Sunday, November 26, 2006


i mentioned reading through some of Robert Lowell's letters last weekend at Borders.
yesterday i figured i'd make good. rather than stealing a few moments here and there, i made the purchase.

today i came upon something while watchin things tumble in the dear ol' laundry.
(an experience otherwise w/out incident)

this from a 1943 letter addressed to F.D.R. in re. Lowell's being called to war. a call up after having being rejected i think some 7 times previously due to poor eyesight.

1. right out of the gate what is striking is that a young kid (for all intents and purposes) would think it proper to not only personally write to the prez, but think that the letter would be read and taken into due consideration. if this gesture stands in as striking a light as i think it does, it certainly speaks to an alienation that has grown between leadership and the governed.

here's the concluding passage of the letter:
"With the greatest reluctance, with every wish that i may be proved to be in error, and after long deliberation on my responsibilities to myself, my country, and my ancestors who played responsible parts in its making, I have come to the conclusion that i cannot honorably participate in a war whose prosecution, as far as i can judge, constitutes a betrayal of my country."

mind you: Lowell wasn't against the war per se. rather in 1943, when called to service, in his eyes, the germans and japaneese had been all but defeated.nonetheless our call was for unconditional surrender, which would necessarily weaken both europe and asia to such an extent that a precarious balance of power would be created between the totalitarian stalin and the united states. prescient observation, to say the least.

anyway, with this passage in mind, driving to get things clean i thought about the whole "support the troops, not the war" position that seems so comfortably adopted these days.

not to be crass, but what in the hell are soldiers in Iraq fighting for?

certainly, those who "support the troops" would rather that those same troops were instilled with the principles of independence embodied by Lowell in his letter. is there a justification for fighting a battle that you don't believe in?? worse does your participation represent a failure of will and a repudiation of those values that you presumably are fighting for?

all good intentions aside, isn't it one's responsibility to do more than just line up behind the leader cause that's the "patriotic" thing to do?

hopefully the last election is indicative of a populace regaining its balance, getting back on its own feet, rejecting the paranoid version of the post 9/11 world encouraged and engendered by the neo-cons.
speak truth to power!

cause i support the troops, only in so far as they support themselves!

1 comment:

Tarotica said...

"but what in the hell are soldiers in Iraq fighting for?"

George Bush's pride.

Why the hell should they or anybody else care about (much less die for) that?

Don't support the troops