Posted by: Kevin | February 21, 2007

Lest We Go Too Far in Our Opposition to Bush’s Iraq Policy (Part 2)

I didn’t plan on bringing up this topic again because my own feelings on Iraq have been very conflicted of late.  However, a piece by Callimachus at Done with Mirrors, titled “Heroes”, has changed my mind.  Cal has been making it his business to highlight the individual stories behind the US’ involvement in Iraq, and we should all be grateful.  In this post he introduces Mark Daily and Marla Ruzicka.

These are two people who initially didn’t support the US invasion of Iraq.  However, both recognized that once we were in Iraq, it was no longer enough to say “I don’t support this.”  Their consciences demanded that they take an active role to improve the lives of the Iraqi people.  Those decisions cost both of them their lives.

Mark Daily chose to join the army.  More specifically, he chose to fight in Iraq.  He described exactly why he made this choice on his MySpace homepage

One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics.

Marla chose to travel to Iraq and work with local media and the US military to help individual victims of violence in Iraq.  She worked to humanize the “collateral damage” of war and ensure that the US government took an active interest in compensating and caring for those victims.  Her efforts yielded tens of millions of dollars in relief for Iraqi families.

Now, both of them are dead.  Mark died on January 15th of this year.  He was 23 years old when a roadside bomb killed him and three of his comrades in their vehicle near Mosul.  Marla died on April 16th, 2005 at age 28.  She was killed by a car bomb in Baghdad. 

There isn’t much I can say for either of these individuals that hasn’t already been said.  They were both articulate in describing what they hoped to achieve.  They both committed themselves to causes larger than themselves.  They did so despite fear and without hope for personal gain, except maybe the spiritual gain that comes with doing the right thing. 

The lesson that I take from their lives is a simple one.  It’s not enough to be against something.  It’s not enough to say, “I hate Bush for landing us in Iraq!” because we’re there now and the problems our presence has created won’t just go away when we leave.  Meanwhile, any good things that we’ve tried to create there, will almost certainly disappear if we pull out without doing everything we can to ensure stability.

So whatever position we support or decision we make in Iraq, we must go forward with our eyes open.  We must understand the consequences of our beliefs.  Everyone living in America has to accept that we own some part of this war, because it sure as hell owns us.

marla.jpg                        mark.jpg
Marla and Mark, regular people who made the
conscious decision to really give a shit.

Callimachus on Marla’s death
Image of Marla from CommonDreams.org
Image of Mark from his MySpace page (see above for link).
Lest We Go Too Far in Our Opposition to Bush’s Iraq Policy Part 1

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