It's a sad thing indeed for this Saint Joseph's Day to also be the anniversary of this country's misbegotten war in Iraq. Having just had dinner last night with one of its victims, a young Iraqi man who is now studying in the United States thanks to the efforts of U.S. peace activists and his own determination, I am not shy about my opposition to this and any other preventive war.
The New York Times has a moving tribute to this war's other victims, the 5,000 U.S. servicemembers–many barely out of high school–whose lives, patriotism, and good will were tossed aside by self- and special-interested politicians in Washington and our common failure to stand against an unjust war–a failure which I share. They leave behind an emptiness that will never be filled. Their willingness to serve their fellow citizens and the people of Iraq, and their courage in that duty despite the circumstances, are a testament to them.
Beyond our own servicemembers, there are also parents, refugees such as my friend, and activists with stories to tell, which they did in the March 2008 issue of U.S. Catholic magazine. Perhaps their witness will help us heed the prophet Isaiah's call to "study war no more."