A personal reflection on war and responsibility

A recent video report from the BBC highlights some of the problems and feelings of soldiers returning from Iraq who were deeply affected by the experience. It seems that a significant number have decided that the war was wrong - some going as far to apologize to the people of Iraq. It's clear that all the people who said this wouldn't be our Vietnam were 100% wrong. The psychological damage this conflict has inflicted on Americans and Iraqis will endure in our collective consciousness for a long time.

As an American with a brother serving in Iraq, this video scares me. I can only hope that this war will inform the national conscience and effect a greater sense of responsibility for our national actions and moral accountability. I don't have a lot of hope that a politically powerful antiwar movement can be summoned yet, but if the nation can look squarely at this tragedy, come to terms with it, and learn the lessons - not the story of the geopolitical strategic mistakes, but the faith in hegemony and wreckless investure of power in political institutions - we can heal and become a better country for it.

While it scares the shit out of me that my brother is directly involved in this difficult task, I have to admit that part of me is glad somebody of such heart and integrity is there representing our people. I'm not sure exactly how my brother feels about all of it, but I do know that he feels he can make a difference. I hope the rest of us can meet that challenge without the need to go through such danger and loss.

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Written on Friday, March 31, 2006