Friday, April 30, 2004

The Fallen

I don't really know where to start with this, so forgive me if I tend to ramble here. I'm watching "Nightline" right now and Ted Koppel has dedicated tonight's program to reading off the names of all 721 soldiers killed in Iraq since the invasion last year. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a liberal or conservative, centrist or progressive, Koppel is putting a somber human element to the story of the war.

It's one of the major stories that has gotten lost among the partisan bickering, politick, and reporting about the war. Probably the largest story. When men and women volunteer to serve in the armed forces, they swear to protect, defend, and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the basic freedoms most of us take for granted. I honored that oath for six years for six years to the best of my ability.

In the liner notes to his "Jerusalem" album Steve Earle wrote "in spite of our own worst intentions and ignorance of our own history our Constitution has proven resilient enough to withstand anything we throw at it, including ourselves. Fierce vigilance against the erosion of its proven principles is at the heart of our peculiarly American brand of democracy."

Whether or not you think war should be waged on terrorism (I do) or if the war on Iraq is a gross miscalculation by fortunate sons that has led to needless deaths of countrymen (I do) we must remember that the men and women deployed in Iraq are abiding by their sworn oath so that we can insist on asking of our leaders in these darkest of hours the questions they would not want us to ask.

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