Video games are not reality.

I don’t talk too much about my personal life on Rolling Doughnut. Part of that is to preserve some anonymity, and part of it is because, despite being a blogger, I understand that my life is only interesting to me and those close to me. You probably don’t care to hear that I’ll punish a few members of the Locust Horde in Gears of War tonight. Sometimes, though, reality interferes to push my life into something more universal and relevant.

On Monday, my brother joined the Marines. He should be finishing his first semester at college, but for reasons I don’t care to share here, he’s now in boot camp. He wants to fight in Iraq, for all the wrong reasons. He’s 18 and thinks he has the world figured out, as most people do at that age. Nothing will stop him. Where he is fearless in thinking that battlefield death is noble, I’m scared to death thinking that the next time I see him will be at his funeral. He seems strangely content, even anticipatory, of the idea. I am not.

I turned against the war in Iraq a long time ago. As I said, I was very naive in believing that we could build a nation. For that I carry my share of the blame. But I do not believe I was out of line to trust the Bush administration to run the war competently once it decided to engage. It has failed to do so at every step. This is unforgivable, yet, President Bush appears prepared to send more men and women to fight a war that he is not serious about winning. He is a shameful, little man.

I’ve accepted that my brother will be sent to Iraq. Despite his high entrance exam score, he chose to join the infantry. He does not understand that he is a number to the military, a troop level increase. A body. To me, he is a human being, with flaws, strengths, misconceptions, and honor. I respect his right to make this decision, but I also want to meet his children one day. I wonder if President Bush cares more about that or his political legacy.

I don’t like the conclusion I’ve reached.

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