Column: A Malat Musing: What Do We Tell Him?

Updated: 09/28/2014 12:38 PM
Created: 08/07/2014 11:10 AM
By: Phil Malat

He recently attended a funeral in which his deceased uncle was laid to rest in the Fort Snelling veterans cemetery in Minneapolis.

As he gazed at what appeared to be the endless head stones in this beautiful and peaceful setting he couldn’t help but conjure up thoughts of the all the lives violently lost in the service to our country. All the son’s, all the brothers, all the uncles, all the fathers and couldn’t help but reflect upon what should be said to those survivors in the wake of our continual involvement in Afghanistan and the dreadful debacle in Iraq. How does someone explain to this young boy why his father is dead?  What do we say to him?

The Middle East is an awful quagmire.

Our presence there is dictated by four considerations. They are oil; to encourage, establish and protect democracy; to ferret out and stop our sworn enemies from plotting to kill us; and Israel.

Common sense strongly encourages us to disengage from this forever volatile region of the world. This is Vietnam times ten. The cost in terms of dollars and other precious American resources is far exceeded by the agonizing loss of American lives – all of which appears to be unending. 

For sure, we can end our oil dependency. For sure, we can fight our enemies without putting boots on the ground. For sure, we can engage in image building, but how do we politically, diplomatically and morally walk away from Israel, the only true democracy in that insane region of the world? 

So what do we tell him? What will he learn as he matures? Will he learn that his dad died for oil, democracy, to stop terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to help safeguard Israel?

As taps was played for his uncle he thought; How ‘bout we tell this young man that America so deeply grieved the loss of his father, that we now have an unyielding commitment to never engage again in the senseless carnage that killed him. How ‘bout we tell the boy that he will never be compelled, as his father was, into believing that he has an obligation to be sacrificed? How ‘bout we tell him that? 

A Toledo boy who loves and misses his father.

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