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Thursday, March 01, 2007


The "wasted lives" kerfuffle

Democrats are criticizing John McCain and Republicans are criticizing Barack Obama for precisely the same thing - saying that the lives of 3,100+ American soldiers who have died in Iraq were "wasted." Obama has "apologized" for using that word, saying he should have said "sacrificed"; McCain likewise says he should have said "sacrificed" but refuses to apologize.

What an absolutely absurd discussion. How on earth does it "denigrate the troops" (the expression that is being used to describe this "mistake") to say their lives were wasted? They weren't the ones who decided to invade Iraq, or who didn't send sufficient body armor or armored troop carriers, or who made countless other bad decisions which have led to their deaths. It surely wasn't a lack of "bravery" which killed them; it was the decisions of their superiors and the politicians (and behind them, the corporations) who sent them to their deaths. Telling the truth about why they died doesn't "denigrate" them, it honors them.

And when it comes to "wasted" lives, let's say that the ones who are already dead are dead, and arguing about whether their lives were "wasted" or just "sacrificed" is mere pedantic semantics. But when it comes to the lives that will be lost tomorrow, or next week, or next month, we leave the realm of semantics. If you acknowledge that the war was a "mistake" (which it really wasn't, it was quite deliberate and intentional policy, but let's leave that aside for the moment and stick with conventional language), and if you acknowledge that it cannot be "won" (again, a bogus word, but let's move on), then for sure any lives which are lost now will be "wasted," no question about it, and putting someone in harm's way with a decent chance of dying, with no significant chance of achieving any "success," that is "denigrating" them - giving their lives so little worth that they can be sacrificed for nothing.

Enough! Stop the war now! Not next year. Not next month. Now!

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