OK, this is one of those posts where I don’t think I will win many friends, but I want to write it anyway. My basic question is this: are baby boomers up to leading this war on terror?
I was born in 1957. That was the pinnacle year of the baby boom. More children were born that year than in any other year in our history.
I was too young for Vietnam. I was too young for Vietnam protests for the most part too. Most of that was carried out by my slightly older fellow baby boomers. I was even too young to be a real hippie, though I tried for a while.
Most bloggers and readers of blogs around here (it seems to me) are baby boomers or younger. Many are pacifists, whether from religious or general hippie-ish make-love-not-war convictions. The majority (I think) think that we don’t belong in Iraq.
I would maintain the following: Whether we should have gone to war in Iraq or not, whether Iraq and terrorism were connected enough to justify going in in the first place, I I don’t know, but what I do know is that now that we are there, Iraq and terrorism are related. If we leave Iraq, it will become an even greater training ground for terrorists.
But my concern is the greater war. Yes, I believe it is a war. I don’t like Bush’s use of words (“Islamofascists” – what does that mean?). How about Islamowhacko’s? We’re talking about a freaked out whacko sector of radical Islam bent on destruction of our power and influence, on Israel’s total demise, and on world domination by way of violence and oil blackmail ultimately. We’re talking about people who think they go on to heavenly bliss by murdering men, women, and children. I think that is whacko. You can call it what you like. But make no mistake – they want to kill us, any and all of us, as many as they can – men, women, and children, white, black, Hispanic, or asian, Christian Hindu or Muslim. They don’t care. Being nice to them for a few months isn’t going to change that.
My generation has been riding on the sacrifices of previous generations for a very long time. Those generations fought and won WWI, WWII, and the Cold War, despite the debacle of Vietnam. They handed us unprecedented freedom and prosperity. So, what are we going to hand to our children?
Are we as a generation going to be able to take up the mantle of leadership and make the sacrifices that need to be made to win this war? I wish Bush and others would quit telling us just to go shop. This is a REAL war, and we all need to make REAL sacrifices. We do in fact need to get over our addiction to foreign oil. I would add oil in general. We need temporarily to start accepting some intrusion into our precious civil liberties. Some people’s phones just need to be tapped. We need to think hard about the culture that we’re exporting overseas – the smut, the garbage, the crass materialism, the greed. No wonder so many religious people hate us. We need to think about the ways we do or do not help with the problem of millions of jobless dispirited humiliated Arab youth. We aren’t rich enough to start a world wide welfare program, but maybe some of our rich Arab allies could do better than they are doing sharing the wealth so to speak.
We need to forget the UN. The UN is worthless. The UN is worse than worthless. The UN, as far as I can see, is on the other side in this war. But we do need to work harder at building coalitions wherever we can.
We need to see this as a global long term war, much like the cold war, but more subtle, more dangerous in my mind. Do we have the will to fight it?
Some may say, well, we baby boomer’s aren’t fighting it. Our children are fighting it. This has always been the case. The people who make the decisions about war send their sons and daughters off to fight the war. Losing a child itself is a great sacrifice. Are we willing to make it?
An army recruiter called my daughter a few months ago. She was not home. I asked him if he would take me. He asked how old I was. I told him. There was a pause. “Uh, no sir” he said. And he has no idea how many push ups I can do.
No matter what we think about Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the current administration in general, are we Baby Boomers going to have the will to see this war through? I have my doubts. And because of that I worry greatly for my children, and my children’s children.
(This was originally posted on my Blogger site Tuesday, but due to RSS feed problems related to nasty Microsoft code mucking up the works, it didn’t get picked up – see the original at http://joelgillespie.blogspot.com/)