To the editor:
My nephew from Oklahoma was home for Christmas on a two-week break from his second tour in Afghanistan. He leads his National Guard squad on the edge of the northern mountains. He was diagnosed with PTSD after his first tour; he’s gone back by now.
Last week, I played golf with one of my kid’s friends I’ve known forever. He spent a year in Iraq. I asked him about the soldier who killed the park ranger in Washington. Both of them, he says, should be listed as casualties of the war.
I am Vietnam-aged, but unlike Curtis Bennett (Public Forum, Jan. 18), I managed to miss the party, mostly good for me. Consequently, I cannot hope to imagine the experience or motivations of the soldiers shown urinating on their slain enemies. Nor can most of you.
I doubt these men would have projected themselves into these images five years ago when they were high school students, or younger. I cannot guess what they will see when they look back in 40 years.
We’ve been fighting a war on the cheap. Because we lack the political will to expose all of our children to the danger of a draft, for 10 years we have turned our heads and looked the other way. We’ve put the burden on a few and their families. We satisfy ourselves with patriotic homage four or five days a year and with fly-overs at ballgames. Then we recoil from an image of the reality of a war we made.