Battlefield New Jersey

11/5/2004

Today brings news of two troubling military developments. One in our nation and the other in the one we’ve adopted, Iraq.

We begin in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, where citizens are teeming with anger and astonishment over the strafing of a grade school by a U.S. Air Force F-16. (I know, there’s made-up stuff on this Web site, but I put it on the Made-Up Musings page. Muse’s honor, this is absolutely true.)

Air Force Officials have yet to come up with any rational explanation for why they opened fire on Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School with shells so powerful they ripped through the roof and lodged in students’ empty desks.

I was able to erase an early suspicion by checking the voting results–Bush won that county by 21 points.

The best the Air Force brass can do is mumble something about “software malfunction” and promise to get back to us. I’m sure that’s very reassuring to the Little Eggians (If you’ve read Gulliver’s Travels, giggle here).

Meanwhile, in a distant land, our military is poised to unleash its intentional fury on a city named Falluja, where thousands of Iraqi insurgents are said to be holed-up and making a hash of U.S. nation-building efforts. It could be very bloody, on our side and theirs.

The unpleasantness in Falluja got really bad last April when a convey was attacked and American remains were desecrated and hung from a bridge. The retaliatory strike launched by coalition forces killed dozens of American soldiers and hundreds of Iraqis, including an untold number of non-combatants. That mission was aborted when it incited mayhem throughout the country and the Iraqi soldiers we had trained to help us fight began to desert or even join the bad guys and start shooting at us.

Ever since, Falluja has festered. And we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

Is it any coincidence that less than 72 hours after the election concluded we are getting ready to roll the dice again? The Muse has no sympathy for the lunatics in the insurgency. They are happy to blow up innocents with their random car bombs and equally willing to use civilians as a shield against U.S. attack.

But it is the most vicious of circles.

The mind wanders back to Little Egg Harbor and the shot-up grade school. The volley fired there missed Falluja by about 6,009 miles. One can only imagine what we will hit when a real war starts in that far-away city of 300,000.

What the hell are we doing there to start with?

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