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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Living with sacrifice in the wake of war

By Adele Kubein, Member of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)

Printed in The Oregonian, Thursday, May 01, 2008:

As the mother of a permanently disabled Iraq veteran, I envy Katie Dyer her certainty that the future of our country rests on victory in Iraq ("End the war -- but make it matter that Paul is there," April 27).

If my child and I could be so certain that the lives she took in Iraq and the agony she now suffers are for a great cause, we'd be content to have sacrificed so much.

But I and more than 4,000 other military families don't share that certainty about the future and whether the war in Iraq is for our country's benefit. As members of Military Families Speak Out, we struggle every day to bring meaning to the sacrifices our loved ones are making.

I feel for Katie Dyer. I too have waited agonizing days to hear from my loved one. I too have felt fear and pain for my only child in harm's way.

My daughter and I struggle to make sense of what's happened to her. In addition to the fears all military families face, I've had to face the fact that Iraq and its people did nothing to us. I've had to face the realization that we were duped into the war, that my child was led to kill people who posed no threat to us.

I too weep in anger when I read news stories detailing the web of deceit spun by the Bush administration. I weep in anger when my daughter has to struggle to get medical treatment and needed equipment such as braces, canes and medication from a Veterans Administration so overburdened with wounded soldiers that bureaucrats spend their time dissuading some of them from seeking help.

I cry tears of compassion when I witness the horror that Iraq has become, and I think of mothers just like me who don't have any recourse for their children.

Iraq Veterans Against the War is growing daily, as is Military Families Speak Out. We number in the thousands. We want our soldiers to come home, but we also want families in Iraq to be able to once again live their lives in peace. It's hard to accept that we cannot fix what we have broken, but all of our bombs and bullets cannot glue Iraq back together again.

Once American troops have withdrawn, the Iraqi people will concentrate on their own internal problems, and they'll make short work of their traditional enemy, al-Qaida. Terrorists are tolerated in Iraq only because people there are under attack from all sides. The Iraqi people have as little desire to live in terror as we do.

The meaning we ascribe to the trials our loved ones face is the knowledge that, through our sacrifices, perhaps the people of the United States will never again be drawn into an unjust war based on lies.

Adele Kubein of Corvallis belongs to Military Families Speak Out (

Sean Cruz is also a member of Military Families Speak Out.

Here’s the link to the Oregonian:

Veterans have no voice on the Oregon Senate floor.

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