Growing up in an Air Force family, I have spent a lot of time on military bases. My father was a Vietnam vet and my early years were spent stationed in Germany. When I was a kid, we even lived next to the army barracks in Frankfurt where Elvis had been stationed (though that was years after he was there).
Even after my father retired, visits to our local base were a regular part of my childhood. We spent a lot time around military people. My father always said they were "a different breed of people". In a lot of ways, I think his friends in the military became a kind of surrogate, supportive family that he never had growing up at home.
My father is buried at Willamette National Cemetary. If he were still here to answer the question of what about his life made him most proud, he would say his military service. I also have no doubt that he would be appalled at not only at what we are doing in Iraq, but at the way our young men and women are being abandoned without adequate access to medical and psychological treatment when they finally do come home.
Countless books and movies have been made about the human costs of this ill conceived war. It is not among the prettier, nobler parts of our history as a nation. No doubt many more will be made. By now everyone should know that while Saddam Hussein was undesirable in his own special way, he had nothing to do with 9/11 and that he was (despite being many other horrific things) not a Muslim fundamentalist. Everyone should know that our government engaged in some sleight of hand where intelligence was concerned in the lead up to the war. Everyone should also be aware of the costs of the war, costs that go far beyond the billions of dollars that will have been spent on it by the time all is said, done and blown up.
One of the better illustrations of those costs that I've had the opportunity to see in recent weeks is the movie The Ground Truth, which I've linked below for ease of viewing. It's not easy film to watch, but I can highly recommend taking the time to do so. Then, if you're still fired up (and I hope you will be, because, really, how could you not be?), and in the Portland area, please consider attending the peace rally and march scheduled for March 18th at 1:30 p.m. in the South Park Blocks (yes, the South Park Blocks...the event has moved).