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December 02, 2004

Sanger_M's rant is too good to waste in the comments.

Frequent commenter and sometime contributor SangerM has a pretty good rant buried in the comments to this post.

I thought it worthy of the light of day.

SangerM briefed on December 1, 2004 10:45 PM You know.....

Some days, the rage is barely containable.

Anymore, every time I look at yet another picture of a man, woman, or child who has lost a loved one to a terrorist act, I feel ever more keenly the unbridled, fetid rage that has been growing and rumbling around in my soul for decades.

It has always lurked there. I have been aware of it since I was a boy, a keen and righteous hatred of bullies and bad men, of Nazis and Nips (whatever they were), of mean girls and venal teachers. Of injustice and hate.

Of course, I was raised in Philadelphia, where I was weaned on Mad Anthony Wayne and George Washington and Mom Rinker and Valley Forge and Trenton and Germantown. A house near ours had been an underground railroad station, Gettysburg was only a few hours away, and on weekends and in the summer, we'd go downtown and visit Independence Hall, where you used to be able to climb on the Liberty Bell until the Park Rangers ran you off.

I was spoon-fed John Wayne and Vic Morrow and Ben Hur and Spartacus and weekly episodes of 12 O'clock High and later Rat Patrol and Branded and Johnny Yuma and even Sea Hunt, and in real life I overheard stories of men I knew doing things that were to me bigger than life. When I started reading Marvel Comics, they were new, and my favorites were Sgt. Fury and Captain America. I never did like the unbelievable Superman or Green Lantern; I was drawn more to good stories about gifted people doing great things. I was the kid on the trike in The Incredibles, just waiting around hoping to see something amazing. And I thought fighting evil to the last was the most glorious and noble thing a man could do....

In fact, when I was young, one of my favorite books was "These Men Shall Never Die," by Lowell J. Thomas. It was a book of stories about WWII folks who were real heroes, not just the been there, done that kind, but the sacrificing their lives for others kind. I lusted after that sort of thing, and as I grew, I found myself drawn to Medal of Honor displays, like those at the Confederate Air Museum in Harlingen Texas, and to military museums of all types, like the Airborne Museum at Bragg, the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, or the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, TX (a very nice one, that).

I still am drawn to Military Museums and memorials, and I have visited them from Hawaii to Germany and all points between. I never cease to be impressed, awed, humbled and uplifted. And of course, whenever I get back to Washington, I make the time to revisit Arlington and The Tomb, and the Wall, and last time, the very haunting Korean War memorial. And I always end my visits at the Lincoln Memorial, where I like to revisit the words of my favorite hero. And the older I get, and the more I learn, the more easily that place and those words bring tears to my eyes.

Also, as I've aged, I've gained a man's understanding of the real cost of our Freedom. Fighting evil is still the only option as far as I am concerned, but now, the pain in other people eyes becomes my pain. Having lost loved ones, I know what I am looking at--what I am seeing in the faces of people like Captain Sims' wife. I know how confused and how hurt and how numb she feels. And I know how sometimes our puny little bodies just don't seem capable of containing the pain and the upwelling of grief.

And THAT, right there, is what I rage at. I HATE the people who caused that pain I see and feel. And I hate the people who have inflicted this war on us, and who have sent so many of our country's best to the grave. I hate the kind of people who could kill children in Russia, or who could fly planes full of innocent people into buildings full of other unsuspecting people, or who could take such joy in the suicidal deaths of their own children. I hate that I can't stop it. That I can't DO something!

Mostly, though, I hate that I can't look at pictures like that anymore without feeling such unbridled hatred. And it's times like that when I am glad I am not the Commander in Chief, because in my mind, the hardest thing George Bush must do every day is resist using ALL the power at his command to show the bad guys who they are REALLY screwing with.

I am not sure I could resist that urge. I am not sure I would even try.