hunt05's daylog, above, points out the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the national policy behind the Iraq war. My Republican friends are quick to say it's not a war, it's a peacetime stabilization effort. Huh. Tell that to the servicemen's families. It is a distinction without a difference.

riverrun's homenode should make you upset at the leader of our country. He's an idiot. He's a truculent little boy who's been placed in a suit and told to act as if he was the president of the most powerful country in the free world. The suit and the trappings of power don't change a thing: he's still an idiot.

Now in the maelstrom of everyday life, idiots are usually boulders around which the water flows rather easily. But this idiot affects every single American citizen. He also affects the lives of people living in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea...

My wife and I participated in a candlelight vigil two weeks ago, a silent protest against the United States' wrongheaded involvement in Iraq. There was an air of unreality about it, for me. I've been involved in military and state affairs for a long time - most of my professional career, though never as a soldier. My view of democracy, as practiced by the western liberal democracies of our time, are generally positive. These views have been shaped by the long views afforded us by history. Having read Plutarch and Caesar and St. Augustine of Hippo and modern histories too countless to name here, I'm aware of how precious and fragile a thing democracy is. The Chinese are absolutely right to regard democracy as an experiment in the history of human self-governance - an experiment which has not yet come to an end. Fukuyama is wrong: this is not the end of history, if history is considered as a laboratory experiment ending in a final report. It's still very much at the petri dish level. It may be somewhat of an understatement to say that I am not a naive believer in western liberal democracies. I believe this experiment is worth fighting for, and I believe that thousands of years of human history bears out this view.

I am troubled at the leadership of this country. These views are shared by many in the government and the Dept. of Defense who cannot vocalize their views without harming their careers. It is especially troubling to those of us who vividly remember another terrible president: Richard M. Nixon. In some ways it is an unfair comparison, since Nixon was a small venal man, corrupt to his core, whereas even W's staunchest critics do not doubt Bush's inner core of goodness and sincerity. But what we remember so vividly about the Nixon White House is its closed ranks, its us-versus-them mentality, and its willingness to punish with breathtaking ruthlessness American citizens willing to stand up to corrupt Nixon policies in the name of the higher ideals of democracy. We remember that, because we're seeing it all again, right here, right now.

We wish we could shake this country and say, "Don't you remember the terrible lessons of Vietnam?" "Don't you remember what Nixon taught us?" This will all end badly.

I held a candle, that evening two weeks ago, while cars were driving by and kids were honking to show support, or perhaps just to express their exuberance with life, it's so hard to tell. Most of the candleholders were older. Most of us remembered Nixon. Most of us remembered Vietnam. Many of us know children or grandchildren who are involved in today's war, or who know children who have grown up on our suburban streets, whom we have coached in soccer or baseball or basketball, who are now serving under arms in a very hostile part of the world where the rules of engagement are confusing and change with the sands. We want them to come back, safely, to their sweethearts and to their extended families.

Truth be told, many of us were feeling like relics. How silly we looked holding candles. How silly, unless you knew how many of us were patriots. How silly, unless you saw my wife in pearls and patrician stare, the unwavering gaze that have made generals blink. How silly, unless you've ever rubbed your fingers against the lettering of the name of a relative on the Vietnam War Memorial wall. How silly, unless you've ever attended a funeral at Arlington National Cemetary.

As soon as life gets stressful, my body's reaction is to stop sleeping properly. This is rather counterproductive. Being sleepy during the day means I'm less effective at getting things done, thereby increasing the stress. Last night in bed I was decorating houses and packing boxes all night. So now I'm at work not getting anything done. Hooray.

The stress is because of a Good Thing. I'm moving in with my boyfriend after almost three years! I have wanted to for two years at least now, because even if you live as close to each other as we do (five minuites by bike), it still sucks to lug groceries from one place to the other and to keep track of what stuff is where. We spend almost every day together anyway. Now we can be together and both be at home in between our own stuff! Both at the same time! No more deciding who sleeps where! No more finding out you've left your good clothes at the wrong place! Even better, we're renting two more rooms in the house he lives in, which makes for a total of four large rooms for the both of us. Plus a huge (shared) kitchen and garden. Decorating is rather is stressful already since it all goes much more slowly than I want it to, and next week it needs to be finished. But I can already see it will be beautiful. There is even a cat to play with in the new house.So, much to look forward to.

Even so, the fact that I've now given up on my own place gives me the creeps when I think about it too long. I've put off packing for as long as possible too. I've lived on my own for five years and I've never minded living alone. It means no mess from other people, decorating just as you please, being able to dance around in a silly way with no one laughing at you. And I'm giving that up. No more safe place to flee to if I get tired of company. No more refuge from the boyfriend if he snores. AND I'm moving into a house that is shared by four more people and I already know some of the problems they have. I'm not looking forward to fighting over who has to clean what when with his stupid roomy who lives on the same floor....

In the end it will probably all be good. But for now some valerian is in order.

In my humble opinion - and that's not just an expression with me, I really mean it - comparing the Vietnam War with the Iraq War is an insult to all Vietnam vets and the families of soldiers killed in Vietnam. There's virtually no comparison, save the fact that we (America) went into a country fighting a war we shouldn't have been. Thousands upon thousands of U.S. soldiers were killed in Vietnam, a great number of them draftees, kids just out of high school, a good lot of them couldn't have even pointed to Vietnam on a map of the world before they were sent over there. The number of soldiers killed in Vietnam dwarfs the number that have died already in Iraq and by the time this is over it will still be dwarfing it, rest assured. (And the number of soldiers who died in World War II and World War I each dwarf the numbers killed in Vietnam.)

This obviously will be of no comfort to hunt05 or anybody else who has lost a loved one over in Iraq. Of course that is always a terrible, terrible thing. But everybody over there had signed up for some type of military duty and most of them are serving their duty proudly and I support them. No draftees -- yet. (Casey Sheehan, son of Cindy Sheehan, even had signed up for a second tour before being killed, he could have gone home!) There's nobody over there - yet - who never wanted in the military, who may have abhored killing on every level and whatnot. Thousands of kids who had just attended their senior prom aren't being sent off to slaughter this time. Think about it.

Whether or not we should have been there in the first place is irrelevant now; we have to finish the job over there now that we've started it and if we pull out now all of the soldiers' deaths so far will have been in vain. They will have died for nothing.

We lost miserably over in Vietnam, let's not do that again. Let's all hope for a peaceful and Democratic Iraq, for our people and for theirs.

Thank you.

Day 3. I hardly slept at all last night. I spent most of the night sitting on the toilet in terrible pain. As soon as I thought I was done and tried to go back to bed, the pain would revisit and I would have to go to the bathroom again. It felt as if someone had shoved a large work boot covered in hot sauce into my anus.

It was an uncomfortable night. I wanted to quit this fast very badly. Finally, around 4:30am it was over and I could go to sleep. Soon it was 7:30 and time to wake up. Time to get ready for work.

I wasn't as tired as I should have been. My headache was gone. I lounged about in bed until almost 8:00. I was going to be late, so I decided to forego the 32oz saltwater flush drink. We mixed up 5 glasses worth of our lemonade mix in some empty gallon water jugs. I quickly downed one glass for the road and was off to work.

It has not been a fun day. I have been dreamy and distracted. Can't seem to focus. I am having very strong cravings for a triple-decker cheeseburger and giant sized fries that I used to make for myself at breaktime at my first job. I was almost to the point of wishing I was back at that job. Eating fries as I flipped some burgers. It has been torturous to be around people who are eating sandwiches and microwaving their lunches. People in the catbox describing the delicious foods of their choice. It is killing me. I just want some oreos and a jar of peanutbutter.

But, I am keeping in good spirits. I read all about Bobby Sands, and had a few laughs at myself. I am not sure if it helps to joke about my hunger.

I just found out some disturbing news at work today that might effect my employment/compensation. I am thinking seriously of breaking my fast so I won't be so muddled tomorrow at work. I may need what ever negotiation skills I can muster.

I have been out of my lemonade mix now since 3:00pm and I am very hungry. It's almost quitting time. Then I can go home and get some more liquid refreshment and watch a movie or play some video games to take my mind off my hunger. I am determined to at least finish out today.

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