Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Scale of Things

A friend and fellow blogger wondered why I didn't post anything on the anniversary of the war. Since I am so political, he thought it odd I had not posted something.
I forgot.
I have been so busy with everything going on in my life that I simply forgot. Just like a few million other people in this country.
The truth is, it's not so hard to forget about something that has essentially become wallpaper. Getting to work, paying bills and dealing with the drama of just being alive is enough. A war that has waged on starts to fade into the background as a million kid's ask their mothers, "What's for dinner?"
A bomb went off and killed 23 people in downtown Bagdad. 4 more American soldiers died today. A helicopter was shot down. Grenades were launched into the green zone. 12 Iraqi children were killed in an accidental bombing. A convoy of American trucks was blown up.
It all happens a million miles away a million times a day. But it doesn't happen to you. It doesn't happen to us. It doesn't happen here.
When you start to contemplate it all, it's just depressing. That's what it is to millions of people in this country; something that is simply depressing. A subject to be avoided in conversation. A radio update to turn the dial on. The perfect time to go to the bathroom during the news.

In the 80's, we grew up against the back drop of nuclear annihilation. It was in our music, movies and news papers constantly. Like a noise, it wouldn't go away. But then, it just did. Most of those bombs haven't gone anywhere. Sure, we disassembled a symbolic few. Russia did too. But there are still enough Nuclear warheads in existence to destroy the world 20 times over.
What happened?
9/11 happened.
It's terrorism now. This is our national boogieman. However you want to define it, terrorism's physical destruction is nothing compared to what two nations devoted 50 years of resources toward. All that machinery has been turned in the direction of an enemy that can never kill millions of people with the turn of a few keys and the press of a button.
Of course, that is the fear now isn't it- that a terrorist will detonate a nuclear bomb.
We have gone from being terrified of complete destruction with thousand of bombs, to becoming paranoid patriotic warriors looking into peoples carry on luggage for that one bomb.
The scale of destruction has diminished as the fear has increased ten fold.
Where did the last 5 years go?
What are we doing in Iraq?
Has it made us safer?
These are questions far larger than any one persons thoughts or any one groups beliefs. But think about that for a moment- the scale of damage to people and property has gone down while the scale of terror has gone up. It has gone up because our leaders have not only allowed it to go up, they have actively encouraged it as a means to achieve their agenda.
The agenda is control.
Their agenda and the enemy's agenda is about control.
Religion is control, oil is control, FEAR IS CONTROL.

America, the nation that defined what progress and strength was since it's birth invaded the wrong country for something they didn't do. Ever seriously mediate on that? Put it in personal terms for a second. A guy that didn't have a gun came up to us. Us. The big bad bully on the world wide playground with abb's of steel and strapping' a bad ass hand gun we wave around like a drunk on New Year's. This little guy comes up to us while were standing on a bar stool telling everyone how cool we are and breaks a bottle over our head. It's one guy with one bottle. The room goes quiet in shock and horror while the sound of one laugh rings out in the air.
We turn around and Saddam is the only one laughing.
You know what happened next.
It happens everyday a million times a day all over the world.

The war happened on the world stage though. It happened for a million of those reasons we will never completely understand. What makes a man decide the only way to make a difference in the world is to devote his soul to flying a plane into a building igniting fear and war among two vastly different ways of belief?
I don't know.
We do know that Iraq, has been devastated on the scale of a Nuclear blast. We know that fear rules our lives in a way it didn't seem too during the cold war. Maybe that's the difference, the scale of things. The idea of a Nuclear holocaust was so beyond the scope of our comprehension that we could only imagine it in the movies. Maybe that's why on 9/11 the thing I heard people say the most was, "it's like something out of a movie."
5 years ago, America invaded Iraq on a lie. I doubt anyone said to themselves, "This is like a movie."
It's all about the scale and distance of things. Iraq is a disaster on a scale Americans have just never really had to face. It is as far away as the button on the remote, yet a hemisphere away. It has gone on longer than anyone ever thought it would and it never had to happen. It has been 5 years since the invasion. You cannot measure it or define it on any scale that means anything. The only scale that really matters is the human one. It's the kid filled with red white & blue that returns after three tours missing a limb and wondering what was won. It's the kid blown up in a suicide bombers fire. It's not the trillions of dollars yet to be printed that actually matter, it's those human beings on each side of this who have been living it for 5 years.

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