Thursday, March 20, 2003

Got "Our" War On
So we bombed Baghdad early their morning. And I think I now realize the source of part of the malaise I felt earlier this week. It's war. A war that much of America doesn't support, that much of the rest of the world doesn't support, that the "leaders" of America are waging in our name regardless.

I felt this way back when the Gulf War was just getting started, and I was hanging out with Jodie and stressing over whether I'd be drafted. At the time, there was no draft, but I'd researched conscientious objection and talked with friends in Canada just in case I needed an out. I also felt this way just after Sept. 11, having left work early to eat takeout pizza with Sarah and Paul -- and debate whether we should watch the news coverage or change the channel to something less real. I felt this way days later sitting upstairs at Charlie's Kitchen, almost crying into a beer as the import of what had really happened really hit me. (That night, I actually left without paying my bill. I mailed the restaurant a check for $9 because I wasn't able to get back before leaving for the 2001 CoF Roadshow. I've never ditched a bill before. Or since.)

And I feel this way now. It's a slightly different feeling because so much of the country's population isn't with Bush on this one. But it's frustrating to think that this is happening in America's name without the full support of America. We do this to ourselves. And the sociologist in me is curious. What impact does war have on the mood and emotions of the populace? Is there a war-time depression?

A lot of research has been done on war's impact on soldiers and veterans -- shell shock, post-traumatic stress disorder -- but what of those who don't fight but still bear the psychological brunt of the fighting? Researchers have considered how the threat of war affects Iraqi children. Clinical psychologists offer advice on reacting to terrorist attacks on our soil. Economists analyze how war can influence economic activity. And experts line up to comment on the psychological effects of war.

But what about me? That's all a bit macro; let's go micro. Is war-time sadness and helplessness natural and normal? What toll does this take on us as military conflicts expand and continue?

How does this make you feel?

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