Thursday, October 04, 2007

The last refuge for cowards

I had a nightmare last night. Despite my qualms about the Iraq war, I had volunteered for the Army and they were so desperate that they took me and sent me straight to a base without even sending me to basic training. So I'm standing there beside my bunk, utterly befuddled because I haven't a clue of what I'm supposed to do or how this is supposed to work, I don't even have mail forwarding set up to send my bills to my mother's house or anything they yanked me off the streets so fast, but I do have lots of electronic gadgets (duh!). I play around with one of these and break it and ask, "What am I supposed to do now? If this was Vietnam thirty years ago I could just walk to a market in Saigon and buy a new one, but if I walk outside this base I'll be killed." I twiddle with the gadget trying to fix it, and after a few minutes realize that everybody is gone. I stand up and look around and there's a big meeting tent set up a hundred yards away or so, and seats and a stage and stuff visible through its rolled-up sides, but I don't know whether I'm supposed to go there or not. A pickup truck drives up and I stuff an autopistol in my pants pocket and decide to wander over there to ask the driver if he knows what's going on. A car pulls up on the other side of the pickup truck and a man wearing shades and a dark suit gets out and starts assembling a large sniper rifle, and I gulp and move behind a tree. I take out my pistol and jack a round into the chamber in case they saw me and decide I need to be taken out. I stand there for maybe hours, it gets dark outside. A while later, a couple of older guys walk past my tree and sit down at a picnic table. One of them was the driver of the pickup truck. I ask, "What's going on?" and one of them says, "You must be one of the stealth fighter engineers", and points to my shirt when I look confused and says "no numbers." I look down, and understand, I'm not in a uniform, I'm wearing pajamas. "I was just getting ready for bed", I said. Then the alarm got me up and that was the end of the nightmare.

Now, reality is that I'm way past the point, age-wise, where the Army would want anything to do with me. The funny part is that if I were twenty years younger I would have volunteered even though twenty years ago I still would have known that the Iraq war was stupid and unjustifiable. It is amazing how stupid I was twenty years ago. I actually believed in all that "patriotism" and "defending our freedoms" garbage, despite the fact that the only time our nation has ever gone to war in self-defense was when attacked during WWII -- in all other wars that our nation has fought, our freedoms were in no way threatened by the people we were fighting. It is only in the past few years that I realized that, in the end, patriotism is garbage, the last refuge of cowards scared of "other" or of imperialists afraid to simply stand up and declare, "yes, we DO want empire."

In the end, patriotism makes about as much sense as my dream did. We're just people, that's all, regardless of what language we speak or how we pray or whatever. If we can't justify something like a war by how it helps ourselves or others, appeals to patriotism are just so much rubbish, just a cloud of misdirection spewed by cowards and incompetents in much the same way that a squid squirts ink to obscure reality.

-- Badtux the Unpatriotic Penguin

Cross-posted at The Medley


  1. Do you consider your dream a nightmare? Mr Pop was in the Navy back when and he has dreams about showing up for inspection and finding out he is wearing the wrong clothes or something else highly wrong in military world. He still has those dreams all these years later.

    I'm not sure about other wars but I think this one was a crime.

    Today we are hearing crazy stories about Obama not wearing his little flag pin on his coat. Who the fuck cares what he wears on his coat? Wearing that pin doesn't mean shit.

  2. Interesting dream.

    Patriotism only makes sense to me if it includes the whole world, not just one country. I think that boarders are so stupid.

    I was stupid when young, and joined the Navy, no way would I now. I don't believe that we have the right to go to other countries and boss them around.

    Obama should get a little world pin to wear.

  3. It warms might heart to hear other people say this. Patriotism truly makes no sense. If something is good or right, it's good or right without putting a nationality in front of it or a flag behind it.


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