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, May 31, 2008

Bush Plays Through, America in Sand Trap

The Terre Haute Tribune-Star

Tuning out grim news about war

President Bush gave up golf in 2003. He says he didn’t want Americans to see him enjoying himself on the links in wartime. And who can argue with this president? It would be unseemly to see the commander in chief floundering about in a sand bunker of a posh country club while he continues to send brave women and men into the blood spattered sand trap of Iraq.

The year 2007 was a particularly bloody year in this five years and counting war in Iraq — more than 900 dead, the bloodiest year of the war. While we were having a particularly beautiful spring in Vigo County this April, 52 of our finest were dying in Iraq. This month — 18 dead so far.

The Bush golf story is one that may make it into the papers or be a short filler comment of 15 seconds or so on the nightly TV news. But probably not. We don’t hear much about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars these days. It’s reported that coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan has slipped to 3 percent of all American print and broadcast news as of last week, falling from 25 percent as recently as last September.

Pictures of death and suffering in the Iraq war are rare. Fewer and fewer photojournalists are sent into the field by news organizations. We now reach toward six years and five thousand dead in Iraq. We’ve wasted a trillion dollars on this war. But whose counting? “People have,” as Mark Jurkowitz of the Project for Excellence in Journalism says, “made up their minds about this war.” We’ve chosen to ignore it. Move on.

Memorial Day, since 1971, is now a convenient Monday holiday allowing us all to stretch our weekends into three days of leisured indifference. With only a scattering of admirable exceptions, most choose to watch the weather report then cook out, go on picnics, attend the Indy 500, mow the lawn, kick back. Remembering those who died in service to our country in the past? They’re sadly ignored. And those serving and dying right now, and tomorrow? They will be briefly honored by a portion of the public, mourned for a lifetime by their loved ones, lost to memory in next year’s long Memorial Day weekend activities.

Bush might as well play golf. No one is watching.

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