3/29/03 Brooklyn, NY One of

3/29/03 Brooklyn, NY

One of the common saws coming out of even the wisest of mouths right now is “well, I’m against the war, but I support our troops.” Mid-discussion, at least two people have asked “but you support the troops, right?” Um, well…

Our “commander-in-chief” was not voted in by me, nor did he win the popular election. He was sneaked into the Oval Office by the vote of an ideologically-stacked Supreme Court, and it is my opinion he has a tenuous mandate over the armed forces. Should I accept that he is my President, and get over it? Sure, but “supporting” him in blind faith is excruciatingly difficult.

People who join the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines do so using their free will. There is no conscription forcing anybody to grab a gun and kill people in foreign lands. They knew what they were getting into, and made a conscious decision.

Did I support the troops when they went into Bosnia and put an end to the genocide? Absolutely. Did I support the troops when they kicked the Taliban’s ass? You betchya.

But this war is the delusional fantasy of a few individuals sitting deep inside the White House, plotting to viciously re-arrange the Middle East. Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rice and Ashcroft are not people who speak for me. Even Powell, who used to be the voice of reason, was swallowed by the Dark Side one lonely night, and the war followed soon thereafter.

As of today, 37 American kids have been killed. Hundreds of Iraqi troops have been mowed down, and two count ’em, two – American missiles have found their way into Baghdad markets, turning hundreds of women and children into slabs of dismembered meat. This war is reading like an Al-Qaeda Training Video on the airwaves of Al-Jazeera. The viscous, bubbling syrup of white-hot hatred is gushing over from Arab nations, and we are creating terrorists by the bushel.

To all you pro-war people: your viewpoint is hard to stomach unless you live in New York City or Washington. When your sisters bike across the Manhattan Bridge every day for work, when you enter each tunnel praying you’ll see the other side, when you are forced to rush across Times Square to do an errand, maybe then you can have an opinion. Until you move here and experience what it is actually like to live in a place charred by horrifying memories and palpable threats of more, you should just shut up. You – and the other 71% of America who dig the war – make it very dangerous for my family to live in the town we love.

As for our troops: I don’t see how they’re making us any safer. I didn’t think Iraq was a threat before, and I don’t now. So far, U.S. troops have killed a lot of brown people and turned a billion or so Muslims against us. Our missiles are accurate, to be sure, but not accurate enough. We took over one of Iraq’s airports and called it Bush International. How cool was that? I hope everyone had a good chuckle. You know, while four thousand Saudi teens seethe with rage.

Every day this war drags on, most of the thinking, sensitive people I know toil in a vague sense of agony. Do I wish the entire Army could come home in one piece, get back to making jokes at the dinner table and playing hoops in the backyard? God, yes. But saying “I’m against the war, but support the troops” is the mealy-mouthed, pusillanimous wimpering of a nation living under the Orwellian eye of a fear-mongering government, and the lockstep induced by a highway full of redneck assholes driving Yukons with bumper stickers that say “YOUR NEXT, NORTH KOREA![sic]”

“Support the troops…” Can’t it be enough just to wish they survive and come home?

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