At the time of this posting, 1005 US soldiers have died in Iraq.
(Why is this "The Top Story"?
1. Each of these soldiers died in a war that was initiated by a President who intentionally misled the American people to serve his own ends, and
2. Like Gen. Anthony Zinni, I believe that this has got to be more important than "American Idol").
Today's Feature: A Sharp Reminder
It's been a busy summer - a week of vacation, two weeks in Brazil for work, some extra projects at home and at work. Mary's surgery. The net result is that I have not spent much time doing blog posts. I've read a lot of them, and have appreciated the dedication to the medium that other bloggers display. (Two of my favorites are John Bailey's "journal of a writing man" and "Ever So Humble" by Amy. Good writing and photography on both sites. My benchmarks.)
This is not to say I haven't thought about the blog. I have thought about it, even if I haven't contributed to it. I've thought about the purpose, or lack thereof. I've thought about maintaining a consistent point-of-view and political orientation. (OK...so mainly I was just thinking about how important it is that we replace George Bush this November.) I've thought about some topics that I'd like to explore and write about. I've accumulated some pictures that I'd like to post.
But some of this is why there is winter in Indiana - to give us time to do "indoor" things. This has been a glorious summer in southern Indiana. Mary and I have enjoyed many delightful evenings sitting on the screened porch, listening to the crickets and the sounds of soccer games coming from the park down the way. We have started talking about how we will change our lives when we become "empty nesters" next year. We've daydreamed about visiting Italy, and Paris, and other places. And we started watching TV again. (The "No TV Journal" might make a good blog series...later this year.)
And as I've thought about the blog, I wondered if the current format, with the "Today's Top Story" block, continued to make sense. Maybe the awareness of the death toll in Iraq was there, after all. It's been all over the news this week. And there is certainly plenty of rhetoric about the war in the political campaigns. Maybe my little voice in the wind didn't really matter.
Then on Monday I read one more thing. In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, David Rieff wrote:
And even the summer's steady toll of roughly two American combat deaths per day has neither seemed to resonate all that much with the public nor received anything like the coverage in the media or on the campaign trail that might have been expected. Certainly, American fatalities have received far less attention on local TV news, in the tabloids and on the cable networks than the Scott Peterson case or the Kobe Bryant trial.(1)
What it meant to me: It is important that the true costs of the war in Iraq be reported to the American people, and the rest of the world. We have lost over 1000 of our young men and women in a war based on lies and misstatements. These brave young people were asked to do something their own president and vice-president refused to do - to serve in combat. They willingly risked their lives in defense of the ideals of liberty and freedom, in a war effort led by liars. To subordinate their stories to those of murderers and rapists is to demean their service.
I believe we can honor the troops even as we reject the arguments of their leaders.
I also believe we will see many more lives lost before this conflict is completed. It is impossible to disengage from Iraq any time soon. We created this mess. We must stay to put it to right.
I may not post every day, or even every week. But when I do, I will continue to lead with the "top story". And then, if there's something important enought to say on a different topic, maybe I'll get around to saying it.
(1) David Rieff, "Welcome to Iraq, Mr. President", The New York Times Magazine, Sunday, September 5, 2004, p. 11.