Sunday, September 23, 2007

When I was 20

When I was 20 years old, I was in college at the University of Oregon. Just out of high school a couple of years, I was still finding my footing in life, with myself, with the world and people. I was anything but a formed, confident human being. I was still learning what the world had to offer, and trying to figure out my place in it.

And it's that 20-year-old I think about when I see the Iraq/Afghanistan casualty figures - figures that list the ages of those killed. And I see numbers like 19, 20, 21, 22 float by week after week. One of the oldest adages in the world is that old men begin wars, and young men are sent to die. It's no different now than it has been before. Before the greatest generation were our parents and grandparents, they were 20 year old kids taking on Nazi Germany and Japan. So why do I feel this rush of grief here?

Is it the thousands of American lives ended before they really began? Young men and women (and I have to constantly remind myself not to call them boys and girls) dead before they were able to experience life? I think about the years between my 20-year-old self and my (much older-but not telling) self today. The things I've seen, done, learned and experienced. The wonder, beauty and excitement of life lived.

But these men and women aren't fighting to save the world for democracy - but fighting because a group of privileged old men (most of whom found ways to avoid fighting when their turn came during Vietnam) thought nothing of sending this generation out to fight for ... what? An endlessly changing list of reasons that collapse one after the other like dominoes upon examination. These young men and women have been sent to their deaths by the failed policies, lies and deception of their own government.


Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

I 've felt the same thing, many times. I like what one of Ken Burns' documentary subjects says about World War II, i.e. it was not a GOOD war, because there are no GOOD wars, but it was a NECESSARY war. Given the nature of that conflict, a lot of young men were going to die, but there is no question that their deaths helped rid the world of a terrible evil. As you point out, this was a war of choice, a discretionary war, so all those 20-year-olds did not HAVE to die. One day soon, all their families will have to face the fact that they died essentially for nothing, just as the Vietnam casualties died for nothing, or maybe died because their leaders didn't want to be called names like "appeaser" or "defeatocrat." and I am terribly, terribly sorry for that.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mr. Natural said...

Young men and women (and plenty of reserves who were not so young) have died for the treasures lusted after by old men. This time around they were sent by a person(?) who makes Nixon look like a bad-man-pretender, but with the same regal pretensions right down to taking advice from Bloody Henry Kissinger.
It looks to me like any of our Democrats who are in ANY WAY affiliated with the DNC are in the same camp. If we are to save this garden planet, we have MUCH work to do. How to start? Dear friends, we have.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Mr. Natural said...

I am surprised that this pretender to a pretend throne hasn't dug out those royal uniforms Nixon had made up for the white house guards...

8:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
hit Counter