Good Morning. Today is our 1,756th day in Iraq.
We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:
Since war began (3/19/03): 3911
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3772
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3450
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3052
Since Election (1/31/05): 2474
Other Coalition Troops: 307
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 474
We find this morning's cost of war
rolling through:$ 483, 920, 300, 000 .00
Checking in with our friends at IAVA
, we find the last words of a warrior. Andrew Olmsted
was a writer and a family man, an ordinary citizen caught up in the war in Iraq. He was killed in combat on January 3. IAVA had this to say.
“I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here.” G’Kar, Babylon 5
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato*
Andrew Olmsted began the final blog entry of his life with these two quotes. Andy was killed in Iraq on Thursday, and he left this devastatingly beautiful and profound final piece with a friend, to be posted in the event of his death. Please take a moment to honor his memory, and to read the last post of this life. I read it last night, and it crushed me. And I think every single person in America should read it.
A very good man is gone. His death is a terrible loss for his family, the Army–and for our country. Andy was the epitome of the American citizen-soldier, and a hell of a good writer. He was honorable, thoughtful and incredibly articulate. And he served America not only as a soldier, but also as voice of conscience in these incredibly turbulent times.
I never met the man, but wish I could have. After you read the piece, I think it will be hard not to feel the same way. And my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. But I hope you will join me in doing what Andy asked us to do:
“So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.*“
Rest in peace, Andy.
(If you comment, please respect Andy’s wish that his death not be politicized, and refrain from any political rants.)
Here's Andy's last post.
This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is...
...What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact....
Continued....and well worth your time to read.
It's election day in New Hampshire: we'll have a new president in 378 days.