Thursday, December 24, 2009

Three Holiday Wishes

My favorite Christmas wish is Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards All Mankind. A hard hunt, if you can find any. Happy Birthday, Prince of Peace. Not prince of profit motive, or even making the world safe for shopping malls and drive-thru fast food.

In Oslo, President Barack Obama recently accepted the Nobel Peace Prize and told the Norwegians that “Evil does exist in the world,” as if they might not know, or perhaps he thought they might think he does not know. Just to make his point, he is sending another 30,000 U.S. military personnel to Afghanistan. Evil always seems to raise its ugly head in places like Afghanistan, a pop up target from behind something you hadn’t noticed.

At least President Obama will not send 40,000 troops. And they’ll all get to come home as soon as we win. Whatever that is. And whenever. Except for the ones who don’t ever come home again. Like the 58,195 names on a wall in Washington, D.C., near the Lincoln Memorial. In the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 5,290 Americans have died already. Plus everyone else. According to lowest credible estimates, 753,399 people have been killed in the Bush-Obama wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you count non-Americans. Do non-Americans count?

One thing about the 58,195 names on the Vietnam Memorial was that every family in America was at risk of sending someone to that war. Well, there were some exceptions, dodges, and angles. As noted: Dick Cheney, George Bush, Bill Clinton. But the rest of us all got drafted, and by the time everyone in the United States of America knew someone whose name would eventually go on the wall, the war was over. Enough was enough. Look it up. Even if you don’t actually remember. Even if you never heard of flashbacks.

An act of Congress abolished the draft. Like that would put an end to war. At least maybe it would put an end to complaining. Noticing. Let some other families, some other neighborhoods, some other home towns send their sons and daughters, spouses and grandchildren. Out of sight, out of mind.

Maybe for the New Year, when Congress finishes bailing out all the businesses with their hands out and passes health care reform legislation overweight with benefits for insurance companies, maybe they can put their courage to the test and re-instate the draft, so that everyone in our American democracy will have an equal opportunity and personal interest in when and where and for how long and why there will be a war.

I am wishing a Merry Christmas and blessings for long life to all the boys and girls, at war and at peace. Happy Birthday to the Prince of Peace.

Turn up the volume on your speakers, and listen to this.

1 comment:

pascal said...

I'm sitting here scratching my head trying to figure out who is out of touch with reality more the bankers or the generals.

Boss of Bank of America says that the big bonuses were large but necessary and that most of the banks employees are having to take less money and are being unduely punished with lower compensation when they are innocent of culpability. Well...hello...those weren't the one's who should have had lowered compensation.
And, of course, McKrystal (whatever), chirps about winning with more troops just as Westmoreland did all those years ago in Veet-nam. If I had as a Seargent in the Air Force been asked for my most august opinion of where to fight a war, I guarantee you Afganhistan would have been at the bottom of the list .Other words, any A-hole with half a brain can see that the terrain favors the enemy. Plus, the rewards for winning are very limited. Get the hell out. Just as the banks should be thoroughly reorganized and perhaps, rebuilt.


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