End The War You Chickenhawks, I’m Running Out Of Friends

I had a fight with a friend yesterday, not a fight actually, more of a one sided shouting match with me doing the shouting. It wasn’t my proudest moment.

He was seated a few barstools away from me in our mutual watering hole and talking to someone else when I heard him say, “We need to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here.”

I saw red. “There is no “we” involved here, you and little George and all the rest of the chickenhawk pukes that keep repeating that stupid and completely wrong bullshit should be taken out and shot for repeating it.” “And you can take George Bush and stick him up your ass,” I said calmly, at the top of my lungs. Again, it wasn’t my proudest moment, although I thought the argument sound, on it’s face.

Now, I have known this guy for several years and he’s a very decent guy, hard working, fun to be around, I like him in spite of the fact that he thinks he’s a Republican. (That Reagan thing again.) He gets this crap from talk radio. (Bill Cunningham, in his case,)

He drives a monster front loader all day and listens to these blithering idiots spout the usual Hannity/Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, neo-con, authoritarian, lame assed party line on the radio and I think he believes that he is hearing the voice of America, maybe even that of the Lord. He is not alone in this nasty habit, there are many, many others glued to their radios, daily, listening to the same libelous litany of lies and misinformation, a poisonous pablum fed by the corporate world to the mind of working class America. It is, after all, a free country, sort of.

Normally we joke around and rib each other about politics and it’s all in fun and enjoyable but yesterday I was writing a piece on the National Intelligence Estimate and the crypto Nazi language contained therein. I had been worrying over it all day and by beer thirty I was thoroughly pissed at the State of the Union and, I guess, emotionally locked and loaded.

I take this war, this criminal fiasco, very personally. I did a tour in Vietnam as a young Marine many years ago and it feels as if, with every headline, with every story of the deaths of our Kids, every rotten bit of news that comes out of Iraq that I am losing a younger brother or sister. These people are family to me.

It’s a daily dose of trauma, listening to the news of the war. Speaking and writing against it, against this criminal war, against the stubborn, dishonest, greedy people who have fraudulently promoted it, hurts, and the pain is liberally seasoned with a large measure of insult and humiliation, piled on by spineless, arrogant and uncaring policy makers, and a national press that does little but bang the drumbeat of it’s masters.

I’m told that I shouldn’t take it personally but I just don’t know any other way. This is My country that these criminals are wrecking, my Children and Grandchildren that they are destroying.  I see the faces of the people they are killing, the faces of the families they are destroying, I can hear the shrieks of grief and pain and rage that emanate from thousands of American homes, from tens of thousands of Iraqi homes and it makes me nearly insane with rage.

I had another friend, Jim Thill. Jim died a couple of years ago, tall rangy, a crusty old curmudgeon with a bright sparkle in his eyes who fought his way from the southern tip of Korea all the way to what is now the DMZ. He was only 22 when he came home, 22 when he came home from his war. We served on an honor guard together for a few years, folding flags and firing rifles at veteran’s funerals. Hundreds of them. Many times while standing at attention saluting the colors as the bugle sounded taps I would see the tears well up in Jim’s eyes, through the tears in my own, and see the involuntary spasm of his body as he fought to keep from sobbing.

Jim knew war, He knew. A few days after Bush invaded Iraq we were sharing a few beers at the local VFW, the mood was tense and somewhat somber, all the TV’s were tuned to the war and the old men watched as our kids began the incredible task of fighting their way from Basra to Baghdad, as they began their war.

Jim looked at me and asked me what I thought and I told him that I was worried, I was afraid that we were going to suffer heavy losses and inflict the same on thousands of innocent Iraqi’s. “A lot of people are gonna get hurt in this mess,” I said. I asked him, in turn what he thought. He sipped his beer and wiped his mouth with the back of an ancient hand and said, “I think George Bush just let his mouth overload “Our” ass.” “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Marylyn’s got dinner waitin’.

Jim’s gone now, a victim of time, one of many who saw war, who knew it intimately, who was, as are all who serve and survive war a living victim, one who spoke against it when he knew it to be wrong. He lived nearly six decades behind those tears, fighting off long buried sobs of grief, living in his own personal knowledge of war.

I’m growing old at an accelerating rate and can’t afford to lose the friends that remain, those still among the living, who haven’t fallen to war or disease, or simple boredom or the horrible ravages and indignities of time. So I guess I’ll stop in at the old saloon tomorrow and apologize for my heated words and my rude behavior.

I suppose that when the man who calls himself President and all those around him, when half the congress and a great chunk of the press repeat the same lame ass statements that pour from said “President’s” mouth to overload “Our” ass, it’s probably too much to expect that they won’t be parroted by half of the average citizens. After all, It’s a free country, sort of.

I guess I’ll just have to start wearing earplugs, I’ve become much too sensitive and I don’t want to do anything drastic like give up drinking in crummy saloons with my few friends.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

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About BobHiggins

Lifelong liberal of the Tom Paine wing. Marine Vietnam vet. Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter and cabinetmaker. Now retired on a Veterans Disability program I spend my time writing and editing and complaining. Ahh the Golden Years.
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5 Responses to End The War You Chickenhawks, I’m Running Out Of Friends

  1. Ginny Cotts says:

    Bob,

    The emotional toll is one of the hidden costs of this whole mess. I know it keeps throwing me into fits of rage or moments I just walk away and think I will give up.

    I was writing a liberal friend who is still appealing death sentences for inmates on California’s death row, and told him “Sometimes I want it all to be Dave Barry making it up.”

    By adolescence I sensed I had been born at a unique time in history. Seemed very awesome. Like war, this stuff has very little glory. A lot of heartache, bellowing when you can’t hold it in any longer, and a head that sure feels like you’ve been beating it on a brick wall.

    Good luck with your friend tomorrow. Even if he didn’t hear you, there could have been someone else in that bar that opened their brain long enough to get a clue.

    Ginny

  2. Bob says:

    Thanks Ginny

    For taking time to comment and

    For sharing the pain….

    Bob

  3. Darrell Prows says:

    YOU ARE THE ENEMY

    By one measure, the stakes in our upcoming political season are $584,000,000,000. PER YEAR. And you are part of the group that stands between the current power structure and that money.

    The calculation is 80 million barrels per day of worldwide oil consumption, times $20/barrel (the difference between $70 and $50 a somewhat arbitrary but conservative number), times 365 days. Also, take into consideration the fact that our taking aggressive action against Iran could push the oil price to above $100/barrel and we could be talking that the difference between a Democratic victory in 2008, and a Republican one, can be counted on to amount to some real money.

    Democratic administrations, historically, have not tried to create favorable market conditions for the oil industry, while the last three Republican administrations have. Oil prices starting to sag, drive a Carrier Task Force into the Persian Gulf. Not a big enough price surge from that, dupe Saddam into asserting his territorial claims on Kuwait. On his retreat from our counter attack he could be counted on to blow up Kuwaiti oil wells, and he produced in spades. Want an extra little kicker? Fill the Strategic Oil Reserve during times of record high prices.

    And then came Slick Willie, and he almost destroyed OPEC by just not trying to help them. And probably would have destroyed them if not for the blown Kuwaiti wells because that additional production might have brought the price even as low as $5/barrel in the Nineties.

    The right wing propaganda machine exists almost exclusively because of this dynamic. The United States can single handedly push the price of oil up, and does when a Rethug occupies the Whitehouse. Because of that, you might as well think of yourself as walking around with a target on your back. Because they certainly do!

  4. Bryan says:

    Your story reminds me of when my brother was here visiting and we went to “Old Town” near Orlando. Somehow the political bull got started between us, and I said I would personaly kick Bush’s arse if he was to come walking down the street where we were at. He got mad and didn’t speak to me for 6 months.
    Understand this… my brother and I are VERY close!

    I graduated in 1973, and the last day of the draft was on my birthday… July 1, 1973. I was saved by the bell, or the grace of God, to never have to experience Vietnam except as a very scared kid that I might have to go. Thanks goes out to all of you that helped bring that disaster to an end!

    I keep thinking about what if the Iraq thing never happened after 9/11. I call it a thing because what I really want to call it is not polite, and I won’t say it here in the same way you did… but my thoughts are at least equal!

    But what if Bush had committed all our resources to Afganistan instaed of Iraq? Sadam would still be in power, oil prices would probably be lower, I don’t think as much attention would be being paid to global warming, Al Quidea in Pakistan would not have happened because it would have been over before even getting there. Oh, and Al Gore would be the front runner Democrat candidate without much challenge from anyone.

    Much attention would have been paid to problems in this country… New Orleans would have been rebuilt by now and the hurricanes would have been past tense conversation, health care for all would have been provided to all, the economy would have faired out on the favorable side, the immigration issue of Mexicans in America would have been in a different light because their labor would have been needed even more, Homeland security would be very strong and our borders would have been protected, even Putin and Bush could have been drinking buddies talking about old times after their terms were over. It would have been a whole different world, and in every aspect I believe things would have been a WHOLE lot better!

    Bush will be long remembered in history, but with all the assinine things he and his administration has done, it won’t be in the kindest way. Rather, it will be in much the same manner as your “beer time” experience whenever his name is brought up.

    By the way, my brother called and apoligised and said I was much smarter than my redneck exterior shows! (forgive my spelling mistakes, I have to get up at 4:00AM…
    goodnight America!)

  5. J. Rhodes says:

    The War in Iraq is a complete mess, thanks to Lil’ Bush, Lil’ Cheney, and Lil’ Condi.

    Look at the sizeable amount of money being spent on this sham war.

    I pass out from laughter every time I hear the quote: “We need to fight them over there.”

    And where is there? Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Philippines, East Africa, U.K, Spain?