- National and Public
On NPR they're asking questions: if Iraq, really, islike VietNam and not like VietNam; if Rumsfeldreally, was like McNamara—and not. I'm gettingangry, thinking: Why don't you know these answers?It's so obvious: Our young people learning to kill(again), being blown up and mowed down (again)blowing up and mowing down other people, whiletheir parents back home slide into shock and denialnot awe. They're going far away to be awkwardin pants that don't really fit right, in colors chosento match the ground that many will fall down on.And they'll soon see, soon understand (not longafter they move in): the people don't like themdon't trust welcome want them there. They willknow, not long after they get there, the peoplethey've come to save liberate educate release, reallytruly actually want them to go away, go back homein the dawn's early light, by which they've pledgedallegiance to broad stripes, bright stars and a republic [End Page 61] (one nation) for which they stand, each perilous night.It's obvious. People who stand their ground, therewhere the ground is the color of this war's uniformsdon't think our young people have brought theman order of democracy-to-go, like Coke and pizza.People there realize (again) that for George this waris personal (oh, not like he's fighting dying killingnot like his children are over there, two of the onesfighting dying killing, wearing pants the color of sand:not that kind of personal, no). They know for him it'slike it was for Lyndon (though George is dumb, emptyof that other Texan's agony): He wants to win, whatHe says goes, He's sticking to His guns. Actually, he issticking to their guns, but still. People in South Africaknow this, and in Australia too. People know in EgyptArgentina, Italy, India, Laos. You and I know this.Why don't people on NPR know this? They just keepasking the same questions—even though it's obvious. [End Page 62]
Judith Arcana's books include Grace Paley's Life Stories, A Literary Biography and the recent poetry collection What if your mother. She has received grants, fellowships and residencies from the Puffin Foundation, Rockefeller Archive, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Literary Arts, Soapstone, Montana Artists Refuge, Mesa Refuge and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. She taught for over forty years in schools, colleges, libraries, living rooms, a prison and a jail. Judith lives in Oregon.