We have all lost loved ones, and it is always sad, but it isn't always tragic. We know that life is ephemeral, and if someone lives a full lifespan, and it's their time, then their death may be weighty and emotional, but it isn't tragic. Of course, when someone dies before their time, it is tragic, and the younger they are, the more tragic it is.
There is a scene in My Stretch of Texas Ground that is based on a real-life story. When Sheriff Joe arrives at work, the big County Attorney (physically big) is waiting for him in his office, and he is in a cantankerous mood. It's because the County is being sued for a wrongful death. One of Joe's deputies, whom Joe fired, engaged a teenage boy in a high-speed chase. The boy was drunk. The deputy tried to pull him over, and the boy responded by flooring it. The deputy knew where he was going- home, to his parents' house. He should have let the boy go and proceeded calmly to his parents house and arrested him there, as Sheriff Joe attests. Instead, he turned the siren on and chased him at high speed. The boy ran into a telephone pole, "and by the time his father got to the wreck, he was white as a sheet and dead as a doornail."
All of that is exactly and precisely true. It really happened. The boy was my son's tennis partner in high school. And I found out about it when his father called and asked me if my son could be a pall bearer at his son's funeral. And he was a very nice young man most all the time. The only exception was when he drank. Alcohol made him belligerent and defiant. Have I mentioned that I don't drink at all? It's because of incidents like this one.
This was a small Texas town about the size of Arlettsville . At the funeral, the church was full of students from the high school. Oh, the grief and pain in that church. His name was Michael, and he was very well liked.
So, why am I mentioning this? I am mentioning it because I think that we have been trained, taught, and programmed, in this country, to tune out the humanity of the people who live in the countries that we attack. Their deaths don't count as much as our deaths, or they may not count at all. It gets me every time when someone in the media refers to the heavy human cost of the Iraq War and cites the over 5000 Americans who died, but says not one word about the dead Iraqis.
Here is George W. Bush and a female reporter doing it. You'll hear him say that he felt bad when there turned out to be no WMDs. He said it gave him a "sinking feeling." But, he said Saddam was still dangerous and had the capacity to make the weapons. But then she said that the CIA Director George Tennant said it was a "slam dunk" and Bush interrupted her and said, "No, he didn't mean it was a slam dunk that Saddam had the weapons, only that it was a slam dunk that American people would buy it." Thanks for clarifying that, George. Then, she wondered, out loud, why no one was ever held responsible when thousands of young Americans lost their lives. But, what about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives? Not a word about them from either her or him.
Every one of the victims was just as human as my son's friend Michael and probably had a circle of people around him as big as his, who were agonized by his death
That is why starting a war is SO immoral because you KNOW ahead of time that innocents are going to be killed, including men, women, and children. And if you do it anyway, you're saying that you are willing to kill those people in order to achieve X, where X might be the removal of a leader like Saddam Hussein or the capture of Osama bin laden whom you think planned 9/11. No matter what X is, it does NOT give you the right to kill innocent people. It doesn't give you the right to kill even one innocent person. 3000 Americans were killed on 9/11, but that didn't give us the right to kill 300,000 Afghans, which we have done- and then some. And that would be true even if the official 9/11 story, that bin laden did it, were true, which I don't believe for a second. I take my cue from the 3000+ architects and engineers who say that the towers were imploded. But, even if it were true, it did not entitle us to cross an ocean and two seas to start killing Afghans.