Thursday, August 12, 2010

Apathy should not be allowed to flourish.

Apathy should not be
allowed to flourish.

The below article is quite sad. Sad because war is sad, sad because lives are lost for practically no good reason and sad because even though so many Americans said no to these wars, their demands fell upon deaf ears. The Bush/Cheney administration finally had their anxiously awaited reason for war, the attack of September 11, 2001, a day when a handful of hoodlums attacked America clearing the way for this administration to declare war. Whether the attack could have been prevented is still being debated but the fact that it happened and was milked by the Bush/Cheney Whitehouse so they could realize a dream they had cultivated for years prior to this dreadful event. (a dream they called at the time...The Wolfowitz Doctrine)

In the aftermath of such horror, Bush/Cheney could not wait to send US troops to a country who did not actually commit the crime (there was no, one country at fault just a band of marauders, a gang of thugs). They picked a country and all agreed we must preempt a war there as payback for the assault upon our soil. We had the power, they would say to each other, so why not and once this war is underway we will be able to slip in the war we really want in Iraq. (under the People's nose before the insult of 911 wears too thin.)

Well, they got their way and now these wars continue to kill and maim and have yet to produce the REAL perpetrator of that horrible day, Osama Bin Laden.

Cheney, Bush and the rest of the neocons are now out of office and are safely back living their comfy lives as celebrities but not so for the American troops who are still sacrificing their lives every day in a hapless war. Most who die are soon forgotten, most who are forced to live a life of pain after being mutilated will never be known.

But on facebook a woman named Pat McDermott Nixon is trying to bring these fallen Americans out of obscurity and put a real human face behind the statistics. Something I tried to do once, after the Iraq war was underway. But I was stopped in my tracks by a Bush devotee who had lost a relative in that war and told me that because my politics were of a Liberal nature she did not want me to use her relative's name to spread a negative view of Bush's wars. (???) The hurt and sorrow of losing a loved one in war made me ask the question to myself: DO I REALLY HAVE A RIGHT TO POST NAMES AND BRIEF BIOS OF THOSE WHO HAVE PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE OF WAR ESPECIALLY IF IT OFFENDS THOSE LEFT BEHIND? So I took the page down.

This Afghanistan war has gone on so long with new casualties being added to the already long list of those lost, everyday. It makes me wonder, are there still people out there who believe that Bush and Cheney were right to, so carelessly and without much emotion wage a war that appeared impossible to win? (with not only one country but two simultaneously). If there are still people who think that casually going to war is just and warranted, I can’t help but believe that these very people are somewhat responsible for the enormous suffering.

Please read the short article below and the poignant comment from a veteran of another war that was also carelessly waged so long ago...
called Nam. thinkingblue

PS: Great tribute to a Great Man, Phil Donahue.

Maddi: July 23 at 2:40pm from Gary in Dayton
who was a medic in Nam

Finding pieces of service members' lost lives: Connie Schultz

DOD announced today the death of a soldier. Sgt. Mario Rodriquez, 24, of Smithville, Texas, died June 11 in Powrak, Afghanistan "of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade
fires [sic]." He was assigned to the 264th Clearance Company, 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne), 20th Engineer

For the last year and a half, I've been posting... Department of Defense casualty alerts to remind me, and my 2,400 or so "friends" on Facebook, of the human beings behind the statistics of American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recent weeks, a woman named Pat McDermott Nixon has added an update of her own after each of my posts about a fallen American.
Nixon's Facebook comment on June 15 , 9:56


Sgt. Mario Rodriguez, 24, left behind a... wife and 7-year-old daughter. His was the fourth active duty death from Smithville (a town of fewer than 5,000) in four years

-- three in the last year alone.

She listed the three other residents' names,

and when they died.

After I thanked her, Nixon explained in a second post that she often did "a little search to discover

something more personal" about each American who dies.

"Tonight," she added, "I decided to post what I'd found."

Thus began an online partnership with a woman I've never met. I post the latest DOD announcement, and Nixon almost always follows up with a bio, and a link to the obituary.

Earlier this week, I decided to find out more about this 62-year-old woman in Strongsville. Why was she willing to do this?

"At first, I was reading the posts and saying the names aloud to myself," she said. "Saying their ages, too. I have three boys, ages 29, 25 and 22."

She started researching the names of the fallen online.

"I've always been intrigued by the micro of life, rather than the macro," she said. "I don't know anyone who has died in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can become so insulated by where we live and who we know -- and don't know."

Nixon is a retired children's librarian, so research is a lifelong habit. But there's more to her story. She came of age during the Vietnam War, and as we talked she recalled another list of names -- and faces -- that may have planted the seeds for her current practice of honoring the fallen.

In 1969, she was a young elementary school teacher in Cleveland when the June 27 issue of LIFE magazine devoted 12 pages to 242 young men who had died in Vietnam in a single week, from May 28 to June 3. Nine were from Ohio, which ranked fifth in the number of Vietnam deaths by the time the war was over.

"[W]e must pause to look into the faces," read the introduction to LIFE's photo gallery, which listed each man by name, age, rank and hometown. "More than we must know how many, we must know who. The faces of one week's dead, unknown but to families and friends, are suddenly recognized by all in this gallery of young American eyes."

You can find that LIFE issue online, with the Vietnam feature starting on page 20.

Forty-one years later, Nixon still remembers looking at those pages of young faces, reading each name and age aloud and feeling "a deeper awareness of the loss." Now, she publishes her own version of a gallery, one bio at a time.

On Tuesday, July 20, I paused in writing this column to post the following DOD alert on Facebook: Sgt. Justin B. Allen, 23, of Coal Grove, Ohio, died July 18 in Zhari, Afghanistan "of wounds suffered when he was shot by insurgents while conducting combat operations . . ."

Another Ohio boy.

A few minutes later, Pat McDermott Nixon posted

an excerpt from his obituary in the Ironton Tribune:

In November, Justin was going to marry his fiancee, Kimberly Schwartz, whom he had met when she moved to Lawrence County from Florida. "She had already bought her dress," [his mother] Bonnie said.

The last time Bonnie saw her son was this spring when he came home between deployments. She wants her son to be remembered for his generosity, honesty and patriotism.

It was Sgt. Allen's fourth tour of duty.


Mike Ludwig July 24 at 8:01am

Reply:the thing that, as a veteran of the shitpile... that the rest of the country referred to as 'the war in vietnam' but we G.I.'s simply referred to as the 'nam, puts a glob in my throat and gut is the fact that these guys in the sandbox are doing, often, up to four combat deployments of 15 months each.
think about that! about how that can totally leave a person an emotional wreck and a spiritual garbage bag! in 'nam it was a year - 12 months - and we knew that if we were lucky enough to 'make it' we'd be comin' back to the world. '364 and a wake up' we called it. and as our date of exiting drew nearer, we were 'short', and the shorter we got, we became the more frozen in our paranoia of not making it. can you imagine the stress on THESE guys?? goddamn, it pisses me off to no end! may we never forget them and the heartache their families must bear! i hate fucking war! "those who start wars never fight them, and those who fight wars never like them." - michael franti. thanks for
this post, maddi. peace, mike

Carolyn Ward July 24 at 1:44pm

These Bush wars have been horrible beyond anything that resembles reason. Not only for those who were caught in the middle of the tragic chess game, the neocons cooked up but also for humanity. We are becoming desensitized because these wars have continued for so long. When Boy Dubya was able to play out his war game, I thought I was living in the twilight zone. Life was dark for most of us who hate that wars can be so easily pitched forth. Now we hardly hear of the ongoing tragedies that are occurring each and every moment. Thanks so much for
posting this. We need more articles and more comments about these disgusting wars. Apathy should not be allowed to flourish.

Carolyn Ward July 27 at 1:42am

Maybe this will start waking people up especially those who play chess with living chess pieces...

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