He is number 1,828, 1,829 or 1,830. We don't know for sure, because so many died last week.
Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley died when his vehicle was hit head on by a suicide bomber. His death admits his family to a club no one wants to join: the grieving, questioning families who have heard the dreaded ring of the doorbell followed by a messenger's words, "We regretfully inform you that your son ..."
You realize that nothing you've thought, done or felt has prepared you for this reality. The feeling is so much worse than a broken heart. It is an evisceration.
As I write, Chase is being flown to Dover Air Force Base. His 6-foot-4 body is in a coffin draped with the American flag. He loved his family, his country, his Sayre classmates and his life, but we don't think he loved his mission in Iraq. ...
For those of you who still trust the Bush administration -- and your percentage diminishes every day -- let me tell you that my nephew Chase Johnson Comley did not die to preserve your freedoms. He was not presented flowers by grateful Iraqis, welcoming him as their liberator.
He died fighting a senseless war for oil and contracts, ensuring the increased wealth of President Bush and his administration's friends.
He died long after Bush, in his testosterone-charged, theatrical, soldier-for-a-day role, announced on an aircraft carrier beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner that major combat was over.
He died in a country erupting into civil war and turned into a hellhole by Bush, a place where democracy has no chance of prevailing, a country that will become a theocracy like Saudi Arabia. ...
Consider what the money spent on this could have done for health care, our children's education or a true humanitarian intervention in Sudan. And then think about Bush's inauguration. Picture the lavish parties, the couture gown worn by Laura Bush. And imagine the cost of the security for the event.
And then think about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he visits our troops. Picture his heavily armored vehicle, a machine impregnable to almost anything the insurgents toss in its path, while our troops are not provided sufficient armor to survive an improvised explosive device. ...
For many Americans, the war is an abstraction. But it is not an abstraction for the innocent Iraqis whose lives have been devastated by our smart bombs. And it certainly is not an abstraction for those of us who have heard the words that change lives forever.
So think of my family's grief -- grief that will never end. Think of all the families. Think of the wounded, the maimed, the psychologically scarred. ...
And, finally, think about flowers: The flowers for Chase Comley will be presented not by grateful Iraqis but by loved ones honoring him as he's lowered to his grave and buried in our hearts.
Friday, August 19, 2005
The Words Of Missy Comley Beattie