It's that time of year again; for six years now, I've been heading up north to play war with my buds. Paintball on privately owned land, with a group of friends I've had for 25+ years, is something I look forward to all year long.
Yes, we are playing war; even as our brave men and women overseas are in the shit for real. Lately they've been making headway, much to my quiet relief. My friends of course, they being of the Berkeley school of "War is bad NO MATTER WHAT" are aghast at my periodic e-mails expressing my relief that things are not completely awful right now.
Bush is a monster. The war is hopeless and unjust. Yaddah yaddah yaddah. That's fine and dandy. But what is continually perplexing to me, is the sinking feeling that my homies really want the United States to fail. I'll take that a step further, and say that the possibility of their being a positive outcome from this whole thing, for them - simply doesn't exist.
I can concede a lot to them. The war IS awful. I feel bad for the Iraqis, I feel bad for our troops, I feel bad for our country. I truly and frequently pray for all three. But my mind can't wrap around exactly why they always insist on not only seeing the glass half empty, but not even really acknowledging the glass at all.
In their eyes, the United States went into Iraq - from the get go, as profit seeking ransackers. Invading (not liberating) and plundering resources. Of course my friends conveniently forget that most all Democrat congress members, and all Democrat senators, voted to go into Iraq. But even when I remind them, the shrill "Bush lied!" is all I get.
Then they say they support the troops. "Okay, so you support the mission right?" This is when the needle gets pulled off the record.
"Well, no the war is wrong."
"Okay, the war is wrong, I get that - but you want our troops to win right?"
"This conflict is unwinnable."
Long pregnant pause on my end. "Okay, the war is wrong, the conflict is unwinnable, and you SUPPORT our troops?"
I know we all want peace. But am I crazy to think that it's not going to magically just happen? We can't sit by and wish for peace, and we certainly can't talk with fanatics.
Bush recently spoke about the potential parallels between the fallout of our withdrawal from Vietnam (systematic liquidation of millions) and what might happen if we are to cut and run. I mentioned this to my fellow Berkeleyans, and immediately received a six person lecture on how the anti-war movement of Vietnam bore ZERO responsibility for the Vietnamese/Cambodian genocide that erupted in the mid 1970's. I could certainly accept that the US governments presence in the first place, helped put events in motion - but history shows me quite clearly that it was the US brokered "peace agreement" and withdrawal that basically directly resulted in the horrific killings by Ho Chi Mhin and Pol Pot's forces.
Or maybe I'm just a right wing nut job.
Anyhoow, that will all be water under the proverbial bombed out bridge this labor day weekend. As I take to stalking and shooting my friends in the woods. At night, as the cards fly and the liquor flows, I will no doubt be subjected to more "lecturing" about the evils of our president and even the evils of our troops; the "torture" at Abu-graib and Gitmo, the "crimes" of our soldiers (gasp!) shooting unarmed men in the streets; which of course never happened in the "good" war -WW2.
I plan, as usual, to sit quietly and smile - lest I be subjected to a gang bang of stern finger pointing. And the subject will pass, and we will shuffle up and deal.