Forever War

5 10 2009

collage tintI remember it like it was yesterday – or maybe today. That usual nice Sunday evening. We had gone over to my parents to visit awhile. They had invited us to stay for dinner and so me, my husband and our children had opted to stay for a quick dinner. It was pleasant and fun for all. Our children were young, too young for battle. The Vietnam War had been raging on for awhile. We all hated that War. Even today, there is never any agreement that we should have been there or done anything in that region of the world at all. We had all had enough War to last us for awhile. But seems that some men never get enough of war. Our politicians just keep right on planning one war after another, over and over again. There was the World War I before my time. But I have heard my parents and grandparents talk about that War to end all Wars. And then after that was the Great Depression which I have also heard my parents talk about. And then about the time people recovered from a little bit of that or perhaps to help the people recover from that, we had the great World War II. That one war was enough to last me for the rest of my life.  I was not very old, but do remember many of the pictures and battles from that one. And then here we come right after that with the Korean Conflict – didn’t want to call it a war at that time. And right on the heels of that ‘conflict’ was the Vietnam War. Enough!!!!

I was listening to a history tape the other day wherein Winston Churchill bemoaned the fact that War had lost its glamour. It was no longer a gentlemen’s game. No longer a place where young gentlemen were honed into wiser old gentlemen who could then sit around with their drinks and cigars and talk about the old days, the glamourous days of their particular war. Their necessary war.

But this particular Sunday evening, we all settled down in the living room after dinner to watch the President of the United States make an important speech about the War in Vietnam. We were all expecting he would say it was over and the men – those that were left – were coming home at last. I was much more tuned into raising my family than I was in the upcoming speech, but I sat down to watch anyway. And then here he came, the President of the United States. He cleared his throat like he always did when he wanted to say something  important. And then he dropped the bomb of the century. He had sent more troops into Vietnam. A lot more troops. And bombers. And all the other stuff that goes into the making of Wars.

All my family, my parents, and my own small family were speechless. How could he do this to us? How could he continue to send our young  men into harm’s way and sit there like it was nothing. How could he possibly justify any of this. And then the short speech was over.  My Dad had been a staunch Democrat all his life. But now, he just got up from his chair and walked out of the room. He had nothing to say in support of the President like he usually would have. There was just nothing to say at all. Not by any of us.

When we did finally regain our composure, we all agreed that we could not understand how any of this could be done. Didn’t make any sense to  us. And we must have been representative of all the other households in our country that Sunday evening. Almost everyone  that we talked to was against the War. None of us agreed that our young men should be sent over and over into that hell of a place way on the other side of the world. We had nothing to gain there and an awful lot to lose. Why was our President doing this awful thing to us again and again.

And then on this Sunday evening many years later, I am watching the news and hear that our current President of the United States is considering sending thousands more troops into Afghanistan. To be slaughtered for no gain once again? The news also gave the tally for today’s fighting. Seems there were eight killed today. Just think of those eight mothers and wives who will mourn every day of their lives on this earth. Think of the tears shed over and over again. Think of that gaping hole left in their lives and in their families. Think of the children left fatherless. And then explain to me once again why we need another War. Why send more troops into that place of horrors full of rocks and mountains where our men will have to fight and defend a position that none of us is quite sure of.

I agree wholeheartedly in protecting our country from terroristic activity. I think our borders should be made more secure. And our agencies should be allowed to do their jobs to find these terrorists and convict them and get them off the streets and out of our country. But I do not think Afghanistan is worth the life of even one of our young men. Protect us at home. That is where we are. Bring our young men home. Get out of Afghanistan. Stop fighting one war after another in this world. It is time for the so-called necessary wars to become unnecessary.

And maybe, just maybe it is time for all of us to pray more and fight less.