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JWR 2.29 - In Colon I Trust
You know what it feels like? It rather feels like a broken heart. Ever since that second plane hit, thatís what itís been like for me. And Iím aware that the original purpose of these Ramblings was just me clacking away at a keyboard to entertain, but it seems like it would be a slap in the face of everyone if I was to try and be totally entertaining today, a mere week later.
I was thinking a few weeks ago that another broken heart would kill me. It hasnít. Itís changed us all, not excluding myself. Iíll tell you one thing, The 4th of July and Memorial day are going to mean a whole lot more next year for me. Lately theyíve been nothing special. Just a day off. Thatíll change. I promise.
I know that I have been down on America and Americans and the government in the past. As a free man, that is my decision and I am not to be censored. Iíve talked a lot of shit about taxes and all that. I was even going to complain about the tax refund last month. Three hundred bucks of my own money back in my pocket. I guess you really didnít need it after all, huh? If you want it back, all you have to do is ask.
If this all works out well--I mean, in the end, if weíve accomplished what we are setting out to do--I swear that I wonít complain about the taxes ever again.
(You all know Iím a liar, right?)
I will tell you what, my respect for a lot of people has gone through the roof in recent days. Not just the enlisted (I did forget to mention Christina--Lieutenant, that is), and not just the rescue workers. People like Colon Powell and Dick Chaney. No Colon and Dick jokes. (The Dick/colon thing: That was great. I almost shit myself..... Well, gotta go.. Gotta catch that pesky wabbitt... LEE) I remember so long ago a substitute teacher attempted to relay her respect for Colon Powell to a class I was in. It didnít take. (At least she didnít say, ďHe speaks so well. Heís really well spoken.Ē) But I remembered it. I trust Colon. Try not to take that literally, okay. And although Chaney has a bad heart, I trust him, too. On Meet the Press, his words were reassuring and his intelligence is very apparent. When Bush speaks, he chooses his words so carefully and it takes him so long to get it out--rather like my brother at times. You just wanna grab him and shake it out of him. ďWhat are you trying to say, dammit?Ē Bushís speeches would be good to read whereas Chaney is good to hear. Then I saw Jeb Bush on some show and he spoke normally. Normal pace, normal pauses in normal places. Did we elect the wrong Bush? No. I doubt it. Although I did not vote for Bush (or anyone) I do have faith in his abilities, because, as you should know, the Presidentís cabinet makes or breaks him. Bushís cabinet is well rounded and intelligent.
David Letterman came back on the air last night. With the utmost respect and emotion he gave a monologue that made you feel, all at once, positive, saddened, hopeful, confused (at the motivations of the terrorists) and even happy at times. Respect is tough to improve upon. Letterman did just that. His first guest was Dan Rather. My opinion of most head news anchors at any particular network is not great. For example, if you listen--just listen, mind you--to Ted Koppel, it sounds like he has to take a dump. Tom Brokaw has his own speech impediment to worry about. I never thought about Dan Rather. I know the purpose of news (well, itís supposed to be) is to report objectively, devoid of sentimentality. Just the facts, maíam. They, more often that not, report with a straight face, but will toss in the sentiment. Itís the human aspect of a news story that we find most interesting whether it be an ignorant, inbred hick standing where his trailer used to be after a tornado scratching his ass, or after a shooting, to find the homeless guy that canít talk to interview. You donít want to just hear what happened, you want to see what happened. So, Dan Rather spoke for some time, and there is no doubt this man has a great deal of knowledge. But twice as he spoke, not as a reporter, but as a person, he had to stop because he got choked up and even cried briefly the second time. Now I know how natural a reaction that is, but to simply see a guy like Rather do it upped my respect for him. Yes, heís a real person with the same feelings as the rest of us, and that is so reassuring.
So, what are we going to do? Weíre all waiting for the bombs to start dropping on Kabul. Some with fevered anticipation.
I watched a documentary about WWII and the atom bomb a couple days ago. You are never nonchalant about the power of an atom bomb. Eh, half of Hiroshima died as a direct result of that bomb. No big whoop. You donít hear that. Then we invented the hydrogen bomb which is eight hundred times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. To me, thatís so powerful that it doesnít mean anything, if you can understand that. Being the perfectionists that we are, we then invented the neutron bomb which wonít destroy structures--unless those structures are made out of flesh.
Hundreds of thousands, millions potentially, of lives is what weíre talking about with a single bomb.
There was a documentary about death row a while ago. They had a camera shot of the death row cells and they let the camera linger. I had a realization that the person inside that cell would be no more. Everything he was, is and would become would be put to an end all at once. (Now, take that as you may, just donít tell me about it.) Now, thatís just one life. Think about that in contrast to the hundred and fifty thousand who died in Hiroshima. Or, perhaps even better yet, the five thousand who died last Tuesday. The closer to home it hits, the more powerful it is. Iím there, too.
Now contemplate those who will die as a result of a war against terrorism because as we commit to an honest to God war, we have taken the responsibility to kill innocents. Not because theyíre innocent, because theyíre in the way.
What can we do? We CANíT not have a war. Me must fight. You donít topple two one hundred and ten story towers filled with people using passenger-filled planes, crash a third plane into our defense home base and attempt to do Allah-knows what with a forth and not expect retaliation. Yes, you have our attention. Kudos to you. Now watch the fuck out because we are committed.
We have to act. An attack like this must have a response greater than the initial attack. It canít be ignored. It canít be forgotten. It canít be forgiven. We canít fix up the buildings and then turn the other cheek like it was a mishap, an accident, an unintentional boo-boo. It takes great determination to crash a fucking plane into a fucking building! Now itís our turn not to turn back, not to lose heart, not to lose interest as CNN lessens coverage. Itís our turn to show even greater determination.
But I wonít lie and posture: Iím scared. Iím scared of what will happen to the world. Iím scared of China getting involved. Iím scared of potentially fighting fifty countries that harbor terrorists. When I say ďI,Ē I donít mean me. Iím not in the military. I was asked if I was going to join up as a result of this. No. Then I was asked if I was drafted, if Iíd go. Yes. Absolutely I would go and I would do my best for my country.
I wasnít asked to make this distinction, but I will because I feel like it needs to be said. I try to stick with my convictions. I am twenty-three. I am not now nor have I been enlisted in the military. I wasnít a boy scout either. (But I do remember eating my first brownie. I digress...) By not joining the military (in my case it would have been the Marines to follow the example of my father, brother and some of my greatest friends) earlier in my life, I opted to instead go to college. I understand the Reserve program and what that has to offer, but for me, itís all or nothing. If I was to go in, Iíd be in and Iíd stay in. I chose a civilian life. I will maintain that life. This does not mean that I cannot be patriotic or support our cause. I will not join. Now, if I get drafted, thatís a whole different animal. I signed up for the selective service. I am American. I am able bodied and of sound mind. If I am drafted, I will go without hesitation. The fear will remain, but I will go.
Having said that, let me say, I hope thereís no draft.
This is an actual war, right? I mean, war had been declared, right? There hasnít been a formal declaration of war since WWII, right? Check my facts, dammit. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and a slue of other lesser engagements were all operations and the like. Not an actual war. We thought weíd never see a real war, didnít we? We thought nobody would be stupid enough to piss us off. This is such a different war, though. Not a particular government's fault, is it? A bunch of fanatics started it and did the unbelievable and unprecedented.
Or did we start it? You know, after WWI, after we bitch slapped Germany for the first time, we took off. We left their economy in ruins where their paper money was useful to wallpaper shit houses, and left Hitler to rise and motivate his people against the Jews and to attempt and dominate the world. We only got involved in WWII after the early morning wake up call made by the Japanese with the use of bombs and planes. Fast forward a few years and weíve got our gloves raised in victory in the Japanese boxing ring and weíre rubbing the feeling back into our hand after bitch slapping the Germans for a second time in thirty years. This time we learned from our WWI mistake and we helped rebuild the world, really. Both Japan and Germany have become economic powers in the world, thanks to us. France was rebuilt as well, no thanks there, however. Oh well, like I said earlier, we can swing around later this year and take care of that bit of unappreciativeness. Moreover, Japan and Germany consider us allies now. I mean, sure Japan is still sore over that whole two atom bombs thing, but you would be, too. And we know better than to fully trust the Germans, speaking as a German myself. But overall, weíre cool.
In the Ďeighties we supplied training and weapons to the Afghans so they could fight big, bad Communist Russia. That war bankrupt the CCCP. and led to the fall of communism in that country--Iím sure it spurred it in East Germany, too. (Remember when there were two Germanys? Thatís Ďcause we split it up into Communist and Democratic areas after WWII. Bad idea. Hindsight.) The Russians bombed and killed all over Afghanistan, but the Afghans never gave up. The Russians did. (In WWII it was the Russians who never gave up. They retreated further into their country while destroying all the land so the Germans could not live off of it. Soon, the Germans had to fall back for some Happy Meals and fries with mayo.) After the threat of Russia taking over a shit hole country was over, we bailed. We may not have fought in the war, but we helped the poor country win and get way poorer in the process, then we became more concerned with who shot J.R. Afghanistan is still a shit hole. There is little to bomb. Little to attack other than people. There are no one hundred and ten story buildings to smart bomb. Almost certainly no ten story buildings either.
What can we do? Whatever we do, we will, or I should say SHOULD, have a very long standing commitment to the people and places we affect with our war.
The Afghans have been told to read the Koran and prepare for a holy war. In response, the bordering countries have closed their borders and thousands of Afghans are attempting to leave. Does this sound really bad to anyone else? Kinda like rats leaving a sinking ship? No. More like sensible fucking people getting the hell (or whatever the Islamic place we call hell is called) out of harmís way. The only holy thing about this war will be buildings, people and the souls of those involved--both sides.
The old adage of nobody winning a war comes to mind.
What are we waiting for? I believe is the question you hear from people on TV and radio who want vengeance, revenge. I am reminded of an old Klingon proverb that states, ďRevenge is a dish best served cold.Ē Impulsive America, leave the military ops to the military. Give blood, donate money, shut the fuck up and wait because it will happen. Just like a concert: when one person stands up, the next person stands up and so on all because the first person thought the roadie was a band member. Sit down and wait for the music to start, my friend, because there is no way youíll miss it.
Hate war. Hate it because it will keep you human. Hate killing. The terrorists donít hate killing, they promote it. Donít be them. Killing is a necessity in this case, I think. Even if the ardent Christian objects, I donít want to hear it.
You canít get away with what you did. In Colon we trust. Be patient because when it starts, youíre going to want it to stop. But you still must back it. Remember what happened. It seems evil does exist, after all.
Copyright © 2001 John Lemut