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Guest Commentary

The war may be old news to the media, but it isn't old news to the members of the public who are suffering

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It's old news, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Nobody wants to hear about them."

That's what I recently heard a talking head on television say. But he wasn't reporting from the corner of Speedway Boulevard and Swan Road, like I am.

"What's this all about?!"

She was a beautiful woman, and she was reading my sign--"PEOPLE TAKE BACK AMERICA"--with her don't-give-me-any-of-your-nonsense eyes.

I managed to say something about my opposition to the powers-that-be and the war.

"You can say that again!"

It's a long wait for the light on that corner, but she decided to ignore the "walk" sign and wait for her next chance to cross. She was on her way to a new job at Safeway and eager to rant about the foul business practices of her former employer, Wal-Mart, with its "cheap slave-made goods from China that are running smaller stores out of business."

"Our weapons industry is booming," I responded. "They're far from cheap, but nobody makes a better product for killing than the U.S.A., and we're selling our goods all over the world."

"Well, just what good does that do me?" she asked. "Somebody's making money, and my crazy kid brother in the military is getting ready to go to Iraq to get himself killed!"

"I'm really sorry--forgive me," I said. "I'll bet they got him in high school--recruiters go after kids when they want to be heroes ..."

"He had two years of college," she interrupted, angry and near tears, "and they lied to him. He was worried about his loans, and they told him they'd take care of that, and he could continue his schooling in the Army. Do you believe that? My brother did. My brother's not dumb, and he fell for it. They got him, and they're gonna kill him, and he knows it."

The light changed, and she hurried across the street. I picked up my "BRING THEM HOME" sign.

The rest of the morning was typical. An Elvis impersonator stopped by in street clothes to say "thankyouverymuch" on his way to the dollar store to buy a new pair of shades. A fellow grandma who stops to chat on her way to church--to pray for us all, with special attention to her kin in the service--gave me a copy of an article she had published in Cessna Owner. And I had plenty of time just to think. I recalled the woman seated beside me the day I was called for jury duty.

"They came to where he was working and gave him $2,000 to join up! I just laughed. I knew he'd be rejected, because he's always been in a special school--his hearing is so bad--and, my god, they took him. He wasn't making all that much money, but he had a good job, and now he's going back for his second tour in Iraq." She sobbed, embarrassed that people were looking at us, and all I could do was hold her hand.

It's old news that we're paying a price for those bargains at Wal-Mart and that our weapons industry has made Tucson a prime target for terrorists. It's old news that protesters, including clergy, are sentenced in Tucson courts to prison for nonviolently opposing illegal invasions and the practice of torture. It's old news that tragic mothers, trained to obey authority without question, still smile through their tears and send their children off to slaughter.

Around 30,000 Americans are wounded or dead, and countless young people are now suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder--that is old news. Between $8 billion and $12 billion a month spent on an immoral war that has disgraced us all over the world is old news. An old woman standing on a street corner with an anti-war sign is old news.

But there is new news: We the People are finally starting to wake up and ask each other, "What's this all about?" And we can take comfort in one other thing: Very soon, the Liar in Chief will be old news.

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