Today as we waited for President Bush's speech about Iraq, I received a copy of the following letter in my hopeandpolitics email. The letter touched me with its honesty, its grief and its truth, and I want to share it with you. It seems fitting to do that in the hours right after Bush's speech.
The writer had just faxed the letter to the office of Rep. Nancy Boyda, a freshman Kansas Democrat who won her seat in large part because of her opposition to the war in Iraq. Boyda recently said in an interview, though, that she would vote to fund Bush's troop "surge." The writer of the letter asked that I not use her name or her partner's name because of their family's connections to the federal government. Here is the letter:
Dear Rep. Boyda,
I am writing to ask that you reconsider your position on the surge in troops that President Bush will outline in his speech to the country this evening. I am not a military strategist or an expert in warfare or an historian. But this war has touched me personally and I am an expert in some of the suffering caused by war.
My partner _______ lost her only child on a road in Taji, Iraq in July 2004. He was driving the Humvee when the IED detonated. The explosion left a 30 foot crater in the earth. The damage was so extensive and complete that not much of his body was recovered for burial.
Since that death two and one-half years ago, our lives have been completely overshadowed by the grief that descends upon a parent whose child has been killed. Despite the best efforts of (her) health care professionals, she still suffers with migraine headaches at least 3 days per week. If only the migraines were the worst of her pain.
We were opposed to this war from the start and will always believe this country was deceived and misled into this war. America has squandered the support shown to us in the aftermath of September 11
We were once a nation with a reputation for protecting and defending human rights. Now we are a nation that sanctions indefinite detention and torture. In my view, the only thing more overwhelming than the shame of our actions is the relentless grief we have inflicted on all of the soldiers, families and citizens of both countries.
You asked us before the election in 2006 if we'd had enough. We responded with a collective and resounding YES. We have had enough of this war and the lives it has destroyed. We have had enough of the deception and the corruption and profiteering. We have had enough of the intense pain and suffering and cannot imagine inflicting it on any other living being on this planet.
Please reconsider your support for the surge option. Bring our troops home.