It is almost impossible to miss the reminders. US losses reach 4,000. Cost of the war to reach $3 trillion dollars. Another suicide bomb kills 4. Watch PBS tonight at 9 for the first of a two part show called Bush’s War. Everyone it seems has noticed that the war goes on.
I still think about back in the day. It was 1969. Living in a small 2 bedroom house behind my wife’s parents house were a marine Sargent and his Korean wife and three kids. He was home briefly between tours and getting ready to ship out for a new destination, Vietnam. As I worked on changing the oil in our International Harvester Travall, we got to talking about the why of it. He had already fought in Korea as a kid. That’s where he met his wife. Soldiering, as a marine, was the only thing he really knew. And yes, even though he was coming up on his 20, he thought he’d stay in. But I was newly conscious of the war for what it meant politically, what it meant about the way our government, our politicians lied to us, and took advantage of the war for their own gain. So I asked him, why was he going, why did he keep on going. “Those people need help.”
I think of his answer when I try to understand the stories of the atrocities, the torturing, the bombing of civilians, and I wonder what he’d say to that. But of course he can’t say anything to that because from his second tour in ‘Nam in 1971, he didn’t come back.