Today, two of the young men where I work said goodbye before they report to military duty tomorrow. They will train for a couple months before heading off to Iraq after the first of the year. Even though I didn't know them personally, I looked them both in the eyes, shook their hands, and wished them good luck. I hope they come back safe and sound.
War is a terrible thing. Sending our young adults off to fight a war of adult principles is not something that should be taken lightly. They are the future of this country and so far, over one thousand won't make it back. The next great invention or medical breakthrough may be bleeding out in the sands of a foreign country. I am a pacifist by nature and think war should always be the last resort. If the last resort comes, and it has before in our past, then we must go to war with the objective of winning and bringing our soldiers back home alive.
When we are at war as my country is today, I think it is the civic duty of every adult citizen to understand the true cost of the war that is being waged. People need to see for themselves as individuals, the price in blood being paid for their freedom. They need to see the flag draped coffins being unloaded from the planes, of which pictures are being suppressed by our government. They need to see the anguish of those that are left behind when their son or daughter gives their life for our freedom. They need to see the images of war broadcast on the nightly news and published in newsprint.
Now with the internet more prevalent in our lives during this current war, a new form of showing this high price for our freedom has come about. People who aren't human, have taken to beheading and executing individuals on camera and publishing the video online. While I think all care should be taken to shield the relatives of those that are executed from seeing this video along with all minors not yet old enough to fully understand, I think all Americans and Iraqis should see these videos to truly see the price of war and why we are fighting one.
As part of my civic duty, I have viewed these videos from Daniel Pearl to the most recent and soon I will view the latest one of British citizen Kenneth Bigley. Every time, right before I hit the play button, my stomach rolls up into a knot and stays that way for hours, sometimes days while the images haunt my mind. I know the price we are paying to fight this war. I will never forget it and I think anyone else who sees these images will not forget either. If the whole world was full of people who had truly seen and understood the cost of war, I believe the world would be a much more peaceful place.