Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Report from New York

I'm back from a brief sojourn in New York, where you barely have time and energy to keep yourself together, let alone keep up with things in general. Even there, though, the Iraq war manages to make headlines daily. I was struck by the story of Jonathan Aponte of the Bronx, who had finished one tour as an infantryman in Iraq and was headed for another. He didn't want to go back, because he said he was horrified by the scenes of carnage and devastation he had had to endure, along with the terrifying ordeal of a hit-and-run conflict with insurgents on the insurgents' home turf. Unlike a lot of people, who accept the second tour without protest, Aponte decided he couldn't face it.

He didn't declare himself a conscientious objector, didn't get a lawyer, didn't just refuse to report back to his unit--he hit upon a familiar solution for some quarters of New York. He and his wife secured the services of a contract killer, whom they paid $500 to shoot Aponte in the leg, just enough to render him hors de combat without permanent injuries. The hitman carried out his mission, but somehow authorities discovered the relationship between the two and Aponte was busted. The last I heard, he was headed back to Texas to face the music before his unit and commanders.

This episode demonstrated two things: one, how dreadful it must be for people having to staff President Bush's obsession, and two, how many people sided with Aponte rather than the authorities or the army or the "good" soldiers in his unit. Not one letter to the Daily News condemned him; most people emphasized with him or at least understood his reasoning. I didn't read the Post, of course, because that is Fox News in print, but Daily News readers aren't reliably one thing or the other, so I thought the reaction was striking.

It gets clearer and clearer from every angle--this war is a loser. So who is going to stop it?


Blogger LaPopessa said...

I had high hopes for the 2006 Congress in this area - but so far they aren't showing us much.

2:59 PM  

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