15 August 2006

Family of Spam

Gentle reader, you are about to embark on a thrilling expedition into my world of rage. I realized in the car today that rage is actually a pretty good description of what I do as my stress level gets higher. Thom, the best man at our wedding, got a taste of how out of control that rage can be. His response was to get me a magnet that said, "I don't have an anger problem. I have an IDIOT problem."

The last two weeks have been fairly stressful. Mostly, I'm aware of the stress and its resulting rage and I have found ways to channel it productively. However, sometimes it catches the unsuspecting bystander in what can only be described as a vile act of snarkiness. Most of this stress is caused by the growth of CUWiN and its need to shed the cocoon and actually make it happen. Sure, there have been some other issues, but mostly this is it. And one of the ways I deal with this workplace stress is to write emails that I would never send, but that clearly express the rage I am feeling at that moment. By the end of the email, I'm ready to get back to work.

Yesterday wasn't actually a particularly stressful day. It also wasn't a particularly anything day, although it was long. Late in the afternoon I wasn't feeling all that great and I got an email from my uncle's wife. Now it should be said that he is having his sixtieth birthday and many in the family are going to go on a cruise. I had hoped the email would be about some special present they are setting up for him. Well, not so much.

Subject: Let's say thanks please read very important!!!!!

If you go to the web site at www.letssaythanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. It is FREE and it only takes a second. I just did it...it's cool give it a try

Now, if you have followed this blog at all or know who I am, you will know that I'm a pacifist and that my appreciation for the military is non-existent. With few exceptions, militaries are despicable institutions that commit unconscionable acts. So I don't want to get this email. In fact, I view this email as little more than an invasion of someone else's politics into my personal space. This only got worse when I decided to go to the website and see that what would be sent was pictures drawn by children (or chickenhawks who act like them). What an obvious case of brainwashing our children to believe that everything soldiers do in the name of the military-industrial complex is a positive act that defends freedom.

I decided to write back. But rather than writing about how I would prefer not receive a bunch of crap (I received several more items later in the afternoon), I decided to engage. Well, I thought, if she wants me to engage in this, I will. I'll write back some thoughtful words about saying thank you to poor bastards who are in Iraq because GW, Dick, Donny, and Wolfie (sounds a little too much like a boy band) decided to make the rest of us live out their fantasy. I didn't want to alienate them by raging. Instead, I decided to say something else to the troops: "I'm sorry." I replied to all recipients with the following:

Dear all,

I'm all for saying thank you, even if I am a pacifist. But perhaps thank you isn't the most important sentiment that we need to be relaying to our troops. Perhaps we should say, "I'm sorry." Here are ideas about what we might want to apologize for:

  • I'm sorry that we supported going to war against an enemy who had _nothing_ to do with September 11, 2001 or Al Qaida.

  • I'm sorry that we re-elected officials who lied about the causes for the war and knowingly spouted false intelligence to bully members of the global community into going to war.

  • I'm sorry that we sent you into battle without the necessary equipment to keep you safe and without the necessary troop numbers to actually secure the country and win the peace, even though many of our own experts told us that we were seriously underestimating both.

  • I'm sorry that we continue to keep you in Iraq, some of you through a back-door draft, without any hope of bringing you home.

  • I'm sorry that you must watch a civil war unfolding right before your very eyes while I watch "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Surreal Life".

  • I'm sorry that we have decided to flaunt the Geneva Conventions and use torture on people in your name. We know that this only results in false information and making your job more difficult.

  • I'm sorry that we feel it is more important to give ourselves tax breaks than to actually pay for all your medical care when you are injured in this war.

  • I'm sorry that when you come back the freedoms you think you are defending will have been usurped by an administration that breaks the law in the name of expanding executive powers, even when it is contrary to the law.



The irony of all of this is that I looked into the website and found that Xerox was actually running this site. They claim that this is an act of social responsibility, an attempt to ensure that the troops feel warm and fuzzy right before they get maimed by an IED. I actually just finished writing to Xerox to offer an alternative idea about what to say to the troops.

I hope we can start turning this cockamamie bs patriotism that can never question and that can't hold people accountable when they volunteer to kill people in foreign lands into the mockery it is by starting a counter campaign. Every time you see one of these stupid websites, send the troops a real message that expresses the sorrow you feel for their terrible situation.


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