[Aug. 3rd, 200501:37 am]
On my flight to Amarillo last week there were about 10 United States soldiers on the plane who were returning to Iraq. On the flight back there were about 5 who were coming home from Iraq for a two week furlough. Is it called a furlough? I don't know. I know they don't call it vacation. It was very interesting watching people react to them. They were kind of like rock stars. People walking up to them and shaking their hands and thanking them for "protecting us." The pilot asked us to clap for them on the flight home. I think everybody clapped except me and the guy from India sitting next to me. I don't know why I didn't clap, I have nothing against them. The war just suddenly felt very real when you looked at them. It's one thing when you hear talk of war on CNN, it's another when you're sitting next to a kid who's not old enough to buy beer, wearing desert fatigues. I am against the war. Not that anyone cares or my opinion matters, but I think it is a crock of shit that will only seem more ridiculous with time. Thats a strange thing about America. It's apparently very unpatriotic to criticize anything that is happening right now, but give it a few decades and the mistakes and lies and misinformation will be written in textbooks and discussed as fact. If Rush Limbaugh said the war in Vietnam was a mistake, no one would care or notice. It's ok to question your leaders as long as its history. When Clinton got a blow job he was impeached. John F. Kennedy was banging Marilyn Monroe but we don't judge him because... you know... it was the 60's. When an old man tells a story about smoking marijuana when he was 19, it's a funny cute story. When a 19 year old tells a story about smoking marijuana , he is a criminal and an addict. I think everyone on the plane, no matter their political persuasion or opinion of war, shared the same feeling when they looked at those soldiers. Guilt. For the ones who drank the Bush Cool Aid, I think it was guilt that these young men and women had to sacrifice and risk so much to "protect us." Hero's make us feel guilty, they are doing something and we are not. You are flying to Dallas for an insurance seminar, and these guys have been out "fighting for freedom" For others, maybe me, it was a different kind of guilt. It's the kind you feel when they show burn victims or horribly disfigured people on the Maury Povich show, it was the feeling of "Damn I'm glad that's not me." Or maybe my guilt was because I assumed all the soldiers thought their mission in Iraq was important and just, and who am I to tell people who get shot at, that I think they shouldn't be there. My father-in-law is retired military. Once he talked to me about the possibility of my son joining the military when he's older. I told him I hope he doesn't. He looked at me like I was Michael Moore. I told him I hope my son does something that celebrates the best of humanity, not the worst. It was a nice answer but really I don't want my son to join the military because I love him. If I could keep him 3 forever I would. I don't want him to learn about death and evil and pain and violence and failure. I don't want him to see what those soldiers on the plane have seen. I want the rest of his life to be like now. I want to be able to turn the TV off when there is something he can't handle on, and put on a Sponge Bob video. He remembered a dream today. When he woke up from his nap he said "Daddy I was bringing the babies a ball." I hope no one on a plane ever claps for him.