Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Let them not be in vain: Learn a new way

This what I just received from the US Department of Defense:

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of six soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Nov. 29, in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an insurgent attacked their unit with small arms fire.
Killed were:
Sgt. 1st Class Barry E. Jarvis, 36, of Tell City, Ind.
Staff Sgt. Curtis A. Oakes, 29, of Athens, Ohio.
Spc. Matthew W. Ramsey, 20, of Quartz Hill, Calif.
Pfc. Jacob A. Gassen, 21, of Beaver Dam, Wis.
Pfc. Austin G. Staggs, 19, of Senoia, Ga.
Pvt. Buddy W. McLain, 24, of Mexico, Maine.
They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
For more information, please contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 270-798-3025.

These young Americans are now dead, the latest US mortalities in the war of occupation that has dragged on much longer than World War II, longer than the Soviet Union occupation of Afghanistan, and with no promised end in sight. Indeed, every time President Obama talks about getting out, he is attacked rabidly and mercilessly without quarter by Republicans, by Fox News BeckHannityLimbaughO'Reilly types, by Tea Party Know-Nothings and by Sarah "The Refudiator" Palin. They all do so in the name of "the troops," all of whom are sacralized heroes, of course.

It is really really really time to stop. It is so misguided to stay in Afghanistan, where these armed emissaries we send are viewed as infidel occupiers and indeed, not only are their deaths celebrated there, but this occupation is just the sort of thing that fuels the insane desire to plant bombs in our village squares at times of joyous family gathering, such as the Christmas Tree Bomber allegedly did last Friday evening in Portland.

Please. Let us learn nonviolence. When we study war we see what we get. If the deaths of these six could teach us that it's time to learn another way to manage conflict, their deaths will not have been in vain. Otherwise, I'm deeply certain that they are and that is a crime.

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