Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's been five years, and the fog of war that settled over our nation has never really lifted

The Fog of War
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.

Support Our Troops: Bring Them HomeWhen 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.


Anonymous said...

Damn it, but your post is right on.

To cry for.

Anonymous said...

a little soft on the Democrats. please don't forget that the Democrats also support and authorize the use of torture.

the classic (i.e. post-WW I) "party of the people" stature of the Democrats has been lost to greed and corruption. there are no Democrats who are the remotest bit of noble or pure. they're all charlatans. they are enablers of the Bush-Cheney Crime Syndicate, they are part of the Syndicate.

every single "liberal" or "progressive" in the blogosphere who continues to hang onto the notion of the Democrats being somehow better than the Republicans... well, every such person is deluded and is contributing to the problems Americans now face. we are not going to be able to begin correcting this horrific course until everyone realizes that the Democrats differ from the Republicans only in presentation. they are just as corporate-bought and big-money-controlled as the Republicans.

your post aims only at Republicans, with passing withering criticism of a tiny segment of the Democrats. I hope you are able to cut through the intellectual fog that clouds your judgment on the Democrats. I hope others like you can do the same. because really, until you and others like you are willing to acknowledge the ugly reality of the Democrats' deep and thoroughgoing corruption, we're going to keep seeing America play the global bully as a matter of foreign policy, and keep expanding police-state tactics and widening the gulf between rich and poor as a domestic policy.

maybe a few months spent outside that "progressive" stronghold of Madison will help you begin to cut through the fog.

Madison Guy said...

M. Pyre, on my bad days I agree with you 100%. On my good days I think there's a lot to be said for achieving incremental change by choosing the lesser evil at the polling booth -- and keeping pressure on progressive politicians to act progressively.

A corrupt society trying to maintain a global economic empire will always breed corrupt politics and politicians. But if we can't distinguish between better and worse there really isn't any hope.

If you're waiting for some ideal future when both the Republican and Democratic parties are replaced by something different and maybe even better, you've got a long wait. What do we do till then? Sit on our asses and point fingers?