Tuesday, March 01, 2005

 

War

I haven't posted much, if at all, about the war.

Last spring, I failed a student for plagiarism. He went to Iraq at the end of May, his second time over there. I don't know whether he's alive or dead.

Yesterday, one of my favorite students came to my office to apologize for missing so many classes. He's in the Reserves. He expects to be sent to Iraq at the beginning of the summer.

Today, a female student came to me after class to tell me that one of her close friends left for Iraq today, that he doesn't speak to his parents and she is all he has, so if he calls she will leave class. She was crying.

This is what the war is to me. And I can't think about it in terms of politics or what is most advantageous for this country or for other countries or whatever. What I think about are my students - most of whom are working class and who got into the military as a way to get an education. These are not the privileged few who go to prestigious military academies and get tracked into officer jobs and stationed in Germany but rather the kids who join up because they have no other options or don't believe they have other options and end up coming home maimed or dead. These are kids whose parents don't help them out with school; these are kids who work two and three jobs to manage. And some of these "kids" have families of their own - kids, wives, husbands.

It is impossible for me to understand the justification for sending them to Iraq to fight. And no, the argument that they knew what they were getting into does not cut it for me because it erases the way that the social and economic conditions of this country make that "choice" one of necessity rather than one of preference.

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