No, this blog isn’t about basketball.
It is about a form of sheer madness that began in March 2003, five years ago. That ugly moment of March Madness began with a bang — “shock and awe” they called it.
Shocking brutality, awesome hubris.
Five years ago this week, as American planes swept into the sky over Baghdad to drop hundreds of thousands of tons of deadly explosives, President Bush went on the air to announce the commencement of the War in Iraq. This was supposed to be a swift war, a decisive action to root out the motherlode of terrorists supposedly hiding under Saddam Hussein’s protection. This was supposed to be a war to discover and eradicate weapons of mass destruction. This was supposed to be a war to make the world safer.
This is a war that has destroyed countless Iraqi lives.
This is a war that has destroyed nearly 4000 American lives and maimed tens of thousands more brave soldiers.
This is a war that has ruined a once-proud country whose history goes back to the dawn of civilization.
This is a war that has tripled the price of a barrel of oil, made oil companies wealthier than ever, and put $4-a-gallon gasoline in sight by the summer.
This is sheer madness. March madness gone on far too long.
And, while this tragic anniversary slides by, what are the aspirants for the presidency talking about?
Two of them seem to be mostly talking about themselves.
One candidate, Senator McCain, is in Baghdad today, demonstrating strong support for this war. He recently reiterated his opposition to any thought of bringing the troops home.
Senator Obama has opposed this war from the start; he would bring the troops home swiftly. Senator Clinton voted to approve war funding, then later pulled back her support; she also now says she would bring the troops home.
But neither Senator Obama nor Senator Clinton seem to be thinking much about the war these days, let alone pronouncing plans for how to rebuild Iraq and ensure the peace.
This morning in countless offices and schools across America, citizens will huddle around the coffee pot and cafeteria table placing real or imagined bets on the fate of the men’s basketball teams arranged in 64 brackets on a piece of paper. March Madness will consume the time and attention of millions of people for the next three weeks.
Too bad that this nation is playing games while the real March Madness rages on.
See today’s Miami Herald article “Iraq War Disappears as a TV Story”
See Pope Benedict declaration “Enough With The Slaughters!”