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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
May 31, 1999


Well sports fans, today is the day we celebrate war. After all it's a national holiday, banks are closed, and so are schools. It's a perfect opportunity to go to the mall, or a furniture store for the Memorial day sales. Those of you who would rather stay home, you can pop some popcorn and play couch potato in front of MSNBC, while you wait for the news coming out of Kosovo.

To be honest, I have never appreciated this day, it just doesn't seem fair. It is understandable that America would want to honor the service men and women who paid the ultimate price, helping to protect American interests, but where is the holiday to honor the civilian dead.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor claimed the lives of the 2,331 sailors and soldiers on the U.S.S Arizona, and their sacrifice should not be forgotten. But this loss pales in comparison to American attacks on Japanese civilians. Between the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and fire raids on Tokyo, more than 180,000 civilians were eradicated.

I have to admit that I am just a bit jaded. War is an industry, and the men who make their careers fighting each other, have to make sure there is always something to do. The last time America was justified going to war was when Hitler needed to be stopped, absolutely no gray area there.

Also in collusion with the war boys, are the boys that make the war toys. The way American pilots are dropping bombs on Yugoslavia, resembles a clearance sale. It's as if they are liquidating old inventory so they will be able to ask American taxpayers to fund the next generation of smart bombs. To be honest using the term smart bomb is an oxymoron, considering that the bombs are only as smart as the people using them.

The American establishment is so enamored by war, that we set two days aside every year to glorify it. Veterans day for those lucky enough to survive the killing fields and Memorial day for those who weren't, are strategically placed so that we never have to go more than six months without a good dose of patriotism. Personally I think there should be an International Peace day. Now I realize there is not much of money to be made from waging peace, but one day a year is not to much to ask.

And then there is the war on the environment. Where is the day to honor the sacrifice of Americans who have fallen fighting this one, such as David "Gypsy" Chain, Dian Fossey, Guy Bradley, or Karen Silkwood? This war has been waged since the western Europeans "discovered" the new world.

Notice how we don't recognize those individuals who fought to to keep North America free from the invading armies of Europeans. If Slobodon Milosevic is a war criminal, it only goes to follow that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was as well. It was under his administration that the Massacre of Sand Creek took place.

Last week I was astounded at the gall of the local media, who referred to the three soldiers taken prisoner by Serb forces as heros. Heros are individuals who run into burning buildings to save a child, not three Rambo wanna-bes who can't read a map. In my book Harriet Tubman was a hero, where is her holiday.

Selective memory only serves to hide the real truth which is, quoting Boy George, "War, War is stupid. And people are stupid. And life means nothing in some strange places."

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