Friday, December 18, 2009

A year ago

It was about a year ago that I bought the Melissa Etheridge Christmas album, "A New thought for Christmas". I enjoy exploring more recent Christmas music, and I've liked Etheridge for years now. There are many good tracks on the album, but one of the most powerful was definitely "Christmas in America", which contains these lines:

The girls are down at Ruby's
trying to find some Christmas cheer
There's not much to do but drink too much
When every day is unclear

So here I am on Christmas Eve
This silent holy night
And I reach up to the stars for you
and I pray that you're all right

Hey mister, send my baby home
This December, don't wanna be all alone
It's Christmas in America, I need you in my arms
Far away from harm
Mister, send my baby home

I bought this album in late November, when the glow of Obama's victory was still fresh. I'd listen to this song, thinking next year, it will be different! President Obama, well into the flow of his presidency, will have pulled us out of these thankless occupations -- occupations with too little investment to result in nation-building, yet too much to avoid real damage. Obama is going to end the madness. I got to the point where I would heartily sing along, replacing the word "mis-ter" with a rather bunched up "Oba-ma, send my baby home." Because I knew he'd do that for all those with a part of their soul wearing a uniform in Asia.

But no, how wrong I was. Obama is going to double down on the madness, thinking that we can pacify Afghanistan in a way the Russian and British couldn't if we just send more people and money there. Thirty thousand more kids, trained to kill, instead forced to act as community organizers/cops/civil corps in an alien culture. The same crap that we got with Bush -- the same mission creep, the same vague goals, the same implausible exit strategy. It's been batted around to death for a couple weeks now, but in the end this is exactly the move I would have expected McCain, or Bush himself, to make.

Last year in 2008, I'd listen to "Christmas in America", eyes watering, thinking that in 2009 that song would be losing relevance. Instead, it will be every bit as meaningful in 2009...and 2010...and 2011...and...

1 comment:

James Patrick Conway said...

To be fair you should've seen this coming. Obama never promised a withdrawl from either theater by the end of his first year, and he made talk about staying in Afghanistan through his first term throughout the primary and general election. Arguably he was more hawkish on both wars than Clinton, he only appeared more dovish since he opposed the initial invasion in the first place. And he was always more hawkish on Afghanistan promising to stay until 'the job was done'. I completely agree with the sadness these wars are imposing on our military, family friends lost one son (on a US base, but he would've shipped out to Iraq) and a different group of friends have an injured son (he got his wounds in Kosovo-but would Army Reserve troops be there if our military wasn't stretched so thin by Iraq and Afghanistan?). I hope and pray the President can begin divesting himself of this costly gamble and realize its better to exit now when we at least have some tangible results (Iraq stabilized, AQ out of Afghanistan) then two to three years from now when we'd have lost more with worst results.