Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dulce et decorum est

So here I am minding my own business on Flickr, where I have sequestered myself lately, looking at and enjoying other people's excellent photos, and in going through new photos on one of the groups that usually has wonderful pictures displayed, mostly of nature, I find a photo of a tattered stars and stripes against a stormy sky, with the caption "Remember the children..."

This is the day after Scooter Libby has been pardoned by The Decider in Chief, and the day before the Fourth of July, so it briefly occurs to me that politics will rear its ugly head for good or ill, probably ill, but hey, let's not jump to conclusions yet. Maybe it's an ironic comment on justice in America, where Scooter walks and merciless and often draconian sentences are meted out to the lower orders, who of course have no friends in the White House.

So with a deep sigh, I read the long entry that followed the ellipsis, which quickly fulfilled my intuition that we cannot escape right-wing political hectoring, in this case dipped in syrup, even when we are innocently looking at online photo galleries. "Some of us have highs, others lows, but really, what have we done for those who have lows unavoidable? Those away, serving, what have we done for them, for their families, for their children."

What indeed? So far, it looks like we have posted a photo an American flag. This person, who btw likes to upload photos of monster trucks crushing natural beauty under enormous tires, goes on:

"what are we doing on Independance Day to remind those children of military parents that the sacrifice they give is also as worthy of the ones their military parents give. Remember those kids who dads havent seen them graduate, havent seen the prom dress, didnt get to walk them down the aisle, havent had the first dance, missed a baptism, werent there for a birth, a first step, a first word, a first smile.

Remember those in the Services who didn't volunteer when there parents did....remember the children. "

Well, in answering the question, which our flag waver does not actually do, other than proposing remembrance and a sort of involuntary enlistment for them, I suppose that since those children already have the folded-up flag the government gave them, they have no need of flag photos, nor of reminders that dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, nor saccharin pieties and sappy bromides.

What was this guy thinking?

You know, there's not a lot you can say to someone whose father or mother has been killed in Iraq, whether that father or mother was an American soldier or one of the 600,000+ Iraqi civilians killed so far. "I'm sorry," (if sincere) is certainly appropriate. I don't know what else you can say.

But now that I think about it, I suppose that monetary reparations would be a good thing--even though obviously morally and psychologically insufficient--in that a chunk of money would at least be a practical help to survivors. The sums could conceivably be quite ample, if taken out of the profits of Halliburton and Blackwater and all the other mercenary corporate profiteers swollen like parasites with the rewards of war.

And maybe some of the superpatriots could sell of a few of their monster trucks and all-terrain vehicles and donate the proceeds to the children of the war dead. Anything helps.

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