5 years ago today, I wrote about my thoughts on the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq war.I was embarrassed a bit to read this post. I was SO much more conservative 5 years ago, it's hard to read it as the same person. In reality I wasn't nearly as conservative as I thought I was, I'd just never been forced to face my real feelings on most of the political questions of the day.
Here's the beginning of my swing from conservatism and much like Ohio Senator Rob Portman, it took a personal cost for me to realize the error of our ways.
As we sat in the grass in front of the Theatre building, my best friend, Richard, told me about his plan to go into the Army and why it was the exact right thing to do.
I had been more than a supporter of the Iraq war (and really everything Bush did internationally) until this sudden, and completely unexpected personal cost was attached to that support. I tried to talk him out of it, but even then I maintained support for the war. It didn't happen overnight, but eventually Richard's involvement caused me to question as the conflict continued.
The point is I’ve been thinking about our Vital National Interests. What is worth the loss of American lives? Historically speaking, the American Revolution was obviously worth the loss of life we sustained. The men who died on those battlefields were ensuring their (and their descendants) ability to make a life for themselves free of the rule of others. The Civil War was worthy two-fold, to preserve the Union created by the Revolutionary War and to end the question of slavery for all time. WWII was fought to rid the world of two terrible regimes (although we left one pretty bad one lying around). But what about Iraq? What are we fighting for now?
It's a fascinating glimpse into me half a decade ago. Selfish little conservative bugger. I love Richard, I'm so proud he served his country and I'm even more glad he made it home alive and in one piece as so many haven't.
This April 20th, Honeybun and I are having an engagement party and shower, but we'll also be celebrating the end of Richard's commitment to the American Armed service. An exciting milestone for him and his family, and one of relief for me. Selfish little liberal bugger. It was realizing how much I cared about Richard 5 years ago and how much an unjustified military action was costing me and mine that finally made me begin to think about others in a real way. I shamed Rob Portman and the GOP for waiting until it cost them personally to care about Gay rights, or women, or whatever civil rights issue they're completely disregarding tomorrow. But I was guilty of it too.