A clean, well-lit place to vent
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Re today's strip: As a 30-year Navy vet whose son served two tours in Iraq, I supported the war in Afghanistan from the begining and opposed the Iraq war at the same time. The true believers who still think that the Iraq war was justified by the vague threats and unsubstantiated rumors of the imminent danger of the so-called "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that Saddam supposedly had hidden somewhere in his country will never be convinced that the tyrant was a paper tiger. To get an idea how badly our intelligence was misled in the run-up to the war, just Google "Curveball" to see how an unemployed Baghdad tavxi driver managed to hornswoggle the Germans, the Brits and us into believing what the neocons wanted to believe. It was a pitiful exercise in futility.
Maybe some college professors are radical liberals who would never join the military, but most are just thoughtful, well-educated people who try to make their decisions based on the real information at hand. Seems you can't judge a book by its cover, nor a college professor by his tweed coat.
"...A view shared by many in my command.." Five days to set us up for this punch line! Well done GBT. Yet again you make your point through the complexities of the American experience. I am a college professor who, as a student, chose to protest the war in Vietnam in the sixties while four of my cousins chose to serve. My nephew served two tours in Iraq. I am ashamed that my government chose to borrow money from China to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq instead of asking the 99% of the citizens not in the military to accept a tax increase to pay for the wars.
With all due respect, I remember it differently. I opposed the war and pointed out that Powell's speech was riddled with errors if not outright lies. I wasn't alone in that. I also remember the largest protests in history marching in the cities of the world against the invasion. In real time, each of the Bush administrations excuses for going to war were debunked. If it's only in hindsight that people realize the invasion was wrong; it's because they weren't paying attention at the time.
With all the current Monday-morning quarterbacking and 20/20 hindsight, it might be helpful to remember what surrounded the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein and Iraq was a threat that needed to be eliminated -- the U.S., the British, the Germans, the French, everyone. The only real controversy at that time was what to do about it. I recall that the King of Jordan told Gen. Tommy Franks that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and would use them. Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, stated that Saddam Hussein's clear goal was to get control of the Middle East oil fields, and was probably within five years of being able to do so. Saddam Hussein himself told our interrogators after his capture that he did not have weapons of mass destruction, but that he had kept the minds and the means to make them. The decision to invade Iraq was a drawn-out and complicated process, and the American people are ill-served by the simplistic Bush lied/Cheney lied/Rice lied/Powell lied reductionism that we now hear.
Love today's strip. Everyone I know who served in Iraq thinks it was a mistake for us to be there. I'm sure this isn't a representative sample, but the public perception seems to be that the military are always supportive of any war that we're in. Not true...
Loved the punchline to today's strip. I recall going to a college garden party in about 2006, and I fell into conversation with the college's bursar, a rather peppery retired major. Somehow the subject of the war came up. I was in my early twenties, so when the bursar demanded to know what I thought of the Iraq war, I was rather intimidated. However, I didn't wish to lie, so I said bluntly, "I think it was a hare-brained military adventure we went into under false pretences, and we really shouldn't have done so." To which he replied "Damn right!" and proceeded to tell us, at length, how disquieted much of the Army brass was by the whole thing. Moral: don't assume that all military men are gung-ho hawks -- and equally, don't assume that people who don't support particular wars therefore don't support the troops.
Oh, nice. Just plain nice: spin and counter-spin. Yesterday you remind us that it's painful for vets to face the many bitterly reactionary liberal profs who do, indeed, exist. Then spinning it back to a prof who's a vet himself, from "their" arena? Oh, so nice. I am looking forward to something complex, nuanced, and subtle. Unlike our mainstream media news....
For the past forty years this has been the only real way for Canadians to understand American current events -- and history. Thank you.
Revisionist history. I too, had a rude reality check. I was back, in college, hanging at the library. I saw a kid come in, pick up a glossy rag on Viet Nam, and start thumbing through it. I couldn't help myself. I said, "I was there, you know. Three years of everything from Shore Patrol to Public Affairs." He looked at me, kinda funny, like I had interrupted his train of thought, and said, "S'okay. I can get all I need from this book here." And I thought to myself, "You can lead a horse..." Excellent portrait of Ray and BD. Excellent point on the sitting duck. Been there, too.
It is nice to see Doonesbury admitting that some college professors are radical liberals who would never be in the military.
p.s. Alaska has more military personnel (active and Veterans) per capita than any other state, and as such are pro-military. Tomorrow in Anchorage the military is having a "stand down" where veterans who are street people can get help with their problems. This is supported by the state, the city, local businesses and the general population. I have volunteered to transport Veterans to various events.
Today's strip really hit me hard, as it peeled back the edge of the "cover" that fragile vets work with, trying to cope. We also see it in our beloved demented. This was a master touch of subtlety. I'm pretty tuned in to it, as my name is Ray and I lost my wife to dementia.
Let Ray pay the rent. He needs to feel entitled to respect as a valuable member of; society, veterans, family. So what if he's a little off on his math (and thereby, his reality) right now? He's back, he's alive, and he's trying. Go, Ray, go!
I just read the most recent comments about Toggle. PTSD (got mine in Nam) is a life-controlling disease. The best you can do is learn to live with it. Thanks for a sensitive and touching approach to it in both the younger (Toggle) and older (B.D. and Ray) vets. You've probably done more for us than all the drugs and shrinks at the VA (tho they really try).
Today's strip includes the infamous straw man that the Republicans and the right love to throw out to justify refusing any attempts at health care reform: the old "ER" excuse. Let's ignore the fact that ERs do charge people (often $1000 for something minor). And worse, if you go in and they find out that you have a serious medical condition that needs long term care, you are SOL in that they will only give you basic, bare minimum treatment and reject you if you need bone marrow or a new organ or have cancer that needs extensive treatment, such as chemo and surgery to remove said tumor. I know several people who refuse to go to the emergency room when sick because their financial situation is so dire that a trip to the ER can pretty much bring them to the brink of financial ruin, given how much hospital ERs charge people for treatment. And god help you if you are so sick that you have to spend 3-4 days in the hospital.
What the baghead implies is that the bohemian left aren't serious people willing to do the retail work of translating outrage into electoral power. Hendrik Hertzberg, as left liberal as you could ask for, says something similar in this week's New Yorker: "The Tea Party is simply better adapted to — and, despite its angry face, less alienated from — the actually existing environment of American politics and government. Its purported fear of coöption didn’t stop it from accepting millions of dollars (and offers of “training”) from Astroturf outfits like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, while Fox News and talk radio provided it with a ready-made apparatus for organizing and propaganda. The Tea Party has never doubted the efficacy of elections; it has focussed on officeholders and would-be officeholders all along. The paradigmatic Tea Party activity, in the summer of 2009, was to pack a local congressman’s town hall and shout imprecations against Obamacare. By 2010 it was all electoral politics, all the time." We've seen the result.
Dishwashers are only appropriate for the well-to-do. The poor should not have them, not even if they're ancient. (Dishwashers have been around for a long time, like refrigerators, which the poor also have, lucky them.)
Please, Roland, allow me to respond to your "Fox editorial." To quote you, "This is America." We are (or were) the wealthiest nation in the world. Poverty may be unstoppable, but America has no excuse for not availing its poor of every resource with which the poor themselves can survive in the artificial environment that is America, and perhaps even become non-poor taxpayers. Indeed the poor themselves are a resource we cannot afford to squander. We are quite a different society from many others. In some countries, the poor might be able to get by with a few seeds, a hoe, a good well, and a lot of luck, but in the America we have built, the poor are SOL if they are deprived of such "luxuries" as good jobs, nutritious food, modern communications, modern transportation, medical care, and education. Take those things away and this is no longer America, it's the Third World. And believe me, Roland, we do have pockets of Third World right here at home. Is that really the way you would prefer to keep your poor?
Thanks for today's reality check.
Today's strip had me until the final square. I was hoping GBT, Mike or Kim would have a verbal and intelligent response to the attack on the poor, not to mention the increasingly poor and struggling middle class. Poverty isn't funny. Neither is obesity. Least of all is Roland. Nice try.