Wednesday, December 20, 2006

City of Lights

I am sad and tired and angry and determined.

I knew I was going to have to do this impossible thing, like walking through a stone wall a mile wide, and I decided that the only way to get through to the end was to start out with as much momentum as possible. So I ran at the damn thing as hard as I could, because I've got to get as far as I can before I really feel the impact, so that momentum can carry me through to the other side. If I stop now to understand just how bad it feels, I'll never be able to take another step.

I read today that Bush was floating the idea (which I think McCain originally thought of --- I generally respect him, but this was truly stupid) of bulking up troop level in Iraq by another 20,000 or so. Damn these stupid feebs, troops are not rifles or field packs or MREs, troops are PEOPLE, wives and husbands and fathers and mothers, or daughters and sons and brothers and sisters. Every single person who is snatched up out of their lives and thrown into that maelstrom is beloved of someone, and the sacrifice of this time from their lives and of their safety and the wholeness of their bodies, the sacrifice of the bleeding holes each of them leaves in the lives of the families they left, HAS to be for some purpose. Right now, there is no plan, no mission for the Americans who are deployed, fulfilling the promises made by their president. There HAS to be a workable plan, first, for the way that these extra lives are going to make the lives of the people in Iraq better, before the sacrifice of their time (and blood) in Iraq makes sense.

I want this to end well. One of my favorite Arabic language teachers was Iraqi, and (many years ago) he described Baghdad as the Paris of the Gulf, full of cafes and artists and intellectuals on the banks of a river from the morning of human history. Palm trees and cool evenings and endless lights. I so much wanted to see this Baghdad; if I believed that the wall I am fighting through now would ultimately restore that place to the world, I could swallow my sadness because I would be thinking of my teacher and his brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, finally able to rebuild their city of lights.

This is my demand. For my heartache, I want the city of lights. I want to mourn the absence of my husband, my children's father, knowing that I am letting a woman in Iraq sleep knowing that her husband, her children's father, is safer. I demand this. And this is not what is happening. So I demand a better solution, a new idea.