people dislike michael moore for many reasons. but the most recent open letter he wrote was pretty amazing. it was a letter to president obama regarding his announcement-to-be on troops in afghanistan, and i couldn’t agree with it more. it hurt my heart to read it, because the more i read it, the sadder i got. it occurred to me that the chance that obama would read michael moore’s letter or take it to heart seemed slim. and my heart was breaking.
i have this idea that a lot of people who know about my far-left leaning tendencies and mega pacifism think that i just don’t love america or something. or because i’m completely anti-war that i’m anti-soldier. honestly, it breaks my heart to think of all the people we put in harm’s way for no good reason, time and time again.
young men and women — some of whom are too poor to get an education, so they go the military route. some of whom really believe in their country, so they go to serve. some of whom are troubled and think this will straighten them out (i’ve heard too many stories from AA podiums to tell you that rarely works out too well). then there are the career soldiers — doing years of service, making lives out of this work. their wives and families, traveling around the country and around the world. i can’t even begin to understand this kind of family, or this kind of person. not that i think they’re horrible, but it’s just that i literally don’t understand it. but i know that they’re obviously completely committed, otherwise they wouldn’t be sacrificing everything they have.
and how do we reward these people and every one of them between? with a variety of horrors. not enough weaponry or the wrong kind or stuff that is outdated. not enough protection or the wrong kind or stuff that is outdated. not enough manpower in the right place at the right time. not having a real understanding of who we’re fighting and where and what for. getting rid of our most precious resources because we didn’t like who they slept with. letting our soldiers come home to a shoddy medical system and watching their families lose their homes. letting our politicians get rich on the blood of our soldiers.
that’s why i can’t support the department of defense (is a crap offense). that’s why i can’t see how spending more and more dollars into a quagmire, a sinkhole, a trap. that’s why i don’t understand why we’re doing this. throwing away money and lives for something that is just so been done before.
when i was in school, i was always so disappointed that after years of doing such extensive study on the revolutionary and civil wars, we never could manage to get to the end of the textbook, where i knew the juicy details were. where the civil rights movement was and where vietnam was. i knew these were the places where there was real history — living history that had some meaning in my life. i don’t know how i could have understood this in 5th grade, 7th grade, 10th grade even, but i’ve always had a mind that seems to be suited for an older body. and i knew that the men and women marching for civil rights and the women fighting for equal rights and the students protesting against the war — THIS was the history i wanted to learn about. what exactly was watergate? why was kennedy killed? why did we learn a smidge about martin luther king, jr. and nothing about malcolm x (it would be years until i would read his autobiography as an adult and come to realize he was really an incredible man and not some monster to be feared)?
but even though we never seemed to get to the end of those textbooks by the beginning of june every year, i knew that there were secrets to be told and mysteries to figure out. as i got older, i never really took the time to sit down and get myself a proper history lesson. it all came piecemeal, from pop culture, and this reference and that reference and the occasional friend who was really into politics or history. and the very occasional friend or friend’s parent who was actually there. but as the information filtered in, slowly, over time, i stayed strong to the ideas that i had held fast to as a kid.
we did the wrong thing by our country in vietnam. we did horrible things to the people of vietnam, too. there may have been many political layers to all of it, but at the core, it wasn’t right. none of it was right. we didn’t know what we were doing, and instead of owning up to it and getting the fuck out, we kept going in, deeper and deeper, and losing more and more lives in the process. unfortunately, people who were angry and bitter and confused didn’t always know where to aim that vitriol, and some of it landed back on the men who were already battered and wounded and broken when they came home. tragedy upon horror.
and no matter what you think about this republican or that democrat, when you hear the story of john mccain … really hear what happened to him and how he didn’t allow himself to go home early just because he was “someone,” i dare you to not understand what a man he is. and i’ll remind you, as i go off in this tangent for a second, that bush’s minions smeared him just as fast as they smeared kerry or anyone else who dared to cross their path. a war hero. a veteran. a prisoner of fucking war who was tortured for this country. GOD. it pisses me off so fucking much.
but, that’s what happened. and people were lost and came back and weren’t the same. and the thing is … we haven’t learned. and people haven’t come back the same from desert storm or whatever the fuck fancy bullshit military code name you want to give these “operations.” IT’S WAR. people are dying. they’re losing limbs. they’re being mangled and maimed. they’re doing unspeakable things and coming home and reliving them in their nightmares and in their waking hours.
i have trauma from the way i grew up … dad dying, emotional bullshit, blah blah. these people are fucking living post traumatic stress disorder public service announcements. and how do we thank them? we send them back again. and again. and again. it’s like living through one round of russian roulette and then telling someone those odds aren’t good enough and spinning the cylinder one. more. time.
i just can’t believe we’re doing it. it’s not the jungle, it’s the fucking desert. but i feel like i’m going to be part of a generation that has another vietnam on our hands. only there’s no draft. that’s why there’s no one in the streets. that’s why the colleges haven’t risen up in outrage. that’s why there’s no songs being sung and there’s no people raising hell. there’s no people writing letters en masse, there’s no neighborhoods and churches holding rallies.
i’m devastated. i just don’t know what to do other than to pray to a god i believe in about a war i don’t.