A Nation At War (Abroad & On Country Radio) As A Statue Topples

Ten years ago this month in honor of his 65th birthday, a statue was erected in Firdos Square in Baghdad for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  Three weeks after the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, in 2003, that statue came crashing down along with the collapse of the Iraqi government and military.

It’s hard to believe that historic moment happened nine years ago this week!

While President Barack Obama ended the War in Iraq on December 15, 2011, after more than eight years, more than 36,000 American soldier casualties, and a cost of $3 trillion dollars to the American people, violence continues in Iraq and the death toll is still rising.

I don’t know where you stand on President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and that isn’t really the main topic of this entry.

The former president was convinced Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”.  Those were never found.  When promoting his book, “Decision Points” in the fall of 2010, President Bush told Matt Lauer,  “I gave diplomacy every chance to work. And I will also tell you the world’s better off without Saddam in power. And so are 25 million Iraqis.”  I agree that the world and the Iraqis are better off without Saddam in power.

However, I opposed the war in 2003, as I have been opposed to it every day since then.  I prayed hard that our American men and women that were sent over there would return home safely to their families.

While I never have had too many good things to say about President Bush, I commend him for saying this about the war, “No one was more sickened or angry than I was when we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction.”

I know when I point out injustices in the world or bring to your attention hateful things politicians or other people say, I’m opening myself up to being perceived as judgmental.  I don’t report news professionally and I don’t have to be objective when I state my point of views.  Whether I’m a Democrat or a Republican, whether I dislike Rick Santorum, or whether I disagree with Toby Keith on his political views, that has nothing to do with the way I tell you if it’s going to rain or snow or how warm it’s going to be today.  For news people, it’s different.

However, the bottom line is that if I say “Rick Santorum is a sad man filled with so much hate” or “I believe that every American, whether they are man, woman, or transgendered, gay, straight, or bisexual, should have the right to get married in the United States”, I know people could hold that against me and not watch me present weather.

On March 10, 2003, ten days before the start of the Iraqi War, Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

The Dixie Chicks, in just six short years, collected 14 top ten country hits with 6 of those going all the way to #1.  When her comment went viral, the group had the #1 country song in the U.S. with “Travelin’ Soldier”.  People were outraged and many country stations, including 42 Cumulus Media-owned stations, dropped the song from their playlists.

“Travelin’ Soldier” dropped to #3 the following week and then fell off the country charts the next week.

The group began getting death threats, country stars like Toby Keith began bashing Natalie, and radio stopped supporting their music, which is well documented in “Shut Up & Sing”, which I highly recommend.  It was a tough time and Maines apologized for what people said was disrespectful to the President.

In 2006, Natalie took back that apology as the war raged on, “I don’t feel that way anymore.  I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”

The group was ready to release their new album, “Taking the Long Way”, with the first single, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”  The song, which was my favorite song that year with the most incredible and chilling video, only peaked at #36 at country radio, but it reached #4 on the pop charts.

The album, “Taking the Long Way”, went on to sell almost 4 million copies worldwide (2.8 million in the U.S). and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”, and “Not Ready to Make Nice” won the Grammy Award for “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”.

Natalie, I’m glad you have a voice and I can’t wait to hear it again.  Now, get back to work.


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