The Dogs of War

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Posted by pancho ( on November 02, 2001 at 11:27:10:

We had an incident last night. My girl and the neighbor’s were out riding the one horse well past dark. It’s safe here to let them go out alone, and after dark. I’ve never done that before, never even let the children walk around town in America by themselves. Only when we visit Mexico. The moon was just coming up over the valley …as they rode alongside the fence the baby goat ran with them on the other side, happy to see her friend, the Arab, return. Turns out you really shouldn’t only have one goat, they get lonely. Till we can find another, she and the horse have become fast friends. Coming along behind the horse was the dog, who’d accompanied them on their ride.

They came into the front by the house and dismounted…went through all things you do when you put a horse in his pajamas for the night. The neighbor girl was staying to dinner and I walked with them down to the corral. We entered , let the horse go and heard the faint bleating of the goat. The girls were alarmed because it sounded weak and distant, when it should have bounced up to greet the horse at least. We walked around among the acacia trees and cacti till we spotted it lying on its side. The girls got to it first and turned away crying. I came up and in the moonlight I could see a dark hole where her neck should have been. Her bleats were faint and the wind whistled through a tear in her windpipe. There was shadow all around that I took for dark blood. I was convinced she was a goner and took the girls back to the house. I drove the neighbor girl the 100 yards to her house and went up to tell her father, he’s the Vet.

He asked me if it was that bad. I said I didn’t know much about these things and described it as best I could. Do you think she has a chance, I asked. Hell, there’s always a chance, he replied. He got his stethoscope and a few supplies and we drove back, parking near to the spot where the goat lay on the other side of the fence. He climbed over with a flashlight and I waited to aim the headlights at wherever he found the goat, then joined him. He said it was amazing she was alive at all. We were sure our own dog had done it…had seen her running about and given chase. They always get crazy, revert to some instinct they can’t help, like Republicans. There was very little actual bleeding, I’d mistaken her own shadow for a pool of blood. It was a good sized tear on her neck and the dog had helped himself to some neck muscle, but amazingly the main arteries hadn’t been torn…one more chomp and she would have bleed to death in seconds. Her neck was intact too, you could see the vertebrae clearly. He was as amazed there hadn’t been a fracture. Her pulse was strong and she was breathing well, though in great pain.

As to what could be done he said there was a chance of putting her together, the structures were all sound, except it wouldn’t be the goat we had. He couldn’t tell how much strength or movement there would be in the neck. Said amazingly enough the muscle and hide would regenerate but he couldn’t guarantee anything. He also said it would be expensive. I asked him if it were his daughter’s goat would he make the attempt. He said that was an unfair question…I said that answered it. It was either inject her with something or crush her head with a rock. I knew if he’d have stumbled on the goat himself he would have done all he could to save her…in a way I’d put him in an awful situation, I couldn’t ask him to destroy it if I wanted to, and he wouldn’t have done it. He scooped her up in his arms like a baby and sat in the back of the truck as we drove slowly to his house.

Vets love animals a whole lot more than doctors care for humans, that’s clear to anyone who’s been around both. His wife was just as caring and without being asked tore up sheets for bandages. We lay the goat on a table on their patio and I held the flashlight as he examined the wound closely. He showed me the hole in her windpipe and then sewed it shut as deftly as if his hands were two butterflies making love. He sedated her and put some penicillin into her. Her reflexes were good, she kicked and moved in all the right places when he poked her so there was no nerve damage that he could see. He said it was amazing she’d survived, that the dog, who we’d found crouched low in the sagebrush as if he’d come to his proper senses and was ashamed of himself…stopped just in time. We were stumped for a name before but if she pulls through we’ll call her Milagro…Spanish for miracle.

He told me to go home and get some rest because come morning he would be exhausted. He’d be up all night stabilizing her, treating her for shock and cutting away the dead tissue around her wound and bones so new tissue could grow. Sewing her back up would be hard as a big patch of skin was missing, but he was hopeful. I’m supposed to go over in an hour and take a list to town for medicines and all.

It struck me while we had her on the table, with the hypodermics and such, and the excellent care our friend could give and the fact that over the hill in the town were several places where we could get whatever medicine we needed in the morning…that no matter how bad the goat’s wound was…there was a chance, a good chance. Then I thought of Iraq…thought of the children there who might get hurt, who had been hurt for the last 12 years, long after the bombs had eaten holes in their bodies…thought as I looked at something so simple as a needle filled with medicine, how this goat was receiving better care than they had been, or were still able to receive.

My daughter had cried herself to sleep. What would a mother do. What do you when there isn’t even pain medicine for a goat…or a little boy or girl, even if they are Moslem. Where do you turn…where do you run…can you. What if that was my daughter lying there in a dirt field, or a dirty ward…panting her life out and there was no Vet…no medicine. What if it was yours. Why is it the 5000 businessmen and women generate such shock and emotion while suffering goats get nothing. If it is Saddams’s fault, as our activists say, so what. He isn’t the one imposing the sanctions. If he deserves punishment surely you don’t extend that to children. It will make you less human, more insane if you do things like that. Saddam is no threat to anyone…he will never invade anyone again…he hasn’t the force or the resolve..and besides he could be dealt with then for that attack. You don’t kill a country’s children so they can’t grow up and become soldiers. No, no…this is merely American madness, its increasing insanity.

America and Americans are convinced they have created a paradise on earth. They haven’t. It’s a marketplace where you trade in your humanity and get chips back, a stack of them along with an ersatz soul…the kind that allows you to weep for a businessman but not a child. The kind of New and Improved soul that brings you together for CLOSURE wherever a plane goes down, or a child is kidnapped and killed. America is a killing ground that takes your soul…it needs you life, not your spirit, that is an unnecessary encumbrance Your life is to be spent as a caged animal, only the cage is wondrous, they say…splendiferous, like no other cage in the world, and a whole lot better than being Free. I would always remember the household servants and even the slaves of the sheikhs we’d visit when I was a kid in Kuwait. The Sheikhs bought Cadillacs and Jaguars… they didn’t buy any Mercedes cars because those were used for taxis…like children on a shopping spree. And each year, if not sooner, they’d get new ones, giving last year’s models to their servants and slaves. Kuwait was a sea of black Cadillac limousines. How much better off those servants were than workers in America and except for the sales job and promotional ads…the slaves were in far the better situation. Moslem law forbade mistreatment…they were treated not as servants at all, but members of the family who had to work. Their every need was taken care of, their children sent to college, their medical bills paid, vacation etc…and there were never any lay offs and no one got fired. It was security for life…something Americans now worry and fret and stay up nights eating themselves up over…and no free cars either…and the hours are much harder, the benefits spotty and all of it can go bust after any boom cycle from which they only get a few cents an hour more while their bosses reap, billions. And there is no freedom either.

You convince people that anything is anything you want it to be if you have enough media outlets and you get them early enough, or they come here desperate for a better life they can’t possibly know the total cost of when they arrive on Freedoms shores. You think there are so many newspapers and magazines and television news and infotainment programs just because Americans have a thirst for news of events around the world. The media serve a very important function along with the really excellent schools we have in the States…their purpose is not to inform or educate, but to train…the schools and the media. They are the ones whose job it is to tell you you are happy…that this place is the best possible place on earth and you couldn’t be any luckier than to be there now. And it is a great place…but for what. Try asking around, try asking at all and see where it gets you.

Note> The goat died at five AM. The children will be dying all day.

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