Monday, November 03, 2003

Read This And Weep. And Weep. And Weep... 

Weep Xs 16; Xs20.

This article was written before the shoot down of that Chinook, but read it with these new losses in mind.

It's a fine, honest piece of reporting, and writing.

In the last two weeks, 22 American soldiers have given their lives to the occupation of Iraq, a platoon of 21 men and 1 woman cut down to a stack of photographs by accidents, illness and the rising insurgency.

There is Lt. David Bernstein, a soldier's soldier who was killed two weeks ago and buried on Friday at the United States Military Academy here. As his mother sat with a folded flag in her lap and his father accepted a Bronze Star, even the Green Berets cried.

And there is Sgt. Aubrey Bell, the 280-pound Alabama National Guardsman, who drove a forklift and ate mayonnaise sandwiches, and who was shot to death in front of a police station.

And Pvt. Rachel Bosveld, the 19-year-old military policewoman who loved to draw forest scenes and was silenced by mortars.

And Sgt. Paul J. Johnson, a paratrooper who could imagine no fate better than leaping into the night sky, who died after being burned by a bomb.

And Pvt. Jamie L. Huggins, Pvt. Jason Ward, Pfc. John Hart, Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring and 14 others.

The details of the impact of these deaths on the people left here at home are devastating, even just to read about.

Read it anyway. Not to sharpen your anger about what's going on in Iraq, though. The magnitude of the painful loses described here demand to be felt on their own, for their own sake. I would hope that one thing left and right, supporters and critics of our Iraqi policy could agree upon is the sacred nature of the sacrifice of life and limb in service to one's country.

Honest reporting, it presents a mixed reality.

Sergeant Huggins, a 26-year-old paratrooper, was killed during a patrol in Baghdad on Oct. 26, after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb, the insurgency's weapon of choice.

Danielle Huggins had just heard from her husband the day before. She said she asked him: "Why are you still needing to be there? You should be at home."

His answer, she remembered, was, "We are doing good, Danielle; we are doing good."

Fort Hood, Tex.

Andrea Brassfield's husband painted a different picture.

"He told me: `They don't want us here. They throw rocks at us. They shoot at us. I don't know what we're doing here,' " she said.

Specialist Artimus D. Brassfield, 22, a tank driver for the 66th Armored Regiment, Fourth Infantry Division, was killed in a mortar attack in Samarra, north of Baghdad, on Oct. 24. His death has not changed his wife's opinion of the war. Ms. Brassfield was against it when it began. She is against it now.

Read the whole article. Those American families doing the actual sacrificing deserve our undivided attention.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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