I’ve never liked most war movies because I think they glamorize warfare, even if they are ‘realistic.’ That’s why I’ve referred to them as “war porn.” Most deaths are horrifying in their randomness: a few inches to the left or right and someone lives instead of dying. And most of the deaths are not ‘heroic’ in a Mel Gibson-Braveheart sort of way. Dexter Filkins reminds us of this in a NY Times article today:
A soldier was dead, and it was time for him to go home.
The doors to the little morgue swung open, and six soldiers stepped outside carrying a long black bag zippered at the top.
About 60 soldiers were waiting to say goodbye. They had gathered in the sand outside this morgue at Camp Ramadi, an Army base in Anbar Province, now the most lethal of Iraqi places.
Inside the bag was Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk, 26, of Zion, Ill., killed a few hours before.
In the darkness, the bag was barely visible. A line of blue chemical lights marked the way to the landing strip not far away.
Everyone saluted, even the wounded man on a stretcher. No one said a word.
Sergeant Lisk had been standing near an intersection in downtown Ramadi on Monday morning when a 120-millimeter mortar shell, fired by guerrillas, landed about 30 paces away. The exploding shell flung a chunk of steel into the right side of his chest just beneath his arm. He stopped breathing and died a few minutes later.
This is why no civilized person should be ‘pro-war’–the logical converse of ‘anti-war’. This is why we should never send our fellow citizens off to die unless we are damn certain there is no other alternative. This is why national security should not be a political strategy, but a solemn duty.
This is why our president and his lapdogs in Congress should not invade the wrong country based on lies.