Power Failure

Last Power Standing

Rockets and bombs, tank tracks and bullets, leave blood-soaked boots standing burnt and empty. In the flash of mortar fire, a fallen, legless marine loses his hold on purpose, and lets his life go, seeping, into the sand. “I will not be the last to die,” his mind says when he finally releases. “I will not be the last.”

Meanwhile, a half a planet away, the Superpower says that more are needed. More must go. More will die. They see honor in turning cannon fodder into heroes. They are doing them a favor. It’s a slam-dunk.

The war goes on. The bullets cost money. The money is borrowed. I will not be the last to pay. I will not be the last. We were not asked if we wanted to pay for this war, this failure. To finance a war, we are usually asked to sacrifice. That’s why in World War Two everyone had a chance to be a hero, whether you held a rifle or a rivet gun, because everyone sacrificed. So this is not stopping Hitler. This is a slam dunk, a walk in the park. It’s Grenada. It’s bombing Libya. Only it’s not.

They want us to think this is a different kind of war. It is not, except that with this one, each death does not lead us closer to victory. These soldier’s sacrifices just disappear into invisible coffins, hidden under the tainted banner of a country led by stubborn and greedy fools.

Even now, NOW, that two-thirds of the country thinks this hole thing is a colossal mistake, that we are tired of young people dying and killing for a mistake in which none of us want to share, even when the administration’s integrity is smaller than the debris in a super-collider, they are still afraid to let us see and honor the soldiers’ coffins. What do they have to lose by giving us at least that?

Children who have yet to be born will be paying for this war, and not just with money. Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld didn’t just send the military to war; they sent our country to war, all of us. When we finally turn off the lights on this thing, we will limp home, a weak and wounded nation. In less than ten years, the enemy we are so hot to destroy will have more political clout than we do now, and all the money will be in Russia and China.

We may have won the Cold War, but somehow, in the smoke of the World Trade Center we got turned around and did a face-plant into the hottest war in modern history.

It’s time to learn that we don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest or the richest country. That is not what makes us the best. It’s the simple, human things that make us great, like a sense of community, a drive toward tolerance and equal opportunity, and a work ethic that revolves around creative solutions. It’s all of those things coming together that make this country one of the best. Those are the reasons people still come here from all corners of the planet, even from our own backyard.

I don’t care if we are powerful. I just want us to be good.


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