My View

Monday, December 6, 2004

Very small consolation

One has to swallow hard at the words of the hawks, trying to explain away the death of a promising young Spencer kid on a patrol mission near Baghdad, one hell of a long way away from the motorcycle repair tech school he had planned to be attending.

Daryl Davis is said to have been a loving and giving young man, just 20 years old. He had a special way with young kids, but we will never know now what he could have come to.

He was a patriotic kid, one who always planned to serve his country in some form. When his Guard unit was called up to Kuwait last summer, and then sent into the heart of Iraq, he never complained. I have to wonder how long people like Daryl will keep on getting spent.

Fifth District Congressman Steve King, among the fiercest supporters of continued involvement in Iraq, responded with condolences once again. "I don't have this down to any cookie cutter quote, every loss is individual, it's special, and it hurts a little more each time," he said, well. Goodness help us if it ever becomes a cookie-cutter.

King remarked that though the loss is painful, it is part of a very important effort. King said he attended a large banquet and reception in Ames over the weekend to honor families of those who have lost loved ones in the war on terror. "I witnessed first hand their resolve and strength. This makes me believe this nation is stronger because of their sacrifice. We can't turn back now... We can't say enough about the sacrifice of Daryl Davis and the many others who have given their lives in this noble effort."

We all should agree that the men and women serving are showing a noble form of sacrifice. But the growing size of those banquets should be some signal to us that perhaps it is time to say "enough."

At some point, the bleeding of lives we are doing has to outweigh the expectations of diminishing returns from patroling Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is not "turning back," as King terms it, but finding an end to death and one can only hope, a beginning to peace.

Nearly 140 U.S. troops were killed in November, including the Spencer soldier, one of the cruelist months since fighting began. It doesn't seem to be getting better in that respect.

At least 18 Iowans have been lost in trying to regain streets in insurgent strongholds of Fallujah, ambushes on patrols, snipers, roadside bombs and accidents.

We too give our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Spc. Davis and all the others we read of nearly every single day.

We applaud their patriotism in doing what they had to do.

But I shudder as the Storm Lake National Guard prepares to send new sons and brothers and husbands into the fray. When can we stop send bodies home in boxes with the best wishes of our political leaders?