Saturday, May 17, 2008

What if they gave a war......

....and nobody came?

This is a pretty interesting piece written by a guy named Colby Buzzell. He wrote a book based on his experiences in Iraq and he also blogs (his blog link is at the end of the link below). I confess, I have never read his book or his blog. I picked it up in the library and looked at it though. The point of the piece is that now he is being "invited" by the Army to go back to Iraq for a second time.

I'm convinced in reading this, that he is using this forum to do some pretty serious soul searching. You can tell that he obviously doesn't really want to go back (and possibly end up being a newspaper cliche - "he died on his second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) tour in Iraq), but grudgingly says that he probably will. Who would want to go back? Especially after starting to try to "normalize" your life again.

He also spends a lot of time saying he was glad that he did it the first time, and he'd tell others to do it (so they could go in his place).

But then he gets into the crux of the matter. That the US is making him go because they have access to him, and not any "fresh meat" (those who won't enlist).

This points up the ridiculous assertion the government keeps making that we still have "the worlds finest all volunteer military". Stop loss is on the rise, and they are doing this kind of recall of those who've done their time (and some more than their time) all the time.

What we have is a weird rickety hybrid military draft, held together with bailing wire and duct tape.

But why wouldn't kids want to join to be sent to Iraq for the glory of it? Why wouldn't they want to expose themselves to death or possible permanent dismemberment? Why wouldn't they, IF they were lucky to get home in one piece want to live through the horrors of PTSD? Who wouldn't want to do that for the glory of "fighting for ones country"?

I feel bad that this guy is having to go back to war again. I don't share his assessment that it is the fault of those who are NOT enlisting. It is the fault of those who sent us to war without an accurate understanding of the country they were invading and subsequently occupying. It is the fault of those who sent too few troops into Iraq, despite being told by the likes of General Shinseki that it would take several hundred thousand troops to pacify Iraq (comments which the delusional Paul Wolfowitz called "wildly off the mark").

It is the fault of those who keep this country at perpetual war despite the massive costs to our economy and the day to day, month to month grinding down of our military - spouting the mindless platitudes of "we must win" and "we must not cut and run" and "we are fighting them there so we don't fight them here" - without ever giving any idea of what "winning" in Iraq REALLY means.

Very few ask the questions - what does "winning" mean - they probably don't do it because they get more mindless platitudes and Republican "talking points" (and for a great example of that see Chris Matthews versus radio moron Kevin James). And they also get told that they are traitors, and "appeasers" and un-American. Pretty soon, they just grow despondent, clam up, and go along to get along.

They rationalize it away by saying "well, those guys in Washington and on TV are a lot smarter than me". What can one person do?

They cannot MAKE anyone go to war. THAT is a fact. That is not to say that there won't be consequences (prison, being ostracized, etc), but no one can be MADE to go to war.

From Mr. Buzzell's piece: "What if there were a war and none of the veterans who were called up showed up?" Indeed. What if?

We say that we are a peace loving country and only fight when we have to. Our actions say differently. How many more of these guys are going to have to keep going back? The more times you are in harms way, the more chances there are for something bad to happen.

Like Bob Dylan says "how many deaths will it take till we see, that too many people have died". The answer, according the the administration is not "Blowin' in the wind". The answer is, we'll be at war till we say we're damned good and ready to not be at war (which won't ever happen), and not a moment sooner. And if you don't like it, "So?"

Good luck and God Bless Colby.

1 comment:

Vince Patton said...

I'm glad you wrote this piece. Especially the part about Chris Mathews' public spanking of Kevin James.

Well said as always! You're ready for primetime!!!