Tuesday, December 5, 2006

12.05.06 - A Local Soldier Comes Home in a Flag Covered Box

US Army 2nd Lt. Emily Perez, West Point's First Female Grad Killed in Iraq, is Laid to Rest

Nothing brings the consequences of our wars abroad home like these kinds of events. A nice local kid (age 20) returned home from his deployment in Iraq in a flag-covered box. Dead of course. He was not a Pat Tillman or a famous West Point grad or anything "special," so don't expect a NY Times story about him in the national media. But he was a smart, handsome young stud, a star athlete in the local Catholic high school league and made the honor roll every semester. Why he chose to enlist in the US Army instead of going to college or something better than enlisting, I'll never know.

I met him a few times and I see his grandmother frequently at the neighborhood gas station. The local newspaper is full of letters to the editor about what a great kid he was and what potential he had. The common themes of these letters are that "he died for his country" and "this is the price we pay for being free," ad nauseum. Whatever.

In this rural part of Michigan I inhabit now people are very pro-Bush, pro-war, and solidly Republican. And yet it these people that seem to bear the impact of the War Party's bloodletting personally. That is to say with the flesh and blood of their own children. I have to believe that this viewpoint is some sort of psychological defense mechanism people use in order to justify the unjustifiable to themselves.

They pay in other ways for Bushism too. W's Social Darwinian corporate welfare policies have cost Michigan more jobs than any other state in America; paying your bills and keeping a roof over your head becomes steadily more difficult here. And yet they vote GOP cuz it's "pro-life" or for similar social policy issues. Go figure?

Thomas Franks wrote a book a few years back asking the same questions that I'm pondering now. Why do people knowingly and consciously support politicians that do their level best to degrade their well-being, ruin the economy, kill and injure people far from our shores, and get their own children killed and injured in doing so? Why indeed?

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