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War Blues

By Sandra Kay
May 1 , 2003

Shock and Awe, The Fog of War, Axis of Evil, Weapons of Mass Destruction, war criminal playing cards?† If I had relied on the amount of clichťs that have been surrounding this war in my high school creative writing class, my teacher would have had me lynched.† ďI curse your moustacheÖĒ

You know, I really wish I could just let myself go and be happy about the world as we know it today.† I wish I could just go have a drink, be happy, and be absolutely sure that I was right about everything and knew that everything was going to turn out exactly the way it was suppose to turn out whether I did anything or not.† I remember once not that long ago I had to have an impacted wisdom tooth taken out.† ďGive me the hardest stuff you got doc, I want to be knocked out cold.Ē† I woke up feeling like everything in this world was wonderful, I felt that I had been enlightened. I was actually NICE, something that doesnít happen very often.† I want to be like that all the time.† Sure, I couldnít walk without assistance out to my car, much less drive, but those are just details.

†This isnít about the war, or the many wars that it seems to me we are going to be fighting over the next few years.† No, this isnít about any of that.† This is about ME, and how this war has fucked ME, and it pisses ME off, because we all are, according to Freud, ultimately selfish.† It was a Depeche Mode song too.

First thing, I like to travel, a lot.† Europe is wonderful, and I would like to be able to go there without the stigma of being a crass American.† Okay, I would be thought of as a crass American irregardless, but things are just a little bit more dodgy right now.† As if the French didnít have enough reason to call us rednecks before President Bush.† I donít care what the French say, Iím going to Paris whenever I damn well feel like it, but I still hate being lumped in with our President.† Oh, you think people are smart enough to figure out that WE are not necessarily our government?† I seem to remember a boycott of all things French and ďFreedom FriesĒ.† Oh yeah, and the ads in the New York Times this week begging for the people that werenít coming to eat at French restaurants anymore to please come back.† Thatíll teach emí. I donít give a shit if the only people weíre hurting are American citizens.† One of New Yorkís best French restaurants was forced to close this week.† Now, this could be due to a weak economy, and French restaurants arenít exactly known for their cheap food.† Yeah, you could say that, but that wouldnít explain people at the Federal Building pouring Merlot down the gutter.† Bastards probably bought the $2.00 French wine at Trader Joeís and kept the good stuff for company.† Now THATíS patriotic.† My friends own a sandwich shop called Vie de France. I asked Chris if everything was okay when this whole French boycott nonsense was happening, and she said, ďwell, weíve been getting prank phone calls telling us to go home.Ē† To Britain, uh huh. Theyíre American citizens from Britain.† Seems like the British are our only friends anymore. Ah, screw emí.

The other thing that fucked ME during this war was I was planning on going to London long before this ever happened.† People thought I was nuts for going to London when a war had just been declared.† Iím like ďuh, if you think Iím going to give up my free ticket I got with American Airlines just because of something like war, YOUíRE WRONGĒ.† So there.† We went to London and had a lovely time in spite of the war.† I must say though, Britainís media coverage of the Iraqi war is completely different from the US.† We would generally be back in our room before the bombings would start, and the news became our primetime TV viewing if we were too exhausted to go out, and the bombs were really big ones.† Mind you, the war hadnít started before we left, so our first experience of the war was in London.†

This is what I didnít understand until I experienced it.† War can be portrayed in pretty much any way you want it to.† Britainís take on the war was completely different than the US version, and they are our ALLIES.† There was so much footage shot on this war, and by so many different sources, the decision to include certain footage and not others can dramatically change the way a news story is played out.† Ask any editor in Hollywood what he can do with a 70 to 1 ratio of film.† Meaning, you have 1 minute to show for every 70 that you have. Think of the possibilities there.† Now think about a newsroom, and a war, and the amount of footage you have, and differences in culture, and youíre STILL reliant on the reporterís and cameramanís judgment of what they think is important, and then you have to run it by the White House so you donít give away strategic military maneuvers.† Just how accurate of a picture do you think youíre going to have?

This is not to say US media coverage is bad or inaccurate, I donít think it is either of those things. I guess what it got me thinking about, is, if this is being played out in the United States as differently as itís being played out in Britain, how is it being viewed by the rest of the world?† How about Argentina, France, Belgium, the Middle East?† This is what concerns me.†

Now normally, I wouldnít give a shit about what anybody thought, but since we live in a ďglobal villageĒ now, I would like to think our leaders are smart enough to figure out that we might actually need somebody else in the rest of the world to sustain MY way of living.†

I donít think this war was about oil, I donít think this war was about anything quite frankly.† Iím glad Saddam is gone, and apparently so are a lot of other people.† Thatís the rub, this isnít cut and dry, as much as Iíd like to think that it is.† Iíve finally come to the conclusion that sometimes things just ARE.† Why do people do what they do?† Because they CAN.† The bottom line is you have to trust your gut at any given moment, and hopefully you have a sane enough moral premise that youíre not going to hurt or kill people, right?† But again, the rub. What if someone else is killing?† To what extent do you justify your actions in order to stop somebody else that is OBVIOUSLY doing wrong?† What do you base that morality on? Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or maybe itís some New Age combination of all of the above.† Again, thereís the rub.† The difference between a terrorist and a hero is a matter of perception.† Try thinking about that if you want to have insomnia for the next year.

Again, I defer.† This is about ME, and my life, and this war.† I donít want to die young, I donít want to have to worry about getting nuked off the face of the planet, Iíd venture to say 99% of the rest of the world would agree with me.† And the other 1% are psychotic and donít matter anyway.† The real question is, how do we achieve that?† Thatís the million dollar question, and there are as many different opinions out there as there are religions.† Does that make any one of them wrong?† No, it doesnít.† So, I guess you could base all logic on the outcome.† If indeed there are many different rights and no wrongs, you could base your morality on whether something actually worked or not, right?† If indeed the Iraq war leads to peace, that means that it was right.† Problem with that is, we arenít going to know for another 10 years what the outcome of all of this will be.† We basically flipped the UN the bird, so we obviously didnít think that was the way to peace, as we once did after the Second World War.† Does that mean the UN was wrong to begin with?† The whole idea of the UN is an antiquated one?

More questions than answers.† Iím going to go have a drink now and ponder the meaning of life and death. Then Iíll watch American Idol.† Who do you think the next to get the boot is? Those are the real questions in life. Maybe Iíll actually get some sleep tonight.†††††††††††††