In this post at Tiny Cat Pants, Aunt B. ruminates wonderfully about a group of young people she saw on their way to basic training (and, in some cases, likely off to Iraq). I suggest you read the post for yourself.

If you happen to slog through the comments, I apologize for my part in that. A couple of right-wingers decided to take Aunt B.’s post out of context and use it as a springboard for the regurgitation of typically vile right-wing talking points. Instead of ignoring the first asshole to chime in, I attempted to set him straight (impossible, because first you have to counteract the winger’s attempt to redefine reality, and that takes up so much space and leaves the whole shebang vulnerable to a predictable digression into tangents that force you to deflect more right-wing talking points).

Anyway, as atonement for my well-meaning misdeed I offer a series of possible answers to Aunt B.’s closing series of questions:

America, is this the best we can do?

I’m so tired of talking about the war in Iraq like it’s just a matter of us staying there long enough to keep the country from descending into civil war, when really it’s a matter of asking whether what we’re doing in Iraq is worth the cost to us. Are we really prepared to send these kids to their deaths over Iraq?

I guess we are. In that case, how could I look any of them in the face?

Aunt B., I don’t believe it is the best that we can do, but we seem to be insufficiently motivated to do better; some of us are so wickedly stupid that we think it a good idea to dig our hole even deeper.

Instead of wondering how we can look them in the face, Aunt B., I suggest we go one better: we can listen to them. In The Nation magazine, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian do just that. Their report is here. At Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez pick up on the Nation article by interviewing some of the soldiers involved.

The soldiers from the last imperial occupation tried to tell us, but we would not listen. Instead, too many of us bought into the vile propaganda being disseminated by the masters of that war. Some of us still hold that propaganda as gospel. But in this Iraq mess there is no Jane Fonda to smear; there are no dope-smoking hippies to scapegoat. There is just a criminally arrogant executive branch, a complicit Congress, and an electorate (“we the people”) that seems not to care enough to put a stop to the bloodshed and brutality.

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