Why the Iraq War is a Local Issue

I've been hammering on this issue for so long, but Phil just made this great post on Olyblog that really summed it up.
Its incredibly frustrating for me to hear people complain about our local government addressing the war, arguing that it is not within their sphere of governance. As if we can draw some sort of iron curtain between something so huge as this conflict and our own individual lives. Like the war is something that exists only in imaginary places like Newsweek and blue maps of the globe. Don't people get it?
There is nothing in this world except localities, connecting to other localities, and when they form a huge web, and something huge enough happens that it touches many of the localities, we call that an "international issue". These places that we hear of in Iraq are all local. Tikrit is somebody's sweet little town. Fallujah is somebody's beloved city.
This is part of the beauty of the Blogosphere. There is something both so chilling and so real about the fact that you can read someone's diary from across the world. Not someone who's diary gets published by Penguin- but one regular person's undiscovered thoughts, among thousands. We are starting to get it that we live here together. Baghdad is not an imaginary place. And neither is Olympia.

Phil's post, titled Support Your Troops, originally posted on Olyblog:

In the last three years since the start of the Iraq War, it has become common to see anti-war protesters standing on opposing street corners from pro-war activists. Sometimes there are visible differences of clothing and hairstyles. Generally the differing worldviews, above and beyond opinions on the war, are strong enough that you can taste them.

Both sides, however, have latched onto one common slogan: “Support Our Troops!”

This slogan is bandied about on either side of the street as though the other side somehow doesn’t get it. In spite of their fervor many of the rally attendees have, no doubt, stepped over the bodies of disabled veterans while walking to the rallies.

I got a call the other day from the Ranger newspaper asking if Bread & Roses had seen any veterans from the Iraq War yet. We haven't. I had to be honest with the reporter. I told her that it takes time for troops' families to give up on them.

People come home from war totally mangled in mind, body, and spirit. In spite of all the sloganeering out there, the responsibility for the welfare of veterans ultimately falls on their families. Many, many families are unable to shoulder the responsibility. This doesn't make them bad or irresponsible, nor does it mean that they don't love their veteran. It DOES mean that taking care of a person who doesn't sleep at night, who suffers from flashbacks, who turns to alcohol for solace, and who becomes sorely irritable, even prone to fits of rage, is EXTREMELY difficult and should not fall on family alone. But it does fall on family alone, because everyone else is too busy sloganeering.

With time, the families give up. I know this because we at Bread & Roses have fed, sheltered, comforted, and advocated for veterans of every war from World War II to the Persian Gulf War. And we are criticized for it.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD often turn to alcohol or drugs to ward off bad memories, as well as to blunt their emotional response to being alienated from society. Imagine enduring the horrors of war for your nation, and then being left to rot in the gutter as a reward. You’d start drinking too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Support our troops?
Hold there hand when the wake up from a nightmare. help them relax after a car backfires in the neighboorhood.

or blindly follow the leader into war.

vets need doulas and somatic experiencing.

--isn't is obvious who

12:54 AM  

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