No ideas. I’m working on my proposal, and the president’s speech, the position we are in, and the suffering to come just makes me sad.
It is a basic fact of my adult life that the US has not really ever been in “peacetime.” How much of these have been, in the words of Winston Churchill, “senseless and squalid”? My patriotism can be questioned, of course, but isn’t it rather a lot to expect me to keep supporting all this, again and again, under various rubrics for two solid decades?
The large-scale wars with massive troop deployments began and ended: WWI, WWII, Korea. Not so with Vietnam. While individual conflicts have supposedly ended, they have merged and looped back into one another as a carrying theme of foreign “policy” during my adult life: Libya, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Panama, Libya, Columbia, Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq…Afghanistan.
In my life, I have traversed two worlds; the one I came from, and the one in which I dwell now, a rarified and elite world of ideas, youth, wealth and comfort. The rural world from which I came contains the personnel of contemporary war, along with many young urban kids with nowhere else to go. The denizens of the world I live in now rarely have to think about the military or the war at all. We do not ration. We do not hold vigils. None of us wait for a postcard or sit at our computers for our son or daughter’s turn at the web cam. None expect bad news. Do any of us pray, I wonder, or even stop look at the section of the paper with the local war dead? In Los Angeles, there are many.
It is disturbing to me that our constant state of war seldom touches the most affluent and the most influential. It is not unkindness, but it is instead a reflection of the enormous privilege held by we global elite that we may fiddle while the empire wanes, while the wages of war are played out on the bodies of others.