I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose

From the WaPo:

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.’s life is priceless. Don’t believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier’s life: I’ve been handed the check. It’s roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
Money maintains the Republican/Democratic duopoly of trivialized politics. It confines the debate over U.S. policy to well-hewn channels. It preserves intact the cliches of 1933-45 about isolationism, appeasement and the nation’s call to “global leadership.” It inhibits any serious accounting of exactly how much our misadventure in Iraq is costing. It ignores completely the question of who actually pays. It negates democracy, rendering free speech little more than a means of recording dissent.

This is not some great conspiracy. It’s the way our system works.

In joining the Army, my son was following in his father’s footsteps: Before he was born, I had served in Vietnam. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time. Yet he was the better soldier — brave and steadfast and irrepressible.

I know that my son did his best to serve our country. Through my own opposition to a profoundly misguided war, I thought I was doing the same. In fact, while he was giving his all, I was doing nothing. In this way, I failed him.

(via Metafilter)


  1. A friend of mine was still young enough during the Gulf War, to be eligible for the draft… His father was in Vietnam, and told him that if the draft was re-instituted, he’d personally pay him to go to Canada. I consider that an expression of patriotism, also.

  2. Why join the military if you’re going to run away every time things get rough or you don’t agree with the mission?

  3. If a draft is instituted, your statement mutates to “Why be an American if you’re going to run away every time things get rough.” In fact, going to Canada means you’d rather NOT be an American under those circumstances, and I think it’s an honorable choice, in the face of an unjust war.

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