We have this family friend, a young woman named Jessica. She's my little sister's best friend and is barely 20. She's been married for just over a year now to a "Mr. Perfect", and it is clear that they adore each other. She's from here, so her immediate family are close by - but her husband is in Iraq. Her family are staunch Republicans, and she thought similarly until her life became entwined with the military and she became an Army wife with a husband in a war zone. Yesterday, when the family was all together at the pool before dinner and a trip downtown to see the fireworks, we talked a bit about politics. She mentioned that she's very hip on John Edwards, whom she admires deeply and who she hopes gets the Democratic nom for '08. We talked about the current candidates and about the Bush administration, and she got a phone call from her husband. She talked (or should I say "gushed") with him for a while and caught him up on her current goings-on, and when she got off the phone explained how miserable he is there. I empathized that I could imagine how difficult it was being that far away form your familyand your home, and she quickly added to it "Oh, not just that - he said he's ready to come home because they're just not accomplishing anything there at all, no good is coming from them being there and they all know it - but there's nothing they can do about it but wait."
I live in a military town, have for most of my life. I see these troops every single day and I'm very proud of them. The fact that they have the courage to put on those uniforms alone makes them heroes in my eyes, and I honor them as such. Hearing this sort of thing directly from the inside, knowing it is absolutely true, and knowing that the people consigning them to this uncertain fate do so without any real sense of the value of their sacrifices and the sacrifices of the families they leave to wait for them - it just breaks my heart. They're putting their lives at stake, and they do so for a country that cannot even tell them why. They're over there away from us, away from home, wondering why - and feeling completely forsaken by the ideals and values that got them there in the first place.
It should break all of our hearts, break them enough to demand accountability from those who have no hearts and not give in until we get it. 3590 lives of our sons and daughters are gone FOR NOTHING, the lives of thousands more in the wake of them shattered into pieces, and we have not honored them. Until we hold accountable those responsible, we never truly will. And I'm at a loss to communicate how saddened I am about all of this.