Andrew Olmsted was a U.S. soldier who occasionally posted at Obsidian Wings as G’Kar. He was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andrew (who I didn’t know personally) had written a piece with the specific intention of having it posted only in the event of his death. It was posted today by hilzoy.
I write this in part, admittedly, because I would like to think that there’s at least a little something out there to remember me by. Granted, this site will eventually vanish, being ephemeral in a very real sense of the word, but at least for a time it can serve as a tiny record of my contributions to the world. But on a larger scale, for those who knew me well enough to be saddened by my death, especially for those who haven’t known anyone else lost to this war, perhaps my death can serve as a small reminder of the costs of war. Regardless of the merits of this war, or of any war, I think that many of us in America have forgotten that war means death and suffering in wholesale lots. A decision that for most of us in America was academic, whether or not to go to war in Iraq, had very real consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. Yet I was as guilty as anyone of minimizing those very real consequences in lieu of a cold discussion of theoretical merits of war and peace. Now I’m facing some very real consequences of that decision; who says life doesn’t have a sense of humor?
I don’t think the war in Iraq was a good idea. But I have enormous respect and admiration for the people who volunteer and put their lives on the line to serve in the military; they’re not the ones who decide what wars to get into. My heart goes out to Andrew’s friends, colleagues, and family.