I interrupt this (ir)regularly scheduled program to bring you a few thoughts about this.
Five years ago, I entered the reporter’s room at the newspaper for a slice of free pizza. Instead, I saw a few of my co-editors and reporters standing around, staring at CNN. One of them — I can’t remember who — said simply, “We’re at war.”
It wasn’t news by that point. We knew it would happen. But until you actually hear those three little letters proclaimed definitively, until you see the bombs drop, you hope somewhere that it won’t happen. Not under these circumstances. Not this time.
So what did we do? What, perhaps more importantly, did I do? We stared numbly at the TV for a few moments, taking a minute to realize what our country had just officially gotten itself into, and then went back to work. We had a paper to put out, after all. Besides, it was too late.
We were safe. Most of us (at least, in that news room, to my knowledge) didn’t know people who would end up in Iraq, end up losing their lives at ridiculously young ages, for a war that didn’t make any sense in the first place. We were the lucky ones, in a position to have an intellectual discussion about the war, as if we were reading about it in history books ages after the fact. We had financial aid and supportive families and bright futures.
Maybe because of all of that, we didn’t speak loudly enough in the first place. Maybe I didn’t speak loudly enough. I thought my votes were enough. I thought, naively, that things would turn out differently.
So here we are, five years later. I support the troops that have been sent over, and I realize the sacrifices they have made — at least, as well as I can, from my rather sheltered perspective. They were sent over, after all. They didn’t start the war, and I think they’re trying very hard to end it (a task that seems virtually insurmountable at the moment).
But if you ask me if I’m proud of my country? Of the last five years? I can’t say that I am.
Thanks to D. Bones for pointing me to the counter above, and for giving me something to think about. In case it isn’t totally obvious, these are my own personal opinions, based on my own (limited) observations.