September 24, 2003

The War - Choose Your Battles

I don't write much about the Iraq war, the events leading up to it, and the events that have occurred in the rebuilding stage. There's a reason - mostly because I become emotional and have trouble becoming, much less remaining, objective on this issue. But, here are a few months' worth of thoughts conglomerated.

On March 21, 2003 at about 9:00 in the evening, news of the war came on the radio. It was a Wednesday evening, and I was at my community volleyball session, just as I will be tonight. Volleyball was scheduled to last until 9:30. At 9:15, I left, very distracted, essentially unable to function in a "fun" and recreational enviornment. I arrived home to Brian watching Fox.

The media's night vision live action footage and term coinage, as if this were somehow trendy, this "Shock and Awe" etc. was and is disgusting. At work in the reception area, TVs are tuned to CNN all day. Every time I'd leave my cubicle to get more water, I'd walk by more bombing. Bombing, bombing, and more bombing. Bombing as an Olympic event. On Friday, I was at lunch at Ruby Tuesday's when Hans remarked while looking up at a perched television screen covering - you guessed it, more bombing - "What's the score?"

And that about sums it up. I support the government's choice to go to war; I hope I understand it. I essentially believe we declared war because we had to - we had said we would if certain final conditions were not met (we did all but ask Saddam pretty please with sugar on top to leave); the conditions were not satisfied, of course, and, well, you know the rest. Had we backed down with an "oh, sorry," I believe there would've been graver consequence than these we face today because the image of the United States would be weakened (thus leading to more attacks and a lessened ability to negotiate by staunch deterrence and subtle threat). There is no glaring evidence of WMDs (yet another term) - the SOLE reason we went to war, according to many of those opposed. This is disheartening, yes.

The simple fact remains, though. We. are. in. Iraq. We are not leaving until we have done our job. Many tragedies will occur between now and then - some preventable, some not. As a nation, though, we have made a commitment - a commitment I am comfortable assuming that was undertaken based on knowledge far greater than any normal citizen you and I can obtain.

Do I support the war and America's efforts against terrorism? Wholeheartedly and unquestionably, yes. Does this come without a price? No. The war makes me question what I'm about - I have become callous and have stopped reading past the headlines when soldiers die. I do not learn their names or about their childhoods and families left behind as I did early in the war. I do not connect.

I also believe that this nation has done two things with the war - one good, and one very, very bad.

The good is that with a limited amount of power, we deposed the Saddam Hussein regime very quickly. This stands as an example to other nations who would dare challenge our military and technological supremacy. It also paints us in a benevolent light, to those who stop to notice, because of our restraint.

The bad is that this is one nation, one link to terrorism. We are merely beginning, and I believe we are entering something that has no conceivable end. It has been said before and I merely reiterate that we will forever be criticized for every skirmish and issue and possible link to terrorism that we do NOT eradicate because we chose the war with Iraq.

This post comes from what Frank J. wrote last night on the Alliance blog and my frustration with knowing NO ONE involved in the Iraq war. I stopped to think about that - I don't know a soul serving in Iraq in this phase, either. That lends itself to a nice disconnect, no.

Sadly, and in complete honesty, yes.


Posted by hln at September 24, 2003 06:55 AM | War