When reading the Sunday Rocket-Miner, I saw a tiny article with the headline, Douglas Honors Marine Killed in Afghanistan. Douglas is a small community east of Casper, Wyoming, and the young Marine was 22 years old at the time of his death. He apparently died on the previous Sunday, June 12, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. That's the way the paper described it, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. Not killed, died. The young Marine's name was Lance Corporal Sean M. O'Connor and his family met the plane which carried his casket, and as stated in the paper, approached his flag-draped casket, paid him respect, cried for him, loved him. Then six Marines put his casket into a hearse and it took him to Douglas, where he had grown up and where his family lives.
I do not know this young man, nor his family, but the stark coldness of the newspaper article chilled me. As a parent, I immediately felt grief and compassion for the young man and for his family. It has been quite a while since the death of Osama bin Laden, the prime reason for our government to have troops in Afghanistan, or so they say, and yet young troops are still dying, or rather being killed in a war which seems to have no end or even a purpose. This kid was 22 years old, he entered the Marines right out of high school, and now there is only a casket.
Tomorrow, President Obama is supposed to announce how many troops will be brought home from Afghanistan, and what the plans are for withdrawal of further forces. Unfortunately, for this young Marine and many others who have been killed there since the death of bin Laden, the timing is more than a little late. I will never understand how a country which is supposed to be civilized can send their young into battle facing death, when there seems to be no real good reason for doing so! Here it is 2011, and we still can't figure out a better way of dealing with other countries besides maiming and killing people.
I am not a religious person, in fact my belief is that life begins with birth and ends with death, no heaven, no hell, no heavenly father out there somewhere who sends young people off to war to be killed. No, that is what politicians do when they don't have the good sense to use diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. My heart does go out to the family of this young man, however, because they lost a son, they will never hold his children, never hug him again, their hearts must be broken.
May I ask why, President Obama?