Bush’s War

March 25, 2008

I’m in a state right now.  I’ve grown as a political person so much in the last eight years.  I went from being an inherited Republican (in that I parroted what my father said about politics) to a vitriolic reactionary (ca ages 21-24) to what I am today.  What that is, precisely, I really can’t say… but I’m different.  Older, more cynical… hopefully a little wiser.  I watched the first (two and a half hour, yikes!) half of the Frontline documentary on the run up to the Iraq war tonight – "Bush’s War."  I’m sure, in time, people will debate what was said tonight… or, more specifically, how everything was said.  They’ll yell about liberal bias, and discount it as typical PBS intellectualism.  If it has any effect at all, it’ll be a talking point on a few debate shows… and then something new will happen… and "Bush’s War" will be engulfed by new news of Bush’s war.  Mosques will be detonated by a three year old kid.  Another American soldier will do something awful to someone, or something.  Israel will demand and scream.  Palestine (what Palestine? I know) will send more teenagers into discos to maim innocents.  The world will continue to unravel… and I’ll forget in a few weeks how clear everything seems right now… and how sad and scared I am, and I’ll just go back to my irritated detachment.  My gray place.

"Bush’s War" didn’t tell me anything new tonight.  It simply spread everything I forgot that I knew in front of me… leafed through it like a sad photo album, and reminded me of what steps were taken to get us to where we are today.  It’s so strange to think that I’ve been alive for this.  I feel so detached from it now – the war (now in its fifth year) is branded into me, or, perhaps more pointedly, is growing out of me – my indifference and manipulation and inaction and my rage.  The Iraq war has made up almost 1/5 of my life so far.   What a crock of shit my life must be… if a war like this takes up so much real estate in it. 

Tonight, while watching this documentary, I was shown world events in greater relief – in such a way that shed a light not only on the events it described… but on how those events molded me as a young man.  I saw snippets and clips of speeches that I remember watching live – only now, whatever confusion I had at that time is gone.  I see it all now… the corruption of my government, the castration of the people’s voice… our indifference to that castration.  I’m forced, as I’m a solipsistic jerkoff who can’t but talk about myself, to think of my location in these events.  How they all rushed past me in a swift current of soundbytes and lies… of political bluster and jingoism and posturing.  I think of who I was on days like 9/11, when I wrote in my journal that night about how I’d join the military to defend my country… and then, after a moment’s consideration, how I scribbled that sentence out.  I think of how I cried in 2004, when Kerry lost to Bush… and how I smoked on the front step of my father’s house and wondered what was going to come from that loss.  I think of my ignorant platitudes and all of the soft, political bullshit I gabbed about in diners with my friends, raising my voice whenever a pretty girl walked by on her way to the bathroom, hoping that she’d stop to consider the handsome radical grinding out his cigarette and spooning sugar into his coffee, obviously in between revolutions.  These events were all incited, and bookended by the speeches and events this documentary showed me tonight.  Each one a step in the evolution of my own delusional self-perceptions… from a brilliant and unheard voice of political truth – "Well, obviously, Communism is the ideal form of government!" – to a self-absorbed idealist – "We need to stop solving problems with war, and start solving them with love!  I should write a letter to the UN, maybe I could read it there!"  It’s safe to say that those years were the puberty of my intellectual maturation – all spotty faced and cracking voices.  But now where am I?  Finally now I’m voiceless.   Lulled by frustration to a grim acceptance.  Am I too young to be so fatalistic?  Or does this go deeper than that?  Is my recent penchant for introspection a function of my current age, as my vim and poorly-conceived ardor were in my early twenties?  Am I going through a quarter-life crisis?  Only if I manage to live past 100, I guess. 

Bah! I’m babbling.  Sorry.  Here’s a link to the documentary… watch it… it’s really really good.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/

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