21 March 2003
We rarely go to Reno, but remember one trip with the kids years and years ago when we
visited Circus Circus, the one casino which has a floor specifically set aside for kids.
The kids could play all sorts of games, but the favorite was always wack-a-mole, where
they stood with a hammer as electronic moles popped up out of holes and they tried to hit
them before they popped down again and another popped up somewhere else.
As I watched the reporting of the first strikes on Iraq, hearing that there had
been a Saddam sighting which required calling out the troops earlier than planned,
I got the image of a deadly game of wack-a-mole going on in the desert, with Hussein
sightings causing strikes here and there, as he -- or one of his doubles -- disappears and
"Nyah nyah nyah nyah," I can hear him laughing.
This war is different from any I've experienced in my 60 years. This is the first time
I can remember that we have gone to war with the expressed goal of killing a world
leader. Maybe we wanted to kill Hitler--I don't know--but we never said it out loud. We
have now become self-declared executionists, sending millions of dollars of weaponry for
the specific purpose of killing one man.
John Wayne is in the White House and nothing is right with the world. It's the
Gunfight at the OK Corral. High Noon. Only this time it's for real. No
stuntmen, blanks in the guns, or artificial blood.
The other thing that is different about this war is that we are all but alone in this
one. We have Britain and Australia, but we are being seen as the aggressor in many
of the major countries of the world. We're the bullies this time.
There is something so surreal about sitting in the comfort of your own home and
watching bombs explode in another country while well-coiffed commentators give the play by
play. You can hit "pause" on the Tivo so you don't miss anything while taking a potty break or fixing yourself a dish of ice cream.
There is something surreal about seeing a reporter, speaking through gas mask while
sirens wail in the background, standing in a city where the life of the city is going on,
the citizens seemingly oblivious to the danger.
This can't be real. This can't be happening. It's Survivor. Tell me it's Survivor
and that at the end of the evening Jeff Probst is going to come on and someone is going to
be voted off the desert.
"Saddam...the tribe has spoken..."
I sat here yesterday morning watching things move closer to the inevitable conflict and
I was surprised to find myself crying.
When I came home from work, I turned the radio on and learned that the conflict had
started, and I cried again.
I listen to the words of other world leaders, all denouncing this country for
unwarranted hostilities. I wonder what we have unleashed.
As the sun comes up this morning (I have been working since 2 a.m.) and I pick up the
newspaper off of the driveway, I am struck by the contrast of the blaring headlines with
the peaceful pink sky promising another lovely day.
We are at war...God help us all.