Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Memorial Building in Iraq:
Who Thought It'd Come To This?

From Stars and Stripes we see a Memorial to the fallen has been built at Forward Operating Base Ramadi, Iraq. The memorial was designed by a KBR contractor and built by 6 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery. From the photo it looks like a beautiful memorial yet as beautiful as the picture above is...there is just something wrong with this picture. I find this tragically disturbing.

First this war was sold to us as one that would be quick. Remember "Mission Accomplished". And we were lead to believe the cost would be low. Remember this..."Administration sources said two months of war would cost as much as $40 billion and that a peacekeeping force in Iraq would cost at least $6 billion a year." Here we are several years later. $185 billion later. One billion a week and mounting later. Almost 1800 dead and over 10,000 wounded later. I believe most Americans thought we would get in there and overthrow Saddam and get out. And why not? Isn't that what we were told and are still being told? But we are not out. Years (yes years) and 100's of billion dollars later we see no end in sight. And did anyone ever get any hint from this administration that construction in Iraq would be that of US soldiers building a memorial to their own at a US base while war was ongoing????

Really who in America thought it would come to this? I doubt you could name one person.

And certainly not the soldiers over there thought it would be this way. The Stars and Stripes article goes on to tell of how soldiers react to the memorial:
......the memorial had become a reguar place for soldiers to pause and reflect on the year. They’d sit in groups of three or four, smoking cigarettes and casting occasional glances at the fountain and the board of names.

Some are bitter. Some almost numb to the losses. Almost unanimously, they asked to speak without their names being used, for fear something they said would be construed as disrespectful or cruel.

“You sit here and wonder,” one soldier said. “Part of you believes they died for something, to bring freedom to these people. But part of you says, ‘Damn, they died for some Iraqis that ain’t doing nothin’ to fight for themselves.’ ”

Disrespectful? Cruel? Well this war is certainly that. Yet how many Americans are even aware of the extent of the tragedy? Do they know their soldiers are building their own memorials in real time? Would they find it as disturbing as I do if they knew?

What do you think? I'd really like to know. Comments are open

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