Sunday, May 27, 2007

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Andrew Bacevich, himself a Vietnam veteran, offers a poignant and moving account of his grief at the death of his son in a war he opposed in today's Washington Post:

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.

Among the hundreds of messages that my wife and I have received, two bore directly on this question. Both held me personally culpable, insisting that my public opposition to the war had provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Each said that my son's death came as a direct result of my antiwar writings.

This may seem a vile accusation to lay against a grieving father. But in fact, it has become a staple of American political discourse, repeated endlessly by those keen to allow President Bush a free hand in waging his war. By encouraging "the terrorists," opponents of the Iraq conflict increase the risk to U.S. troops. Although the First Amendment protects antiwar critics from being tried for treason, it provides no protection for the hardly less serious charge of failing to support the troops -- today's civic equivalent of dereliction of duty.

What exactly is a father's duty when his son is sent into harm's way?

Among the many ways to answer that question, mine was this one: As my son was doing his utmost to be a good soldier, I strove to be a good citizen. . .

Read the whole thing.

2 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

It's really hard to imagine one of my sons going to fight in a war I disagreed with; it's terribly sad that Bacevich's son died and people actually blamed him for having a part in that death.

Maybe for some proponents of the war it's not personal enough, for that would surely temper the blame-game. I have a brother-in-law who could be called-up, and that sure does change the way I see things in Iraq.

2:06 AM  
Blogger Joseph Fromm said...

The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties(CCC 2312).

12:35 AM  

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