I've cried, and laughed, and cried for 2 hours tonight. There was a show on about M.A.S.H. (the TV series about a medical unit in the Korean war, but really just about all war) that reminded me of so many things.
- The most important is that our boys are still going through that hell. They are ALL coming back wounded, if they come back at all. Either dead, wounded in body, wounded in their minds, or wounded in spirit. Another generation with scars instead of innocence.
- I grew up watching that show, 30 years ago. I watched them talking about the insanity. How everyone was wounded. How Hawkey encouraged the strangling of a child who wouldn't stop crying when the enemy was near and he was afraid they would be heard and found. How, when it was cold, the surgeons would cut open the soldiers at the start of the operation and steam would escape and they would warm their hands over it. How so many innocents were lost. And I still joined the Navy and helped to kill people in the Gulf. I hope you and your children and young friends are smarter, better able to learn.
- There are so many examples, in the show, in real life, in war, and in peace where you don't understand what you are doing until it is done. So many times when we forget to thing about the consequences of our actions. I don't mean the times when we couldn't possibly know. I'm talking about the times when we figure out that if we had just pulled our head out of our own ego for a few seconds and thought about what the things we were doing was going to screw up the rest of the world. And then it's done. And it can't be taken back. And it can't be made right. That's where we are right now. They 9/11 terrorists were Saudi, not Iraqi. No WMDs in Iraq. No ties to terror. They used our fear to get us to put our boys and girls in harms way.
I would trade all that stupidity for the answer to this one: How do we avoid those times when we just aren't sure and it eats at us. When we are thinking, learning, knowing, and we still aren't sure. What if? If only I had, then maybe?
I can accept that a soldiers lot is, well, not very good. I can accept that I'm apparently incapable of learning from the examples of others (and therefor doomed to repeat their mistakes) and I can accept that I get so wrapped up in myself that I forget what I'm doing to others.
What I can't accept is that there isn't anything else I could have done. All the people I've talked to, the letters to my congress people, the politicians I've voted for, the web pages I've written, the pictures I've collected... the signs I put on my car... the T-Shirt I designed.
Could I have done something else to stop this war?