This week marks 14 years since the war in Iraq — Gulf War II — began. Julie Lenarz sums up many of my feelings on the matter (from her Facebook page):

It’s the 14th anniversary of the Iraq war and I see the usual “war criminals – lock them up” bullshit in my timeline from the same crowd that is still unable to accept that a political decision you happen to disagree with, no matter how profoundly, is not a crime. The UK conducted no less than five independent inquiries clearing the government of deliberately lying, so at this point it is really those that are still pretending otherwise for their own petty politics and out of a false sense of moral superiority that are bending the truth.

The only war criminal is dead and goes by the name of Saddam Hussein, a genocidal dictator responsible for the death of over two million people. Get some fucking perspective.

Yep. One hundred percent.

Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin died this week. Phrases like “end of an era” were used in his obituaries — certainly, he was one of the last old-school, crusty, Lou Grant-style journalists. I always enjoyed his writing. Two of his classic columns were written about the assassination of JFK: A Death in Emergency Room One and It’s an Honor. They were reprinted in ‘The Daily Beast’ for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death and can be found here. They’re both touching and beautifully written (particularly It’s an Honor) – the kind of journalism that we don’t see much of anymore, unfortunately.

People are Strange

I had an odd conversation with someone the other day, or rather, a conversation with someone that revealed them to be odd. It was someone I hadn’t seen in a while, and she was talking about how she had adopted a rescue dog (good for her). This is someone who previously had a cat – a cat to whom she gave great care, I should be clear. But she said to me that the bond with her dog was so much deeper and better than with her cat – a comparison I found odd (she even said what she felt about her cat hadn’t “come close” to what she feels about her dog). I can’t imagine saying that about animals. The bond is different with each pet, of course, but better? I guess the problem was also her tone, which was, shall we say, completely dismissive of her cat. It was like she was saying, “Gee, what a nothing relationship that was! What a waste!” It creeped me out and I guess that showed on my face because she quickly said — rather defensively — “Well, I’m very tactile and my dog likes to sit in my lap, something my cat never did.” I just sort of nodded, though what I wanted to say was, “Oh, so you need a lot back from a fellow being in order to love it. I see. You need the poor creature to do stuff for you in order to feel something profound for it.”  I mean, geez. It’s great she is giving a dog a good home, but I never needed my cats to snuggle me to feel profound love for them. And I can’t imagine making comparisons like that. I can’t imagine saying, “My love for my new pet is so much better than my love for the previous one!” It’s so cold.

I should add, this is a touchy-feely new-age person, and I guess I expect more warmth and a greater capacity for empathy from people like that, but perhaps I shouldn’t. When I think about it, I’ve known plenty of new-agey types who are judgmental and less than kind.

This same woman, years ago, said a most peculiar thing when a mutual acquaintance of ours killed herself. It was a terrible time, of course, but she said that our acquaintance was “not able to figure things out in this life” and “obviously is going to have to work things out in her next life,” or some such. She was kind of shrugging about it. She even added that our friend “had all kinds of people she could have gone to for help, and she chose not to.” It seemed like she was making an accusation, rather than showing an understanding that depressed people often can’t reach out, even if they know help is there.

[So that was today’s edition of People are Strange. Given how humans behave, it may be a recurring feature.]