Saturday, October 13, 2012

War and Guernsey and Drones and Stuff

I've been derelict  in my blogging responsibilities. I imagine my legion of fans has been mourning and worried and feeling neglected.  I apologize for this.  Work has been so very nutso crazypants and also there is so much good TV on right now.  I mean, in a world where Modern Family has once again become awesome, and there's that whole Bota box of Cabernet in the pantry... how's a gal supposed to find the time to snark all over the Romney campaign or mockingly sooth the easily terrified breast of the anxious liberal?

But I skipped pilates this morning in favor of sleeping a whole lot (ahhhhh) and thought I would take the time this rainy Saturday morning to blog a little.  Unfortunately, the topic kicking around my head over these blogless weeks is pretty depressing, even if it was started by a good book.

I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society a couple of weeks ago and just loved it.  It's like Pride and Prejudice in that on the one hand it's witty and charming and ostensibly about this super romantic love story but is really about the imminently painful and difficult circumstance the characters are forced to live in.  In P&P it's about the tenuous, powerless position women occupied.  In Guernsey, it's about war.  And this got me to thinking about war.

During WWII, everyone was part of WWII, right?  Certainly, the soldiers (as they do) did the lion's share of the work.  But, in WWII, everyone sacrificed, everyone contributed to the war effort.   In America, there was rationing and blackouts.  In England, they carried on while bombs dropped on their cities and had to make agonizing decisions about whether to keep their children with them or send them away (cannot imagine making that choice...cannot).

We've been at war now for over 10 years in America, and the sum total of sacrifice is done by the slimmest percentage of Americans.  Our taxes haven't gone up.  We can still buy whatever we can afford (which is, to be fair, less and less).  War is something other people do, something that happens to other people.  The rest of us (which is most of us) are required only to "support the troops."

So we display magnetic "support the troops"decals on our cars.  But our support doesn't extend to paying the tax which would provide services for these returning veterans.  And our facile, simple "support" allows us to ignore the human effects of our distant war in distant lands.  This article should be required reading for every American.  Those drone attacks are the great shame of the Obama administration and the great shame of our nation.

War should be hard for everyone. And we should be aware of the effects of war. All of them. When we take the time to know what's happening, when we make the sacrifices to pay for what's happening, we're less likely to wage war without a good goddamn reason,  the very thing we've never had in our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Instead we have easy platitudes and smug moral certitude. And we've filled our power ranks with war profiteers and politicians that use our sacrifice-free patriotism to make gravy on the corpses of 19 year old American soldiers and countless Pakistani children.

At the very least, we should be paying a tax to pay for war.  Sadly, that little sacrifice is probably all it would take to force us to take war seriously.