I keep meaning to blog about this, but the words kind of fail...
Still, let me just say kudos to those who marched on Washington this past weekend to show that many of us, while believing that war is inevitable given the present administration's foreign policy, do not agree with it.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Saddam Hussein should be applauded in any way. I was disappointed that, given the last War in the Gulf, all that deployment, etc. did not end in his ouster. However, I also believe that a war with Iraq was nearly a given from the moment George Bush was elected. I believe that he erroneously believes he must "finish" what his father started. I also believe that the lack of progress in capturing high profile terrorists like Osama bin Laden has led the Bush administration to focus on Iraq because, quite frankly, it's not a moving target. While I believe there has probably been a lot of success in thwarting new terrorist actions, I think this administration has basically used the rhetoric of war to prop up an otherwise lukewarm record. The last War in the Gulf was presented at the time as a sort of video game war where most casualties were in the deployment, not in battle. I do not think that will be the case this time--and indeed, there are long-standing issues that have not been resolved from the Gulf War, such as Gulf War Syndrome, that make me wonder if it was so "painless" after all. Certainly it was not painless to those on the other side who were killed.
For the first time in years they're talking about reactivating the draft--this in a country which relies on a volunteer military that is paid even more pathetically than I am. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and career Air Force NCO and the grand-daughter of three veterans of World War II, I have always been pro-military in terms of benefits, career, and aid to military families. I know how hard it was to scrape by when my dad was in the lower ranks, even then. I also know it was very difficult to make the transition to civilian life. The military is finally getting a clue and doing things like working with temp agencies to allow spouses to keep benefits over the several moves and actually progress in a career, rather than starting over every couple of years like my mom did.
That said, I think it's criminal what we pay for one warhead given all the more humane things we could do with that money. I'm not saying disarm, put our heads in the ground, etc. But if you're going to be sending young people off to die, make sure the reasons are clear cut and not merely political machinations. I am concerned that in a post-Clinton attempt to "reassert" the worth of the presidency, Bush and his people are undermining the very things that make America great, all in the name of a war against terror.
Even though I couldn't join the marchers this weekend, my heart was with them. When war comes (and it will), I hope that we won't be looking back thinking it was just utter stupidity. But I'm not so sure. I would prefer wars to be a matter of defending our country rather than meddling in everyone else's. I don't have a problem with "policing" done as part of the United Nations' effort to keep peace. But I do have trouble with unilateral action, and do think that in terms of drumming up support for the war amongst the rest of the world Saddam Hussein has virtually trumped Bush in terms of manoevres. So unless he slips up terribly or something conveniently happens to outrage the rest of the war, we're going to wind up being the bad guys not only in the eyes of the world in pressing for war, but we're dangerously close to breaking our own "cowboy" taboo of shooting first. That makes us the guys in the black hats, you know. While I sometimes doubt the intelligence of Bush--and no, I didn't vote for him, so yes, I can bitch about it--I don't doubt the intelligence of his staff. Somehow I thought politicians would be better at managing public opinion and foreign opinion than this.
Sigh. Two more years. Let's hope the world doesn't go out in a whimper in that time. And for those of you out there from other countries, let me just say I'm sorry our leaders are a bunch of pricks. We don't necessarily like them, either, regardless of their parties or policies. We're not all "the ugly American". We just muddle on like everyone else. America is a wonderful ideal that sometimes fails to live up to itself in reality, but I love it anyway. I hope you can at least see Americans as other people and not just a part of some blanket idea based on the actions of our government. I've had several friends who have been overseas who people refused to believe were American simply because they were, well, nice. Really, the majority of us are. And most of us aren't money hog capitalists, either. Sigh. Well, I'm not sure how coherent that is; it's around midnight after all. But for what it's worth, that's one small opinion and use of my right to freedom of speech/press.
Now, not to go all capitalist on you, but there is much rejoicing because midnight means Thursday, which means payday, which means the automatic deposit just went through (yea--money for rent, heat, and pet food). The question is, do I go brave the snow and cold and go over to Walgreens now to pick up some medicine and food for the animals, or do I wait until tomorrow morning where at least I should be able to see where I'm going, but it'll be far colder and windy?
Groan. I think the animals are okay for tonight--they still have some food. I will not expire without medicine. With my luck and grace, I'd fall down and die in the snow without anyone the wiser, and I don't want to make any 911 calls saying "I've fallen and I can't get up because I'm too stupid to stay home in the middle of a cold, wet night." :) So, 'night. Oh, and Thursday means it's almost Friday, yea! Seven more days until Joint Commission comes. It's only going to get battier on this blog until then, I can assure you.