It has recently come to my attention that for much of the war in Iraq, the bodies of our fallen soldiers were being handled by the same undergraduates who lose my luggage at the airport every year. Unloaded by civilian personnel from a commercial jet by either a mechanical belt or forklift, the bodies of sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives were presented to their families in a disgraceful act that objectified those who gave their lives for this country.
It wasn't until a father of a son who fell in Iraq lobbied for change that in January the bodies of our soldiers began coming home via charter jets and met by the honor guard for a proper and respectful return home. The main reason for this dishonorable treatment was because of--what other--money. It cost nearly $1.2 million last year to transport the bodies of our soldiers home via commercial jets whereas now the winning contract for six months for a more appropriate return costs about $11 million (according to the associated press). But with billions of dollars floating around from the war funds, who cares about soldiers who aren't able to go back into the fight, right? That seemed to be the opinion of the Pentagon. Whether it be conditions at Walter Reed or simply the treatment of the deceased upon arriving home to loved ones, it has become evident that this administration only values those who can fight their war.
"Regardless of what the reality was, there was a perception there that the proper respect was not being provided to those who made the ultimate sacrifice," said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton.
It is sad that this issue was seen as merely an misperception and not a real problem. It may be an unsettling concept for war strategists and politicians but Americans do in fact care about their soldiers before, during and even after they return from war.
I can only hope that the number of our brave soldiers who fly third class home dwindles to zero soon. in this pathetic administration's war And if this administration continues to wage war perhaps they should begin making it a habit to tag their luggage so that it doesn't get confused with my suitcase at the airport. And if finance becomes a problem, maybe the president can make room on Air Force One right next to his golf clubs.