Followup to March 20:

By: Jeff Shelley

So be it. If you can't hear the drumbeats of war, you're deaf. And if you've got something to say about it, complain to me in an email.

Alacrity and other items of interest . . .

In reference to my prior missive, the Jeff's Journal entry of March 20, driving from Seattle to Bandon, Ore., was outright weird. On the one hand I was getting to race my long-garaged '94 RX-7 450 miles across Northwest concrete and blacktop during the week when the traffic was light.

Great time to travel. Just like the old days when, starting in 1986, I began researching my book, "Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest." Three editions, 160,000 miles and five cars later negotiating every off-the-beaten-track highway and byway in this 2-million-square-mile region . . . I was back on the road.

This chance to go to a place considered as the embodiment of American golf - right in my beloved Northwest - truly was a special occasion.

In actuality, my hope was Golfweek's group would get a grasp of my neck of golf's woods. And, as you'll see in future installments, I think they did.

Papa's Got a Brand New (Mixed) Bag

I had my sights on this trip for over six months. After years on the road and many opportunities to consider, I now pick my shots: this was a trip I would not miss. A chance to meet new friends and fellow golf nerds.

Against that hopeful landscape was emplaced the War with Iraq. George vs. Saddam. Good vs. Evil. America sticking its toe deeply into troubled Arab waters.

I'm not a political or Christian person, and feel sorry for people who politics and God to define their opinions. I am a humanist and a dyed-in-the wool realist. Someone who feels for people, yet has a strong sense of karma and individual accountability. In other words, a pragmatic liberal.

When the Tomahawk missiles were fired the same day I took off for Bandon, a stream of cliches wracked my brain as I motored across an emerald landscape with many strong radio signals:

"Pandora's Box"

"Be careful for what you wish for, you just might get it."

"Saddam was/is a spider who was/is weaving a web that will entrap America's best soldiers."

And many others I deliberately forgot so they won't drive me crazy.

Stuff happens. Deal with it.

As a cantankerous sort who speaks his mind, I don't mind saying that that original feeling hasn't changed. I'm strong in my convictions and humanism. It makes no sense to me why we're in this war. But I'm there for our guys and gals.

Andy Rooney is one of my nonsecular (i.e., nongolf) heroes. Recently, he was spot-on yet again.

He said (paraphrased) on a recent 60 Minutes program: "I hate that our soldiers are in Iraq. But I hope they do their job and get home soon."

As a Vietnam-era vet, and someone who's dealt with the uncertainty of life on the firing line, I support Andy's sentiment. I hope we kick butt and eradicate Saddam. And that our folks over there continue to promote our nation's inherent sense of people less privileged than us. That our soldiers will instill in Iraq a legacy of what real Americans are like.

I just wish we took a different tack in the first place. I hope my daughter won't have to bear the weight of todays' decisions, and that her citizenship won't put a target on her back. She doesn't deserve that. She's a good kid.

Now, let's get back to golf.

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