Friday, August 26, 2005

Grieving Parents

I would never deny the right of anyone to grieve the loss of their child; but I have to question the thought processes behind those who honor their fallen soldier children by NOT speaking out against a war they themselves find wrong.

Such are the cases of several parents in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning.

The Chronicle interviewed parents and other family members who'd lost children to the war in Iraq. Many had gone to protest in Crawford with Cindy Sheehan. Some were pro war. And then there were the ones who said they themselves were opposed to the war but could not protest it out of respect for their fallen soldier children. Loretta Bridges is one such mom:

"My son believed in what he was doing," Bridges said. "I would never go protest against what he believed in and died for."

Another parent, Mark Crowley, also did not support the war:

"His belief was, this was about our freedom," he said. "He did it for country, family and friends."

As for protesting the war, Crowley said, "it's not about what I want, it's about what he wanted."

I'm sorry, I know it's hard to think your children died in vain; but how is this different from grieving parents of Jonestown Massacre victims, saying, "It was what my son wanted. He drank the Kool Aid because he believed in it," and thereby sanctioning the lunatic cult of Jim Jones?

Or the parents of the Heaven's Gate cult, who believed the Hale Bopp comet was accompanied by a space ship and that by "shedding their containers" (read bodies) on earth, they'd be beamed up the Mother Ship? Would they support space alien worship, because it's what their kids wanted?

I think not.

If the war was wrong before your child was killed, isn't it all the more wrong now that he's given the "ultimate sacrifice" for the cult of George Bush? Wouldn't you honor their deaths more by denouncing the war machine that sent them into a meaningless battle without proper equipment, without adequate rationale, without any plan to get them out of there?

What we are doing in Iraq isn't any different from asking people to drink the Kool Aid. Only worse, because thousands of innocent non-believers (we call them Iraqi citizens) are forced to drink right along with the believers.

Honor your fallen soldiers by grieving their death, respecting their memory and mourning their gullibility. Your anger could help other parents not have to go through what you have.