Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

July 7, 2008


The smoke and smells of war have seared consciousness and consciences as that part of our nation at peace here at home sees,in the press and on television screens, the blasted houses of Baghdad, the debris left after road bombs and suicide bombers, the frightened eyes of Iraqi children. The other part of our nation is out there on the bloodied earth. Soldiers and marines at risk; over four thousand dead, thirty thousand seriously wounded; countless thousands of Iraqis killed and wounded; a nation destabilized into chaos, some of our nation destabilized into approving

The PBS Lehrer Report last evening turned attention to another grim result of this preemptive and unnecessary war: the grief and broken hearts at home when a marine or soldier walks up the steps of a once happy home and knocks on the door. Jim Scheeler, the author of "Final Salute", and Marine Major Steven Beck, Coordinator of those charged with delivering the dreaded messages,told the story in Sheeler's book. Beck told of how those at home always knew what the message would be. Wives with little children who lost a husband; mothers and fathers who were told that a son or daughter was dead. Major Beck described a sargeant, who had accompanied him on a mission, saying,"Major, please don't ever ask me to do this again." There were glimpses of a Marine officer embracing a crushed wife; an Army officer sitting quietly with an elderly or not-so-elderly couple, who had just been told that their boy or girl, yes, their little boy or little girl, had been killed.Yes! Killed! No matter how gently the emissary spoke, however soft his words, the message was "killed"; the message was "dead".

Major Beck and his teams must have been extraordinary individuals to have been assigned this mission. They were to respect no limits in trying to accommodate the bereaved. A wife had wanted to spend the last night with her husband. On the screen appeared in the dim light of the funeral home a casket in the background; in the foreground, a made-up bed for Catherine Cathey, the marine's wife.

In the play and movie, "A Man for All Seasons", the king's Chancellor, Thomas More, speaks to an official of the king, who has given up loyalty to his faith and, perhaps, to his conscience for receiving the governance of a portion of the king's realm. Sir Thomas looks at him and says, "And all this, Rich, for Wales?"

In the surreal scenes of a destroyed and chaotic Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, wounded, displaced; the Chaldean Catholic bishop, murdered; the Catholic community fleeing the country; Amercan and coalition troops killed and wounded in great numbers; countless hearts at home broken; a stand-in for Sir Thomas might be pictured as saying, "And all this, George, for oil?"


Blogger rev. dudley e. said...

I 'm inclined to think that besides the 5 trillion supposed barrels of oil under their sand, that the area the usa wants also means that they will have control of all the water that is issued from the convergence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers - that Israel especially depends upon. It is all, to me, so symptomatic of the the Power of control OVER others - the basis of all forms of slavery, oppression and sheer drunkenness!
And how about that need for oil - since we have to be able to reach our 1000+ air bases all over our special kingdom? Peace, Rev. and Mrs. Dudley E. Sarfaty

August 1, 2008 at 1:27 AM  

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