Good words from my friend Chris Bowers, who has the statements from Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama on the 4,000th American death in Iraq. 

First, Sen. Obama:

Each death is a tragedy, and we honor every fallen American and send our thoughts and prayers to their families. It is past time to end this war that should never have been waged by bringing our troops home, and finally pushing Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future. As we do, we must serve the memory of all who have died as well as they served our country, by providing support for their families, caring for our troops and veterans, and upholding the American values which our fallen heroes exemplified through their service.”

 

Now, Sen. Clinton:

 “In the last five years, our soldiers have done everything we asked of them and more. They were asked to remove Saddam Hussein from power and bring him to justice and they did. They were asked to give the Iraqi people the opportunity for free and fair elections and they did. They were asked to give the Iraqi government the space and time for political reconciliation, and they did. So for every American soldier who has made the ultimate sacrifice for this mission, we should imagine carved in stone: ‘They gave their life for the greatest gift one can give to a fellow human being, the gift of freedom.’”

 

Note the stark difference in the two statements.

As a combat veteran of Iraq, this time of year is a tough time for me — I spend some time reflecting on the people that I know over there that aren’t coming back, and those that did, like me, but left a vital piece of themselves over there, however large or small.

I appreciate Sen. Clinton’s statement. It’s heartfelt, and well-written — but it’s like so many other statements that have been made about Iraq. It thanks me, and people like me, for our service, and just leaves it at that. 

“Cool, great, thanks for your service!” [box checked]

I don’t want the box checked.

Yeah, we did everything we were asked to do. That’s what the job entails.

That the job was well-nigh impossible; that we really shouldn’t have been asked to do the job in the first place; that the job remains unfinished, and that so many who served remain ill-cared and ill-housed — these are things that go unremarked by the junior Senator from the Empire State. 

I don’t want to be placed on a pedestal or be remembered only on a monument in passing; I want my nation to live up to its promises and redeem those promises, not just to me and the women and men I served with, but to one another.

I appreciated Sen. Clinton’s statement; I appreciated Sen. Obama’s statement more.  

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