Thursday, January 11, 2007

Our Options are Closed

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Keep your options open. I've said it to my children as they forged a path through higher education and career choices. I've said it to social work clients. I've used it as a little mantra to myself. And now I get to give this canned little speech to George Bush.

Keeping options open doesn't mean keeping them open forever. Certainly one must eventually choose among them. The things we do choose inevitably leave behind the detritus of the thing not chosen. Don't look back; there's really no point. The idea behind my little mantra is not to wallow in indecision but rather to make sure there are options in the first place. A little bonus is to choose among ethical options, or at the very least to choose the ethical option from among several possibilities.

But here's the thing. Our fearless leader (who really needs to develop a sense of fear, among other psychological issues) has left all of us with no good choices. There are only three options, it seems. We pull out now. Today or very soon. We stay the course, which amounts to leaving gradually. Doesn't it? Or, we do something different, and the President's decision is to send more troops to wage this war "right". Somehow "do no harm" seems never to have been on the table as an option. The thing not chosen was to avoid war in the first place, and it's really too late to fret about that. We did go to war, and we have to go forward from here.

Here's another trick from social work, George. Sometimes the solution you were sure would work doesn't work. It's baffling, and it happens to all of us occasionally. It seems to be human nature to thrash around a bit and do the wrong thing more, harder, better. If the problem was determination or sheer strength, there will be results quickly. If nothing happens, the problem was the tool itself. Frequently when this happens, the problem has been framed poorly. You chose a poor response to the problem because you misunderstood the problem in the first place.

You might be making the mistake of thinking that there is a military solution at all. Maybe it's a political problem instead and would respond to political tools. Perhaps it's an intellectual problem or a moral one or even a spiritual one. I don't claim to know.

But think outside the box for two minutes together, for the love of all things holy. Because I can tell you right now what's going to happen as a result of this escalation, and none of us is going to like it. Including you.

As VirusHead so wisely points out, our future is being stolen from us as well.


Lisa :-] said...

You are so dead on about this, Andrea. I am pimping this entry in my journal (not that I have a huge following or anything, but I love this post and would like everyone I know to read it...)

VirusHead said...

Thanks for the mention, Andrea.

I wish that I could believe that it's all just a matter of George's personal blindnesses and pathologies. Unfortunately, I think it's a lot bigger than that. Ultimately, he's just the front man with the familiar name...

We all know that this escalation will result in bloodshed and probably very little else. I think that even Bush knows it.

Wil Robinson said...

I wonder how someone without a conscience (isn't that called being a 'sociopath'?) will ever regret what he has done. I think without actually risking anything he values (that being his own pocketbook or family members) he won't ever feel the sting of war.

That kind of makes him unaccountable, I guess.