Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk, 26, of Zion, IL
Photo: Joao Silva/NYT

I’ve never been in the armed forces and I don’t plan on doing so [the enlistment age was recently raised to 42]. I have no idea how things are normally done under “normal” situations of war, but this war we’re in over there just feels wrong and I don’t think I have to be a seasoned soldier to feel that way. I think torture and espionage happens everyday and in every war, but the way this administration has gone about handling just about everything is the coarse salt constantly rubbed into the gaping hole of a wound we have on the face of our nation.

Reading this NY Times article about how our dead soldiers are airlifted out in body bags under the cover of darkness just got to me. I understand that in this instance, the area where Sgt. Terry Michael Lisk, 26, of Zion, IL, was killed is an intense area where air traffic is limited to the cover of darkness. But I still get angry over it. Angry that Sgt. Lisk died. Angry that the tears must be shed in the dark. Angry that more like Sgt. Lisk will die. Angry that the tears were shed in silence.

Of note in the photo above [click on it for a larger version hosted on NYT’s servers]: you can actually see the body bag. And it is partially open so you can see Sgt. Lisk’s 26-year-old face. Eyes closed. Head slightly tilted to his right, probably jostled a bit as they placed his lifeless body on the cart as his fellow soldiers, taking on the role of pallbearers, paid their last respects awaiting the transport helicopter. You don’t see too many of these kind of shots out there. I’m glad it’s there. We need to be reminded of the real costs of the war: our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends, teachers, drinking buddies and everyone else sacrificing it all – for what? There are too many feelings the photo above brings up for me to discuss coherently. How does it make you feel?

America has lost well over 2,500 soldiers now. There is no official count for the Iraqis, some estimates put the number well over 150,000.

That is not a body bag. It’s a wounded soldier saluting Sgt. Lisk. But the emotions brought up by the photo still ring true.

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