Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and today marks the end of the fifth year of this horrendous war. Spring, of course, is the season of new beginnings and war, of course, is the season of endings.
First and foremost it is the ending of life. Four thousand of our best and brightest cut down in their prime. Wives and husbands, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers gone, not in some glorious crusade, but in an increasingly ignored and ever more expensive and worthless quest for goals never truly spoken by those that would have us continue down this road that has no apparent end.
War is also the ending of innocence. Nineteen year old boys who should be deciding between careers or schools or between girls are forced to decide between life or death. For themselves, or their comrades, or for people living thousands of miles away from their homes and families. Choices which may well haunt them until the end of their days. It is also the end of the innocence of the nation. The exuberant Nineties gives way to the grim and foreboding 21st century where the America of economic and moral leadership has become a tired and fearful place. Where outsiders are to be distrusted and the idea that we can do anything is replaced by arguments about whether we should do anything at all.
It's been a long Winter. I can't remember a harder one and I've seen plenty. But with Spring comes the hope, no, the knowledge, that longer, sunnier, warmer days are ahead. I also have some hope that this country is ready for a change in direction. The political season has not brought the public scrutiny of our policies, both home and abroad, that I might have hoped for, but there is still time for America to examine what needs to change. And to select the people who might actually effect that change. As I said, with Spring comes hope.