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« May 2008 »

Memo to America: BY THE WAY, WAR.

It's funny how things change over time. It used to be that Memorial Day was set aside to remember all the soldiers that died in our past wars, and pretend all those wars were justified. Now, it's a time we've set aside to actually remember that we're at war. In two countries. So far.

It's easy to forget, for a whole bunch of reasons. For one thing, we've collectively decided to experience the negative drawbacks from this war on a several-steps-removed basis. We're not paying higher taxes, for example. But nothing's free. You know what happens when the government prints up pallets upon pallets of $20 bills, flies them over to Iraq, and hands them out? Eventually, those dollars make their way around the world, and thus, the overall value of the dollar drops. Which makes everything more expensive.

You're noticing it at the gas pumps now, and in the grocery stores, but we're just starting to see it. It's just going to get worse. I mean, I'm no Paul Krugman, but when you hand out 1.8 billion dollars in cash with no documentation, and up to another 13 billion in cash with only the barest minimum of documentation, I can't help but think that's bad, from an economic standpoint.

Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of people with a more direct stake in this whole deal. You know, those of you who lost an arm, or two legs, or your livelihood, or your brother over in Iraq. The family members, the social workers, the people who actually see the day-to-day consequences while cable news spends twenty-three-and-a-half hours a day talking about how yummy John McCain's ribs are.

And yes, I'm part of the problem. Yes, I have plenty of excuses. I'm at best cultural commentary, so if there's no culture, there's no commentary. But more importantly, and I think this gets to the root of the whole problem, talking about it doesn't do shit.

Now, this wasn't always true. There have been a bunch of times, over the years, when talking about it might have made a difference. Like in 2002. There were plenty of people, myself included, talking at the time about how this was a huge fucking mistake, how George Bush would just use the conflict as a way to assuage his moronic ego and funnel billions of dollars to his rich friends. Nobody listened. And what's worse, all the people who didn't listen still have jobs, and they pretend they sorta kinda felt that way the whole time, when in reality they were all blood-crazed jingoists.

Like in 2004, when we talked and talked and talked and talked about how the war was going horribly, and the mission wasn't actually accomplished, and maybe, just maybe, you should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh speculating on whether John Kerry really got wounded and deserved his purple hearts in Vietnam and think for half a goddamned second about what you'd be voting for if you re-elected Bush in November. And at least fifty one percent of you didn't listen.

And in 2006, we talked about how important it was to vote for Democrats, so that they could get into Congress, claim the majority, claim subpoena power, get in charge of all the investigatory powers and the purse strings so that at least there'd be some kind of check on that crazy fuckhead you elected twice over. And you listened. And, well, we were wrong about that one, because they keep giving the money and they keep getting walked all over by criminals in suits who treat them worse than Mayberry treated Don Knotts.

Movements were started, and were marginalized. Marches were held, and were minimized. Protesters were caged, voters were ignored, laws were flouted, and Glenn Beck is still drawing a fucking paycheck.

And this year, we'll do our damndest to keep telling you that no, he's not a Muslim, and no, just because his dad was a Muslim doesn't make him an ex-Muslim, and no, it shouldn't matter that he's black, and no, he's not a latte-drinking elitist, and yes, he's going to talk to other countries because for eight fucking years we've been dropping very expensive bombs on them and it's accomplished less than nothing. And maybe you'll listen, and maybe you won't. And maybe Obama will at least try to extract us from the epic clusterfuck we've built, and maybe he won't.

And maybe we'll keep talking about it, and maybe we won't. It's not the most morally uplifting stance to take, the cynical, fuck-all-y'all, take our blog and go home attitude. But you can't say it's not understandable.

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