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Trying to be a good, little soldier in a crazy world

I’ve been ambivalent about the war. I guess we’re calling it a war. I feel divorced from it, as I have no access to CNN and National Public Radio/Oregon Public Broadcasting is in the middle of its pledge drive. I read the Oregonian, but there is nothing like live graphic imagery to drive the force of a war home.

I am heeding the president’s words, most of the time. I am a good little soldier in the fight against terrorism. I go to work every day, I go to class every day and I am currently helping out the economy on a regular basis.

I am no longer impatient with the snail’s pace of the mail. I will not complain about the boots I ordered on Monday arriving well after the promised Thursday. As long as the reason is that my mail is being carefully checked for bombs and anthrax, I will wear my uncomfortable shoes.

I will not call 911 every time a suspicious looking package or envelope arrives at my office. It’s a lawyer’s office, and I suppose you could classify most of our mail suspicious, depending on your opinion of lawyers. I try to use critical thinking when I see white powder. I’m fairly certain that at this point, the terrorists are not targeting me or my immediate environs.

One of the harder things about being a good soldier is wearing my patriotism. I’ve never felt that the flag is something you should wear, like a college sweatshirt, but I’m not criticizing those who do. I don’t choose to wear ribbons either, there is simply not enough room on my chest for to wear the ribbons of all the causes I feel like supporting.

I don’t put a decal of the flag on my window because no one would see it, and I don’t have a car. I haven’t sewn an American flag on my backpack. I am not ashamed of the flag. I simply feel it looks best on a pole, or some other appropriate hanging.

I don’t see the flag as a symbol of oppression. Flags don’t oppress, people do. To the people who say we deserved the Sept. 11 attacks, I say it is a rare country that has a spotless past. Like the Bible says, “let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone.”

War is ugly. As a history major, I’ve made World War II my focus. I can see why parallels are being drawn between that war and this one. There are rules of war, somewhere on paper. Sometimes people follow them, but to me the very phrase rules of war is paradoxical.

I know that innocent people will and have died. I wish there was some sort of easy way to fix it. Doing nothing in response to the terrorism would have been just as wrong as interning every person of Middle Eastern extract.

I see lots of what looks like propaganda, and I’m very careful when I’m reading the paper or watching television. I’ve read quite a bit of George Orwell and am watching very carefully how my government is treating its citizens. I am a lucky woman though, the United States does not force me to cover myself up and hide from the world. I do recognize though, that amongst the covered women there may be females in Afghanistan who like to cover themselves and remain indoors. Some consider it an inherent part of the culture and an important aspect of Islamic law.

In the eventuality that Osama bin Laden is flushed out, I hope we will try him as fairly as one can expect from a war crimes tribunal. The whole world will be watching us and we should act accordingly. How can we call ourselves a democracy if we don’t?