Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Growing Fond of War

Robert E. Lee once said: "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it."

This article in the Wall Street Journal, Breaking a Taboo, Army Confronts Guilt After Combat, sheds light on the lasting horror of war. A sampling ...
As the officers talked Capt. Moon quietly pulled out a book entitled "Offerings at the Wall," a catalog of mementoes left at the Vietnam Veteran's memorial in Washington. He flipped to a page dominated by a worn photograph of a Vietnamese soldier and his young pigtailed daughter left at the memorial by a U.S. soldier. Then he read aloud the anonymous letter that accompanied it:

"Dear Sir , for 22 years I have carried your picture in my wallet. I was only 18 years old that day we faced one another...Why you didn't take my life I'll never know. You stared at me so long, armed with your AK-47, and yet you did not fire. Forgive me for taking your life. So many times over the years I have stared at your picture and your daughter, I suspect. Each time my heart and guts would burn with the pain of guilt....Forgive me, Sir."

May we never grow too fond of war.