Tonight I had been watching Dances with Wolves on the local public television station. It’s one of my favorite movies and as I was watching the meeting between Kicking Bird, Stands with a Fist, and John Dunbar, I am struck by the parallels with Iraq. Dunbar realizes that the Sioux are not the boogie men they have been made out to be and are in fact an interesting people with concerns like his own. In conflict and war, leaders attempt to trivialize and dehumanize the enemy. In the latest conflict our incompetent leaders would have us believe that Iraqis and Iranians fall into those categories. Mr. Bush has attempted at first successfully to create an us vs. them mentality. Now after four years of useless slaughter in Iraq and elsewhere our grand army is on the verge of defeat. We are not defeated because of our strength, nor the valor of our soldiers, but rather from the myopia and lack of vision of our leader.
I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s when Americans were presented with other boogie men. They were Commies and Gooks. My Mother’s generation grew up learning to hate Krauts and Nips. I grew tired of the trivialization years ago. I saw through the bulls**t then. I’ll know that the end is near when we finally hear the truth from our leaders and we begin to approach our fellow men as brothers and sisters. War and warmongers seek to dehumanize us and our foes. Getting to know the folks that make us feel uncomfortable is one way I’ve found to break the mold. Peace.