Friday, November 14, 2003

I have avoided reading about the horrible suicide bombing that killed all those Italian soldiers in Iraq the other day. It was oddly personal to me in a way that even the deaths of Americans are not. The Americans there are all volunteers and are doing exactly what they signed up for, and I am so proud of them, and so saddened when some of them die because they represent the absolute best of America, in a way that I can barely express. They are professional warriors, the best in the world, and the risk is part of the job.

But the Italian Army is a conscript army; true, anyone who wants can choose alternate service like working in a hospital as my friend Luigi did. But most young men go into the military when drafted. And I think of those guys as the people who worked in the warehouse with me at Giovanni's company who one day would disappear and you'd find out they'd gone into the army as required. When I heard about the atrocity in Nasiriya I felt like I knew them, and I get choked up when I think of them. God bless them, and rest their souls.

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