Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

CROSSROADS COMMENT -- Spoiler Alerts Continue


“Spoiler Alert!”

Thanks to pre-publication release hype and the hugeness of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “Spoiler Alert!” warnings have bloomed like dandelions on an untreated lawn. That tempting phrase: “Spoiler Alert” is usually applied when a film reviewer is about to reveal a major plot twist or surprise ending in a movie. In my case, these alerts only push me to read the review a little faster.

But not all “Spoiler Alerts!” are created equal, protecting us from the disappointment of finding out before the last page of the book or scene in a movie that, sure, the butler did do it. Here are a few Spoiler Alerts of a different stripe and purpose. Perhaps they represent old, sad news to some; for others, maybe they will serve to disturb harbors of denial and signal agonizing truths too long resisted.

Spoiler Alert – The Iraq war is lost. It was never a war we could “win.” Driven by arrogance and ideology, the Iraq war was ill-planned and incompetently executed. It is a tragic fiasco from every angle. Now we are told we “surge” with purpose. (Strategy number four, or is it five?) Thrashing about chaotically better describes what’s going on in Iraq. Promised a fast blooming oasis of democracy, after four years we are left mired in a boiling quagmire.

Spoiler Alert– Bush’s personal adventure into defeat in Iraq will leave Iraq divided between Arab and Kurd states. The Arab part will be the site of a civil war. In other words, Iraq tomorrow and in the future will look much like what Iraq looks like today–whatever military steps we take for however long we take them. Blindness to facts preceded this mess and the egotistical myopia of Bush-Cheney keeps blood and treasure flowing into the bomb-pocked sands of Iraq.

Spoiler Alert – Desperate Iraqi politicians, jockeying for power before our armed forces finally withdraw, will continue to tell the Bush administration whatever it is they want to hear. This started with the self-aggrandizing Ahmed Chalabi who sold Rumsfeld and Cheney on the idea that an Arab Welcome Wagon would greet us following our invasion. It turned out that the wagon was filled with roadside bombs and suicide bombers.

Spoiler Alert – Bush will spend his remaining months in office reciting his Victory/Fear spiels that, courtesy of Karl Rove, are his prime propaganda tools. These guys work from the premise that the American people are cravenly gullible. We’ve seen hundreds of billions of dollars wasted and a blood stain spread across Iraq that can never be covered by the oil smear they lusted after. What is left for them to say?

Spoiler Alert – After leaving office, the war gang from Texas will sit smugly in penthouses and sky boxes, laughing about the good ’ol days and lying to each other. They will blame the tragedy of Iraq on Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda, and those Americans who carried "End This Endless War" signs for years. Right wing, Neo-Con think tanks will release a confetti blizzard of paper supporting this weird view. Forests of trees will die in service to propping up Pearle, Wolfowitz and Condi Rice’s shredded reputations.

Spoiler Alert – Representative Brad Ellsworth (8th Indiana) will come to Terre Haute, speak to the Chamber of Commerce and he will not say one word about his recent No vote on the “Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act.” He will not explain how it is he voted No with the Protect Bush party, the Republicans of Indiana, while the other four Democrats representing Indiana in the House voted Yes. Will anyone ask him to explain himself? The leadership of the Democratic Party of Vigo County will be all handshakes and smiles. The anti-war voters of Vigo County will do a lot of re-thinking about Mr. Ellsworth and this slavish support of the war.

Spoiler Alert -- Historians will not be kind to the Bush war gang. This gang rode into town with a fixed-purpose agenda; they chose to take a tragic, senseless gamble. A gamble! And we all lost big time. Because of their inept and doomed gamble the wounded of the war will suffer lives of pain and torment. The dead, 3,642 as I write this, will be remembered with wreaths that wither, not grow. Historians will conclude that these brave and courageous men and women deserved leaders to match their willingness to sacrifice so much.

Pass these Spoiler Alerts along to all who will listen, to anyone who will take action. Or forget about the Spoiler Alerts entirely. Instead, pass the following on to your political leaders:

The Department of Defense reported that Pfc. Ron J. Joshua Jr. was killed in Iraq on July 17, 2007, when a makeshift bomb exploded near his Military Police vehicle. The DOD release did not provide information as to whether or not Ron was a reader of the Harry Potter books. If he was, Ron J. Joshua Jr., age 19, will not have the opportunity to read the seventh and final novel in the series. Ron is one of 229 nineteen year olds who have died in Iraq.

These nineteen year olds died carrying out their duties. None will be reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J. K. Rowlings’ epigraphs to that novel are what we of the living should understand and what they who gave everything most deserve to know that we now know:

"Oh, the torment bred in the race,/the grinding scream of death"--Aeschylus

"Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still"
--William Penn

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