Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Last American Soldier to Die for a Mistake

Things are going very badly in Iraq. As Jeffrey Gettleman reported in the New York Times on Tuesday:
"In Sadr City, the Shiite section in Baghdad where the terrorist suspects were executed, government forces have vanished. The streets are ruled by aggressive teenagers with shiny soccer jerseys and machine guns.

"They set up roadblocks and poke their heads into cars and detain whomever they want. Mosques blare warnings on loudspeakers for American troops to stay out. Increasingly, the Americans have been doing just that."

President Bush continues to assert that our goal in Iraq is "victory." Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told Tim Russert that things were going "very, very well" in Iraq.

I am old enough to remember how during the Vietnam War the generals kept claiming we were winning, almost up to the moment we left in defeat. For some reason the news media at the time did not try to determine who was the last American to be killed in Vietnam War. There was talk about not wanting to be "the last man to die for a mistake" but it was kept an abstract notion rather than being attached to a particular dead soldier. I guess that would have been too painful. How many more American soldiers are going to die between now and when we eventually pull out of Iraq? Whether or not he/she receives any publicity for the distinction there will be another last American to die for a mistake. Will it be someone from around here, perhaps someone you know?

There will be gatherings for peace around the country this weekend on the third anniversary of the start of the war. In the Quad-Cities it will be on Saturday from 2-4 pm in front of Boarders on 53rd street across from the cinemas. Those who come will at least be able to say they did something.

1 comment:

Saul said...

I think the "last person to die for a mistake" comment originally came from John Kerry when he was testifying before the senate as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1971. You can read and listen to John Kerry's testimony here.

In 2004 the animator Haik Hoisington made a short flash animation about Kerry's 1971 testimony, comparing it to the current situation in Iraq. Hoisington was chiding Kerry for not speaking out about Iraq the way he spoke out about Vietnam. You can see the animation here. (Note that you have to keep clicking on the Kerry heads over and over to hear all of the recordings).

Hoisington has a lot of other very good and biting animations at his main site, blackmustache.com.