No Dog in this Fight

March 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm (That's not funny...)

Five long years.

In some ways it seems an eternity. In other ways it seems like yesterday.

It was a blustery time five years ago. Would the world end? Would we move into Iraq, kick a little ass and be home for Christmas? That’s what we were told. If only it had been that easy.

I’ve always been glad the decision to go to war hasn’t been left to me. I was raised to let God take care of things, that man had no business choosing his neighbor’s destiny. It was considered a sin of the highest degree to join a military group and go kill people. Soon God would come and kill everyone not worthy of consideration for the afterlife, including those pesky foreigners who didn’t read The Watchtower. That was supposed to happen around 1975, and we see how that’s coming along.

If drafted, we were expected to stand up to our country, tell them “NO!” and do the jail time for treason, desertion, whatever. The draft (and Vietnam war) ended before I had to worry about it. Things were relatively peaceful, until about five years ago.

Our government must know what it’s doing, right? We wouldn’t go kill a bunch of innocent people so a few old white guys could get richer, would we? Of course not. Saddam must be the most evil motherfucker on the planet. (After that Osama character, mind you.) They needed to be stopped, and we could get in and out, right?

Shit.

Fast-forward five years. Our intelligent youth, the ones who know how to study and graduate, are going to the Middle East, and we are running out of them. I have been against the war all along, but am old enough not to have to worry about being drafted into this silliness. It’s easy to be cavalier when you don’t have a dog in this fight.

That could change soon. My nephew will be of drafting age in a few years, and the thought of him being forced to go sickens me. Should he choose to join the military, I would support him wholeheartedly. But I remember the threat of the draft, and how I couldn’t rationalize going in my own mind.

I pictured myself, a fun-lovin’ teenager, with a passion for girls, guns, cars and girls. (Maybe a few other things.) I loved my country, still do, but couldn’t understand why I should strap on a rifle and go shoot at someone just like me, only with a different skin color. I would have to have a reason to kill this person, not just because someone told me to. (Kill or be killed doesn’t apply when you remove yourself from the equation.) If the draft had continued, I’d probably be Canadian right now.

Five years ago, it was easy to get drawn into the patriotism of the day. Everyone had a flag on their house or vehicle. We assumed we had to kick a little ass to keep the status quo. (As time went on, the barnyard smells began to rise.) While I would only fight if Iraqi troops marched down my street, I supported those who volunteered to go and fight for me.

And I fought my own little battles at home. About the time we chased Saddam into the woodwork, my bedroom was invaded by ants. Learning from the war machine, I hunted down the spot where the queen birthed. It was in the cradle of my phone, of all places. Taking a lesson from Bush and Cheney, I attacked without mercy. I unplugged the phone, sprayed a bunch of Raid into a plastic bag, and dropped the phone inside. A perfect portable gas chamber! After letting the phone air out for about a day, I wiped it down and was cleansed of all evildoers. Baghdad should be just as easy!

Confident from this coup, I rolled on. I’d been crushing on a girl for a long, long time, and decided to make my move. Another declaration of war! This one failed miserably, but you win some and lose some.

Yesterday I almost went to the protest. I got on the bus, planning to observe if not participate. I remember how I used to mock the protesters, mostly because they either didn’t know what they were talking about (?) or were those splinter groups who did it just to make trouble, get innocent people maced, and end up in a position to sue the city for their own damned-foolishness. I enjoyed watching them get their heads busted…

These days I’m even more pacifistic. Within reason. The ants came back yesterday, as if they knew what day it was. I tried live and let live, for about four hours. After catching half a dozen using my arm for an on-ramp to my desk, I went into action. I broke out the same can of Raid and sealed their usual entrances in chemical warfare fashion. The kill-count wasn’t nearly as spectacular, but I’ve defended my borders. What the ants do out in the yard is their business. They live there, I live here. Should they invade, I will defend. But I’m not going to where they live and destroy their home, simply because a few fucked it up for the rest. Most of those ants are doing exactly what they should.

I’m certainly not sending my nephew out to do it.

If the ants get too invasive, we can always move to Canada. I hear Vancouver BC is a lot like Portland…

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