There are so many thoughts and sentiments that have been uttered about Iraq over the last couple of days that it’s difficult to think of something original to say.

Many thoughts swirl through my mind — song lyrics (Ani DiFranco’s “Serpentine” and Ryan Montbleau’s “Thick American Skin” immediately come to mind); mental images of Justin Garvey, the high school classmate who never came home alive; protests witnessed; discussions held; agreeing to disagree with family members.

But I think what I’ve found most interesting today is reading the thoughts I had four years ago, as the clock ticked down to zero and the U.S. first launched the invasion. So I give you that, available after the jump.

as i left work yesterday afternoon and began walking to union station, i could hear voices shouting and the mechanical din or a bullhorn coming from ahead of me. as i approached, i saw bodies perched upon the christopher columbus fountain, arms frozen in the air, sheets spraypainted with protest slogans lofted into the air. “no to war with iraq.” “peace is the way.” a twenty-something girl shouted into the bullhorn about how we needed to join together and show the president that he was not leading america into war because the american people have no desire to go into that war. the president is dragging the people into battle.

people stood around the fountain, squinting in the glare of the late afternoon sunshine as they looked up at her — other protest-types with the stereotypical long hair and sandals, businessmen and -women obviously on their way home like i was who had stopped along the way — some to listen, some to call people on their cells. a small number of people showed their silent support by holding their right hand in the peace sign.
what a bizarre day. well, a bizarre day in a series of bizarre days. all yesterday, i felt the countdown weighing down on me, and i rushed through most of my afternoon and evening activities anticipating something, but i wasn’t sure of precisely what. …

and then it really hit me that all of this was happening. and things got weird. sitting here in my bedroom, preparing for sleep but knowing that i wouldn’t go to sleep right away, wondering what bush would say while knowing what he would say at the same time, watching the news coverage and returning to the process of looking for night-scope flashes of light on the baghdad skyline, just as i did twelve years ago as i sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the television at my parents’ house. feeling as if things were significantly changing and they wouldn’t, in many respects, be able to go back to how they were even just minutes before, yet at the same time feeling as if things were too far away to really be affecting me. i fell asleep to the sound of tom brokaw’s news coverage and woke at 2:30 a.m. to find the television still on, so i turned it off, rolled back over and fell asleep until the alarm went off three hours later.

the sky opened up as i prepared for work, so by the time i made my daily commute, the gray skies and steady shower seemed to add to the sense of forboding i felt. i didn’t know how things were going to be when i got to work, how i was going to feel, what i was going to be doing, what official responses there would be, etc. walking out of union station, there was a noticeable increase in police officers and other security types while commuters seemed to be in even more of a hurry to get to their destinations than normal …

what type of retaliation are we going to face? how long will it last and how bloody will it be? since the president has already bucked convention and is surprising everyone, can we predict what he’ll do in the future of this war?

a whirlwind of thoughts of varying levels of seriousness twisting and snapping through my mind …