Friday, December 15, 2006

War Games

The following is an email exchange between Sarah and me.

I'm a big fan of hers.

She's a PK, like me, and when she was in Memphis she occupied a seat in the very back of the sanctuary. I could always count on a word from her, via email, to encourage and challenge me. I've always had a sense that she and I are resonant spirits.

Now that she's moved, our contact is only through email, and she still challenges me. We have a continuing e-dialogue on matters of physical health and spiritual health.

It is with her permission that I share our most recent exchange.

Hi Johnny!

This is totally off-topic, but I’m in a county in South Carolina that prepares the few, the proud, the Marines and my neighbor is a Marine fighter pilot and I’m a life-long Doonesbury fan and I’ve gotten sucked into the blogs in the Sandbox, which are somehow attached to Doonesbury.

Some things stand out from these blogs – we have absolutely no idea what they are doing every day.

This war is unlike any other. It is more like inner city gang warfare than an occupying country rebuilding another country. And the news does not paint the story. The president (of course) does not paint the story.

These blogs – written by some very eloquent and talented writers – make the war close and real in a way CNN and even the split second news of the internet does not. I am shaken to my core by the things they say.

Another thing that seems to recur in their blogs is complaints about the inadequacy of their uniforms – never would have thought about it. But they must wear uniforms at all times – but that leaves them freezing sometimes. One guy purchases his own Under Armour underwear because it protects him from the fires he has to work in – but they constantly get stolen in the laundry. Things I never would have thought of –

The biggest thing that has changed for me is that these writers could be me – they seem liberal, they are educated, they are thoughtful, they are whimsical. They aren’t the redneck or thug, uneducated, super right-wing, NRA we love George W crew I thought they were.

And the President is going to enjoy Christmas before he makes any new plans for Iraq? How is that possible? These are real people he’s leaving over there – without access to a good beer for Christmas, a tacky holiday sweatshirt, or even a Silent Night for reflection – and he’s going to get through the holidays before he does anything? How is that possible?


Hey Sarah,

Per usual, you prick the stuff of my soul.

This one is easy.
It's either one of three things.

One, W. believes he is the equivalent to the Old Testmament kings - that is, to be hand picked by God (which might actually be so since I'm fairly sure the voters didn't elect him, especially in 2000, and from what I've seen on the HBO documentary, "Hacking Democracy," he lost in '04, too), and that he need not have the mandate of the populus. Rather, he lives under the delusion that he has a Divine Mandate.

Two, this is the equivalent of a little boy playing with his army men (something I quite enjoyed as a boy, myself). But he's not playing with plastic army men, it's real, and he doesn't know how t
o end the game - except that he's too darned stubborn to quit.

Or Three, he's playing Stratego in re
al life, and stinks at it.

In an interview with ABC news, he's been quoted as stating that he "sleeps better than most people assume."
Nothing could communicate the disconnect of a Commander in Chief out of touch with the real life issues on the ground more than that.

God help us all.


On his ranch-throne, where he sleeps well, and will prepare to celebrate Christmas, I wonder if his well-protected motorcade will pass any day laborers and think of the day laborers lured to the car bomb or how close that bomb was to one of our stations where American men and women were getting ready to start their day? This war is so real and he is so disconnected from the reality of the majority of the world. He has never known anything but privilege. He never fought war, he never worked hard to get advancement, get into school, make the grade, etc. He never had to work himself out of his own messes. And I think that is why he is able to continue to play with plastic army men – we are all disposable for him, just like everything else in his life has been. So he can restrict what the soldiers wear, what they eat and drink, and let chance and zealots determine how many more of them will die, and tuck himself into bed at night able to believe that they’re all proud to be serving their president. We’ve let our military fall into a position that will be virtually impossible to come out of cleanly. I think it’s a combination of all three – he’s pre-ordained to be the president, proudly leading the country through this troubling time and this fight against terror, but he doesn’t know a thing about strategy, the American soldier, or the American people. His disconnect is so severe he doesn’t even recognize the hand melting the little plastic army men is his own.

Do you also get the feeling that some of the problems we’re having in Iraq stem from W. trying to prove to Senior that he can do what his daddy couldn’t? And now that Senior’s understanding of the fine line he walked in 1991 has been proven true, do you think W is being a stubborn teenager who refuses to admit that he was wrong? I read something recently about the Bush clan’s need for loyalty – but how W. broke from daddy in bringing Rumsfeld along for the ride and in going back to Iraq. Could his inability to change course be a grossly over-blown example of my dad and brother stubbornly arguing over the proper way to (fill in the blank)?

He makes my stomach hurt.



Mine too, girl - Mine too.


Tracey said...

I totally agree with what you are saying, but remove W. from the discussion briefly. The situation in Iraq is what it is...regardless of how we got there. The question is now how do we get out? What does the US "owe" Iraq? We came running into their country with guns ablazing to save them and bring them democracy and civilazation. I agree- we need to bring or men home. How do we do it without letting Iraq self-destruct? I struggle with these questions myself.

Amanda said...

A little off topic, but essay from This I Believe aired this morning on NPR