Monday, May 28, 2007

A time to remember, also to look ahead(with trepidation)

James Carroll has another luminous column today in the Boston Globe on this particular Memorial Day. He rightly calls upon us to remember and honor the fallen of this disastrous misadventure in Iraq. They did in commendable good faith what their commander-in-chief ordered them to do, and you could ask no more of a dedicated soldier.

But he also compels us to look forward, to prepare to answer some questions that are already acute for the United States and its citizens:

"How to reckon with the strategic and moral damage the United States has done and is still doing to the shared well-being of the human family? In addition to the lives it has needlessly destroyed, the war has helped ignite the most volatile region on earth; it has polluted US relations with former allies; and it has resuscitated the armed suspicions of former enemies. What of more value has been lost than the golden opportunity at the end of the Cold War to further empty nuclear arsenals, to midwife international structures of law, to heal the planet's poisoned environment, to address the global crisis of southern poverty?"

Having raised these disturbing issues, Carroll continues,

"Memorial Day is a time of social grief. We deliberately call to mind the names and faces of the dead. We attend to their selfless patriotism, and the courage with which they conducted themselves. We insist that, no matter how misbegotten the cause in which they died, they did not die in vain. In the glorious past, that faith depended on carrying wars forward to the point of victory, which alone redeemed the mortal loss. But now, we eulogize the heroes without approving the war that killed them. Because today's national desolation must include a larger grief for lost American virtue, the determination that the fallen not have died in vain requires that their sacrifice be taken as a fuller opening to the truths both of what our leaders have wrought, and of the responsibility that belongs to us all."

How do we guarantee that the fallen have not died in vain, in the wake of four years of terrible destruction on so many fronts?

"The proper memorial to the war in Iraq is its immediate end."

Repairing the damage done by this war worldwide, making up for lost time in addressing pressing concerns raised by the end of the Cold War, bringing this war to an speedy end, so that its casualties will NOT have died in vain--all of these tasks will require our best efforts over a long period of time. Are we/you ready to respond to the challenge?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the biggest hurdles for families & friends of troops in Iraq to deal with. Denial has to be their tool. How can you acknowledge that the war is wrong while your loved one could be injured or killed at any moment? Or worse, that your child/parent/spouse died for a false cause? I don't know that I could.

I do know that the best we can do for them, and for all of us, is to get these men & women home NOW.

8:33 PM  
Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

Agreed. I wish, wish, wish we could rewind to immediately after the attacks and convene a grand national meeting, during which we could discuss the best ways of turning this awful tragedy into a positive moment for the world...then we might never have had this stupid, destructive conflict that has taken so many lives and that will eventually compel everyone to admit defeat and ignominy. of course, this supposes that we would have had leadership so inclined and/or amenable to some sort of reasonable outcome. we did not.

10:38 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Excellent article, Bucky. The damage that the Bush Reich has done, to the US and to the world may take generations to repair.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Jeb said...

Interesting blog. I just came across it through WethePeople. I shall visit again!



3:00 AM  

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