17 March 2007


It's complicated when you start listening to more than one side of a story. The Japanese bombed a US base on December 7th, 1941, and as pissed as we might have been about that, well, it was a military base. Does it justify fire-bombing civilian populations all over Japan and Germany? This might lead you to think of the Japanese as victims, but the Japanese were colonizing much of Asia at the time and taking part in some of the worst kinds of violence and manifest destiny seen in the modern period. The good book teaches us that "no one is good, not one," and I guess I'm starting to believe that when it comes to nation-states.

This sort of critical thinking should not, of course, discount the sacrifice of men and women who died in the war or fought well. This should also not excuse any individual acts of evil committed by US soliders or the US government. Can't we be both grateful and critical?

I felt this way when I saw my cousin again this winter. He served in Iraq as a helicopter mechanic. It was obvious that the experience had done something to him. Support the troops is a pretty hallow thing to say, I think. It doesn't mean anything. For what it's worth, I'm thankful that he went, even as I oppose the premise for going. Is that possible?