It Wasn't Worth It
I was supposed to be on the Larry King Live show Monday night. I was asked to be on the show to offer my opinion on the election in Iraq from the perspective of a mom whose son was killed in the war prior to the elections. One of the questions I was going to be asked was: Do I think my son's sacrifice was "worth it?" Well, I didn't get a chance to be on the show that night because I was bumped for something that is really important: The Michael Jackson Trial.
If I was allowed to go on Larry King Live and give my opinion about the elections and about my son's sacrifice, this is what I would have told Mr. King and his viewers:
My son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan (KIA, Sadr City, 04/04/04) enlisted in the Army to protect America and give something back to our country. He didn't enlist to be used and misused by a reckless Commander-in-Chief who sent his troops to preemptively attack and occupy a country that was no imminent threat (or any threat) to our country. Casey was sent to die in a war that was based on the imagination of some neo-cons who love to fill our lives with fear.
Casey didn't agree with the "mission"; he believed in being the courageous and honorable man that he was. He knew he had to go to this mistake of a war to support his buddies. Casey also wondered aloud many times why precious troops and resources were being diverted from the real war on terror.
Casey was told that he would be welcomed to Iraq as a liberator with chocolates and rose petals strewn in front of his unarmored Humvee. He was in Iraq for two short weeks when the Shi'ite rebel "welcome wagon" welcomed him to Baghdad with bullets and RPG's, which took his young and beautiful life. I think my son's helmet and Vietnam era flak jacket would have protected him better from the chocolates and flower petals.
Casey was killed after George Bush proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" on May 1, 2003. He was also killed after Saddam was captured in December of that same year. Casey was killed before the transfer of power in June of 2004 and before these elections.
Four marines were tragically killed after the election. By my count about five dozen Iraqis and coalition troops were killed on Election Day. Is this the definition of "Catastrophic Success?" Is that a good day in Iraq? Hundreds of our young people and thousands of Iraqis have been needlessly and senselessly murdered since George Bush triumphantly announced an end to "major combat" almost two years ago now. All of the above events have been heralded by this administration as "turning points" in the "war on terror" or as wonderful events in the "march of democracy." Really? I don't think, judging by very recent history, the elections will stop the bloodshed and destruction.
I would have asked Larry King if he would want to sacrifice one of his children for sham elections in Iraq. Would he or George Bush send their child to be killed or maimed for life for a series of lies, mistakes and miscalculations?
This war was sold to the American people by a slimy leadership with a maniacal zeal and phony sincerity that would have impressed snake oil salesmen a century ago. The average American needs to hear from people who have been devastated by the arrogance and ignorance of an administration that doesn't even have the decency or compassion to sign our "death" letters.
In the interest of being "fair and balanced" (oops, wrong network), I would have been pitted against a parent who still agrees with the "mission" and with the president. Although I grieve for that parent's loss and I respect that parent's opinion, I would have defied Mr. King or that parent to explain the mission to me. I don't think anyone can do it with a straight face. The president has also stated that we need to keep our troops in Iraq to honor our sacrifices by completing this elusive and ever changing mission. My response? Just because it is too late for Casey and the Sheehan family, why would we want another innocent life taken in the name of this chameleon of a mission?
Well, I was bumped from the show anyway. Now that Scott Peterson has been convicted and sentenced for his crimes and Laci and Connor's families have the justice they deserve, we have the new "trial of the century" to keep our minds off of the nasty and annoying fact that we are waging an immoral war in Iraq. We can fill our TV screens and homes with the glorified images of the Michael Jackson molestation trial. We can fill our lives with outrage over MJ's victims and hope they get justice; not even questioning the fact that George Bush, his dishonest cabinet, and their misguided policies aren't even brought to the court of public opinion. We won't have to confront ourselves with the fact that the leaders of our country and their lies are responsible for the deaths of 1,438 brave Americans, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and the loss of our nation's credibility throughout the world. That might mean we would have to turn off our television sets and do something about it.
In answer to the original question Larry: No, it wasn't worth it.