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.