Today is the 5 year-anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by U.S. led coalition forces. This occasion is being marked by hundreds of bloggers across the net as they show their solidarity in a commitment that the United States should withdraw from Iraq. If you have some time today I'd encourage you to check the Iraq War Blogswarm blogroll linked above and read some of the other very moving and sometimes very personal stories about the war.
For those of us who were against this war since well before it began this has been a pretty frustrating five years. We marched, we wrote letters and we voted. None of that seemed to help. In fact: it seems like things have just gotten worse.
If you're like me the last five years have made you feel a bit powerless. But we don't have to feel that way. Here's a couple of modest suggestions to things we can do today to make things a little bit better all by our lonesome.
The first is to visit and consider participating in the Any Soldier program. Effectively it's a care package deal but more. Men and women serving in Afghanistan or Iraq post lists of items they're running short on - everything from socks to DVDs to alleviate the periods of boredom - and civilians stateside fulfil those wishes. Maybe we can't bring these guys home today but we can at least make their lives a little bit better.
My second suggestion is something a little more personal and something I feel strongly about, but hesitate to bring up. When matched against the gravity of the thousands of lives lost in the war in Iraq it just doesn't seem that important. Still...
Five years ago we lost a lot of stuff when President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. We lost lives, treasure and our sense of national identity as a nation founded on universal principles of human rights. We lost much of the goodwill America had built up at the end of the twentieth century in fighting for these principles. We lost our moral stature as a nation.
We also lost our flag. I'm not sure how this happened or how it was even possible, but the people that supported this war were able to turn our flag into a bumper sticker. They were able to re-brand the flag belonging to all of us as a symbol supporting George W. Bush and his ridiculous decision to start a war in Iraq. They took it from us.
I want it back. So today I'm getting out my own flag out of mothballs, which I haven't flown since 2002, and hanging it in front of my house. I'm also embedding the flag on my page and am encouraging anyone who feels the same way and hasn't done so already to do the same thing.
Our flag was never theirs to take and it's been in their hands much longer than they deserved. Let's take the damn thing back.