Satire And George W. Bush's Iraq: Sometimes It's Just Not That Funny
Here in Syracuse, New York, I live pretty close to Watertown's Fort Drum, a major military base... close enough to have our local news networks regularly report on what's happening there... command changes, routine deployments, housing issues, that kind of thing. The 2-15 FA (2nd Battalion 15th Field Artillery) who are attached to the 10th was actually formed here in WWI. Of course, the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York National Guard operates out of Hancock Intl. Airport here as well...the point is, in addition to the academic and medical worlds in Syracuse, there is also a strong connection to our country's military, both National Guard and Regular Army.
Despite the fact that my writings about the current Administration that commands them may seem to indicate otherwise, I'm extremely proud of these men and women, sometimes to the point of tears. In fact, it's because of that pride and the gratitude to these soldiers that I am so pissed off at their Commander in Chief, his Secretary of Defense and various other minions. As I've said repeatedly, these men and women are the best and bravest this country has to offer; they volunteered to serve their country, they believe in what they are doing in a way that the rest of us, except our civilian police and firefighters, never could. Would you put your life on the line for your boss? Would you risk your life for Wal-Mart, McDonalds or Nationwide Insurance?
I've never served in the military. I came of age in the years immediately following the fall of Saigon. In those days, to America's lasting shame, returning veterans were treated like criminals…we called them baby killers, allowing the actions of Lt. William Calley at Mi Lai to define the entire pointless conflict. Luckily, we've grown a bit since then…Haditha and Abu Ghraib will not define the Iraq debacle. The actions of a few dozen, or even a few hundred, miscreants will not taint the sacrifice of the 150,000 some odd troops currently serving in this latest pointless conflict. We know now that these 150,000 troops are our friends, co-workers, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. They are us, only better. What will define Iraq are actions of their leader, George W. Bush.
No one ever wants to admit that they've been used or taken advantage of, but an increasing number of returning veterans, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down are doing just that. A soldier who criticizes his commander in chief, in public, to civilians, is either completely disloyal or at the end of their rope. I submit that Maj. Gen. John Batiste, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Gen. Paul Zinni and Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who all held high command positions directly related to the Iraq Conflict are in no way, shape or form completely disloyal; neither are the rest of the lower ranking soldiers who are making their voices heard. Such criticism is unprecedented in modern military history and we should listen to them.
Forget about the fact that America is not and should never be a Conqueror Nation…that should have ended with the Spanish American War and the Banana Republics. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Hirohito should have taught us the folly of forcing yourself on other nations. And I am in no way a peacenik…although I firmly believe that war should be avoided at all costs, I believe we had no choice but to invade Afghanistan after 9/11. But Iraq? Iraq was and remains a complete and misguided folly, a misadventure born of arrogance and hubris, which are not the same thing, conceived by men and women who never served their country in battle, or worse, actively avoided service. Dick Cheney received six deferments, Rumsfeld put in two peacetime years and George W. Bush actually went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. Iraq, a misbegotten attempt at Nation Building that has devolved into Civil War and cost the lives of (at this writing) 2,606 of our best and bravest…and for what? A Neo-Con Dream.
I have been accused by several disgruntled readers of repetition…well, I have to say, I'm gonna keep repeating the facts and follies about this Administrations and it's failures, ad-nauseam and infinitum until something changes and the Administration of George W. Bush is gone and hopefully imprisoned. Sorry. Satire is about cynical humor, but I tell ya, it's hard to stay amused sometimes; 45,000 dead Iraqi's, 2,600 dead Americans (no, I haven't forgotten the dead of 9/11...9/11 had nothing to do with this, don't you ever forget it) just really aren't that funny.