Does Anyone Really Know There is a War
July 3, 2004
By Dan Gougherty
With half of 2004 behind us, a historically crucial presidential
election in four months and fourteen months removed from Bush's
pompous proclamation of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, I am really
beginning to wonder if average the American realizes we are at war.
Is anyone paying attention?
My regular job provides me with the opportunity to travel extensively
in Northern California and Western Nevada and allows me to talk
with a wide variety of people. I come in contact with people ranging
from hay farmers in the irrigated lands of arid Western Nevada to
software developers in Silicon Valley; from goat ranchers in the
San Joaquin Valley to environmental activist in California's Lost
These people represent a wide variety of political philosophies
and are aware of the war in Iraq but don't seem too attached to
it. By attached, I mean they are aware we have troops over there
and some of our troops have been killed, but that's about it. They
don't really seem to care.
When the topic of Iraqi death tolls come up, there is almost universal
astonishment that several thousand have perished. When mentioning
that troops are being held past their commitments, a sort of de-facto
draft, they are taken aback, if for only a moment. Muqtada al-Sadr
On some level, I can understand why these otherwise normal, thoughtful,
individuals lack attachment to the war. Not one of them had an immediate
or even extended family member in the military. A few had friend-of-a-friend
type connections, but not much else. Others were so narrowly focused
on other political or social issues that the war is out on their
As far as I could tell, none of them had to make any significant
sacrifce because of the war. If no sacrifice is made, they have
no attachment to the war.
People reading this old enough to remember the rationing during
WWII know about sacrificing. Even Vietnam-era Americans sacrificed
by paying higher taxes for all those bombs. Of course, tens of thousands
of families had to sacrifice their children in those wars.
But in the post 9/11 world, Bush has not once urged American to
make any sort of tangible sacrifice to fight his war on terror.
To the contrary, he told us repeatedly that no sacrifice in needed.
Everything is going to be fine.
In fact, things are so good we are going to "trickle down"
some tax break crumbs to you wage earners and throw the whole enchilada
of tax breaks to the donor class. Oh, lets not forget they are getting
their news from the Big Brother; also known as Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC
Maybe that's the plan. Throw some money at the "little people,"
as Leona Helmsley would call them so they can scurry off for another
six pack and while you're at it, make sure the American public doesn't
see flag-draped coffins returning, much less armed combat in Iraq.
Barring some catastrophic event, most people will not have to
make any sacrifice, outside of higher gasoline prices for their
SUV's, that will attach them to the war in a way that will influence
how, and if, they vote. That would be sad. Like all of us, they
too have a lot to lose.
For me, I will continue to blog away in the hope that I will influence
at least one person in Florida, Ohio or any other battleground state
to vote Bush out of office. That one vote might be the difference.
In the mean time I think I will head to the beach to celebrate
the Fourth of July and keep an eye out for those "exploding beer
coolers" John Ashcroft has warned us about.
Visit Dan Gougherty's blog at www.ltobs.blogspot.com