More Bush war crimes
Recently a cousin of mine and his comrades went out on their last patrol in Iraq. It wasn't planned as their last patrol. It just turned out that way. They ran into one of those infamous “improvised explosive devices” and died. Another California kid killed in Bush's misbegotten Middle East adventure. Another soldier sacrificed to an insane bully-boy foreign policy. Another victim of criminal negligence by administration officials who only pretended to expedite the acquisition of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. Some people in Washington deserve to burn in hell.
I traveled to Sacramento to snap some photos at the State Capitol, where the flags have once again been lowered to half-staff. I sent them to my family so they could see my cousin's memory being honored. I called my mother to ask about my cousin's family and to express my sympathies.
And, of course, I yelled at her.
It probably doesn't help to say that she started it. I do have difficulties at times with my parents. Naturally, I'm aware of this, so I carefully avoid certain topics; but, unfortunately, they are less inclined to return the favor. I asked Mom how my cousin's parents were doing. She told me they were working with a grief counselor and were doing about as well as one could hope when dealing with the loss of one's only son. Then she launched off:
“It's just terrible, terrible, how these war protesters attack the troops and undermine the war effort. It shouldn't be allowed!”
Mom had ventured onto dangerous ground. I cut her some slack and answered her very mildly:
“Mom, protesting the war is not the same as attacking the troops. Lots of people are against the war, but they're not against our soldiers. I'm against the war, but I support the troops and I think we should show it by bringing them home instead of leaving them over there to get killed.”
She was having none of it:
“But they're protecting the country! We have to let them finish their war against terror!”
I fell for the bait, not that Mom was being deliberately provocative. She was just spouting concentrated Fox News misinformation. But I've long since refused to listen in silence as if I agree:
“Mom, Iraq never attacked us. We attacked them. This is what happens when you have scoundrels and criminals in the White House.”
“Well, I happen to admire the president very much.”
“That's too bad, Mom. Bush is probably the worst president in American history. His war is a disaster, he's run up a huge national debt for nothing, and the country is suffering for it.”
“The economy's not his fault! When Clinton was in there, all he did was chase women!”
“And we were much better off, too. And people supported Clinton much more than they do Bush. You've been getting your nonsense from talk radio and Fox News.”
“At least they're not full of lies like CNN! I have no use for those Democrats in Washington. They're useless! They're less popular than Bush! And Pelosi should have stayed in San Francisco! There are lots of questions about the illegals that she and her husband employ!”
Tons of Fox manure and other right-wing talking points. Including a specific attack on the evils of CNN. Mom has absorbed them all. Complete with exclamation points.
“You accidentally said something correct, Mom. Congress is less popular than Bush. That's because people like you are upset that the congressional majorities oppose the president. But people like me are upset that they do it so ineffectively. If Congress wanted to be more popular, it would refuse to enact Bush's policies and refuse to fund the war.”
“And that's how we lost the Vietnam war! It was war protesters here at home that caused us to lose the war in Vietnam just when we were about to win! I heard a former general say that on KMJ.”
KMJ is the Central Valley's leading supplier of cant, spin, and lies from Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. It's your one-stop shop for all of your delusional neocon needs.
“Gee, Mom, did you even live through the twentieth century? When were we ever on the verge of ‘winning’ in Vietnam?” My arguments with my parents are invariably ineffective. Perhaps it's because they can't hear the wry quote marks in my sentences.
We weren't done with Iraq, of course:
“If we let the protesters win again, we'll lose our mission to protect the people of Iraq.”
“Are you kidding me, Mom? They're dying by the tens of thousands. A large majority of Iraqis want us to leave. I say give them what they want and bring our troops home.”
“No, that's not true. A large majority want us there!”
“Says who? Sorry, Mom. That's a mathematical impossibility. If a large majority—it's about two-thirds!—wants us to get the hell out of there, that doesn't leave enough left over to also have a majority—small or large!—begging us to stay. We've been there too long and we've lost too many people, and that includes our family now.”
Leave it to me to cite mathematical impossibilities. And I was starting to use exclamation points myself. I finally came to my senses:
“But, Mom, I'm tired of wasting my time yelling at you and you're wasting your time yelling at me. I really just called to find out how the parents are doing.”
Mom's wrath subsided in an instant. We were back on common ground. She told me about the funeral arrangements and the rosary service that would precede it. I did not express my opinion that the family should convene under a flag of truce. I was pretty sure my parents would denounce it as a flag of surrender. I promised myself to curb my tongue and ignore the inevitable provocations that occur whenever my family gathers. Prayer services are neutral events, not political debates.
But if I believed in hell, I'd pray that George Bush gets sent there.