Day by Day

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Christian Military?

It would be SO easy to wade into this as an issue of "Separation of Church and State". After all, it's one of our rights, right? (No, it's not, but that's for another opine.)

In this article, an Army Specialist claims that being an atheist cost him his career in the military and resulted in threats upon his life.

It's tempting to dismiss such claims, until you realize one thing.

It's perfectly reasonable to believe.

How many times does the Army have a formation (all the Soldiers lined up together) and the Chaplain comes out to lead in prayer? Don't think it's not noticeable if you don't participate? Think again. Many professional workplaces are well covered with religious paraphanelia. And if yours is noticeably not decorated in kind? Yeah, there might be questions.

It's been said that "There are no atheists in foxholes." It shouldn't matter if there are, or not. What should matter is if the SOLDIER in that foxhole is well-trained. Anything else? Well, let's just leave that to the Soldier and his/her god. As they say, "Mind your own lane."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Cruel and Unusual

I've had a lot of thoughts in my head of late (here, here, and here), spurred by the recent passing of Punk Rock Mommy.

And as I was chatting with my dear friend, I drew a connection.

I first was thinking back to one of my favorite Star Trek quotes, "How we face Death is at least as important as how we face Life."

And that's true, because for many, Death comes unexpectedly. Unplanned. Unanticipated.

Yet, there are those who know that Death is coming.

They've been told they are going to die. Not exactly when, but... It WILL happen.

Then, they get told that Death is soon approaching. Probably within a month, but no other details.

And finally, you know... Today is your last day.

It's Death Row.

Except, these people are not criminals. They've committed no horrific atrocity.

So, I ask... If we as a society complain about the cruel and unusual nature of executions on Death Row... Executions of our society's most heinous members..

Why are we not more vocal and active in our complaints against the executions of our more innocent members? The children who die from cancer.. The mothers... Wives... Fathers... Sons... Husbands... Daughters... And those indistinguishable people who are mere faces in the crowd that no one even notices is missing...


Outrageous Outrage

The thoughts from my previous post continue to weigh on my mind...

As I wrote, I am disturbed by the misplaced outrage that we have in this country. Large segments of the populace are "outraged" at the number of Soldiers dying in Iraq. Each gory milestone (1,000... 2,000... 3,000... 4,000!) is trumpeted as a further example of how we MUST CHANGE.

4,000. Over five years. While each Soldier lost *IS* a tragedy... Truth (listen up, Truthers) be told, that's a LOW number

Low compared to non-combat deaths, for example.

Low compared to vehicular deaths in our country.

Low compared to disease (pick your favorite) deaths. Quick, show of hands of the oncologists... How many would be ECSTATIC if the death rate dropped to 4,000 over five years?

And I'm fairly sure that most of those outraged would be hard-pressed to recall the name or a detail or two of those who've sacrificed in Iraq.

So, what's with the outrage?

And then I realized. Those Soldiers' deaths serve a *political* purpose. They are an excuse to be outraged. They are names to be written on throwaway cardboard protest signs.

Whereas for another sizable group of the populace, it is the Soldiers' LIVES that hold a purpose and are celebrated.

Now, THAT is something to be outraged over.

Where Is YOUR Righteous Indignation?

Yesterday, another casualty was recorded. This brave Soldier lost her battle.

Andrea Collins Smith.

That's her name. Pay attention, and remember, because you won't see her name on any protest signs.

No mock gravestones.

No bracelets.

No one will interrupt a Presidential speech, Congressional hearing, or a nominee's stump speech asking what they'll do to stop the tragedy.

And why not?

She died of cancer.

No, it's not as sexy a "cause death" as an American Soldier dying in Iraq. She died at home, with her husband, leaving behind five children.

I don't begrudge the "Code Pink" folks, or others, as they exercise their right to protest. Go for it.

I wonder what it'd be like if we put all that energy and effort into fighting a bigger battle.

(Bigger battle?! Bigger than... how do they put it???... an unjust war for oil where Bush lied so _____ died? Yeah, bigger than that.)

So far this year, 208 American Soldiers have died in Iraq (source: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count). That's a little over a Soldier per day, or extrapolated to the year, at the current rate, that'd be approximately 408 Soldiers.

Whereas, it is forecast that 565,650 Americans will die of cancer this year. (Source: American Cancer Society) 1,385 times the number in Iraq. Or, put another way... 1549 EACH DAY! Including holidays... Cancer doesn't take a day off.

Code Pink, you've already got the right color... let's put an end to this daily death count... Everyone, where is YOUR outrage? We must end this. So many needless deaths...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Ready for some fireworks??? We are! We're camped out at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach, amongst probably a good 10-20,000 fellow fireworks loving Americans.

One highlight already was when the band asked everyone on The Hill to light up and wave their cell phones while yelling, "Thank You Troops!" repeatedly.

It's a great night, and it's another great day to be an American!

For all of our country's faults, we're still the best place to be on the planet.

(And to all my comrades in the desert of Iraq, Missing y'all... Stay safe!)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008