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Friday, May 28, 2004

9 long days....not too much to tell.
Memorial Day is approaching. None of the veterans in my family gave their lives for the cause. My father served during the Korean War, but spent most of his time in occupied Japan in geisha houses. My grandmother once told me about a cousin of hers that served during WWI in Europe. He came home and began to have seizures. It turned out that he was exposed to mustard gas. He was taken to a military hospital in either Maryland or Virginia and eventually succumbed to the effects of the gas.
I sometimes think that the dead soldiers are the lucky ones. I have seen the living relics of the Vietnam War far too often on the streets of my country struggling to find inner peace and failing. Having been 9 years old when the last helicopter left the roof of the U.S. Embassy in what was then Hanoi, I grew up thinking that every war, deep down, contains error and miscalculation. Whether it is a repelled invader or the resolve of a eventually vanquished defender, one side eventually turns out to be in error. Watching old newsreels of battles from a time before I walked the planet, I was shown moral imperatives for battle, and yet every infantryman in every army that ever existed, no matter what the moral persuasions of their commanders, carries with him the idea that he is right.
Seventy years ago, my country entered a war which was supposed to be fought against an imminent threat to the well-being of the nation, but ended up being a war defined more by its racism than its true goals. We went on to spend trillions of dollars on it and continue to do so to this day. We spend all of our time in this war fighting it from the wrong side, and no one has the nerve to call for a stop to it, and if they do, they are quickly beaten down verbally for even daring to put forth such an idea. This war has become not a victory, but a long protracted lesson in tic-tac-toe, or rather, one endless string of draws. This war is called the War On Drugs, and I fear that the War on Terrorism is following its wasteful model. It's no longer God Bless America. It's God Help America. As an American in these troubled times, you'll pardon me if having this leader of our country gives me the feeling of living under a ladder with a target painted on my chest. Or as Pete Seeger said so many years ago, "When will they ever learn".
To all the soldiers in Iraq, come home quick, stay safe and know that if it were up to me, you'd all be home with your loved ones now. May no one ever cry for you on Memorial Day.

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