what must be said
There is much to be said about the current warfare in Iraq, especially in terms of political history. But for the moment, what must be said is that although everything that is happening now was foreseen in character, as part of the warnings against invading Iraq more than a year ago, it is in any case a cause for intense and bitter sorrow.
The names of Americans scroll by on the CNN and PBS honor rolls of the dead, the only time these names are mentioned, or probably ever will be: these young men and women from towns we know in Illinois and Pennsylvania, and places we've never been, in New Mexico and Florida. Perhaps we saw their faces once, heard their voices as they talked to the cameras about their tasks---standing strong, talking with intelligence and hope.
Their deaths are tragedies for all of us. They died for a mistake, a willfully arrogant mistake. Their faith and their hope were betrayed.
And they at least flash before the media imagination for a moment. Not so the hundreds of Iraqis, and not even the soldiers from the UK, Italy, Poland, Spain, Japan, the Ukraine, all of whom came under fire this week. We never hear of their deaths, not even the numbers of their dead and wounded, let alone names. So much for the pretense of a coalition. A coalition of cannon fodder.
Those young men and women who are still there, some of whom just arrived, jumping head-first into hell, and some who have been there for a weary year, days or weeks from going home, who now must remain, in more peril for their lives than ever. What kind of confidence can they possibly have in the people who are sending them to kill or be killed?
By and large they have not earned the enmity they face. That dishonor goes to others, most of whom have lived long lives in luxury, some of whom are in the morally repugnant class of those who supported the war in Vietnam yet avoided the dangers they advocated for others. They sit in the comfort of their U.S. homes and their deadly certainties, while innocents die for their lies. These are the sacrifices of this Good Friday. And there's nothing redemptive about any of it.
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