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Lives lost in Iraq war anything but ‘wasted’

Mary Daly | Monday, April 16, 2007

What on earth is wrong with our society today? Where has the respect for human life gone? Why is it one must earn respect for his life rather than it being inherent to his very existence?

I write this letter with much frustration and anger in response to Will McAuliffe’s column (“No children left behind,” Apr. 16), which referred to the fallen soldiers in Iraq as “wasted lives.” While McAuliffe probably intended for his column to argue the need to end the Iraq war, his mode of argument completely undermined his effort.

Rather than honoring those who have valiantly served and given their lives for a country they love, McAuliffe labels these lives as “wasted.” McAuliffe justifies this insult by senselessly claiming that he “certainly doubt[s]” the war’s dead were content with their short lives as they must have had “lots of work left to do and lots of life left to live.” Well, excuse me, dear William, but just because you are 22 years old and have yet to derive any contentment from your life does not necessitate that anybody else is in that same boat with you. And on that note, I would like to pose the question: If you kicked the bucket tonight, would your life have been a waste?

While for the sake of argument you might respond in the affirmative, I “certainly doubt” that in your heart of hearts you truly believe that. Contentment doesn’t come with time, nor is it something that is given or merited. Rather, contentment is a decision: One is and will only be as content as he wants to be. There is absolutely no objective way to measure the value of a human life. Yes, there are certain feats within life that are more valuable than others; however, the cumulative value of these various events of a given person’s life by no means can measure or determine the inherent value of his being alive. At the end of any life, there will be regret, the “if only” and the “but I wanted to,” but this does not mean the life has been a waste, nor does it mean contentment cannot be derived from what one has accomplished by his time of death, whether that person dies at the age of eight, 18 or 81.

I strongly believe it tragic so many men and women have died while serving in the armed forces; however, I could never say, nor tolerate others saying, these lost lives have been a waste of life. The totally selfless sacrifice and courage exhibited by any serviceman (dead or alive) is the ultimate gift that can be given and all of us civilians should be in complete and utter awe of these men and women and celebrate what they do and have done, rather than lamenting over what they could have done.

Mary Daly


Welsh Family Hall

April 16