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Monday, June 02, 2008

The War and the Uncle I Never Knew

My mother was the youngest of four children; two girls and two boys. Mom was especially close to her brothers. They were very different in temperment and she enjoyed those differences with them. My uncle Roland was killed in a freak plane accident while on a test mission in the Air Force during his service in the 1950s. The pain of that loss is still very raw for my mother. Roland's plane disappeared over the Chesapeake Bay (blew up) and nothing was found of the plane or Roland in spite of many searches. He was fluent in German, enjoyed sports, shooting targets and ready to dedicate his life to the military if things worked out. Obviously they did not and his death left a gaping hole in our family's history.

In college I took up archery, target shooting and fencing, the latter a particularly favorite sport of my Uncle Roland's. He was more formal than his siblings, a little more reserved and bookish but fun nonetheless according to Mom. I asked her if Roland would have supported the war in Iraq. She didn't take much time to think about it. "No," she replied, "I don't think he would have." There were several reasons, she thought, one of which being the war in Iraq is not addressing the our issues with the more militant members of Islam, the same sect that attacked our country in 2001.

I thought it was interesting to know what the uncle I never knew would have thought.

I got into a conversation with an acquaintance of mine last week who supports the war in Iraq. When I expressed my opposition to the war, he responded stridently, "they are the ones who drew first blood!"

"Not really if you think about what the militants are upset about. Our support of Israel and what they view as the violent oppression of Palestine and Muslims. The list goes on and on. In their mind we are the ones who drew 'first blood.' He had not considered that. Finally he said "so you support the people who attack America?"

Why is it that so many people are incapable of complex thinking? How is opposing the war in Iraq supporting terrorists when the war in Iraq isn't combating terrorism at all? "I hate it when men and women get killed over a pointless endeavor. There is no reason for us to be in Iraq. How is our being there making any difference in terrorism?"

You can have that conversation forever in our society.

I felt a sense of relief to know that the uncle I never knew may well have felt the very same way I do.

1 comment:

Irishcoda said...

Well, for what it's worth I agree with you and oppose the war in Iraq too. I've been against it from the beginning because we should have been hunting Osama bin Laden. Baaaaaaaa too many Americans were led away from what we should have been focused on and swallowed that whole "weapons of mass destruction" BS hook line and sinker. Some of us tried to discuss it on forums and were shot down, called traitors and what have you. I don't talk much about what I think because I encounter too much of the kind of thinking (or lack thereof) that you did. So it goes. That's why we have another Viet Nam. People just don't learn from their mistakes.