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My response to Aaron

Aaron over at Ketchup is a Vegetable has had his muse inspired by something I posted to his site. I’m happy to repost his response to me here, with my comments added in italics.

Trevor
Since I’ve moved my engine to Blogger, comments here at KIAV have been less spammy but also less frequent. I mean, I understand that, to a large extent, I am masturbating into the wind here. And limiting the pool of commenters to members of Blogger, it doesn’t help. I know. I know. That’s blogging for you, especially, I think, when you blog from this side of the dais. But, at least I’ve limited advertising resources for online poker.

There are lots of ways to put a smackdown on spammers. You don’t have to limit yourself to Blogger. May I humbly suggest WordPress? It’s got at least 50 ways to curtail spam. I get a very limited amount.

So I was pleasantly surprised to get a comment that wasn’t spam and wasn’t from my Mom. It was from a man named “Trevor.” Trevor wrote: “No worries. It’ll work out despite people like you who have nothing to contribute but negativity. Or am I wrong?”

My full name is Trevor Snyder. I live in rural Northwest Georgia. Nice to meet you.

I of course stood up from my handy dandy Briggs and Stratton computer device and began to argue with Trevor. Hey, man, I said to the wall, I got positivity. I got yer positivity right here. I was gearing up and ready to let this right-wing whacko have it. Yeah, bitch.

So before I sat back down again to write, I looked up Trevor’s profile and checked out his blog. It’s called “will to exist.”

Trevor is a National Guardsman getting ready to go to Iraq. To quote a dead ex-friend of mine: “Not so fucking funny now, are we?”

So, Trevor, my man, I have a few things to say to you. First of all, thank you for posting a comment here at KIAV, and thank you for that comment not being some milquetoast “Yes, I Agree With You Completely” sort of comment. Your comment, not for what it said but for what you are, has been the most interesting thing to ever happen to this project since its inception. Because with what you’ve laid at my feet, it no longer feels like shadowboxing. From my visit to your site, I can see your face, man. In cammos, no less. And how do I answer you directly without telling you that the sense of purpose you clearly feel in this mission is worthless? How do I tell you where I’m coming from without making you feel that my opinions are specifically meant to render your sacrifice as “in vain?” Could I look you in the face while you’re wearing those cammos and tell you that I believe this war is bullshit and sleep all right that night?

For the record, I had been off active duty for almost 10 years when I volunteered to resume military service. I’m fully cognizant that many people believe this war is bullshit.

All right, fine. “…nothing to contribute but negativity…” Listen. I was in downtown Washington, D.C. on September Eleventh. I had to walk home to Arlington with several thousand of my closest friends. I saw the smoke. I fussed for a whole evening over a friend who was in New York. I lived it and had stomachaches over it and cried it out just like everybody else. And on the other side of the grieving, I supported our president. And, at the time, I was willing to suck up my obviously
partisan proclivities and support George W. Bush in whatever endeavors he attempted. I was positive, my man. Like most of my American brothers and sisters, conservative or liberal, I positively wanted two things: I wanted justice, and I wanted measures taken to insure that this wouldn’t happen again.

Me too. I’m a realist though. It’s likely to happen again, due to the nature of the underlying conflict between cultures.

Gary Schroen reported to Tim Russert that Bush wanted UBL’s head in a box on dry ice. Tim Russert’s initial question upon hearing this was about where you’d find dry ice in Afghanistan. I think I might have asked something like, “His head? Really? His fucking head? You’re shitting me. He wanted his HEAD? No fucking way. You’re shitting me. No, really. His HEAD?”

I don’t know Gary Schroen personally, nor do I know George W. Bush personally. I don’t know who really said what. So I’ll reserve judgement for the time being.

But, if that were to have come to pass, I can’t say that even my happy capital-punishment-hating liberal ass would have been disappointed. But it did not come to pass, and nor did the routing out of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, or so a little home movie featuring Ayman al-Zawahri released just last week tells me. So, no justice. And, certainly, we’ve enjoyed a cessation of attacks here at home, but the recent London bombings indicate to me that there’s no peace, either. And every line of relevance that these folks have tried to draw from September Eleventh to Iraq has been broken. This administration and its policies have made it diffcult for me to just give our president any attaboys.

Have you heard of the Hundred Years War? We’re in a new one on a global scale. Be patient and take the really long view. This thing is in it’s infancy. The lines of relevance between Sept. 11 and Iraq don’t need to be clear and strong, because Sept. 11 was a catalyst.

Regardless, Trevor, of whatever disagreements you and I might have about the path our country has taken, the most important thing I have to tell you is this: Please come home. Please come home safe and with all of your arms and legs and fingers and toes and with your sanity intact. Come home to your country and your family and your hometown, preferably to a tickertape parade and a fat happy beautiful American life. Godspeed to you, but please, come home.

Here is what I hope for – a chance to see for myself what is being wrought in Iraq. It’s possible I’ll find out I’m completely wrong and what we are doing over there is counterproductive. I hope that will not happen. I hope I’ll meet many Iraqis who want to control their own destiny and build a nation that tolerates more freedom than that part of the world has seen before. I hope that I will be able to offer them assistance. People are going to die. I might be one of them.

America is far from perfect and if you read past entries here, you’ll notice I’m a big critic of many things I think we have done bass ackwards. However, when I look at the choices I have, between ignoring the cancer that is Muslim fundamentalist extremism or fighting it where it grows, I know what to do. I could be sitting on my ass at home, playing X-box all day and hoping that those who hate what I believe in won’t ever reach out and destroy me or someone I love. But the world keeps getting smaller, and I’m more of a realist than I used to be. I realize that if I can watch a video on the Internet of five men holding another one down and sawing his head off with a rusty knife it’s entirely possible that one day I’ll be the guy they’re holding down. It’s a small world after all.

Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. It is easier to destroy things than it is to build them. It takes years for a human being to develop and mature to their peak productivity. It only takes a moment to snuff out a life. It took years to build the World Trade Center, and it only took minutes to knock the thing down, destroying thousands of lives in the process. The mindset of the people who knocked down those buildings was instilled by a culture of intolerance and blind hatred. That’s what I’m fighting. I’ll fight that sort of thing wherever I encounter it, in Iraq or in Georgia – and yes, you can find it both places.

How’s that for positive?

Pretty good.

I have linked to your blog and will check it often, though I will understand if spinning the blogwheel isn’t your first priority. But please try to keep us updated when you can.

No worries, unless the military shuts me down, I’ll be blogging. Until I’m in country, may I humbly suggest you take a moment to check out Michael Yon’s blog about events in Iraq?

Thank you.
Aaron

Take care of yourself, Aaron.

Comments

Mustang
Reply

This is really quite excellent, Tevor. I like the dialogue absent shouting, and I particularly admire the manner in which you stated your position and your willingness, in the final analysis, to change your mind based on first hand experience. Not only are you an excellent communicator, you are also mature, plain spoken, and honest. I appreciate that and wish there was more dialogue in our society. As for Aaron, he sounds like a decent individual whose opinion deserves the same respect as any other citizen’s — and I think he got a great deal of respect from you.

Your analogy to the 100 years’ war is particularly germaine, I think. For some reason, Americans are all too impatient. This is a cultural anomaly that has in the past, and continues, to work against us. I think that Americans are, by their nature, warriors; the problem is that they want the conflict over within 4 quarters. Personally, I think this is all part of the “feed me NOW” mentality in our materialistic society, but I could be wrong.

So in any case . . . thanks for putting this up.

Semper Fidelis,

Mustang

Trevor
Reply

Mustang,

I agree that Aaron’s opinion deserves as much consideration as mine.

As far as my worldview goes – I grew up in Haiti, Bangladesh, Canada and the U.S. so I have several different realities upon which to base the way I see things.

Thanks for your continued presence here, sir.

GunnNutt
Reply

I couldn’t have said it any better than Mustang. I believe you both identified the source of Aaron’s distress in his impatience for this war to be “over”.

I, too, was in D.C on 9/11. I distinctly remember the panic in the streets as the rumors were running rampant. The Capitol has been hit! The USA Today building in Rosslyn is on fire! Everybody get outta town! etc. I stayed put. The streets were a parking lot from 10am until around 2:30pm and then it was a ghost town.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave, but I wasn’t a bit afraid that day. I was pissed! I still am, and my patience will outlast the islamofacist nutjobs that would like to make D.C. a permanent parking lot.

Aaron is refreshingly only a quasi-moonbat. I think there is hope for him under your tutelage.

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