Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Harvesting the young

Today's blog was going to be a treatise on how annoyed I am by one of the guys in my Wednesday morning spin class. However, I was browsing CNN (as is my pre-work pattern) and I came across some statistics that made my annoyances seem pretty lame. Here's why.

I graduated from college in 1992. I was 22 years old and was ready to take on the world. I got a job (actually, I just hung onto the job I'd had during school), got an apartment, and got down to the business of living my life.

What a fortunate boy I was.

By the time I'd turned 30, I'd moved to New York City, was making more than a fair amount of money, and was living my life pretty much as I'd planned it (give or take a few things).

What a fortunate man I was.

I say all this because the stats I referred to above are the casualty lists from our little stint over in Iraq. Rather sobering.

I supposed it's no surprise that vast majority of deaths have been soldiers in their 20s. Still, I cannot image what it must be like to be someone that young having to confront life and death situations every day.

Age       Deaths
<22        535     29.28%
22-24     431     23.59%
25-30     458     25.07%
31-35     178     9.74%
>35        225     12.32%
Total     1827

Almost 30% of the folks have died couldn't even drink legally, but they were killing people and being shot at. The people they were trying to kill blew them up with roadside mines, rockets, etc. And of course these numbers don't include the 13000+ soldiers that were just wounded, many permanently maimed.

Now I've heard that kids in their late teens and early 20s make the best soldiers, as they still have that sense of immortality (especially the guys) and are easily wrapped up in the fervor of patriotism. However, I still can't image what it must be like to confront the grim realities of war at the tender age of 22. Hell, I can't image what it must be like to do that at the tender age of 35 and almost 80% of the dead never even saw their 30th birthday.

I wonder if they and all their families think it was worth it? I'm not being snotty. I really do wonder. I suppose some do. Others (like Cindy Sheehan) certainly don't. I've never lost anyone to war (after all, most of my family are bleeding heart pacifist liberals like me), but I can imagine it would be quite a reality check if your son (with whom you are most pleased) left to fight for his country only to come back in a box.

Regardless, my sympathies are with all the people who held these soldiers in their hearts before (and no doubt still do, after) they died.

Meanwhile, a delightful day of delicious dub:

Lee Scratch Perry - I Am The Upsetter
(four CDs chock full of Mad Man Scratchy)

Tino's Breaks - Volume 5: Dub
(Jack and Ben get it all twisted and splifted)

Various - Trojan Dub Box Set
(three CDs of premium Jamacian, mon)


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