Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scenes from the Road: Surging from Ohio

Driving out on the Turnpike we saw a flatbed carrying a tanker truck obviously destined for the Middle East. Not only was it painted a uniform flat desert tan, the “Flammable” sign was written in both English and Arabic. A few ticks down the road we saw what looked like a C-130 in the air, then another. These were most likely headed to Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, home base for the Air National Guard’s 910 Airlift Wing. Among others, State Sen. and Congressional candidate Maj. John Boccieri flies for the 910th.

All of which got me reflecting on the surreality of this war we are in. Here we are, almost five years into an honest to goodness U.S. vs. Someone Else war and it still doesn’t feel like it. The one thing the Bush Administration has done well is insulate the American people from directly feeling the effects of the war. Much of this they did by kicking the costs down the road.

One gets the sense that the original plan was to preserve his own popularity, not that of the war. After all, post 9/11 when the whole country was rallying together, Bush didn’t ask for shared sacrifice, he told people to go shopping. Still, the ultimate effect of hiding the war from ourselves was to dampen criticism for months.

Now we are feeling it, though military families are still bearing the costs and we still go on with our lives with only the news and an occasional highway intrusion to remind us that we are a country at war.