Monday, August 20, 2007

seven families, seven stories

including one from connecticut
this is from 2005, but it could very well be from TODAY. we must remember those lost (not just in this war but all wars before) and we MUST demand an end to this insanity
Anthony Swofford
For a moment, imagine the coffins empty, the burial grounds free of people, free of despair. Imagine the young men and their young bodies doing the work of youth. Imagine the parents watching a television drama or chatting on the porch with their neighbors. Pretend the death-folded flags are stacked on a sergeant’s supply shelf, gathering dust rather than grief.This is, of course, a foolish and dangerous game. It’s the game the Bush administration would prefer we play, but more corpses are en route, and more broken bodies, shattered psyches, damaged souls.My combat death fantasies began before I joined the Marine Corps. They started with Platoon, and the not-so-friendly-fire casualty of Sergeant Elias, his arms outstretched in martyrdom and splendor. Willem Dafoe’s character had fought both the Viet Cong and the Army’s own demons with veracity and courage. Good men die tragically, and the best die in combat. I’d grown up around the military, and, without being aware of it, internalized the military’s obscene power and culture. I had pallets full of honor and sacrifice waiting on the docks, manifested for shipment to lands foreign, dangerous, and strange. My father had survived combat in Vietnam, but I might go fight for my country and die, tragically and heroically—I’d die in the storied bloody fields of American history where my father had not.By the time I arrived in Saudi Arabia to fight in the 1991 Gulf War, my fantasies had been replaced by the very real facts that surrounded me, in the buildup of troops and the matériel carried on my body: rifle, pistol, grenades, a radio with which I might call in 500-pound bombs. I was here to kill, and people on the other side of that sand berm wanted to kill me. The romance of a combat death evaporates when combat arrives.......

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