Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where is the Glory? (Mothers & Foreign Policy)

One of the most emotionally stirring and monumental movies ever made was the  1989 Civil War drama  "Glory."  It is based on the preparations of the  54th Massachusetts battalion, the first black unit, to fight in the Civil War, and the Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina. This film  is a powerful and I might even say beautiful depiction of one of the times in human history when the unspeakable agony of a mother's loss could be softened by the potency of her pride in the cause to which her child gave his life.

It therefore confounds me that loving mothers would spend more time thumbing through "Better Homes & Gardens," than studying the trajectory of  United States foreign policy.  Where was the "glory" in losing one's child in the Vietnam War? Or how about Afghanistan?  The George Bush White House could have criminalized the 9/11 attacks, gaining the support of the Muslim world in bringing down Osama bin Laden, rather than invading an entire country, at the loss of 2,000 American lives, and we are still counting.  And how about Iraq, where 5,000 American lives were lost, even though the dictator Saddam Hussein was even more opposed to the fundamentalism of bin Laden than we were?   Where is the glory to losing a child to simple ignorance of foreign policy?  Where are the voices of mothers when foreign policy decisions, that have the possibility of ripping apart our souls in grief, are being made?