There’s been a lot of talk in the news about the possibility of war in the Iran and the Middle East. Some people are talking about why we need to go to war with Iran, and some are talking about why war with Iran is a mistake.


I’m tired of war.

I’ve lived through the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, the second Gulf War, the War on Terror, the Afghan War and the Iraq War.

And this list doesn’t include all the little bitty wars I’ve lived through, like Panama, Grenada and Lebanon, and it doesn’t include all those other little bitty wars I’ve forgotten about and that only the dead remember.

War is a terrible thing. I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned from my mother and father and from writing about their lives and the experience of other Poles in World War II.

In “Landscape with Dead Horses,” I talk about the way the war began in Poland on Sept.1, 1939. Here’s what I say:

War comes down like a hammer, heavy and hard

flattening the earth and killing the soft things:

horses and children, flowers and hope, love

and the smell of the farmers’ earth, the coolness

of the creek, the look of trees as they unfurl

their leaves in late March and early April.

This is war for me. This is the way I see war. There’s nothing pretty about war, nothing heroic, nothing epic or Homeric. Fifty million civilians died in World War II. And you can bet that not one of those deaths was peaceful, not one was a death you would want to wish on your own mother or your father or your children.

And what I hate to admit about war — but I have to — is that sometimes war is necessary.

I’m glad that the United States went to war against Hitler and dragged him and his soldiers and followers down and tried to bury every single one of them in an unmarked and unmourned grave.

War, as I see it, was terrible and it was necessary, but the thing I can’t ever forget is that the Germans who fought for Hitler also thought the war was necessary and justified.

That’s one of the problems with war.

What brings us together finally — brings together those who don’t want war and those who want war — is that we all end up scratching our heads and grieving over the chaos and the loss.



Trump a danger to democracy

When will the Republicans say “enough is enough”?

President Trump has said he would accept dirt on an opponent from a foreign government. He has openly just invited our adversaries, Russia, China, and Iran, or any foreign government to meddle in our elections. I was concerned when he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cut funds and blocked measures to strengthen our voting process and combat foreign interference, but openly inviting that interference is beyond the pale.

It was interesting that the June 13 opinion column by E.J. Dionne stated “In a more virtuous political world, a significant number of Republicans would read Robert Mueller’s report and decide: Yes, these findings deserve thorough investigation — if only to prevent a foreign power from interfering in our elections again.” Little did he know when he penned those words, prior to the airing of Trump’s interview with ABC, that the president of the United States would openly invite foreign powers to meddle. And yet, not a word from the Republicans in Congress. This must be OK with them. What has our country become?

George Will, who left a lifetime affiliation with the Republican Party because of Trump, did speak out yesterday morning saying, “Trump is doing more damage to our country than Nixon.” I totally agree with him and hope that the majority of Americans agree and will let Trump know in 2020.

I don’t agree with Trump’s policies, but one of the things I find most egregious is what he has done to our body politic — to civility. Having a president calling people juvenile names, calling the press the “Enemy of the People” and tagging everyone who doesn’t agree with him “a loser” has changed the political discourse, and I only hope we can return to a more civil society when Trump is finally gone.



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