As the year passed, and another mother who's son was killed in Iraq paid a visit to the President at his Crawford ranch, she had a quite different message to bring; generating front and center discussion and dialogue of the Iraq war.
As the year passed, a courageous Congressman, a 37 yr career and decorated Marine and a respected Congressman for 30 years came out front and center with his message 'Redeploy the troops out of Iraq".
As the year passed and the President's approval rating of his handling of the war has spiralled into the 30 % range, what the President; the Commander-in-Chief will say tonight in the SOTU while the Iraq war moves into third year will likely be more of the same, but sadly I will have to listen since he as Commander-in-Chief does hold the 'mission' (read lives) of our deployed troops (x 2, 3, 4, 5 repeat deployments) in his hands.
American Principles, SOTU 2005
written 02-03-05, by Lietta Ruger
Having watched the State of the Union speech last night, I find myself in a peculiar state of being today. While the news goes on and on about the emotional and moving tribute to the Iraqi woman who was thankful to be able to vote and the parents of a soldier killed in
I could rant, but I don't think I will. First the Iraqi woman was strictly photo-op PR stuff, as she hasn't been in
It was said at the SOTU that her father was killed during the Saddam regime. Be it reported that the children of men and women, both our troops and the Iraqis now being killed (and tragically maimed) in
I take no consolation in the Iraqi woman who lost her father being used as promo for the supposed victory of
Second and way more difficult to reconcile, was the parents of soldier killed in
With President Bush, it is not authentic, it usually leaves me feeling slimed and dirty, like someone has just capitalized on personal trauma to their own advantage and re-traumatized the victims. With so many military families speaking out now and speaking a different military ground truth, it was opportune for the President to find a grieving military family willing to appear at his SOTU and permit their loss, their son's life to be shown as a patriotic and courageous cause. I can't, don't, and won't find fault with these parents who live with the loss of their son's life and will live that loss all their days.
What has been a proud tradition for military and military families, one they cherish and hold dear, as do I, is the ability to honor the sacrifices in knowing from inside the culture how much was sacrificed. It is this authentic tradition that has meaning for the troops and their families in ways personal to each of them. As I watch that very tradition usurped to aggrandize a flawed man in President Bush, my soul weeps and bleeds for our nation, for our troops, for their families, for the Iraqi people who have experienced the carnage and destruction in having their own families decimated in war.
I think what is sometimes more difficult to assimilate though, is that so many American citizens are willing to make hoopla of the misleading propaganda. It becomes increasingly more clear day by day that what is practically irrefutable and knowledge-based information, on which the President makes his bold decisions, will at a later date shortly down the road prove to be deceptive and unfounded knowledge or intelligence. Showing loyalty to this President is not a form of patriotism, or for that matter loyalty to American principles. Or is it?
What are American principles if what I am witnessing today is representative of the popular view? Have I deluded myself over my many years into believing a premise of the potential of
When in my young years as a new bride to my high-school sweetheart, we watched and marked time knowing the draft was in place and there was strong likelihood he would be drafted, his lottery number would be picked next. His number was picked, he went, and I chose to have my first pregnancy much sooner than we planned. If the death of my then young husband was to be an outcome, I wanted our child as a legacy to his life. I didn't join the protests of the sixties, as I was in that peculiar place of being a military family and of the military culture, one which esteems the military rule of discipline. Yet I was grateful that other voices were speaking out as it cast the questionable ness of the Vietnam War into a public dialogue. While I didn't always agree with the forms the protests took, nor even with many of the kinds of people protesting, I still valued that their ability to point out discrepancies did open the dialogue and minds in our nation.
I was of the generation of the fifties, and never quite fully made it into the rebelliousness of the sixties. I looked to the adult generation, as I was taught and trained to do with a certain amount of respect. And I looked to the leaders of our nation as Leaders. The assassination of John F. Kennedy, followed by assassination of Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy was a wake-up call from which I have never fully recovered. It seemed that Leaders who chose to actually Lead were an unwanted commodity in our country. By the time of
When my then young husband had to make his own choice and decision about
But I'm an older version of my younger self these days, and not unlike the unrest of the sixties, I find my own unrest with how this President is choosing to spend the lives of my young in a mission not well identified as clearly defined. Rather it seems to morph from it's origins as the deceptive information is revealed and a new definition gets assigned to why we are there. It is a recognizable pattern and it is reasonable to expect those definitions of what the mission is and will become to get re-defined each time we learn of a new deception by this administration.
I did not agree that a knee-jerk reaction to 911 was a rush to war. Since our President made that choice and decision, I had the dilemma of choosing how to support our own loved ones as they went into combat. My heart screamed No, and the sage in my own background in military life came forward to remind me of some old military principles. Out of respect for our new young warriors, I kept a silence as I watched neighbors and citizens move into a spirited patriotism, careful to thank the troops and not forget the lessons of
Yet they did forget the lessons of
I choose not to delude myself, nor buy the propaganda. Rather I choose to see it for what it is and wonder at my incredible young naiveté when I was the young wife of a soldier and wanted to believe in my country, believe in my country's Leadership, believe in a wisdom that was beyond my every-day knowledge. Believe in spite of what was before my very eyes and ears as our country prolonged a war in
Now I'm a mother and a grandmother looking to my children and their children's future. I gave them the "rules" to living life as I knew them for myself and learned them along my own young and adult life. Now I find those life rules no longer seem to apply as the President goes about the process of re-arranging not only our country but the world in what seems to be a model known only to himself and some few insiders. Oh I know what the other half say or repeat verbatim as their own set of talking points and to listen to them, one might believe they believe what they are saying. Yet I wonder in their hearts, in those quiet moments, if doubts stir and rattle about and threaten to not be quelled so easily by those very talking points. I wonder if they have to force those nagging hints that all is not well into a subdued silence as the doubts suggest the talking points might be superficial, might be propaganda, might not be the whole cloth of reality.
Bless those parents who decided to go to the President's SOTU and who have now the memory of their child. Bless the Iraqi woman who had the opportunity in her lifetime to vote in an
Facing our future is not done easily by hiding truths in exploitation and propaganda. For my own two loved ones, who will return to
Feb. 03, 2005