Scrawled across the cover of the April 2 issue of Newsweek are a soldier’s words, in his own writing: “Any day I’m here could be the day I die.”
What follows inside is an extraordinary, deeply sad and wonderful look into the lives of our fallen troop — in their own words. It’s full of excerpts from letters, emails, instant messages, audio recordings and more that our warriors left behind after war took them from us forever.
Every reminder that so many of our soldiers are dying daily is a good thing, but this issue is a gift from Newsweek to America. It’s not particularly political in the narrow sense of bashing or bolstering President Bush, but it leaves an unmistakable impression that we’ve lost far too much.
Just looking at the pictures of men cuddling their babies breaks your heart, over and over and over.
I know the war is hell, that soldiers who perish leave gaping wounds at home, that battles grind up more than bodies. They blow up dreams. They shatter families. They leave a wreckage that goes far beyond the pieces of metal on a distant ground.
But what I realized as I read the words of these slain soldiers is that this war’s price is far too high for whatever it is that we’re getting out of it. After four years of conflict, it’s increasingly hard to see beyond the death toll, to see any vision at all for a future that isn’t just soaked in more patriots’ blood.
Bring ’em home.
Our congressman, John Larson, just got tapped as one of 10 Democrats who will serve on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. He’ll no doubt do a lot of cheerleading for fuel cells, since they’re made hereabouts, but the position is much bigger than a bully pulpit for local interests.
“The work of the committee is going to be critical as global warming and energy dependence are probably two of the most important issues facing the future of our planet. Global warming and our dependence on oil risk our economic security, our national security, and threaten our environment and public health,” Larson said, or at least his press release said he said it.
He continued, “In my district and throughout Connecticut, we have successfully expanded the use of fuel cell technology and I plan to bring this to the dialogue. This issue has been ignored for far too long and now it is time for serious solutions and action and I am proud to be a part.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fuel cells may be important, or they may not. Only time will tell, as they say.
But what is important is that the new commitee “will hold hearings and investigations locally, nationally, and internationally to gather the information needed to protect our national security and the environment. It is charged with recommending to the Congress policies, strategies and other innovations to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and prevent global warming.”
They key is that men and women like Larson take that job seriously. These are perhaps the most serious issues our country faces – how to lessen the impact of global warming and make us less dependent on half-assed Arab states that hold us hostage with oil. No empire should have its lifeblood in the hands of kingdoms so fragile and far away. We need to break free.
Larson has a chance here to make a real difference to the course of our history, to shed his party boy image and to advocate the kind of bold steps that can save us from a potentally dreary future of war and warmth. We do not have to blindly go forward on this same dark path. We can take a different direction.