I, for one, am glad to see this happening, glad to see the end of it:
Now, we need to get all of our troops out of Afghanistan, stop acting like we are the global police force, and begin to lead the world by example from within.
Let the strident hawks be strident still. There is a time for war and a time for peace. I say the time for peace is now... and maybe forever more.
peace peace peace peace peace peace peace, and more peace.
Well then. Two people are happy.
My goodness. Not enough for a ticker tape parade, but then... we don't do those anymore. Not for returning soldiers anyway. Pretty soon, nobody will even remember there was a war in Iraq.
Won't that be pleasant?
I'll join your ticker tape parade for any cause, James, but extremely enthusiastically for peace, peace in all parts of the world.
When I think of the Iraq war, I think of '91 and the stay during most of the '90s, and the resurgence under W. I remember W. went in defiance of int'l law to accomplish it, that it was a bullying tactic in the region, that the U.S. attacked a country that had never once shot at a U.S. plane during 12 years of fly overs, a country that had not caused 911. I read that Iraq in '91 was on the verge of first world status. I read that 1 million Iraqi civilians were killed. Perhaps someone at Fictionaut has a source for that sort of information. It seems it's not on the nightly news. U.S. civilians did not kill 1 million Iraqi civilians. What does it mean that that set of wars is over?
Andrew, peace is as good a reason as I can think of for a ticker tape parade. Maybe the true reason we don't have them anymore is 'cause there's no more tickers? Either way... and no matter who sent them over there or why, I'm happy to see American soldiers coming home from Iraq.
I am happy for those who are coming home, sad for those who are wounded in body, mind and spirit. If we would only bring them all home.
it's preferable that the occupation of iraq end...that we can all perhaps agree on...
but rejoicing? for what?
the absurdity of the adventure from jump, the massive destruction it entailed for the iraqi people and the other, quite profound, damages it inflicted on the united states itself in terms of lost legitimacy internationally and internally (think there's no connection between the present set of crises and the damage done to us imperial power by the iraq debacle? think again...) make this, i would think, something to simply end. nothing to celebrate. it was a debacle.
even peace is not a likely outcome if you look at what the maliki government is and does and what the situation in iraq might no look like.. and the illusion that we bring peace brings with it a kind of justification. there isn't any for this.
and no-one has been or will be held to account for it.
this is a good little summary:
Thank you for posting this, James!!! It's way overdue!!! Time to get our asses out of places we never belonged!!! Peace, peace and peace!!!! I want them all back home and I worry, like MaryAnne, said about what they're coming back to. Not many great stories of how the soldiers come home to no support!! Despicable!!!
Can't rain on my parade. I'm rejoicing over the fact that our soldiers are coming home from Iraq. Don't need an inventory of the horrors of the Iraq war for both Americans and Iraqis. And I already know who and what to blame for our soldiers being there in the first place.
I'll rejoice now in spite of all that.
This is me waving my little flag... not for the purpose of a "Mission Accomplished," but for the joy that... for these our soldiers, at least, it's history.
For those of you who are angry and want to do something to end the senseless war, (We're still in Afghanistan, eh?) you can send emails, letters, or make phone calls to your congressman and senator. Need contact data? Go to:
If they don't do the right thing? Vote for someone who will. Get involved at whatever level and to what extent that you can. Democracy only works when the people exercise their options.
In the meantime... if you see someone who's back from Iraq? Know that he or she did not start the war. Know that they are just flesh and blood people like you and me. Maybe you could welcome them back and maybe you could even help some of them make the transition to life Stateside. It's not easy coming back, but be glad they are. They're us.
JLD, they are not "us." They are like some of us, but not like all of us. They are personnel. I am not personnel. I wish I were personnel teaching English with my extra impressive credentials, but funding conditions discourage hiring teachers. It helps me to see today's vets not as heroes, but as people on the payroll. They signed up perhaps out of family tradition or poverty of opportunity or to experience war or gain health insurance and other benefits that will last a lifetime. The democratic process of electing leaders seems broken by banks, by a war economy, and by misguided intentions around the globe. I send money each year to the Vietnam Vets and Paralyzed Vets but I throw away come ons from Gulf War Vets.
I have two brothers who fought in Vietnam. Luckily they both came home. One in mind and body and with a silver star and the other not so much. He was a medic on the front lines. When I asked him what happened to him over there he said,"I couldn't take seeing one more blown up kid." Friends of mine died there as well.Guys I went to school with. I never went to war because my lottery number was too high.People tell me I was damned lucky. Don't I know it.I still have my draft card in my wallet. When I worked on campus one of my jobs was helping the vets get their books and supplies for school. I always started out by shaking their hands.None of this means I believe in war. It means I've been touched by war.I'm happy to see American soldiers alive, but Peace is better than hate.
i find the mythology of the soldier coming back from vietnam who was spit on by "hippies" in one place or another that keeps moving around largely because researchers can't seem to find any evidence that it actually happened (outside of cheap rambo-like revenge fantasy novels) is pretty condescending stuff.
obviously no-one here is inventing it.
it presupposes some imaginary trade-off between political opposition to a war--and there was every reason to find the iraq war to be lunacy---and empathy for the lot of the individual people who found themselves as a function of having signed control over their lives away deployed and put into harm's way. but there's no such trade-off necessarily.
but it's entirely possible to have empathy for the individuals damaged by this imperial debacle and nothing but contempt for the political viewpoint that put them in that position to begin with.
and the fact is that the right has used this vietnam syndrome mythology to arrogate to itself an association with the "regular soldiers" (and national guardsmen since reagan). which is strange given that (a) the right is responsible for this debacle. it is wholly and entirely responsible for it. and (b) you'd think that if all this empathy with the average soldier was more than a meme that the right wouldn't have been so cavalier to commit troops to iraq with no plan beyond the wolfowitz "strategy" and no justification beyond the neo-con dreamtime outlined by the project for a new american century. but (c) you'd also think they'd be less cavalier about cutting finding for the veteran's administration and other, related medical and psychological services.
it's also possible to have compassion for the estimated one million iraqi civilians killed since the glorious liberation came. but that seems to me a whole lot harder to get to across this tawdry vietnam syndrome mythology, which is in the end just another story of (conservative) victimization from the right, which has made such things its stock and trade.
i mention the associations between the vietnam syndrome mythology and the political right for empirically justifiable reasons in the broader scheme of things---but the reason i mention it here is that it's been invoked twice above, with predictable results. so as a story, it's false. as a political meme, it does nothing constructive,nothing that helps understand something like iraq and the damage it has done to **Everyone** whose misfortune it was to get tangled up in the neo-con pipe-dream of being global military hegemon at the expense of the united nations and whole multi-lateral form of global co-operation more generally.
i also look forward to the end of the afghanistan war and find myself concerned by the multiplication of reports of involvement in pakistan. all this after al-quaeda has been declared operationally destroyed. so the "war on terror" should be over. but somehow it's not. sometimes i wonder if it ever will end, or whether it's the new cold war, the new endlessly renewable horizon that will bring giant resource allocations to the national-security state well into any given future.
Stephen--I agree with you about the mythologizing. What I've found is that within each circle is another circle. There are people out there who want war simply because they love it so much-- with all their hearts--they love everything about it.They obviously love it more than anything or anyone else. It makes money for the big boys by the boatloads for one thing. Nevermind that the price is in lives lost forever. We need to as a world population get out of this mindset that war is anything but out and out horrible. It's a cloud of killing. And it's more often than not sold to the public through fear and manipulation of the facts--weapons of mass destruction anyone? But let's be clear about one thing--the body of the war is made up mostly of young people, brainwashed or not, who are trying to survive one more day in hell without losing what little they do have in this world.Hate isn't going to change their minds.We're all aware the politicians don't go to war--they send someone else's children to war for them.And if you do have the compassion you're calling for it's got to be inclusive, not exclusive, crosshairs for all life on the planet threatened by the violence, past and future. What I'm trying to say is don't throw a blanket over these kids and lump them all together with the policy makers like it's their fault in the first place.It's not fair. And innocent Iraqi's dying is not fair. And school children going off to war instead of class is not fair. And twin towers being blown up by airplanes is not fair.I mention my own Vietnam story because it's true and closer to home than anything else I could think of. I wouldn't want to be a soldier.But I'm pretty sure Hitler was an asshole.