Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Impending Surge at Home

Life is neither fair nor just, a brutal fact that is indicated in the reality that the President responsible for the Iraq War will never have to be held accountable for the folly of that incursion and occupation. But the consequences are surging to our doorstep, according to the Associated Press in a story on the increasing numbers of Iraq War vets falling into homelessness and mental disorders.

The precipitating factors of this coming "tsunami" are unique to the Iraq theatre, "like multiple deployments and the proliferation of improvised explosive devices, that could be pulling an early trigger on stress disorders that can lead to homelessness." And the burdens of dealing with the emergent challenge will fall not where they should, on George W. Bush, but on the next President and the next and the next and perhaps the next.

And given the finicky dimensions of American post-war culture and the selective grace of conservatives (who pour money into wars they want soldiers to fight, but not into dealing with the domestic reparations we owe our veterans afterwards), one wonders about the prospects of dealing with what looks like a distinctly different kind of homelessness than we have seen in sometime.

So, while life may not be just, there is some justice in the wrath of war being visited on Americans, who gave Mr. Bush two terms as President and elected a Congress that failed to tighten the purse strings on Iraq. And in all likelihood the next President will come from that compliant Congress, so there is some justice in that.

But the advent of fury at home includes post-traumatic bills coming due and homeless veterans whom we will have to face and to whom we must respond on our streets. And while the karma is realized more and more with passage of time and while life will continue to be unjust, the lot that falls to us will be to demand and to make justice where none can be found. We cannot in good conscience fall back on the social Darwinism that life is unfair, when it is our hands and our hearts that make it fair, and that make it so even after our soldiers come home.

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