Monday, December 08, 2003

What is the point? 

Tipton, Iowa is planning the largest funeral the town has ever witnessed. This Saturday, Iowa National Guard Spc. Aaron J. Sissel will be laid to rest. Aaron died November 29th in an attack on his convey in Hadith, Iraq. He was 22 years old.

I've never lived in that small town that my parents now call home. I didn't know Aaron. Now I wish I did. I wish I could still have the chance to see all those young men and women arriving safely into the arms of their family and friends.

We've been given so many reasons why this war was so necessary. The goalpost have moved so many times that I don't know what the objective is anymore. Weapons of mass destruction, Al Quida connections, enforcement of UN sanctions human rights violations, the freedom of the Iraqi people...they all read like a mission statement in the Halliburton quarterly report. What I do know is the price is too high. And not just for Tipton.

I heard Steve Earle interviewed on NPR yesterday. Something he said hit me so hard that I couldn't sleep last night. He was talking about the death penalty but his words apply to what is happening in Iraq. He said in a democracy, when the government takes a life, we are all taking a life. We are collectively damaging our spirits by allowing this war to continue.

I don't know how Aaron felt about the war. I won't presume to put words in his mouth or feelings in his heart. He died performing his duty. Those of us responsible for sending him and so many others to die have a duty to perform as well. End this war and bring our loved ones home safely.