Since I am a member of the human race, naturally, I feel the need to run my mouth regarding the current war in Iraq. Well, not really...honestly, I hate it when people run their mouth about politics. Sorry, but I do. If you ain't making the decisions, shut up. At least in public, or at work. I teach at a public school, so that kind of covers both bases...and you can imagine the tenor of conversation in our staffroom. I guess I'm kind of a moderate, or, as I have recently decided, a Demican (insert uproarious laughter here), so I just make very non-committal "mm-hm" noises whenever the topic arises.
What I do know is this: I have students who have loved ones (brothers, cousins, the ilk) who are presently...well, we don't know where they are presently. But it's definitely somewhere on, near, or over the Iraqi border. And I find myself in the position of trying to come up with comforting words for a scared thirteen-year-old, while still maintaining a neutral position. Ironically, as a social studies teacher, discussing personal politics is considered rather tacky and inappropriate. Go figure.
And to tell you the truth, I don't really know what my personal politics are on this one. Do I wish there was no such thing as war? You bet. Do I think Hussein is a meglomaniacal nutter? You bet, I remember the first Persian Gulf war well. Do I think this whole war thing was handled well? I don't know. Do I think our troops deserve our moral support, at the very least? You better damn well believe it. If someone is willing to risk their hide so that I can sit complacently in my cozy den, watching them on my nice large television, they are welcome to my unconditional backing. Which is not, let me hasten to assure knee-jerk activists out there, the same thing as backing the current administration or policies.
I do know that military history has always interested me, but more from a social historian's perspective...what is life like for your average grunt, cannon fodder, teenager pulling themselves out of distressed socio-economic circumstances. This particular musing comes back to me full force tonight, as I wonder whether or not the inanities I murmured to my concerned and confused students today did more harm than good; what their brothers, cousins, childhood crushes are experiencing right now; what is going to be the eventual outcome of all this.
Looks like I did end up running my mouth, for which I apologize. But for what it's worth, just remember that there are scared thirteen-year-olds who want their brothers to come home safely. Take from this whatever position you will.
by at March 20, 2003 8:08 PM