Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

20 March, 2007


I'm guessing that by the time I'm down writing this, it would be about ten times the length of the post to which it was attached, so I'll respond to ash's thoughtful question here.

There's not one specific memory, but rather a stream of images which come to my head from over several months. Watching events unfold and thinking, "They really can't think that they can pull this off, can they? I mean, this can be stopped, right?" It just seemed so clear that they were hell-bent on ginning up a war, lack of a legitimate casus belli be damned. And it all folded methodically, step-by-step, for everyone to see, and a lot of people - freaked out by 9/11 - just let it happen, were convinced it had to happen. It was slow motion, surreal.

I remember a few days before the war began having dinner at the home of one of the professors for whom I had worked, and the five of us that evening just being depressed to the point of not being able to converse over dinner when the subject was broached. The overwhelming inevitability of the coming days was suffocating, it seemed to hang over all our interactions. For some reason, I remember a lot of dark humor.

I believe it was only a day or two into "shock and awe" when ms. wobs and I went to New York for Spring Break (my first post-9/11 visit to the city). One of the first mornings there we awoke to the sounds of helicoptors buzzing around the East Village: someone had crawled into the structure of the Williamsburg bridge, causing a minor terror scare. Die-ins were snarling morning traffic in Midtown. Breathless correspondents reported on the inexorable progress being made towards Baghdad, the road home went through Baghdad.

Geraldo Rivera showed everyone exactly what the plan was on cable TV. Jessica Lynch was rescued in a very special made-for-television mini-series.

I remember watching the fall of Baghdad on airport television monitors with ash, dave, NL, and KT on our way to Atlanta, feeling uneasy about the congratulatory backslapping and weirdly scripted, ritualized "topple the dictator" coverage. I specifically remember the images of the toppled statue of Saddam, and remembering images I'd seen of the fall of the Berlin Wall or the protests leading up to the Tiananman Square, and how the images I was watching from Iraq seemed so contrived in comparison.

The overall feeling from that time, for me, is just sheer disbelief. I honestly could not believe what was unfolding in front of me, that any pretense of even lip service to the ideals of some mythical United States of America were jettisoned in a paroxysm of techno-fluffed bloodlust. Given the current wreck of an administration we're having to lurch around with for the next two years (barring a massive spine transplant for Congress), I still have a hard time believing that the funhouse that was four years ago really occured. But it did, and we'll pay for it for a long time.



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