March 19, 2004
War: Still not the answer.
I had a pretty disturbing dream last night, wherein one of my brothers and I were in the military and were going to fight a war. In my dream, I was given a pistol and a small rifle and told to sleep until the morning, when we'd start fighting. We were assaulted in the middle of the sleepless night, but there was only a small skirmish consisting of frantically chaotic melee. The next day, I saw my mother, and she told me that my brother was killed. My youngest brother and I were the only ones left of the three brothers. One was missing and always would be missing. My father and mother were missing a son, and their son would be missing forever. A huge part of our family -- and of my life -- was gone, never ever to return. Nothing would ever be the same. Even though this was "but a dream," I woke up in a strange sadness until the sun-lit blue of the sky today made me think more pleasant thoughts. The picture above is of the brother of whose death I dreamt last night. He is actually in the US Army. And even though he is in the band (he's a sax-machine), and the band goes to war only after a draft (so my brother is safe in Maryland), I still get scared sometimes that something is going to happen to him. With Mr. Bush forcing members of our armed forces to stay past their contracted time periods, might he not also hand my brother a rifle and sent him off into the desert to fight his war? That photo is of my brother at the beginning of boot-camp. He came back from his training leaner and wiser and a different person altogether. I was terrified that the Army would turn him into a monster, since -- band-member or not -- he had to go through the same training as everyone else. I always remembered Nietzsche's epigram from Beyond Good and Evil: "Wer mit Ungeheuern kampft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in eine Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein." -- "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." But my brother didn't succumb to the part in one's training wherein they strip away the human being. I guess my he is stronger than I took anyone to be. Nonetheless, my brother's exemplary strength as a soldier and the bravery and willingness to sacrifice one's life for our nation exhibited in our soldiers do not make this war right. I had a terrible dream last night, probably the worst dream I have ever had. But almost everyday for the past year, someone else has lived it. There are now hundreds of broken families across America and all of the other nations that are members of our coalition -- which is not to mention all of the Iraqi deaths. I have been told by many people that patriotism is my duty as an American, and patriotism is supporting the troops. Apparently, in some people's minds, this means being in favor of the war that has cut short the lives of people who are even younger than I am; it means being in favor of the war that has given thousands of people worldwide the same dream I had last night -- only they don't get to wake up from it. I don't support the war, and I won't ever. Instead, I support the troops. Supporting them begins with not sending them to die, and that now means bringing them home.