Friday, November 6, 2009

A Take on Tragedy

The shooting deaths of 13 people – and the wounding of dozens of others – at Fort Hood yesterday is a grim reminder of just what “harm’s way” can mean for the men and women who serve our country.

The shock of learning that both the shooter and the civilian officer who brought him down had survived the carnage – after both were reported dead – was a plot twist right out of a television crime drama. My heart goes out to those who are living this nightmare firsthand, surviving the attack, and to those who lost a family member or friend in the violence. Senseless is too light a word to describe this act of pure cowardice.

It’s sad enough when our young men and women are sent overseas to die. The irony here is that some of the casualties were on their way out, while still others had made it safely home from battle, only to suffer a violent death right here at home.

I don’t wax political here very often but this is one time I feel I have to. I sincerely hope that our soldiers know why they’re being asked to die because I’ll admit that I no longer do.

We went into a war more than six years ago, and countless innocent lives have been lost since. Some were our soldiers. Some were civilians. Maybe yesterday’s incident is a reminder of the campaign promises our president made to get us out of the Middle East. There has been bloodshed going on there for centuries. Are American lives worth sacrificing in a radical religious battle that nearly every other world power has confronted -- and abandoned -- at some point in time? Do we really need to continue to be a part of it? I for one don’t think so.

Though the Fort Hood shooting is an isolated incident, how many more people need to die? How many more bombings or ambushes is it going to take to show that we aren’t winning hearts and minds over there?

I say “enough already.” Get the hell out of there. The cost (in lives, in world standing, in dollars) has been way too high.

Mr. President, this was one of the key areas of change I’d hoped for a year ago. It’s time to put up or shut up. It’s time to stop the status quo of the previous administration’s failed policies. Maybe this last bit of bloodshed won’t be in vain. Maybe there's some audacity of hope in that.


Neighmond said...


Ty'sMommy said...

I couldn't agree more. A very nice lady I work with had a horrible day yesterday, waiting to hear word of her brother who is stationed at Fort Hood. Fortunately, he was not injured, but it was just an all-too-vivid reminder of what can happen, and, for me, the University of Iowa shootings which just had its 18th anniversary on November 1. Some things are never forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Here, here! Enough is enough! I'm with you on this one.

De-Blurker Kate said...

I wholeheartedly agree!

Jayne said...

I agree! Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the military is so overwhelmed with PTSD and associated mental illness. It's far, far more than the Pentagon projected at the beginning of all this and they just don't have anough resources to deal with it. Add to that a military mindset that still clings to the idea that seeking treatment is admitting weakness, and that for the first time in history we're sending soldiers with identified PTSD back into combat and we're brewing a huge problem. It's very, very sad and it makes me angry.

Karen Anne said...

I am so disappointed in Obama, for whom I had high hopes. But when I was over in Democratic Underground venting about that, someone posted what was going on in terms of withdrawal from Iraq.

He apparently is really winding that down, it is just not getting a lot of publicity as it goes on, maybe intentionally, I dunno.

I sure hope we don't ramp up in Afghanistan while we're on this topic. I am sick of these unnecessary, wasteful in lives and money wars that the idiots in Washington get us into one after another. It makes me want to scream.

I hear them speechifying about not spending money on healthcare without knowing where the money is coming from, the last estimate I heard was $900 billion spread out over ten years, i.e. $90 billion a year. But they have no trouble okaying spending $500 billion a year on war.

I wonder how it can be that this country, which started out from such a great foundation like the Constitution and the Founding Fathers and Mothers (Abigail Adams, etc.) has wound up run by venal politicians in the pay of the big corporations that Eisenhower warned us about 50-60 years ago.

I am encouraged that we managed to elect Obama, who seemed to promise to change all that. I keep hoping he will turn out to be better than he has been looking since then, or that the next time someone comes who promises hope and change people aren't too cynical then to believe it. That one might actually do it.

Even though for fixing some major problems I fear the train has already left the station.

That is my vent for the week.

Vicki said...

I have mixed feelings about being over there. I support our troops 100% (and even more if that were possible), and I think most rational people do. I also believe it is beneficial to spread democracy around the world and that we *should* be instrumental in that, and the sacrifice of lives will have to happen for that.

I also understand though that that area of the world has seen conflict since people began forming nation-states. I believe that this type of centuries-old conflict will not be solved in any amount of time that Americans (including me, it seems) are willing to put up with. I personally believe that it will never get better until Jesus returns. He promised wars and fighting and conflict and I just don't see it getting better.

I personally am being selfish when I want the troops to come home because I know that my loved one will be headed over there sooner or later (and probably sooner rather than later).

However, I understand that every man and woman who volunteered to join the military or volunteered to go over there as a civilian contractor understands their risks. We've been over there for so long that I cannot tolerate ANYONE in the military not being willing to go fight for what we have deemed a necessary cause (even though I have conflicting personal opinions). If we, as a nation, are fighting a war then anyone in the military should be willing to do whatever the military asks. If they don't agree with the policies or the war or whatever they have the right to GET OUT of the military. I believe fully in "service before self" so if any person in the military is going to put his- or herself before service to his or her country then they don't belong in the military. The main reason being, I don't want someone who doesn't really want to be "over there" and who isn't really completely ready to die for their country being side by side with my loved one who would be counting on them.

This guy is a Major. That means he was in the military before we became involved in Afghanistan and Iraq. He, however, had the perfect ability to retire, and probably honorably, if he didn't feel we should be over there.

I guess that's the bottom line for me. NO ONE should be in the military if they are not willing to fight and die for this country and what it is deeming important. Whether we should be over there or not is the secondary issue for me.

PTSD is horrible and yes the military has had a history of not doing the most to take care of its returning troops. They ARE getting better at dealing with this though. I'm guessing the military is the largest bureaucracy in America. Unfortunately, nothing gets done quickly with all that red tape. I know that first hand.

NV said...

Neighmond, Ty'smommy, Star, Kate, Jayne -- Thanks for the support!

Karen Anne -- I'm still trying to be patient. After all ,the troops were there more than 5 years before Obama even got elected. And, in the interest of stability, you don't just LEAVE. But I think there needs to be a plan, it needs to be going on NOW and we need to be out of there ASAP.

Vicki -- Count me among the rational who support the troops. ;-)

To your point, the man asked to be let out. They should have let him go. Thinks of all the lives that might have been spared. After all, if he was that against the activity, what real good would he have been to his brothers in arms? None as I see it.

Anonymous said...