Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Not "Bring 'em on", Mr. President, Bring them home
Thanksgiving 2006 * Three and Half Years of An Unjust War
- Associated Press/Washington Post November 20, 2006
- LONDON, Nov. 19 -- Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Sunday.
- Kissinger presented a bleak vision, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's neighbors -- including Iran -- if progress is to be made.
- "If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said.
Tomorrow, as Americans gather to celebrate this great holiday, there will be many homes in which the shadow of the war in Iraq will be present. Families will think of their loved ones serving in Iraq; some will try to cope with the memories of the dead, and others think of caring for the injured.
Those of us who have not been directly affected by the war must not forget them and the hundreds of thousands of hapless Iraqis caught in the turmoil.
Let's hope that come Thanksgiving 2007, the soldiers will be home.
A few years ago I wrote a Thanksgiving column that people seemed to like, so I've reprinted it annually. Here it is again, slightly revised:
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It is comfortably free of the strident religious and/or militaristic overtones that give the other holidays their soft emanations of uneasiness.
At Christmas, for instance, we are required to deal with the divinity of Christ -- I know some of you folks have made up your minds about that one, but not me -- and on the Fourth of July we must wrestle with the question of whether all those simulated aerial bombardments represent the most useful form of nationalism available.
At Thanksgiving, all we have to worry about is whether we can wholeheartedly support A) roasted turkey, B) friends and C) gratitude. My opinions on these matters are unambiguous; I am in favor of them all. The Squanto-give-corn stuff has been blessedly eliminated from the iconography, so the thrill of Thanksgiving is undiminished by caveats, codicils or carps. That alone is something to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving provides a formal context in which to consider the instances of kindness that have enlightened our lives, for moments of grace that have gotten us through when all seemed lost. These are fine and sentimental subjects for contemplation.