Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Op-ed: The Truth About War: “Brookpark Marines” and a Message of Life

By Jim Babka

I’m from Northeast Ohio. Two weeks ago, the dominant news story was the funerals of young Marines, killed-in-action in Iraq. At a memorial service held as the bodies returned home to Brookpark, Ohio, Governor Bob Taft asserted that these young men “died for freedom.”

Well, I believe, and boldly assert that the Iraq War, which has slaughtered over 1,800 Americans and (conservatively) more than 28,000 Iraqis, is a needless, groundless, undeclared (therefore unconstitutional and consequently illegal) war, built on a foundation of lies (justifying impeachment).

If I’m even partially right, then those young men did not die for freedom – even if that’s what we’re being told and what all of us want to believe.

It’s hard to write those words, because when any of us loses a loved one under tragic circumstances, we seek meaning beyond the death – a sense of purpose that will blunt the blow of our loss.

This is a very human thing to do. I relate to it from personal experience.

Finding Meaning in Loss

In 1978, my 37 year-old mother was killed by a juvenile, drunk-driver. I was 10. Even then, I searched for meaning. In the changed lives of others, I found it. And I was ever so grateful that the line of “mourners” extended down the aisle, out the door, and around the building of the funeral home. Had my Mom touched so many lives?

So I can appreciate the ceremony and the thousands who salute these fallen men – who line procession routes, send condolence cards, and pay respects at the funeral home. It means a great deal to their families.

But at some point we must come to the recognition that death is the end of human life. It is not glorious for mortals to die. Those twenty-something’s who fall in THIS war and those who die in car accidents share something in common – both are truly victims.

We should be worried about sending the wrong message to our children – that dying for lying politicians is a worthy goal, a life well-lived. You see, politicians don’t really value these lives – they’re statistics in a bigger picture.

How Politicians Benefit from War-death

For those of us who are pro-life, this message, which is so hard to sell in today’s “culture of death,” must be proclaimed. I feel compelled to speak out against those who would commit the sons and daughters of hard-working Americans, even while their children and grandchildren enjoy the luxury and promise of long life… the opportunity to achieve career goals, start a family, and eventually, play with their grandchildren.

During the Iraqi War and Occupation, only two of those responsible for sending or permitting working-class children to go to this war, sent his own son, daughter, or grandchild.

Let’s put that in perspective. Neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney, not Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, or Colin Powell sent their progeny. None of 100 Senators and only two of 435 House Members sent their off-spring to face a death which they are so eager to call “noble” or “heroic.”

Don’t our leaders want their children to act nobly? …to be heroes and heroines? Or does this “honor” – this privilege to die – only belong to those who pay the salaries of these leaders with their sweat and toil?

Must they bear the sacrifice, while their leaders, posture?

Yes, politicians engage in posturing. As these young men were brought back to Brookpark, Ohio, as a memorial service was held in their honor, it was the politicians who were called upon to speak. No one thought this odd. It’s all become so normal. But,

Truly Honoring the Sacrifice

Why don’t the deaths of these young Marines stir us to moral action?

And what would constitute moral action?

Step one: An immediate and full withdrawal of our troops. Bring our children home. Let the reservists, in particular, resume their lives. They didn’t sign up for foreign adventure. Most signed up for their future – a college education. Yes, they’ll do their duty. Yes, they are committed and brave. But they pledged to defend their homeland and the Constitution – not be part of a “nation-building corps.”

Step two: Impeach the President and the Vice President, along with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. Their high crime was lying to the American people to get us into war. The motive is well-established for Cheney and Rumsfeld, in particular, when they signed an open letter to then-President Bill Clinton, as members of the Project for a New American Century. They alone saw in the terror of September 11th, a political opportunity. Impeachment would serve as a deterrent to future politicians eager to advance their agenda and enhance their legacy through war.

By taking these two steps we will truly honor the lives of these young men. Their dying purpose will be to teach the nation an expensive lesson it should’ve learned long ago – that, Randolph Bourne was right, “War is the health of The State,” and a boon for the power-lust of politicians, who don’t participate in the sacrifice, but stand to benefit at the expense of those who do.
Jim Babka is the President of the Downsize DC Foundation and DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He is also the host of the syndicated Culture Repair Show, and the writer and presenter of the audio “Why Conservative Christians Are Re-evaluating George. W. Bush.”
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Well said! And someone needs to keep saying this. These deaths are tragedies. While the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who die are noble, that does not make the war they die in a noble cause.

Keep speaking out. You're doing a great job!
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