Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Not Even a Fleeting Glance at Consequences

On Memorial Day I joined the crowds waiting to tour the USS Iwo Jima at Pier 88.
It’s not often we get a chance to board such an impressive vessel staffed with polite young people looking quite spiffy in their uniforms.

Walking the gangplank into its hull was an exercise in humility. What thick steel! What massive capacity – loaded this day with amphibious assault vehicles, tanks, helicopters and other military might which visitors were encouraged to touch, to pose for pictures upon, to fantasize about commandeering.

What an utter lack of evidence indicating its true purpose and effects.

I commend the government for allowing its citizenry to inspect how our tax monies get spent, but to understand the potency on display we should have been able to chat up a wounded soldier, a war widow and an Iraqi mother whose children now exist only in those PowerPoint slides denoting civilian casualties.

War is not as sexy and fun as posting pictures of yourself holding an unloaded M16 off the sunny coast of Manhattan. The smiles would not be as wide if we had to wipe blood from the trigger. Let’s remember that, and not just on Memorial Day.