Time to Get Our Heads Back in the Game
You know it's bad when Geraldo starts making sense. I heard him give his opinion on the Iraq war the other day and he painted a very grim portrait. This thing is now beyond crazy. He described a unit of our military assigned to patrol a certain road. They go out each and every day. During the sunlight hours they own the road and it is fairly secure. However, due to massive manpower shortfalls, they cannot guard the road at night. So every night new IEDs are planted. The road is pockmarked with an incredible number of them that have already gone off, and it only takes 5 minutes to plant a new one. The night ends and the daylight begins. This beleaguered military unit goes back out to patrol the same road, and every now and then, one of our soldiers gets blown up. Geraldo says that two of their command structure were recent casualties. It is not a battle so much as a lottery execution.
There is a long history in literature and films that depicts the absurdity of war by exaggerating the craziness. "The King of Hearts" is one such movie, involving an insane asylum being accidentally liberated by advancing troops. The point of the movie is that the clinically insane actually appear less crazy than the warring armies. There's also "Catch 22", a book that shaped my sense of humor. I felt it was one of the true classics of literature and one of the first that showed a generational difference between my father's opinion and mine, even though the author was from my father's time. My Dad thought the book was shallow. Of course, he went to Columbia as a high school brain much younger than his classmates, so to him, it probably was shallow. I thought it was brilliant.
The point is that the madness of war is often portrayed in absurd ways. The action in literature is often not entirely true - it's surreal and built up to illustrate the insanity. This will not be necessary with Iraq. The idea of controlling a road during the day, letting the enemy wire it at night, and then patrolling it again the next day is as insane as anything in "Catch 22". It's as if the asylum patients from "The King of Hearts" were at the controls in Washington, D.C. Future authors will just have to describe the events leading up to and including the war, and then detail the patrols around Iraq - the excursions to see who blows up. "Catch 22" won't stand a chance against the absurd realities of the Iraq war.
Many people opposed to this disaster have taken a breather since the elections. It's been several frustrating years, and the urge to relax for awhile is great. I personally have basically kissed off the blog, the cable show, and my jokes as far as using them to advance an agenda.
Frankly, I've spent more time lately thinking about the Michigan-Ohio State football game than anything else. Shallow? I'm sure my Dad would have thought so, and it's got to end. The 4 American soldiers who were announced as killed today deserve our grief as much as any of the others. The carnage continues whether we're tuned in or not.
The election was a wonderful event, but if we still have American soldiers driving around Iraq waiting for an explosion, then not enough has been accomplished. We've got to get back to work and end this horrible war now.