Tracey and I have an acquaintance who is serving in Iraq. He's not too close to us, just someone we went to college with and see a couple times a year maybe. But he signed up for the National Guard in order to help pay for his doctoral studies, and the recruiter was kinda sly, and maybe our friend was careless, and well he's in a war now.
What is so sad is that he has a wife and 5-year old son.
I was driving home the other day and heard about a local soldier who was being reunited with his family after a year's duty in Iraq. It brought me to tears. This is so impossibly real to me now that I have a son of my own. I simply cannot fathom being away from him, never mind being shot at, for a year. I hate going to work in the morning, and these guys are a world away in the middle of hell for an unimaginable length of time.
So when Tracey told me that our friend in Iraq had been killed, I was stunned.
She could see that I had misheard her, and she quickly corrected me. (Tragically, someone has been killed, but it is a different person with a similar sounding name. He was not at war, and he does not have children.)
But for a few minutes, I was in shock. I was trying to wrap my mind around what that would mean for his wife and son, and I could not. I didn't get to the point of trying to wrap my mind around what that would mean for my own wife and son if it had been me. I'd rather not.
Sometimes I think the war supporters don't take this into account. Sadly, sometimes I think the President fails to think about this war in these terms. If he does, he is rather poor at communicating his empathy. (I suppose this should be unsurprising.)
Regardless of what you think of the war, take a moment and reflect on this. The cost of the war (beyond an additional $80B Bush wants) is real lives. Daddies who will never come home. This doesn't necessarily mean it's the "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time," as John Kerry opportunistically dubbed it, but it does mean that Republicans should think long and hard about their cavalier support of the war, which often seems to be in place just because its architect is on their political team.