How long can this go on?

One member of Salon's community, Table Talk, weighs in on the battle zone and the comfort zone, this week.

Published October 26, 2007 5:09PM (EDT)

White House

George W. Bush: Public Enemy No. 1

Mendocino - 03:25 pm Pacific Time - Oct 23, 2007 - #3466 of 3572

I was walking on an errand in town in the early morning today. I passed the City Hall and its adjacent offices in the town where I work, and there are big columns in front of City Hall with AIR FORCE, MARINES, ARMY, NAVY, and COAST GUARD carved on them (pretty conservative town with lots and lots of money). Walking a few feet more was a small, unobtrusive plaque in the ground under a tree that paid homage to a local soldier that died this year in Iraq. Just recently died. Within the last few weeks. There was a fresh red rose anchored above the plaque. I straightened it out -- it was beginning to wilt.

It broke my heart. The columns feigning glory to the various branches of the military didn't move me at all -- in fact, they sort of disgusted me. But as a Catholic, I went through the ritual of crossing myself and saying a Hail Mary for the soldier, but it seemed so inadequate. Someone's parents have a dead son. Maybe a wife and a child have no husband and dad. It hurt to walk past that, seeing how fresh the engraving was, and seeing that one beautiful red rose, fading in the early morning sunlight as the traffic rushed by; oblivious people in their own safe worlds. Who in this country really cares? We talk about the politics of the war -- when it really comes down to it, these are our sons and daughters, and they're dying for a pile of crap. Did anyone think that four years later, we'd still be occupying Iraq? That six years after 9/11 we'd still have somehow missed capturing the mastermind of 9/11? And this is supposedly the most powerful country in the world?

What about the Iraqis who die in the night? What makes them lesser citizens than us? Did they ask us to occupy their country and kill them? How would any of us like to wake to find our children killed in the night by bombs in the name of ... WHAT? WHAT??

What about our own soldiers who get blown up trying to make sense of this ill-gotten "war"? How can this be right? I've been a Catholic all my life. And Catholics believe that Jesus taught that violence isn't the answer. Understanding and tolerance is. We believe that only "just wars" are worth fighting. And this war -- four years and counting -- is not just. God give us strength to fight this administration. God give us strength to right the many wrongs when this administration leaves office. Let's do it. Please, I'm asking you all to get out of your comfort zones and let's fight. It's important now, like it never has been.

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