January 5, 2006

by Reb Yudel
A father mourns his son. What was the glorious cause?


A Life, Wasted
I am outraged at what I see as the cause of his death.

For nearly three years, the Bush administration has pursued a policy that makes our troops sitting ducks. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that our policy is to "clear, hold and build" Iraqi towns, there aren't enough troops to do that.

In our last conversation, Augie complained that the cost in lives to clear insurgents was "less and less worth it," because Marines have to keep coming back to clear the same places. Marine commanders in the field say the same thing. Without sufficient troops, they can't hold the towns. Augie was killed on his fifth mission to clear Haditha.

At Augie's grave, the lieutenant colonel knelt in front of my wife and, with tears in his eyes, handed her the folded flag. He said the only thing he could say openly: "Your son was a true American hero." Perhaps. But I felt no glory, no honor.

Doing your duty when you don't know whether you will see the end of the day is certainly heroic.

But even more, being a hero comes from respecting your parents and all others, from helping your neighbors and strangers, from loving your spouse, your children, your neighbors and your enemies, from honesty and integrity, from knowing when to fight and when to walk away, and from understanding and respecting the differences among the people of the world.

Two painful questions remain for all of us.

Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain?

President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead.

That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?
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