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You are here: Home >> Blog >> Marie Fortune's Blogs >> “We Have to Talk about the War. Everyday.”

“We Have to Talk about the War. Everyday.”

Jun 08, 2007 — Categories:

The news from Iraq is everyday the same. Suicide bombers, “insurgents,” “terrorists,” Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, casualties and millions of dollars. The “normalcy” of it all deadens our sensibilities. A tragic, failed policy playing itself out with only more tragedy and bloodshed ahead and no end in sight. Yet last week’s story in our local paper stopped me for a moment.

The news from Iraq is everyday the same. Suicide bombers, “insurgents,” “terrorists,” Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, casualties and millions of dollars. The “normalcy” of it all deadens our sensibilities. A tragic, failed policy playing itself out with only more tragedy and bloodshed ahead and no end in sight.

Yet last week’s story in our local paper stopped me for a moment. The US Army out of Ft. Lewis (south of Seattle) announced that the number of deaths being recorded each week is so high that they can no longer provide individual memorial services for each service member. Instead they will now hold a weekly group memorial service.

I understand the problem. The system is stretched thin on all fronts. We don’t have National Guard troops available to do their job of responding to Katrina or the aftermath of a tornado or to help fight a forest fire. We don’t have enough chaplains to provide a funeral for each soldier we lose.

This should surely tell us something about the absurdity of this exercise in futility.

Last week I also learned that my nephew will be deployed to Iraq in September for the third time. He is a career Marine and I am very proud of him. He and I agree that the policy was a failure from the start. But he is committed to his troops and to completing the job he is asked to do. Life is very complicated most of the time.

This military excursion and occupation (it is not a “war”) is personal for thousands of families and communities. And it should be. In a democracy, we all share the risk, the loss, the failures and the responsibility to change the course. The problem is, it is so hard to turn the Titanic around.

But we cannot afford to let it become “normal” even though it no longer appears on the front page of the paper. We cannot afford to turn away or be silent. We have to force ourselves to keep our involvement in Iraq personal.

I just wish it was more personal for the President and the Congress.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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