January 31, 2007

Why Is This One Different?

Soldier's Death Strengthens Senators' Antiwar Resolve
Kerry, Dodd Demand Stronger Challenge to Bush

By Jonathan Weisman and Ann Scott Tyson
The above headline caught my eye. Why did this one particular soldier's death 'strengthen senators' resolve'? I asked myself. So I read the article. Here's an exerpt. And here is the rest.

Just before Christmas, an Army captain named Brian Freeman cornered Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) at a Baghdad helicopter landing zone. The war was going badly, he told them. Troops were stretched so thin they were doing tasks they never dreamed of, let alone trained for.

Freeman . . . returned to his base in Karbala, Iraq, and less than two weeks ago died . . . .

The death of the West Point graduate . . . has radicalized Dodd, energized Kerry and girded the ever-more confrontational stance of Democrats in the Senate. Freeman's death has reverberated on the Senate floor, in committee deliberations and on television talk shows.
Now, while I'm glad something has gotten Congress off the dime, I'm sorry this man or any of the 3,081 who preceeded him had to die to make it happen.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of those service men and women who has died, been maimed for life, been wounded or will come home with PTSD--facing a lifetime of challenge just to make it through another day--is a face, a name, a loved one of someone. Why couldn't those senators have figured that out before now?

Why did it take the death of someone they met face-to-face to get them [especially those who have actually been to war] to put a human face on the catastrophe?


PoliShifter said...

I'm sure you know why Two Crows as you were being rhetorical.

Basically to the politician war is a numbers game: How many troops, how much money, how many casualties, what's the cost benefit, how long, etc.

But when faced with the actual reality of it, meeting a human being who is sane, rational, logical, and intelligent, who is serving in Iraq and can give you a first hand account of what the hell is going on, suddenly that has more impact on a person than a technocratical committee hearing on how we are going to fund the VA in fiscal year 2008.

It's easy to be cavalier in a position of power "we'll throw in 20,000 more troops, take a few from here, sprinkle some there...those 5000 getting back from Afghanistan, I know they've only been home for 48 hours but tell them to pack for Baghdad...."

All of our politicians except for a select few have been reluctant to come out strong against the war until they can feel the breeze of public opinion blowing in their face.

Hilary is just now starting to come around but she has a ways to go. Obama just revealed his "out of Iraq by '08" plan...he probably think's he's being somewhat of a radical.

The really sad thing is that the anti-occupation of Iraq Position is STILL perceived as "fringe". Reality is that a majority of Americans want us out of Iraq NOW. There is nothing fringe about that.

There is also an element of human nature to it. Those that are affected by tragedy tend to become more vocal about it.

Who feels it knows it.

Few of us care about the car accident we pass on the freeway until that car belongs to a friend, relative, or our ourselves.

Out of sight, out of mind.

TomCat said...

I think Poli has it. When it's someone you know, it puts a face on the issue.

two crows said...

and my question is still out there.
oh, sure, we can all look at human nature and say, 'here's why.'
to my way of thinking -- that's not good enough.
whatever reason is given -- it's simply not enough.

this isn't just about the senators. why can't we, as humans, figure out that war is simply wrong and do something about that fact?
I used to think that WWII was the last 'good' war -- until I realized that getting rid of such things as concentration/death camps wasn't why we fought it.
every war has had it's justifiers and it's justifications. but every war has really been about power--'you've got it and I want it.'
therefore--there's no such thing as a good war.
we need to figure that out.

Larry said...

The ultra rich crave war because they see it as a way to take control of the Mideast oil and thus control the world.

The are to near-sighted to see that if they attack too many times, many will join together against us.

two crows said...

agreed, Larry---
and, for some reason, they have no memories, either.

I remember, though, what happened when Hitler did the same. it took a while, but eventually the world rose up against him and Germany went up in flames.

TomCat said...

TC, I believe that under some circumstances war is a necessary evil, but not THIS war and certainly never any 'preemptive' war.