Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Bankrupt Morality

"We owe them something. We will finish the task that they gave their lives for. " - George W. Bush , August 22, 2005

Think about it for a second. If the latest and greatest reason to stay the course in Iraq is because we owe something to the fallen soldiers--despite the inconvenient fact that the original premises of starting the war were utterly false--then the door has swung wide open for an Orwellian tautology that will keep us mired in this misadventure forever. If dead soldiers become the justification for staying and putting more troops in harm's way, then it follows that as more troops killed, the more imperative it is to stay and send more troops, because now we "owe it" to an ever-growing pool of fallen soldiers. I, for one, think it is obscene to value the supposed wishes of the no-longer alive over the actual lives of still-breathing servicemen and women.

Since dead soldiers can no longer express their actual wishes, who is Bush to assert that "they" would desire to "stay the course" especially if it means untold growing numbers of their comrades will join them in death? The silence of the fallen troops makes them blank canvases--powerful, if morbid, allies of an administration who would paint such simple jingoistic slogans on them to rally an increasingly skeptical nation behind a war that has gone horribly wrong.

If people uncritically swallow this sort of logic, we already have our answer to the question--"How do you ask a soldier to be the last one killed in a mistake?" The answer: "Just never admit to any mistakes, and just keep on sending soldiers to be killed, using the last one killed to justify sending in the next."

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