Bury My Iowa Heart at Wounded Knee

I was doing a channel flip tonight. Bouncing back and forth between 60 Minutes, ( and it's terrific piece on the soldiers from the Iowa National Guard, and HBO's Dick Wolf special; "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee." (

Watching the Iowa soldier come home and hug his new born infant baby wearing the Santa Hat, watching the wife of the soldier who burst into tears at the thought of her husband's tour being extended another 120 days, or the son of the soldier who stared at his mother when she told him about the 'surge' and his head collapsing in his mother's arms... flashing back to the death of Sitting Bull, the mindless violence perpetrated on the Sioux nation in the name of nation building, the vast amounts of suffering that went on with the native American people, who wanted nothing more than to live out their days on their own property, and the government doing its best to make that not happy.

Do we learn nothing as a nation? Do we learn nothing as human beings? When did war become the first resort instead of the last one? Are we really better off as a nation for attacking a nation that had nothing to do with why we went to war in the first place? Weren't we going over to catch Osama? And then weren't we over there to get rid of Saddam? Well, Saddam is gone. Osama is alive and kicking. What are we doing in Iraq anyways? The same thing we were doing in Wounded Knee.

It was so sad to see the Iowa national guard father, serving with his son in Iraq, whose wife is going crazy back home - but who is angry that people in the US are fed up with the war in Iraq - he explains because after the events of 9/11, how the nation had banded together to go and find those responsible for who perpetrated those events, and how our country has lost interest in doing so - and the 60 minutes reporter not pointing out that the people of Iraq, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, and we had no business going into that country, and have no business being there now. And that father standing next to his son, who also puts his life on the line every day, because our leaders sent them there together to hunt down the perpetrators of 9/11 - when it knew full well that they weren't in Iraq, they had nothing to do with Iraq.

The administration argues that Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Well, they certainly weren't there before. And who are they talking about? The radical Saudis who are lining up to fight us in Iraq? That Al Qaeda? The only reason Al Qaeda is in Iraq is because we're in Iraq. And once we're out of Iraq they aren't going to come here - they're going to go after our assets in the middle east. So why aren't we pouring our troops into Afghanistan where the Taliban is regrouping with the help of Al Qaeda? You think the Shia militia are going to tolerate Al Qaeda telling them what to do? Or the Sunni militias? These are the same guys who fought Iran for over a decade. You think they fear Al Qaeda? Al Qaeda will go back to Afghanistan the day we leave Iraq. And they'll plot more attacks on the U.S. because they know that we don't follow up what we say we're going to do. We said we were going after Osama, Zawahiri, even Mullah Omar. Then Bush said "I don't think much about Osama anymore." Then Bush last week said "Osama is trying to regroup in Iraq." Hey! I thought you didn't care much about him? When our dear misguided President makes up his mind, will someone let the nation know?

The War on Terror is such a bumper sticker, a misnomer. Like the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. If you declare War on something that is shape shifting - something that you can define to your own likes and dislikes - how about "We are a nation of laws, and we have a Constitution, and we will protect it and its citizens ruthlessly, and anyone who attacks us, we will hunt down and bring to justice.. by the laws that have founded our country." Why isn't that just as strong as the "war on terrorists?" Why can't we arrest people who've done a crime and put them on trial? People in England are doing it - they've arrested the terrorists, and have put in a zillion cameras to keep an eye on people, and have figured out how to track down those who might attack their country, and are vigorously stopping them. Their nation doesn't throw out the Magna Carta the day after the subway bombings - my English friends remind me that they lived through the IRA bomb blasts in London for a number of years, and managed to sort that out in the end.

It just strikes me as incredibly stupid that we haven't learned any lessons from our mistakes. Whether they were in Vietnam, or in Wounded Knee. We just don't have a clue about other people's cultures, and we tend to through them all into the same pot. We have this paternalistic attitude about Iraqis where he assume that if we left their country it would go up in smoke - that their 10,000 year old civilization would just dematerialize into a blood bath, over run by Iran on its way to destroy Saudi Arabia. We have got to be the most egocentric nation on the planet. Either that, or the greediest, willing to sacrifice anyone on the altar of oil.

Anyways, I feel bad for those poor National Guardsmen who signed up to seek revenge for 9/11, and were sent in completely the wrong direction. And now they and their families have to suffer another 3 months fighting this ridiculous civil war. It's the equivalent of us attacking China after Pearl Harbor. We assume they must all be on the same wavelength, because after all, they're Asians. And here we are, fighting a war in the wrong country, making families suffer here and abroad, whether it's the world accepted number of 650K dead in Iraq from all the devastation of War, or if it's the US figure about 'oh, about 60K' or so. Thousands of our soldiers are dead fighting in the absolute wrong theater, and many thousands are wounded, and many more will be psychologically damaged by the time they get back. So my final thought for this Memorial Day; For those veterans who now make up something around 70% of the homeless people in America - move over, there's a whole new generation of soldiers who will be denied treatment, ignored by the government, and will wind up joining you on the streets.

my two cents.

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