This is a time to be together. My father and mother have said they're happiest when surrounded by their children and grandchildren. This year, my brother's youngest will not be present, although his absence will descend on our gathering and cover us like the flag that draped his coffin. His death in Iraq has changed us forever.
My brother called yesterday to tell me that Chase's gravestone had been set above his burial plot at The Lexington Cemetery. He had just driven to see it and these were his words to me: "It was brutal."
My thought was: "Merry Christmas from George W. Bush."
My brother described the large monument, telling me that it has Chase's birth and death dates. It also is inscribed with "The Lord is my Shepherd" and "Killed in Action, Al Amiriyah, Iraq."
I lay in bed last night, obsessing on that word, "brutal." I thought of all the families who are gathered like mine but who are without their loved one--someone who is either deployed, injured and hospitalized, or dead.
Happiness can be shattered in an instant.
This invasion, its concept, is an improvised explosive device created by George Bush. When I see him touch his heart and say he suffers with all of us who have sacrificed, I hear no empathy. He is untouched. His eyes are as vacant as his words, the waving, and his skulking off to Camp David or Crawford. He will celebrate Christmas with a complete family, one that is intact because there is no member who is serving "this noble cause" that Bush continues to thrust on our world.
George W. said God told him to invade Iraq. Is it true the president told Pat Robertson that no lives would be lost? Certainly, Robertson is not credible but, then, neither is George Bush. No link between Iraq and 9/11. No WMD. No stability once Saddam was captured. Yes, all those Iraqis with ink on a finger, but that's not the reason we invaded.
And now as our own November, midterm, congressional elections move closer, has Bush received another message from God? "George, if you want to preserve your party's power, draw down the troops." Rumsfeld has just announced this politically motivated plan.
Let me say it again, George Bush improvised an explosive device.
My family received a tombstone this week. I hope Bush's Christmas stocking is stuffed with pretzels.