::keep your war on.

19 03 2008

Five years of war in Iraq.

I remember very clearly watching the start of the war on television. Seeing infra-red footage from the hotel balconies of the hundreds of journalists in Baghdad, seeing the bombs explode and hearing unconfirmed reports of civilians dieing. Excited updates from the embedded reporters, talking about leads on hard targets and troops carrying playing cards with the most-wanted memebers of the Iraqi government on their faces.

My son Liam was a week out from being born. I remember the apprehension I felt wondering how this would change his life, and the lives of so many other children born during this time. I feared the world we would give him, invading and occupying two Middle-Eastern countries at the dawn of the 21st century.

The war has been in his reality his whole life. His uncle spent a year in Iraq, served with honor and came back unsure how to cope with domestic bliss. His grandmother, a Major in the Air Force Reserves, spent 6 months in Afghanistan. She wrote out greeting cards in advance to all of her children and grandchildren, for all the birthdays and holidays, and instructed her husband on when they were to be sent. She also served with honor, and came home with inexplicable crying fits and a distance between herself and everyone around her that, nearly a year later, is wider than ever.

He takes notice of it on the news now, as well, and has questions about the war and what it means. Sometimes he reminds me of that old commericial for the Time-Life books on the Vietnam War.

“…Not a child’s question, but a question a child might ask…”

Maybe we’ll be able to order books or DVDs or some shit for them on the subject some day, paying for it all in easy monthly payments.

Speaking of paying for it all, according to NationalPriorities.org, California residents alone have spent over 66 billion dollars on the war since it started. To give an example of how the money could be otherwise spent, that could send 9,947,258 students in college to California for free. Maybe more, since one of the other costs of the war has been the tanking of the US and world economy. Then again, maybe less, because as I’m sure our fine President would point out, that kind of money poured into education would only make the US more appealing to all those illegal immigrants who sneak across the border and steal our best jobs.

Zachary, my oldest, turns 13 on Easter Sunday. He’s always been aware of the war. He has played games at school reliving the invasion and the capture of Saddam Hussein. In between making jokes about our Lord and Savior turning into a brain-eating zombie for his birthday, and jokes about bacon crucifix and scone effigy centerpieces, he has asked how old he will be when he has to go off to war. The answer is one I’m not ashamed to tell him.

If McCain is elected, he won’t turn 15 as a US resident.

It is a luxury I realize I’m very lucky to have. How many Iraqi children have died instead of turning 5? How many have experienced the terror of soldiers bursting into their homes and shoving rifles in their faces? How many have lost their brothers and fathers and uncles to shouting monsters who steal them away in the middle of the night?

So happy birthday, America. And happy birthday, Iraq.

Make a wish.

kisses,

jimbo

p.s. – To the five or so of you wondering where the fuck I’ve been? Got hit by a truck, laid off, into therapy, looking for a job, loving my kids, rebuilding my marriage.

It was a wee bit overwhelming, so the blog fell by the wayside.

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