Tobacco Road Fogey

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Thursday, March 20, 2003

A question... all of the protesters in San Francisco, Austin, TX, Washington, DC, and other places:

If you are arrested by the local police in the course of your civil disobedience, please note:

1. There are no acid tanks in your local jail into which you could be immersed.

2. You will not be subjected to electrical shocks to your genitals or other sensitive areas of your body.

3. When you are released from jail, you will still be able to lick an ice-cream cone or a lollypop, because your tongue will not have been severed from your mouth as a punishment for your anti-government statements of today.

4. Unless they were present with you and also committed acts of civil disobedience, your family members will not be arrested.

If you were a citizen of Baghdad or Basrah and had you attempted to do in one of those cities what you did in your city today, you probably would be facing any or all of the above, or possibly something even worse.

Yet you took the action you did today in protest against the quickest, most effective route to stop these horrors faced daily by the Iraqi people.

How can you love peace so much that you would condemn the Iraqi people to even one more day of this kind of treatment from their government?

Don't they deserve to have the same rights that you so thoroughly exercised today?

In my opinion, they do.

Have fun on the protest lines, folks.

At least you can.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Thoughts on the eve of war

I've never thought of myself as a warmonger. In the eyes of the antiwar folks, though, I became a warmonger on September 11, 2001.

I'll never forget the rage that coursed through me that September morning as I watched the WTC towers burn and collapse, remembering how long it took to clear those towers after the 1993 bombing and knowing that the towers hadn't stayed up long enough for everyone to get out.

That rage boiled up, unbidden, after watching multiple replays of the last seconds of the second plane crashing into the tower when it became undeniable that someone, unknown at the time, aimed that plane at that tower as an improvised missile -- a weapon of terrible destruction -- and that the other plane, in the other tower, and the plane that hit the Pentagon were all part of a premeditated strike against this country.

"They -- whoever they are -- started this war with us. Let's finish it -- and them -- with all of the fury and might that we can possibly muster. Who cares if they hate us, as long as they fear us? If they stick their heads up out of their holes, make sure that a bullet hits them, right between the eyes"

Those thoughts popped into my head during those September days. They still do, but not as often or as intensely as they did then.

Now, there are a quarter of a million warriors -- ours and those of our allies -- waiting, in the Kuwaiti desert and on ships in every sea surrounding the Middle East, for that final command, or for those final seconds before the execution of an already-given command, to force their way into a hostile land to destroy a regime that supports people like those who attacked us in September 2001.

I think of 9-11-2001 or of the bloody images from Israel that we see far too often, and I hope that our troops will strike a terrifying blow against the supporters of terrorism -- a blow so thunderous that the fanatics and those states which support them will pause in their murderous preparations long enough to consider the magnitude of the wrath that they are toying with and, perhaps, turn away from their evil path.

Yet, in the course of delivering that blow, those brave warriors will see and do things no one should ever have to call upon them to see and do, because the success of their mission depends on the effective delivery of death and destruction and horror to their enemies. Bodies and minds will be maimed or destroyed, and some of them will be those of our brave warriors.

My mind will be haunted by the images of these earnest and dedicated warriors that I've seen on my television for the past few weeks, knowing that they'll never be the same after the next few days and months. They and their families will pay the immediate price of the horrors ahead.

As far as I know, I don't personally know anyone who will fight this war, but I imagine that there probably is someone I don't realize is there.

But, for the next war -- and there will be one, since the enemy we fight is not just in Baghdad -- or possibly the one after that, my oldest son will be joining the survivors of this war to continue the fight against the onslaught of the madmen.

Those future comrades of my son will be his brothers on the battlefield, and that makes them my sons, as well.

May God watch over you and protect you, my sons. May your journey be swift and sure, and your path straight. And may you return safely to those of us that love and miss you so much. My prayers are with you all.

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