A Soldier Worth Fighting For


Like many good Americans, I have been remiss. The war in Iraq has faded and fallen off my radar, and I no longer ask questions like “What is our plan for withdrawal?” and “What was all of this about in the first place?”

In the meantime, soldiers are losing limbs by the tens of thousands, along with their lives, and countless (countless – we don’t know how many Iraqis have been killed) lives that never had us on their radar–and these words simply gloss over the realities they imply.

Some soldiers respond, speak out even. The broken ones are flown home & often get entangled in the red tape that prevents them from receiving the care needed to recuperate. Their voices somehow don’t find much media coverage. I wonder why. The laments of the disenfranchised don’t make news? They want their country to hear about the atrocities they witnessed & lived firsthand? Can those stories and images be dismissed as “Anti-American”? I imagine it’s simplier to deny them a microphone or camera, because it’s not so easy to label a soldier who has fought for this country “unpatriotic”.

The average American might be more invested if we name those sent off to fight and possibly get hurt or die. It’s fairly well known that these soldiers are in fact our mothers, fathers, friends, neighbors, students (I have a vet from Iraq in one of my classes), and fellow citizens; this particular soldier is an artist and unhappy camper. His options are limited, & red-taped as well, but he’s making an attempt, which is more than I can admit. That has to change. I don’t mean to be on a high horse; I’m as angry at myself as anyone for choosing to be ignorant in my very safe passivity. Suggestions for continued reaction to the war in Iraq welcome here.

4 Responses to “A Soldier Worth Fighting For”

  1. Julia Says:
    February 26th, 2006 at 9:24 pm eHey Amy, Nice blog. You should check out DemocracyNow.org. if you haven’t already. An independent news broadcast. You can go to the website to get the podcast or listen on the radio. They talk a lot about what’s really going on and why we don’t get the real news, etc. They also talk to a lot of soldiers. Best, J
  2. Scott Says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 12:52 am eThe administration isn’t even calling it the “War Against Terror” anymore, now it’s the “Long War”, which makes me weary just thinking about it. Are we simply getting used to the fact that we’re going to be at war with someone somewhere forever? There’s little evidence in our daily lives that there’s even a war going on except for the newspaper headlines, TV reports, and magnetic ribbons on cars. The war has been reduced to background noise.
  3. Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 4:57 pm eFor starters: we could all give (or give a little more) to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA now, formerly know as Operation Truth). Their website is http://www.iava.org/index2.html. Secondly we could analyze the list of Fortune 500 companies for about five seconds and then STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS. Guilty or innocent in this whole mess, the Bush administration is the bitch of the likes of Wal-Mart and the oil companies, and those companies can make the administration do what-ever they want…I believe they can even stop the imperialism in Iraq.
  4. Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 5:11 pm eAnd by the way, speaking of NCC students and veterans…While I was there, someone held some sort of speak-out on the issues of the time, which are exactly the same issues now, a year later. Going on my hunch that Americans are losing their ability to use language, and thus have no iea what is really going on in the world, I had photographs of de-limbed soldiers blown up really big. I used one of the same pictures on your “losing limbs by the thousands” link. Instead of saying anything, I just showed them my gigantic suffering soldier posters. It didn’t affect a single person. Are we numb or selfish as a defense mechanism? Flight over fight? Or maybe they were all just too busy worrying about which mall they should visit next — Miracle Mile or Roosevelt Field? Yep, that’s a tough one.


AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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