I thought I wanted to post something about the war in Iraq, about how we got where we are, about the dangers ahead and the reeking, charnel mess behind. I thought I wanted to provoke some comments about what we as citizens of a fading republic could do to prevent the crash I see coming, the tangle of hopes and fears and the end of dreams as we sink into a mire of exhaustion. I wanted to tell you about what I see for us in the years ahaead
But so far...all I see is an endless gory tunnel leading...nowhere.
And, besides, I get the feeling that we're all talked out on this subject.
We can see the iceberg. It's huge, it's gouging its way deep into the hull, and we've spent the last four years pounding the manic helmsman on the back of the skull, shouting "Turn, you idiot! You're ramming a fucking iceberg!" only to have him slew around and stare at us with that skeevy grin and babble some inanity about "staying the course" and "no substitute for victory". We know that the water is going to be cold, and the bottom is a freezing blackness that we will never feel at the end of that long, spiraling drop into the abyss.
And we know, because we can hear the clink of glasses and the bray of the band that on the saloon deck that most of our fellow passengers are still gobbling the meal, charging their champagne flutes to the soothing sound of the bandstand crooner. Nothing we've said has touched them. No scolding, no pleading, no explaining will make them tear the lunatic helmsman from the wheel. The fear may be hidden in their hearts, but they won't stand up and act, won't admit that the damage is already done, that the black water is already pouring in, the ship is already doomed, and that whatever illusions of "victory" they have will end when the icy sea closes over their heads.
All I’m left with is the words of Brian Turner, who said it earlier and much better than I ever could:
To sand go tracers and ball ammunition.
To sand the green smoke goes.
Each finned mortar, spinning in light.
Each star cluster, bursting above.
To sand go the skeletons of war, year by year.
To sand go the reticles of the brain,
the minarets and steeple bells, brackish
sludge from the open sewers, trashfires,
the silent cowbirds resting
on the shoulders of a yak. To sand
each head of cabbage unravels its leaves
the way dreams burn in the oilfires of night.