My brother Owen was hit in the head by a sniper bullet yesterday in Baghdad. He’s uninjured, through some incredible luck, or perhaps just leftover grace from one of his myriad religions (ranging from Christianity to Harley-Davidsons). The bullet pierced his hi-tech Army headphones, ripped through the kevlar lining of his helmet, and… stopped. At first he thought he’d been hit by a large and well-aimed rock.
He’s been in Iraq for a year. Coincidentally, yesterday is the day he would have been climbing into a C-130 and heading home to his wife, dog and margarita blender, had his tour not been extended as part of The Surge.
So I’m reclaiming the yellow ribbon. On this post, at least, it no longer means that somehow, our troops wound up in a war, and it’s our duty to support them.
3,500 soldiers have died in Iraq and each one of them is President Bush’s fault. His fault for making up the reasons to go to war, his fault for not planning for an occupation, his fault for lacking the imagination to think of another course, his fault for not having the basic American guts to admit he was wrong, his fault for thinking that cocky = capable, his fault for thinking democracy could be pushed like religion in a revival tent.
His fault for running for re-election on a yellow ribbon, then hiding behind it until 2008.
Much is made of how our armed forces are the best-equipped, best-trained fighting force the world has ever seen. But even the Titanic sank when someone steered it straight into an iceberg. This is an amateurishly conceived war led by a president who is totally out of his depth and clung to by politicians who can’t imagine any disaster larger than the loss of their own jobs.
Periodically, Owen writes about daily life for the Sandbox under the pseudonym Sgt. Roy Batty. His reports are more vivid and more enlightening than anything on TV. Read one here, and e-mail a word of support to sgtroybatty at yahoo dot com. The troops can hear us, even if their leaders can’t.