Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Thursday, November 10, 2005





Scene Points: Iraq's Casualties

 by Chelsea Ide  published on Thursday, November 10, 2005



I had a great column on political music planned for this week, but you're not going to see that column. I couldn't listen to any political music this weekend, because my iPod had "Fond Farewell" by Elliott Smith on repeat. I couldn't think about the war in Iraq or the anti-war, anti-Bush movements. Hell, I bailed on a date where we were going to see the new Jake Gyllenhaal flick "Jarhead." All my plans were overshadowed when my best friend from back home in Nebraska phoned.

She said she had bad news that she didn't want me to hear on the news. On the news? What could have happened in my tiny hometown that would make national news?

My friend Darren died Friday.

I'm sure you're wondering why this would be national news. Well, my friend was Army Spc. Darren Howe, and he was on his second tour of Iraq.

There was an explosion in late October when the Bradley fighting vehicle he was driving hit a roadside bomb the one where two soldiers were killed bringing the number of American casualties in the war up to 2,000. Only, Darren didn't die immediately. No, in typical Darren fashion, he drove the flaming truck off the mine and then went into the back of the truck three times to pull out other soldiers. All three of those men survived. Darren was hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns mostly to his face and chest. His body finally gave out last week.

So, my friend died a hero. He was already a hero to me, though. Darren was the guy who would talk with your boyfriend when he was being a dick to you, who would give you a ride home from school, who made sure his friends never felt alone and who adopted his girlfriend-turned-wife's daughter because she "deserves a daddy."

And the war in Iraq took that away.

While I know that it's not America's fault there was a bomb on the side of that road, my 21-year-old friend would be alive at home with his wife and two little girls if we had never entered Iraq. It's been four years and we haven't captured Osama bin Laden hey, guess what? HE'S NOT IN IRAQ. My friend is dead because our country would rather plunder a country (one with a culture few Americans understand) than go through the proper channels to acquire oil.

Just because we're the biggest and the richest country doesn't mean we should be devoid of morals. Darren would have gone to war for our country whenever it needed him. He would have fought for us. Instead, we had him telling Iraqis their way of life and societal structure was wrong. They disagreed, and now he's dead.

People talk about things like this happening. Just listen to an Anti-Flag song. But it's real. It's not something written to sell records. The men in Anti-Flag know what they're talking about. Believe it or not, so does Fat Mike from NOFX. I wish someone would listen to them.

While I'm not ready to hear the word Iraq or to think jokes about death are funny, I suggest you give a listen to what Anti-Flag has to say. The band has updated information about the anti-war movement and ways to get involved on its Web site, Please, get involved. One person killed is too many. Imagine if it were your friend.

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