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March 16, 2008

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This war has changed our national consciousness in countless ways.

I'll never forget the run-up to the war. My family was in Seattle a month before, on the weekend when demonstrations were held worldwide to protest the Bush admin's headlong rush to invade Baghdad. My daughter and I joined a walk around Green Lake.

The day the war actually started, I was driving across Nevada on I-80, en route to a travel writers' workshop I was co-presenting in Reno. I remember listening to reports from the BBC as I drove across the high desert. Once in a while, I took a break and listened to CDs instead. I put on Patti Smith for about half a song until I remembered that her work for Ralph Nader in 2000 helped elect George Bush.

When I got to the Reno hotel for the opening session of the workshop, we were all distracted and one of the participants from Utah was so distraught that he decided to skip the event.

My daughter was eight-and-a-half, in the third grade, when this war started. She's now almost 14 and ready to start high school. Will it end before she starts college?

And yet, none of these memories required any real sacrifice on my part, other than a deep-seated depression over what our country has become because of this war. My real sympathies go to the families - like Diana's - who lost loved ones fighting for no good reason, and for all the soldiers with lasting injuries. They - and we all - will be paying for decades to come. And for what?

P.S. I'll still be in DC tomorrow and Tuesday for the Take Back America conference. Darcy Burner, who narrowly missed winning her Congressional race in the WA-8 in 2006, will be heading up a new cadre of congressional candidates who will take a Contract With America-style approach to pledging a new approach to ending the war in Iraq and shifting the national security debate. Check RSR on Monday night for coverage of that, and click my name for a preview.

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