SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - "Hello Darkness, My Old Friend," The Eve Of War 2003


By Bob Weaver

March, 2003

Standing in silence in front of the Calhoun courthouse for an hour, candle in hand, Rev. Margaret Peig Schmitz quietly said she was asking for God to guide the minds of our leaders, as the minutes tick away toward yet another war.

The Vigil for Peace had eight in attendance.

Settling conflicts and keeping the peace seem to evaporate when conscionable people are confronted with reasons for a "just" war.

Peace doesn't draw a crowd.

This war will nervously be marked in history as a strike against an obviously evil dictatorship, a government that we once embraced and supported, but ill-begotten.

Some say it is being fought for oil, or revenge, or to protect us from weapons of mass destruction or terrorism, although the 9-11 terrorists came from another country.

The war will be fought between the Tigress-Euphrates Rivers, land known as "the cradle of civilization" 4,500 years ago.

That place later gave us the the 282 laws of the Hammurabi Code, from which the rules came for our "civilized" society.

We, America, must save the Iraqi people from their evil empire and bring democracy to their ancient land, and instill values heretofore rejected by the Muslim-Islam world.

But here, in our land, we know that patriotism sinks into confusion when mixed with political interests and religious dogma, with whole nations being drawn into death and destruction.

Entertainment news talking head Bill O'Reilly already said that those who oppose Bush's war should be tried for treason, then saying if he was wrong, "I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."

But here I stand with seven others, not believing the "intelligence" put to the America people by the Bush administration, further feeling aside for our lack of patriotism with treasonous rants.

We have been told we can't support the troops without supporting the war.

The night silence in Grantsville was broken by night birds and barking dogs under the shine of an almost full moon.

In that quiet Sunday evening darkness, some cars passed and a few kids went by on bikes in our small town.

My thoughts were of song lyrics, peacemakers and faces.

Paul Simon's words from "The Sound of Silence" came to mind.

"Hello darkness, my old friend,

I've come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping,

Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence."

While a few of the religious recalled the scripture "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9), it took a back seat.

There are many who love peace, but the work it takes to keep it seems overwhelming. We have yet to learn from the ugliness of war.

The devastating faces of war are rarely recalled during heated rhetoric and media bombardment.

Unlike the Vietnam War, it is not likely that we will see their faces and little of their blood.

That night I remembered swimming with Eddie Dean Starcher under the Egypt Ridge bridge at the mouth of Henry's Fork before he went to Vietnam to die.

I recalled a dozen pictures recorded in our archives from the last century of soldiers lining up in front of the courthouse before their departure, flags a'waving.

It happened right here, where I stand tonight, I thought.

When my candle went out, I tried to pray for those who outrageously misrepresent the reasons for this war.

POSTSCRIPT - Following that night on the street of our small town, we launched decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people, maimed and injured hundreds of thousands, damaged US soldiers with their protracted involvement, and brought destruction to the landscape. They cost between one and two trillion dollars to the American taxpayers.

The outcomes are ill-defined, except to fuel sectarian wars of terror and turn America into a surveillance nation of its own people.

Furthermore, it fueled Islamic terrorism against America.

Now, in 2015, President George W. Bush in his book, derides Vice-President Dick Cheney and war monger Donald Rumsfield, for the power over his president son George Bush, while also holding him accountable.

Both Cheney and Rumsfield had strong financial ties to the Military-Industrial Complex.

STANDING ON A BRIDGE OF DISCONTENT - "Bring'em On...Mission Accomplished...Stay The Course"

PATRIOTS SAY "BRING'EM HOME NOW" - "The Wall's" Vigil For Peace