Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Same Country, Different Languages

IN today's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby points out that recent stories in the major papers give more attention to the tragic milestone of U.S. military deaths reaching 2,000 than the other milestone of the day, the ratification of the new Iraqi constitution.

Jacoby further points to Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon and Libya's abandonment of its nuclear program as important successes that have been overshadowed by the scurrilous "major media" and its ongoing attempt to squelch the good news from the broad front against Islamofascism.

These points are appreciated and not without merit. However, Jacoby insists on putting quotes around the word "milestone," and to refer to this milestone - unquotationized here by the GTL since a milestone is what it simply and significantly is - as having "no unique significance."

Jacoby and his cohort on the Right (I think of Michelle Malkin, in particular) have been hammering away at this point, that 2,000 dead is a meaningless and artificial place to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of our young and brave. Do you, dear reader, agree? As the GTL sees it, if they are right it's only because the numbers are going to keep growing and growing and two thousand may yet become three, four, or twenty. Best not to look. Are these columnists suggesting that we should never count the dead at all? Not to notice? Have blind faith in George Bush? Even Brent Scowcroft and the POTUS' own father aren't THAT dumb. And neither is the GTL.

The reason that people at home focus more on the macabre math of death among our own than on the global nation-building experiments of the neo-cons, clearly laid out in thirty years of policy papers and speeches, is that the people here have always done what people everywhere always do: tend to the home fires and mourn their own losses as uniquely special to them, their families, and their cultures.

This was not supposed to be a war about nation-building, discouraging Gaddafi, and driving Syria out of Lebanon. The country would never have supported that, not even in the most passionate rhetorical fancies heard 'round the bar at the most patriotic VFW hall. It was a pre-emptive war to prevent mushroom clouds here at home, weapons of mass destruction, and the refinement of that darn Nigerian uranium that Saddam Hussein, so we were told, had gotten his hot little hands on. It was not supposed to cost a penny. Oil would pay for that. We would be greeted as liberators. There were going to be flowers at our feet. Our brave boys and girls were going to be at the hearth for Christmas.

Now, with little doubt remaining that we were tricked into this disastrous war by a corrupt cabal of business-leaders-cum-politicians, who continue to grow richer by the minute while the real people of our nation hemmorhage blood overseas and go bankrupt at home trying to afford basic medical care, we are being asked by Jacoby and others for yet more sacrifice in service of the bigger picture, the long term picture, and not to notice when big, round numbers come.

The GTL rejects this formula for continued sacrifice without end - which does not include, of course, your corporate raiders, CEOs, or the fabulously well-to-do. They never sacrifice anything. In fact, where tragedy strikes, there's money to be made. Lots and lots of it. Oodles, buckets, rivers, oceans of money. These are good, good times for the few.

This winter I am turning down my thermostat lest my heating bill destroy my family's ability to pay the mortgage. The dead in New Orleans have not yet finished mouldering. Grandmothers choose between pills and protein. Meanwhile, Bush's petroleum industry buddies rake in unimaginable windfalls and Republicans seek re-election based on their moral superiority while they seek to undo every protection government has provided workers and families for the past hundred years.

Say a prayer for the two thousand, if praying is your thing. In a sense it is an artifical milestone, but only in that there are scores of thousands more wounded, maimed, and traumatized for life worth praying for, too. And that's only on our side.

Add them all together. Add the "meaningless" number of three thousand dead on 9/11. Pray for the hundred thousand. Or the million. Or the one.

Or yourself.

I love you, America. Someday soon we'll meet in the streets.


KB said...

You give me hope. And thanks for this comment on some board, somewhere:
"Does anyone doubt the wisdom of the American people to make prudent decisions when first given the full and honest truth? ***Do I, NO***

Is there anyone out there among this grand Algonquin roundtable of slime we seem to have going here who wouldn’t gladly kick his own hero’s ass out the door if that hero proved to be a fraud? ***Some of us of the female persuasion would do more than kick the hero's ass out the door.... ***

Right wing, left wing, I prefer the chicken wing. ***Me, too***

I choose a Liberal point of view because history shows us that the less of a divide between the rich and poor, the powerful and powerless, the aggressor and the victim (etc), the healthier and more stable a society is. And because I do not believe that greed and power can police themselves. ***Me, too***

Not because one side is “stoopid,” and the other isn’t. If John McCain can work with Lefties, why can’t you? If Clinton could compromise with Righties, why can’t you? ***I can and have, but do I have to work with Bush, Cheney, and Rummy???? ***

Come see me at
and read my zippy little posts. I laugh when I write, I almost cry at times. You will too. Leave a comment and let me know someone’s eyes but mine have had a look. *** Here I is!!! ***

BTW, I’d love to know what all you regulars do for a living. I think your bosses should know what you do all day (as should mine, I guess).
*** My boss knows what I'm doing as I'm retired and have no significant other *LOL* ***

Thanks again.

Jymi said...

Hey Dave,
it is me, Jymi....from Walden. Where you do not work anymore. Where did you go? i was there a few weeks ago. i am okay now... ummm, yeah, so i am inviting you to the craft faire at Arlington HS next weekend, on saturday november 12th... is that next weekend? i dunno... well, whenever... it is the 12th of november from like 10am to 2pm and you should come an see my art. i have a new web site up too if you wanna look, i have to go to sleep now. peace