My friend Tom's nephew, Jacob, enlisted in the Army to help pay for grad school. Since he is an only child, he got a guarantee from the government when he signed up that he would not be sent into a danger zone...the US military has a policy of protecting only sons, and there are lots of peaceful spots where valiant service is required.
Last fall after his return from Korea, Jacob got a letter from President Bush informing him that this policy was being waived for Iraq, and so he was on his way there. Jacob and his mother protested this vehemently, but there was nothing to be done. The White House had changed the policy and taken the time to send the communique on their letterhead.
Jacob arrived in Iraq in January. Jacob died on Tuesday.
I'm not saying this is any worse than any other death in Iraq. And I'm keeping my opinions about this war to myself, since they make no difference. I just want people in my blogosphere to think about this, to think about the effect this is having on mothers of sons and daughters who won't see them ever again, on grandparents whose lovely grandson is no longer here to make them laugh, to make them proud, to make them feel like their legacy is continuing into the next generation. As a nation full of partisanship and news "analysis" and spin-doctoring, it's easy to forget about the profound sadness that lies beyond policy. This isn't just friendly sparring over dinner or for Sunday AM chat shows. It's real life.
But I will ask you...are we really on the right track here? I'm not asking you to change your mind. I'm asking you to answer the question without the help of our red/blue state team spirit.
And now, please give a moment of silence for Jacob.