Happy New Year (and thoughts on Iraq)

Happy 2007! Buzzsaw's got some exciting things lined up for the new year. Next month Sawdust will present "Buzzsaw for Kids" and we'll also be releasing the Ism Issue. Work continues on the Web site - and we'd love to hear your feedback!

Meanwhile there's still a war going on. As the death toll of American soldiers passed the 3,000 mark, the Washington Post published a moving and important piece that tells the stories behind some of the military casualties.

There's a lot of anger among "the left" about Iraq. The more we learn about what has really gone on in Baghdad and Washington since 2003, the more justified that anger appears. It’s not just lives and dollars that have been lost, and it’s not just the respect of the world. In Iraq we've had to watch our government’s arrogance and ineptitude bring out some of the worst in humanity. How could you, we want to scream at all of them, at the top of our lungs.

But then you read words from the parents of SPC Ross A. McGinnis, who died on Dec. 14 in Iraq when he threw himself on top of a grenade and saved the lives of four of his friends. And that's when our talk of some existential tragedy rings a little hollow. The disillusionment that we feel is real, but it is not the loss of a son or a sister or a friend.

Somehow while we wring our hands we forget that we said we would support the troops. Meanwhile they are coming home in coffins and wheelchairs, and, in our minds, our prejudices reduce military service to a trap into which the poor fall.

We absolutely should be angry. We can fight with all our strength the idea that this war is bringing freedom or justice to the people of Iraq. But as we do, somehow we have to also acknowledge the courage of soldiers who - whether for the sake of that idea or for their comrades - are making devastating sacrifices. And we have to support them and their families with more than words.

All this has been said before, over and over. But it's a new year, and so maybe we can try again.


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