Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Steve Clemons Discovers That War Is A Bitch When You Actually Know Somebody Who Dies.

First Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich, 27, of Walpole, Mass., died May 13 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat patrol operations in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq. Given the ripping of garments and the gnashing of teeth going on over at tpmcafe and the Washington Note the last two days you would think Lt. Bacevich's death was unique. Steve Clemons is holding a virtual wake. Dozens of well meaning posters have expressed their condolences. Josh Marshall has blogged Lt. Bacevich's death. Why? Well, Lt. Bacevich's father is Boston University Professor Andrew J. Bacevich, a well known author and friend of all who oppose the Iraq war. The death is personal for Clemons because he actually knows Professor Bacevich.

Clemons writes:

I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Bacevich at the home of former Congressman Dave McCurdy this last holiday season. We spoke for a bit about the Iraq war as well as the absence of American strategy and dearth of strategists in government today. I had no idea his son was serving until now.

But this young man did serve his nation -- but his death is so incredibly tragic, like the others -- but his even more because his well-respected father has been working hard to end this horrible, self-damaging crusade. It's incredibly sad.
Mr. Marshall, Mr. Clemons and all you grieving wonks over at TPMCafe and the Washington Note, welcome to the Iraq war. Now you know that it is not just a political game. It is ugly. Good people die. This time it was someone you knew. The son of a friend. A very good man who will be deeply,deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Now, please, tell me why you haven't held similar on-line wakes for the other 3380 American children who have died in the Iraq War? Are they any less deserving of your grief?

Why haven't you grieved personally for each of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died? Did they volunteer to die in their homes?

I guess they are just numbers, abstract names, pictures on the television. I guess to you they aren't real because you don't know some member of their family.

Mr. Marshall, Mr. Clemons meet the reality of war. It's a bitch.

Oh, in your grief you claim Lt. Bacevich's death is more tragic than the deaths of any of the others. You are wrong. Sorry if I sound harsh, but tragic as Lt. Bacevich's death is, it is no more tragic than any of the thousands of deaths in the optional war called Operation Iraqi Freedom. You want to do something to honor Lt. Bacevich's memory, do more to stop the war.

Maybe if we could introduce President Bush and the others living in the administration bubble to the reality of the war, this optional fight would end.