Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Far from Good

That would be me when it comes to atrocities like the Holocaust, genocide in Rwanda, 9/11, and war in general.  It’s not that I am in denial, but rather the emotions these things bring up are almost too much for me to handle.
And so it was with fear and trepidation that I started “The Good Soldiers” by David Finkel, our current book club book.  Finkel was an embedded journalist in an Army battalion in Iraq for 8 of the bloodiest months of the war.  Although there was levity in his telling of the story, for the most part it was grim and disheartening.  It completely reaffirmed my belief that we should never have been at war in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I’m not sure if it was more difficult to read about those killed (mostly by roadside bombs) or those left maimed for the rest of their lives.  Contrary to their leader, whose motto was “It’s all good” and who lived by every word President Bush uttered, it was far from good and more often horrific.
This and all the other hateful things I usually refuse to think about make me question the roots of the hatred.  Specifically in Iraq, we sent thousands of troops in to rid the country of one of the worst dictators in history (although the charges on which we acted were later shown to be false).  Why then did a significant faction of those liberated people continue to try to kill us?  Why were the few who showed friendship called traitors and punished by the others?  And most importantly why did we stay for so many years?
I fear the result of this decade of war will be yet another generation of (mostly) men with  serious mental disorders and serious physical disabilities that will see them out on the street corners begging for an existence.
I finished the book last night and will look for something a little more uplifting to read next.  But for the past week I pulled my head out of the sand long enough to feel an abiding sadness that so many lives were affected so badly by this war.  It was almost symbolic that 9/11 passed just as I neared the end of the story based entirely on fact.


Blogger lacochran's evil twin said...

I think you are wise to be careful about what you take in. Especially if there is little you can do to change the situation.

3:16 PM  
Blogger karen said...

HI Barbara. I am so like you, and this picture really struck a chord with me!!

On a lighter note, I'm so pleased that you made it safely through the hurricane, and that you are enjoying your music and cooking. I will definitely try your lovely bread recipe, although I doubt I'll find anything as exotic as rye flour here, but living here makes me good at substituting things! I loved your black eyed peas(beans?) recipe a while back, too!

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm only 30% through same book. I'll see if I share your feelings when I'm done. I will say the book gives excellent insight into thoughts, feelings of the young men we sent to Iraq.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

All I can say is, Ugh. I honestly can't even think about Iraq without getting nauseous. Afghanistan was another matter -- in my eyes, we DID have to take some action there, and I'm a pacifist so I don't say that lightly. But Iraq was a travesty, and as you pointed out, all we succeeded in doing is alienating a whole generation in the Middle East and fanning the flames of hatred for America.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Like you, reading about war and all its attendant horrors leaves me horrified. It's not that I don't know these things happen, it's just that they make me feel at once so angry and so helpless that it's hard to know what to do to make anything better.

I much prefer to make bread and will happily hand it out to anyone who needs to eat. I am trying your latest bread recipe (thanks for posting it!) this weekend.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- I hope you like the bread!

9:30 PM  

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