Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Father Speaks Out

It would seem that the voices that are most entitled to speak out on our involvement in Iraq are those that belong to the troops who serve, as well as the families of those troops. When a family has lost a loved one, it is all the more reason to listen when they have something to say.

While Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier, should be credited with jump-starting the anti-war movement with her protests, she sadly has become too shrill to be effective. I am not sure if this is always what happens when people suddenly find themselves in positions of influence or power, but in Cindy's case, her messaqe became so combative that she essentially was preaching only to the converted.

I am as disgusted with the man in the White House as anybody, but did Sheehan really think that calling him a murderer would get her an audience with him? On what planet?

What has been sorely needed is a voice from other family members of deceased soldiers to speak out. Today, one voice rose up and delivered a powerful blow to the administration.

The man is Paul E. Schroeder, who lost his son Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder.

In a feature Op-Ed in the Washington Post, this is part of what Schroeder had to say:

"I am outraged at what I see as the cause of his death. For nearly three years, the Bush administration has pursued a policy that makes our troops sitting ducks. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that our policy is to 'clear, hold and build' Iraqi towns, there aren't enough troops to do that.

"In our last conversation, Augie complained that the cost in lives to clear insurgents was 'less and less worth it,' because Marines have to keep coming back to clear the same places. Marine commanders in the field say the same thing. Without sufficient troops, they can't hold the towns. Augie was killed on his fifth mission to clear Haditha."

If any message speaks to the pointlessness and mismanagement of the Iraqi war effort by the Bush Administration this one does. Mr. Schroeder sums up his arguments very well, speaking of how he views the loss of his son:

"Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

"But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

"This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush."

Will Mr. Bush be bothered by this? Will he "live with it?" I highly doubt it. Bush never had to fight on a battlefield, or to answer where he was when he was allegedly on duty with the National Guard. He is removed from what it could possibly mean to lose one's life in combat. He is way removed from the pain of a father who has lost a son in the morass that is Iraq.

As for George the parent, something tells me that Jenna and Barbara will not be signing up to enlist anytime soon.

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