War doesn't get easier over time
I'm watching Tina Brown at the moment, because she's talking about Iraq. In the span of the previous 20 minutes, both 60 Minutes and Dateline ran heartbreaking stories on the dead from Iraq. I can decide which affected me more, the faces of the dead or the letters from the dead. Both were deeply emotional.
There are thousands of families which are suffering this Memorial Day, the relatives of the dead and the relatives of the injured.
They also dedicated the World War II memorial on Saturday, and the reaction was not the one you would have been led to expect from decades of war movies. One veteran said to an ABC reporter "I wouldn't come back here if you paid me. The memories were just too painful". Another, on NPR, broke down in tears as he remembered landing in Normandy at the age of 16. All he could remember was his friends who died that day. There was none of the fake lauditory crap so evident in Tom Brokaw's hagiographic work. It was just so painful for these men, and their memories at 80 were pretty sharp. We forget how young these men were in 1944, but most were teenagers or 20-21. Kids, no more or less.
When Dateline interviewed the mother of a dead 19 year old female soldier, it was the same sense of waste and loss. The idea is that 19 year old girls do not die in combat, but they do. At least in Iraq.
The 60 Minutes tribute had so many young faces, kids in prom tuxes and graduation gowns. A year or two ago, they were sitting in classes and serving fast food. Now, they were dead. Killed in Iraq in a war without point.
Bush has been quite this Memorial Day, showing up at the WWII Memorial, but saying nothing of comfort or sense to the people who's teenage children are either crippled for life or dead. Iraq is a pathetic mess as crooks decide to divide up the spoils of their loot. Allawi, Chalabi, it doesn't matter. They're all crooks and the Iraqi people hate them more than Saddam.
This seems to be all a waste, a sad, pointless waste.
This is a painful Memorial Day because we are not talking about the past, but the present and all we're getting from Bush is more of the same. More platitudes, more protecting the same exiles who lied to us so nakedly, more of the same failures. It is tiring to see and one can only hope that people realize that the war needs to end. No matter how tough we talk, Abu Ghraib was our Gettysburg. We lost the Iraq war because no Iraqi will ever trust us again unless we line their pockets.
posted by Steve @ 12:01:00 AM