I'm a Chickenhawk
That's right--I wanted America to go to war, and then I, a man of military age, did NOT serve--and my decision allowed thousands of brave young men and women to die fighting in my place.
I still have a certain sense of profound guilt about that--a sense of guilt that I am certain Republican chickenhawks do not share--especially on Memorial Day, when we commemorate those who died fighting for America (or at least what the American Government told them was for America) in wars just and unjust alike.
I do take some consolation--and some alleviation of my guilt--from this one fact, however: My reason for not signing up has been proven absolutely, 100% percent justified.
I didn't enlist because George W. Bush was my Commander-in-Chief. I didn't trust the man any farther than I could throw him. And I wasn't wrong.
You see, I was ALL for the invasion of Afghanistan. Even before 9/11. And I still am--in spite of the terrible, ugly mess that Bush has made of it.
I couldn't not be. Just as I advocate U.N. intervention in Darfur today, I advocated for U.N. intervention in Afghanistan in late 2000 and early 2001--and I knew that U.N. intervention would only come at the tip of an American spear.
There were so many reasons to intervene: misogynist and other horrific atrocities were being perpetrated at an increasingly alarming rate (to see links with pictures of what I was talking about, just visit this page from the website of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, with whose site I was obsessed well before 9/11); cultural artifacts like the Bamayan Buddhas were being destroyed despite worldwide protest; Osama Bin Laden was there we knew he was training terrorists; and there was much more. I remember several long nights of me perusing the RAWA site on the family computer, and my father asking me just why I cared so much. I told him that not only was it a question of human dignity, but our very security was at risk as well. And I was right.
And then came 9/11. Though I didn't personally know any of the victims, the evil tragedy affected me very deeply in other ways. A friend of mine was touristing the tops of the towers on September 10th; I worked at the time in a Los Angeles high-rise which had to be evacuated.
I was fairly certain who was responsible for the crimes of 9/11--and when my suspicions were confirmed, all of the seething rage that I had been carrying against the Taliban crystalized into a single focus point: I wanted to exact my revenge on the Taliban--not just for this, but for this and this. [WARNING: The last link contains graphic photos of Taliban brutality.]
So I wanted to enlist. But I didn't.
You see, when most of the country saw Bush pick up that bullhorn, they were filled with confidence. His approval shot up to the 80s, the 90s, whatever it was.
I was filled with the dread of certain doom.
You see, during the 2000 election I had learned everything there was to know about Bush (in spite of the media's refusal to report much evil about the man).
I learned that his campaigns (guided by Rove) were brutal, deceitful and underhanded.
I learned that his IQ wasn't exactly up to par.
I learned that he was a bumbling incompetent, whose modus operandi ever since "Arbusto" was to run an operation into the ground, get bored, get bailed out, and then run the nextoperation into the ground.
I learned that he was obsessed with getting rid of Saddam Hussein, at whatever the cost.
I learned that he was a Christian evangelist dry-drunk.
And I learned that he was all of the oil, by the oil, and for the oil.
And I knew that he would be my boss if I enlisted. The very worst boss type in the world: the incompetent egomaniac with a mean streak.
I knew that he would probably botch the action in Afghanistan--though I had no idea that he would actually let the man who perpetrated the attacks slip through our fingers. And I knew that war with Iraq would probably follow on its heels--though I had no idea just how bad it would get.
So I stepped back from the brink in those heady days after 9/11.
I said NO to America's call to service--because I knew that my life's blood would not be dedicated to serving America (or Afghanistan), but rather wasted as this cipher of a man played his little game of Risk on the world stage for politically calculated ends.
And now other Americans have died in my place: 2464 of them, to be exact. (And I do not ignore here the 40,000 or so Iraqi deaths, but on this Memorial Day I want to concentrate on American casualties--if only for just this one day.)
Because I am a chickenhawk. Because I wanted to invade Afghanistan, but I wouldn't do it serving under these criminals. Because I knew better than to believe in this Administration's goodwill or competence.
And so, I want to close with a giant THANK YOU to the men and women who have served in my place.
And a giant FUCK YOU to George Bush: the asshole who sent them to die in vain in a hurricane of incompetence and misguided greed.
The man who made me the chickenhawk I am today.
[cross-posted at the Daily Kos]