When we demonstrated against the Vietnam war and our country’s escalating involvement, we thought we were in a morally defensible position. Then when opposition became too big a political risk and peace talks evolved, the memoirs and books and movies started coming out. As I read and watched my share it became obvious that we knew only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, when we took a stand years before, and now there was vindication, of sorts. A returning soldier, an acquaintance of mine at college seemed socially awkward, cringing away from the crowds and now that we understand so much more about PTSD, no wonder.
The human toll, we thought, was inexcusable. The ecological disaster WE created, by the use of Agent Orange also outside toleration. Again years later, the full toll for the chemical became known when people like my friend G, mom to a daughter born disabled but without a known named condition, was told of the link to the exposure in Vietnam undergone by her husband, father to their disabled daughter.
Yesterday Nate and I went to the movies, another bout of extreme weather to keep us home-bound coming our way. I went to see a war movie, needing to know about this current situation our soldiers are involved in, and the form of it. The answer, sadly, encompasses human failures and all manner of emotions; many of which are negative. In a comment to a post about the “elders” rape of a village woman that occurred last week in India, these words were used to describe the backlash; “a vigilante culture.”
Yes, I agree that could be one response. A very scary one at that.
Going to war as a way of jump-starting the economy, increasing manufacture of jeeps and rocket launchers, uniforms and boots, is, in my opinion, insane. And this current effort makes me wonder if we aren’t shooting ourselves in the foot; giving our enemies plenty of fodder for hatred and proliferation of war against us.
The other day a man with crutches was waiting for the bus 2 blocks from my home. The wind blowing and the temperature well below seasonal average, I stopped and gave him a ride. He hopped to my car and explained he’d been hit by a car, the driver never stopping to assess the human damage. To me it always comes down to this; the macro mimics the micro. If one person cannot be kind or get along with another person, how can we expect more from one country to another? Or one political party to another? Or one race of people to another? Or … ???
Something to think about on this extremely cold, [wind chill well below zero] day.
*All pictures from google images in the public domain. Image #1 WorldAtlas.com, #2 TheAtlantic.com, #3 from 1968, NYU archives.
**The title of this post is a song title and anti-war lyrics written by Whitfield and Strong for Motown in 1969. Sung by Edwin Starr, it became the theme of the protest movement against Vietnam.