Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Afterthoughts and a Call to Action

I want to draw your attention to two really good articles about Memorial Day and then ask you to do something.

The first article you can find on my good friend Shameless’s blog, Shameless Agitator. It really is worth the effort to write to her to get the log-in information (readers who have been following the comments on an earlier post will note that she has now gone password protected). That information is webmaster@shamelessagitator.com. She's expecting to hear from you if you haven't already contacted her.

The second is Connie Schultz’s column from today’s edition of The Plain Dealer. Schultz, who is married to Ohio Representative Sherrod Brown, eloquently points out the dichotomy between the extent of the conflict in Iraq and the fact that for the most part, Americans really don’t know the extent of what’s happening, how much it costs, or what troops really are facing. If they did, those little “Support Our Troops” you see riding around on the backs of cars would translate into action.

Schultz points out how different things were in World War II, a war in which Shameless’s grandfather, Benny Cook, served. Those were different times. Americans willingly rationed everything from butter to gasoline so that troops could get what they needed. We knew what we were fighting for. And the rest of the world knew, too. Everyone was all in, and when V-E and V-J came, albeit the latter at the cost of nuclear annihilation, it was over. Treaties were signed, everyone moved on and a new world order evolved, which ultimately over years of other conflicts about communism saw the demise of that ideology in the Soviet Union.

Iraq is not that kind of conflict. I don’t think there is a point to it, actually. It’s just a messy, bloody, and insanely expensive fight over religion and money and oil. It is not a "just" war over anything. Hitler was one kind of enemy. He would have taken over all of Europe and obliterated the Jewish race. The mission to remove him and stop Germany was clear, compelling -- and accomplished.

Nobody I know, and likely nobody I would stop on the street to ask, knows what the hell we're doing in Iraq. Wasn't ol Osama Been Hidin from Afghanistan? Whatever happened to him? But to the tune of Two Billion Plus, we're now stuck in Iraq, supposedly to do what? Stabilize a nation which we helped destabilize with this war that started out in Afghanistan, and install a Little US Government?

And where, exactly, is that money going if the armed forces on the ground in the Middle East have to fashion their own protective gear out of whatever they can find lying around? Would you tell your teenage driver, "Son, we have to be able to take the Millinses out to dinner next Thursday, so we can't afford to fix the seatbelt in your car. Just whip something up."

Something is clearly very wrong. Look, I hate this war. But I don't hate the warriors. I don't know who signed up for what or why they signed up. All I know is that they're there, in the belly of hell, and at least some of them over there believe they're doing something to save my ass. So why the hell don't they have what they need? Who the hell is responsible for, you know, let's say, helmets. For TWO BILLION BUCKS, I’d say every soldier, not just the officers, should have pretty much the best damn helmet available. But they don’t. Why? That's the question the American public isn’t asking. Why?

Today, Cindy Sheehan announced that she’s done. After trying in vain to lead America away from war, on her boy’s birthday, she’s going home, back to try to lead a normal life. She threw an anti-war party, and nobody came. Instead, people started arguing over what the best right way was to do something. So, everybody got busy with all kinds of talking and nobody did anything, and the war still rages on. And her son is still dead. Do you blame her for quitting? I didn't do anything.

Let’s face it. Iraq is no threat to American democracy. George Bush and His Big Band of Bozos is the greatest threat to American democracy since this country was founded. And he’s not making much of a case for democracy in other parts of the world, either. And to be brutally honest, as long as we sit back and let this all go on, neither are we.

Blueberry artfully points out that Memorial Day got its start during the Civil War. So how about this. See how fast you can write a letter to your Senator or Representative. You should be able to do it in the time it takes to play a wartime fiddle tune.

It doesn't count if you don't know who your Congress-Sheeple are:

Find your Rep at

and your Senator at

Your letter doesn't have to be long. Soldier's Joy runs about a minute and a half. You don't need much more than that to say, "Where are the helmets?" or "How exactly are you going to spend my $2.8 million? My daughter-in-law needs a good daycare. My dad needs health insurance. My son's school needs a new roof."

Ready? Go!
(Soldier's Joy performed by the Rice Brothers--Larry, Tony, Ron, and Wyatt)

If you get done early, visit these and other Web sites for more ideas on advancing the end of war:

http://stopwaroniran.org (yes, you know it, you know Iran is next)

It's time to start a conversation with the people representing us. Silence is agreement. If you don't agree, say so, while we still have the chance.


At May 30, 2007 1:48 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Our Representative, Lloyd Doggett (D), did not cave in on the last war funding vote -- so we have him to be proud of -- but our TX Senators (Cornyn and Hutchinsen) are both conservative Republicans. Our little Austin blueberry pea-shooters won't phase those folks much.

I don't blame Cindy Sheehan, I really don't.

At May 30, 2007 8:07 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Me neither, Blueberry. Me neither.

Hey, don't get discouraged. One pea-shooter is an annoyance. Ten thousand pea-shooters might put an eye out!

At June 01, 2007 8:34 PM, Blogger Janice said...

Beautiful post, MM. Spot-on.

As for Cindy, I totally understand why she might want to walk away. And on top of the big issues, she said something that gave me the impression that segments of the peace movement are like another large group of our acquaintance, where people start out with a shared desire to change the world, but along the way some people get tied up instead in power trips and other stupid stuff that syphons everyone's energy.

I hope you're all doing well. :-)

At June 01, 2007 9:45 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Janice! So good to hear from you. I was thinking about you just today, you must have known.

You draw a good parallel -- whatever the cause, there is bound to be a departure somewhere in the ranks that unnecessarily draws needed energy away from the core esprit de corps and sends the whole thing spiralling downward. It is sad that we have to watch an iconic figure like Cindy Sheehan essentially hung out to dry when there supposedly are many more thousands who feel as she does. Who knows why the other 3,000 mothers who lost their soldier sons and daughters didn't line up right with her. Would they choose differently today? I wonder.

At June 02, 2007 3:26 PM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

My boy Dennis definitely voted No, but both Sherrod and Voinovich vote Yes on the damned Iraq funding cop-out.

Arrrrhhhg! But I sort of understand...


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