumed that he would lie, and that he would refuse to take a golden opportunity to admit that his policies have failed. I assumed that he would refuse to announce troop withdrawal from Iraq, and instead that he would indeed commit 20,000 more troops to Viet Nam... oops, I mean Iraq.

Guess what? I was wrong. Bush did not commit 20,000 more troops. It was actually 21,500 more troops. And my theme for today is this: It's just a number, right?

In my freshman year at New Trier High School, the first American "Advisor" was killed in Viet Nam. I was 13 years old, and, up until that point, highly unaware of an outside world. I read this news, and, about the same time, found myself going to a small rally in one of the suburbs where Martin Luther King, Jr., was speaking. He wasn't speaking about Viet Nam - he was speaking about human dignity, and while I don't recall his words, I do recall the sense of awakening.

That was the year I realized that our involvement in Viet Nam was wrong, and that we were trying to police a civil war that had gone on for centuries, and that other governments had tried and failed to interfere in the will of the people. I read about Buddhist monks lighting themselves on fire in protest of the South Vietnamese government. I began to really notice the deep levels of hatred that fuel wars, and that hatred was based on fear, greed and ignorance.

And now I feel our nation has been living in Macondo, trapped in rooms of mirrors or mirages. We have forgotten our past, and we may be at the end of our future. A commitment of more troops in Iraq, the threat that Bush will escalate this illegal war into Iran and Syria echoes both Lyndon Johnson's hubris in escalating Viet Nam, and Richard Nixon's blatant lie that he had a secret plan to end the war -- instead escalating into Laos and Cambodia. After his election, the war raged on another six years, until the ignominious fall of Saigon.

And here we are again. We stand on the edge of a cliff, falling off without even looking. American troops attacked an Iranian diplomatic mission in Iraq, and we stand on the edge of a cliff. Is there no turning back? Have we lived in so much comfortable ignorance that we, like the residents of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's fictional town, will perish? The last line of One Hundred Years of Solitude reads races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.

As we repeat our past, our nation's soul begins to perish. We may not have a second opportunity.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure there's a way to stop this madman. Even congress is unsure if they have the power to prevent this escalation. It is a nightmare from which we can not awaken.

Sewmouse said...

It appears that impeachment, conviction and forcible removal from office subsequent to such impeachment and conviction will be the only way to stop this madman.

Mark my words - he WILL try to finagle a way to overstay his welcome once this current term in office is over.

Frederick said...

It has to stop. We must stop this. This surge needs to be attacked on all fronts, right your rep, get out on the streets with your signs...we cannot allow our Democracy this death blow.

Frederick said...

write*

Peacechick Mary said...

I dunno. I think we can read history and write a new chapter with a different outcome. We have a chance to do it and it will be grand to watch it unfold.

Kvatch said...

Even congress is unsure if they have the power to prevent this escalation.

Well...they don't really. Only the power to deny funding, but Bush can always assert his authority as 'Commander in Chief' and divert funds from another source. The CPB maybe, though that would fund the war for about another 30 minutes.

Tina said...

For me personally, I don't which was scarier: The words coming out of his mouth, or the appearance of Bush last night. A desperate man who looked like he was wearing in pissed in pants, was practically sweating, and had more facial and eye ticks than a junkie hunting for smack is NOT the way one expects a President to appear when telling us he has made a BIG decision about our war. And oh yeah... the unbelievable line about "victory on the deck of a battleship" was a pure trainwreck. But what else should we expect from Capt Clueless?

Anonymous said...

well said. i completely agree with your opinion.

DivaJood said...

Robin, I think we share that frustration and exhaustion.

Sewmouse, I've been saying the same thing since 9/11/01.

Frederick, I knew you meant write. You must be a friend of Lola's.

PC Mary, and Kvatch, I recall that somewhere in our Constitution (before Bush shredded it) it states that ONLY Congress can declare war. Now, if that means funding, so be it.

Betmo, I wish someone would just FIX THIS.

DivaJood said...

Tina, since I didn't see the actual speech, I am left with the words. Those words are frightening enough. I think maybe, though, his speechwriters were having a bit of irony with the battleship line - since "mission accomplished" isn't.

Kvatch said...

...states that ONLY Congress can declare war.

True. But first, that power has been generally circumvented by the many war powers resolutions passed since the 1970s...long before Bush made it into office. And second, through the specific War Powers resolution passed on Sept. 12, Bush has asserted his authority to deal with any threat, supposedly with Congress' approval. Consequently, the 'power of the purse' is all that's left.