Grief, Loss, and War

Mirth has written a short and moving call to mourn alongside the families of the war dead.

We often hear about the cost of war, but I think it is better understood in terms of loss.  The “human cost” of war feels like a price we pay, an expected life fee payed to allow us to fight.  But to lose our friends and family to a war, any war, is to know a pain that extends far beyond the cost, and lingers past the debt.

Our government officials do not attend their funerals; our news media hides their caskets; our Congress gives them useless actions; our political figures speak empty words on their behalf.  Unless we are directly affected, we have little more than obscene numbers to mark their service, to understand the far reaches of their needless sacrifice.

We just see the numbers, and if we are unlucky, see the loss itself in the faces and hear it in the voices of friends and loved ones.  This has a direct impact on how we view the war, and even on how we view the soldiers fighting in it.  To send others off to war involves a callousness to consequence few of us would face if we found it lurking within our own hearts.   To send soldiers to a needless war, a war of choice, reaches a deeper depravity still.

There is little public evidence of the sorrow and waste and ruin caused by the criminal, murderous, morally bankrupt, goddamned Bush administration.

Imagine being confronted with the cost and the loss of this war.  Daily.  Imagine understanding that every poorly conceived surge, every plot and contrivance to ensure an even greater regional war, leads directly to our own suffering.  More people would look that suffering in the eye, and be moved.

So today, for a just few minutes, for just this alone and nothing else, these funerals, let your eyes see and let your hearts feel. Today, share a tiny portion of the weight these families carry, these lied to, burying their lied to. It is the least we can do.

The more we share this burden, the closer we come to bringing our troops home safely.

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One Response

  1. Thank you, ffto, for your kind words. It isn’t difficult to write movingly about the shameful absence of these final ceremonies. Your words add depth to mine.

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