Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Sometimes I wish that Blogger had a "current music" thing like Livejournal does. It seems like a lot of blog posts get inspired my music - or anyway a lot of mine. Right now for instance I should be revising a story for my fiction class, but instead I'm blogging because I'm listening to Shania Twain's Up! (specifically "Forever and For Always" and "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing") and I feel like blogging. If someone ever writes a book about my life, I hope they take the time to seek out the girls in it. The fictional ones, of course, like Alanna and Honor and Cimorene and the Babysitters' Club that have shaped my idea of what it means to be a romantic and a man whose word is worth something. And also the real ones, like Rainbow and Princess and Thea and Shanah and Chariessa and Blue Rose and of course Maelana and Mother, and maybe the Ailouriskai and all the rest who are too many to remember. Of course there are other ways of getting at my life, but I feel like there's something special about the girls: not just that there are daughters of Eve for whom I have conceived what I hope will be a permanent affection, but that I believe God has laid out the plan of my life such that the girls are, more often than not, agents of His plan (you can tell I'm feeling profound because I bothered to capitalize the divine pronoun). How can I forget watching Star Wars I with Thea at Universal Citywalk, passing underneath that arch that proclaims that the most beautiful girls in the world pass beneath it and thinking how true it is? Will I ever visit the Commons without remembering waiting for Princess because she was late, not that it mattered once she was there? And I could say similar things about Stanford girls, but for modesty's sake I will refrain.

This is a change of topic, but I've been meaning to blog about Iraq for some time now and this is as good as time as any because Up! has switched tracks to "In My Car (I'll Be the Driver)," and while this reminds me of Thea's Explorer and driving down Valley Circle with Rose and riding in Shanah's Ginger and all sorts of other girl-related topics, it kind of breaks the wistful mood anyway. So Iraq.

I don't really have an opinion on Iraq, and I admit to some confusion as to people who do (because I don't really, deep down inside, believe that I'm a 1/300 millionth part ruler of the United States). Do I think we're going? Yes, absolutely. Do you know anybody who doesn't think we're going? Do I wish that we weren't going? Well of course I do - the thought of war with Iraq makes me sick to my stomach and makes me want to cry, actually, as I imagine it does for a great many of the fighting men and women on both sides of the Iraqi border. I understand better than most of my peers, I think, just what kind of human suffering armed combat in the modern era entails - and I'm sure I understand it infintely worse than a great many uniformed citizens who are preparing to thrust themselves and their subordinates into the teeth of what Dionysus yesterday called "the deadly lead."

Yet forward they shall go all the same when legitimate authority orders them to do so, and I think they will be right to do it. I wish, with Frodo, that none of this had ever happened - but it has happened, and the question now is what to do about it. We can sit back and hope that good comes out of Iraq, we can sit back and hope that Saddam comes out of Iraq, or we can go in and take him out. And when we do, as it looks like we shall before the next Orientation Show, I will pray that our boys be granted good targets, that they go into combat with stout hearts and no fear of death but that which is common to man (Americans home in body bags? Of course they'll come home in body bags! Are we so far degenerated that we now fear death with the rational mind?), and that those who must die die quickly. If once war is begun, in my estimation, let it be prosecuted not with the dentist's pick but the hammer. Else the valor and victory, the sacrifice, the courage of fighting men in the face of unimaginable terror means nothing. And it ought to.

All of this, you will see, ignores the propriety of toppling Saddam in the first place. As I said, I don't have an informed opinion about that. I think that Saddam's regime has twisted priorities and that the people of Iraq will be better off without him, but I have not bothered to do the research to back that opinion up. I don't see that it particularly matters, because so far as I can tell we're going in one way or another, barring act of God.

Then again, God would be no god worth my fealty if he weren't capable of averting a mere political inevitability. And if you don't think that he's capable of averting the inevitable, then I submit that you don't understand the fundamental reason why the Old Testament is included in the Christian Bible. So until we do go in, I will pray that the Lord make the fighting unnecessary - not because I believe that death is an evil that ought to be avoided (what then? Does the man who wears the helm of salvation fear to be dead? And if a man does not wear that helm, or if he refuses it, whose fault is that?), nor because I believe that the suffering of a family deprived of father or brother or son is an evil that ought to be avoided (what then, do we now declare the pain of the heart to be evil?), nor because I believe that either side's soldiers fight for an unjust cause (will they fight for politics, or for their buddies? And who will say that a man should not lay down his life for his friend?) - but I will pray that the aims of God be accomplished without war because I do believe that God is grieved by the sorrow of those who cry out to him in their affliction, and because I do know that he is a great deliverer.

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