Column: Both parties are to blame for problems with present war in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2006

Love Cruikshank, Love Notes

I was entirely grown up I think before I finally learned to call it Memorial Day. During my formative years it was always simply Decoration Day. The night before, my mother would have picked suitable flowers, with stems proper for holding water, put them all in jars of water and left them in the cool basement to be ready for the morning.

We had an early breakfast, and set off to visit the graves of relatives in all the nearby small towns. On the way we stopped at the homes of relatives to pick up more flowers prepared for us to put on the graves of kinfolks.

Lilacs would be gone by then, but there would be a profusion of iris, peonies, and other offerings, all beautiful. It was an annual family event. Strangely enough I don’t remember it ever raining on that day. I suppose if it did we simply went a day later.

I was always allowed to choose one of my friends to go with me. While the adults decorated, my friend and I would read the tombstones, being very careful not to step on any of the graves. We didn’t know what horror would befall us if we did, but we had no desire to find out.

I suppose we knew that the day had something to do with fallen soldiers, but that was more in evidence on the Fourth of July than on Memorial Day.

I think it was on Larry King’s program the other night that I heard a discussion on the problems facing the Republican Party due to our invasion of Iraq. That’s OK with me, but I can’t very well take pride in the response of the Democrats to the war in Iraq either. So far as I can see they bowed their little heads, clasped their little hands and marched like so many zombies to support our &8220;brilliant president.&8221;

That’s what someone called him on the program about which I’m writing. Why should I argue about it? I suppose the foremost lemming in the lemming migration to the sea might be counted as &8220;brilliant,&8221; too. It all depends on what your plans are.

Another Bush partisan insisted that the president was handling the Iraq situation with wisdom and courage. I’ll not be denying the courage. You’ll never be finding hotter expression of patriotism or more passionate courage than you’ll find in the armchair soldier.

You know, the one who praises the glory of war, but never goes to war himself and makes a point of not sending his children to war either. The troops in our Civil War said it best, &8220;It’s a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.&8221; That was the war fought to free the slaves. Just as World War I was fought to end wars and make the world safe for Democracy.

Ah, but you’ve got to remember our president’s splendid effort against terrorists. Sends our best fighting men to Iraq, he does, and leaves us happily framed by two open borders over which any terrorist can stroll for a bit of an outing.

In two years we’ll be having another presidential election and I can’t help wishing that those who offer us candidates in both parties will remember that intelligence is a helpful prop to any politician. I’m not saying that the last two candidates for president offered to us were not intelligent, but they concealed it so well.

I’m not asking for an Einstein, but couldn’t we have someone with just a little common sense?

(Albert Lea resident Love Cruikshank’s column appears every Thursday.)