As we noted the other day, both supporters and opponents of George W. Bush's "stay the course" plan for Iraq have begun invoking memories of the dead to support their positions. The president says American soldiers have to keep fighting and dying in Iraq in order to honor those who fought and died before them. Cindy Sheehan says her son would want her to be working to bring the troops home now.
There's a lot of guessing going on here. We don't know what Casey Sheehan would have wanted, nor do we know what percentage -- if any -- of the 1,878 other dead Americans would have thought that the president's course in Iraq was worth the lives of any more American soldiers. But where one fallen National Guardsman is concerned, we've got at least an idea.
Thomas J. Strickland, a sergeant in the Army National Guard, was killed in Iraq on Aug. 15 when his vehicle rolled into a canal. He had just returned from a brief leave. Two days before Strickland died, Raw Story reports, the 27-year-old resident of Douglasville, Ga., wrote the following on his blog:
"The insurgency is on the rise in our area, with a most impressive coordinated assault on one of my sister FOBs [forward operating bases] ... What the fuck has my chain of command been doing? We were winning somewhat when I left. And now we're being pinned down in our own fucking homes? Insurgents are pushing locals out of their homes and taking over my area at will? What kind of fucktarded plan have we been half-assedly executing? Obviously the kind that neglects sound contact with locals. Obviously the kind that gives further distance to un-bridged gaps between soldiers and locals. Obviously the kind that has shown enough weakness when confronted by the insurgency that it has been encouraged to grow.
"Back home (the USA kind) I have no home, no job, and my commander in chief is on vacation. (He's about 20 days behind Ronald Reagan right now in the race to become the most vacationing president ever. Hey, W! We all got our fingers crossed! Here's to you and two more years of presidency ... er, vacationing!) Luckily pretty much everything that is important to me can fit into the back of a truck. Luckily I just paid off one of those.
"In their fear to build relationships and get out of their hiding holes, the FOBbits above me have fucked my friends and I.
"We've just completed the first 1/4 of our tour. We've sent four of 24 members of this platoon home with injuries. Thankfully, we're not like another who has sent eight home in body bags ... but we got 9 months to go."