Saturday, March 22, 2008
It's been five years, and the fog of war that settled over our nation has never really lifted
It was the first day of spring and the day after the U.S. attacked Iraq. Madison was blanketed by a fog that was as depressing as the day, and we were out of our minds with anger and despair. It was late, but we drove to the Capitol Square to join the vigil we thought would still be there. But when we arrived, candles in hand, the fogged-in Square was virtually deserted. We met a woman carrying a homemade sign. She asked if we knew where the demonstration was. We wandered around for a while, loking for other people. Way up in the one of the top floors of the Inn on the Park, drunks high on booze and war fever saw the sign, leaned out of a window, and shouted "Fuckin' liberals!" and "Go back to France!" That's what they saw, just three more cheese eating surrender monkeys.
When we got to the State Street corner of the Square, we saw signs left from the demonstration scattered around the Forward statue -- and one held high, where someone had climbed up and planted the sign in her hand: "Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home."
Five years later, with all that's happened, we still haven't answered that simple plea, and the fog of war has settled in like a miasma of bad faith and moral bankruptcy. When the Cold War ended and peace threatened to break out, back when people still talked about a "peace dividend," the first President Bush forestalled the threat of peace with the first Gulf War. His son put the Forever War on a footing that now seems as permanent as the Cold War once appeared to be. The Republican presidential candidate justifies torture and says the conflict may last 100 years or more, and even the Democratic contenders hedge their withdrawal proposals with caveats and conditions that suggest anything but a quick withdrawal. Public opinion has turned against the war without really turning toward peace. We're still wandering around, lost in the fog, while the madness continues.