Jarheads

i don’t watch horror films. The last one i saw was Silence of the Lambs, which fulfilled my life quota (God-willing) of psycho shit. i haven’t bothered to watch another one since.

That said, i am fascinated by war movies. They reinforce the knowledge that war is a severely outdated method to conflict resolution. Yet what i find most compelling is the soldier’s experience.

i just saw the end of the movie, Jarheads. i hadn’t sought it out. i was just waking my teen who had fallen asleep on the couch… and found it on the television. The moment i saw the Marines — just actors playing Marines, i sat down, immediately sucked in.

As much as i hate war, i have an incredible respect for the Marines. i always have.

Charlie Company, First Marine Battalion, Eighth Regiment, Fallujah, December 2004. Photograph by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times.
Charlie Company, First Marine Battalion, Eighth Regiment, Fallujah, December 2004. Photograph by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times.

i remember watching the movie, Platoon, in a Manhattan theater — one of the first big theaters to be chopped into lots of little ones. There weren’t a lot of people there — maybe thirty. Not too many seats from me was a soldier… a combat vet from Vietnam… and i became uncomfortably aware of my clueless, suburban girl world. At times, i heard him laugh. At others, i heard him cry and then i heard him sob. And i knew a little more of what i didn’t know and was grateful.

i remember the honeymoon that followed my doomed marriage on September 15th in the fucked up year of 2001. We would drive the car (that had been thoroughly sniffed by the bomb dogs in Portland, Maine) up on the hill each evening, away from the little cabin on Digby Neck in Nova Scotia so that we could tune-in to NPR… so that we could listen to the never-before-heard-in-my-lifetime news reports after the attack on U.S. soil.

This was the beginning of the very small window of time when i had a measure of respect for our president — the WORST president that the United States has ever known. It was the thirty days of restraint that followed his reading of the children’s story… as fathers and mothers and daughters and husbands burned and ran, scared shitless enough to jump from dozens of stories above pavement to their deaths after the planes hit the towers.

We saw the pictures on the covers of Time and Newsweek when we went to pick up food and Moosehead beer at the grocery store and i gave thanks that my father was nearly forty blocks away that day. There were even special collector’s editions… of magazines with people jumping to their deaths. And George Bush showed restraint. And i was proud of him then.

It was thirty whole days of restraint before the Marines entered Afganistan and when they did, i was proud. When i saw the news clips of “our boys” entering the land of (the minority of) the hijackers, i was proud. And for the only time in my life, i wanted to be one of them. If anyone had looked at me then and said, “We need you.” and would have let me put my tech skills to use to serve them, i would have enlisted on the spot. i wanted very much to serve those Marines who were serving my country.

Had we kept out efforts focused, i might have remained proud. But i heard the first clue. A year before it happened, i heard some twisted mention of Iraq in the same sentence as Afganistan during a report on NPR. i looked at my husband and said, “Did you hear that?”

“Did you hear them mention Iraq?”

“You wait,” i said. “That’s our introduction to the plot.” And the stupid, self-indulgent President of the United States of America began His war — not to bring to justice the Saudis who killed thousands of innocent people — but to allow the war profiteers to endow their next ten generations with the inheritance of corruption… without EVER bringing the guilty parties to justice.

They are the evil cousins of the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, the sick bastards who saw foreign oil fields the way their predecessors saw the railroads. Bags of cash… no-bid contracts… moving despicably from fat hand to fat hand until it no longer mattered where Bin Laden was so long as the bankrolls for the endowments continued to swell.

You disgust me, Dick Cheney.

General Powell, how could you allow them to do this?

Bush shakes hands with soldier’s prosthetic arm
President Bush, right, shakes hands with the prosthetic arm of 1st Lt. Scott Quilty (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

THERE HAVE BEEN SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY ONE AMPUTEES FROM THE IRAQ AND AFGHAN CAMPAIGNS AS OF TODAY.

Amputee at Walter Reed, December 2006
An amputee waits in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, December 2006. (Photo: AFP/Jeff Watson)

Tonight was just a reminder… in the Hollywood retelling of an ongoing nightmare… that there are thousands of men and women who have died with their heads held high in defense of our nation. Yet i can not separate the thousands now dead — the hundreds without arms and legs — and the tens of thousands permanently altered from the experience of war — from the sheer greed and stupidity of our leadership that diverted our strength from the initial objectives in Afghanistan to create a no-win disaster in Iraq.

To our Marines, a sincere thank you for who you are and what you do.

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One response to “Jarheads

  1. The Marines Are The best Ive always wanted to become a Marine since i was 5

    SEMPER FI

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