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A Death in the Family: Andrew Olmsted Killed In Iraq

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Joe Katzman: All soldiers have a Last Post. Fittingly, Maj. Andrew Olmsted's will endure beyond the trumpet's fading notes. He was a member of the Winds team, the Winds family, best known for his Iraq Report briefings. He also blogged for his local Rocky Mountain News, and at other sites including Obsidian Wings. Some day, he says, his own site with this entry may come down. We've offered to host it on our server to avert that possibility; but regardless of what happens with that, so long as Winds of Change.NET endures, his words will endure here. As will his memory.

I am terribly sorry my friend and colleague Andrew Olmsted is dead. I am very grateful that he lived, and that others like him live still.

"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."
- G'Kar, Babylon 5

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
- Plato*

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.

"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."
- Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"

"And maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass."

- Freedom Isn't Free, Team America

What I don't want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I'm dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren't going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I've enjoyed in my life. So if you're up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw 'Freedom Isn't Free' from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can't laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I'm dead, but if you're reading this, you're not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

"Our thoughts form the universe. They always matter."
- Citizen G'Kar, Babylon 5

Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer. The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them. While the blogosphere has its share of partisans, there are some awfully smart people making excellent arguments out there as well, and I know I have learned quite a bit since I began blogging. I flatter myself I may have made a good argument or two as well; if I didn't, please don't tell me. It has been a great five-plus years. I got to meet a lot of people who are way smarter than me, including such luminaries as Virginia Postrel and her husband Stephen (speaking strictly from a 'improving the species' perspective, it's tragic those two don't have kids, because they're both scary smart.), the estimable hilzoy and Sebastian of Obsidian Wings, Jeff Goldstein and Stephen Green, the men who consistently frustrated me with their mix of wit and wisdom I could never match, and I've no doubt left out a number of people to whom I apologize. Bottom line: if I got the chance to meet you through blogging, I enjoyed it. I'm only sorry I couldn't meet more of you. In particular I'd like to thank Jim Henley, who while we've never met has been a true comrade, whose words have taught me and whose support has been of great personal value to me. I would very much have enjoyed meeting Jim.

Blogging put me in touch with an inordinate number of smart people, an exhilarating if humbling experience. When I was young, I was smart, but the older I got, the more I realized just how dumb I was in comparison to truly smart people. But, to my credit, I think, I was at least smart enough to pay attention to the people with real brains and even occasionally learn something from them. It has been joy and a pleasure having the opportunity to do this.

"It's not fair."
"No. It's not. Death never is."

- Captain John Sheridan and Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5

"They didn't even dig him a decent grave."
"Well, it's not how you're buried. It's how you're remembered."

- Cimarron and Wil Andersen, The Cowboys

I suppose I should speak to the circumstances of my death. It would be nice to believe that I died leading men in battle, preferably saving their lives at the cost of my own. More likely I was caught by a marksman or an IED. But if there is an afterlife, I'm telling anyone who asks that I went down surrounded by hundreds of insurgents defending a village composed solely of innocent women and children. It'll be our little secret, ok?

I do ask (not that I'm in a position to enforce this) that no one try to use my death to further their political purposes. I went to Iraq and did what I did for my reasons, not yours. My life isn't a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side. If you think the U.S. should stay in Iraq, don't drag me into it by claiming that somehow my death demands us staying in Iraq. If you think the U.S. ought to get out tomorrow, don't cite my name as an example of someone's life who was wasted by our mission in Iraq. I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I'm not around to expound on them I'd prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn't support. Further, this is tough enough on my family without their having to see my picture being used in some rally or my name being cited for some political purpose. You can fight political battles without hurting my family, and I'd prefer that you did so.

On a similar note, while you're free to think whatever you like about my life and death, if you think I wasted my life, I'll tell you you're wrong. We're all going to die of something. I died doing a job I loved. When your time comes, I hope you are as fortunate as I was.

"What an idiot! What a loser!"
- Chaz Reingold, Wedding Crashers

"Oh and I don't want to die for you, but if dying's asked of me;
I'll bear that cross with honor, 'cause freedom don't come free."

- American Soldier, Toby Keith

Those who know me through my writings on the Internet over the past five-plus years probably have wondered at times about my chosen profession. While I am not a Libertarian, I certainly hold strongly individualistic beliefs. Yet I have spent my life in a profession that is not generally known for rugged individualism. Worse, I volunteered to return to active duty knowing that the choice would almost certainly lead me to Iraq. The simple explanation might be that I was simply stupid, and certainly I make no bones about having done some dumb things in my life, but I don't think this can be chalked up to stupidity. Maybe I was inconsistent in my beliefs; there are few people who adhere religiously to the doctrines of their chosen philosophy, whatever that may be. But I don't think that was the case in this instance either.

As passionate as I am about personal freedom, I don't buy the claims of anarchists that humanity would be just fine without any government at all. There are too many people in the world who believe that they know best how people should live their lives, and many of them are more than willing to use force to impose those beliefs on others. A world without government simply wouldn't last very long; as soon as it was established, strongmen would immediately spring up to establish their fiefdoms. So there is a need for government to protect the people's rights. And one of the fundamental tools to do that is an army that can prevent outside agencies from imposing their rules on a society. A lot of people will protest that argument by noting that the people we are fighting in Iraq are unlikely to threaten the rights of the average American. That's certainly true; while our enemies would certainly like to wreak great levels of havoc on our society, the fact is they're not likely to succeed. But that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for an army (setting aside debates regarding whether ours is the right size at the moment). Americans are fortunate that we don't have to worry too much about people coming to try and overthrow us, but part of the reason we don't have to worry about that is because we have an army that is stopping anyone who would try.

Soldiers cannot have the option of opting out of missions because they don't agree with them: that violates the social contract. The duly-elected American government decided to go to war in Iraq. (Even if you maintain President Bush was not properly elected, Congress voted for war as well.) As a soldier, I have a duty to obey the orders of the President of the United States as long as they are Constitutional. I can no more opt out of missions I disagree with than I can ignore laws I think are improper. I do not consider it a violation of my individual rights to have gone to Iraq on orders because I raised my right hand and volunteered to join the army. Whether or not this mission was a good one, my participation in it was an affirmation of something I consider quite necessary to society. So if nothing else, I gave my life for a pretty important principle; I can (if you'll pardon the pun) live with that.

"It's all so brief, isn't it? A typical human lifespan is almost a hundred years. But it's barely a second compared to what's out there. It wouldn't be so bad if life didn't take so long to figure out. Seems you just start to get it right, and then...it's over."
- Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5

I wish I could say I'd at least started to get it right. Although, in my defense, I think I batted a solid .250 or so. Not a superstar, but at least able to play in the big leagues. I'm afraid I can't really offer any deep secrets or wisdom. I lived my life better than some, worse than others, and I like to think that the world was a little better off for my having been here. Not very much, but then, few of us are destined to make more than a tiny dent in history's Green Monster. I would be lying if I didn't admit I would have liked to have done more, but it's a bit too late for that now, eh? The bottom line, for me, is that I think I can look back at my life and at least see a few areas where I may have made a tiny difference, and massive ego aside, that's probably not too bad.

"The flame also reminds us that life is precious. As each flame is unique; when it goes out, it's gone forever. There will never be another quite like it."
- Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

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?

But for those who knew me and feel this pain, I think it's a good thing to realize that this pain has been felt by thousands and thousands (probably millions, actually) of other people all over the world. That is part of the cost of war, any war, no matter how justified. If everyone who feels this pain keeps that in mind the next time we have to decide whether or not war is a good idea, perhaps it will help us to make a more informed decision. Because it is pretty clear that the average American would not have supported the Iraq War had they known the costs going in. I am far too cynical to believe that any future debate over war will be any less vitriolic or emotional, but perhaps a few more people will realize just what those costs can be the next time.

This may be a contradiction of my above call to keep politics out of my death, but I hope not. Sometimes going to war is the right idea. I think we've drawn that line too far in the direction of war rather than peace, but I'm a soldier and I know that sometimes you have to fight if you're to hold onto what you hold dear. But in making that decision, I believe we understate the costs of war; when we make the decision to fight, we make the decision to kill, and that means lives and families destroyed. Mine now falls into that category; the next time the question of war or peace comes up, if you knew me at least you can understand a bit more just what it is you're deciding to do, and whether or not those costs are worth it.

"This is true love. You think this happens every day?"
- Westley, The Princess Bride

"Good night, my love, the brightest star in my sky."
- John Sheridan, Babylon 5

This is the hardest part. While I certainly have no desire to die, at this point I no longer have any worries. That is not true of the woman who made my life something to enjoy rather than something merely to survive. She put up with all of my faults, and they are myriad, she endured separations again and again...I cannot imagine being more fortunate in love than I have been with Amanda. Now she has to go on without me, and while a cynic might observe she's better off, I know that this is a terrible burden I have placed on her, and I would give almost anything if she would not have to bear it. It seems that is not an option. I cannot imagine anything more painful than that, and if there is an afterlife, this is a pain I'll bear forever.

I wasn't the greatest husband. I could have done so much more, a realization that, as it so often does, comes too late to matter. But I cherished every day I was married to Amanda. When everything else in my life seemed dark, she was always there to light the darkness. It is difficult to imagine my life being worth living without her having been in it. I hope and pray that she goes on without me and enjoys her life as much as she deserves. I can think of no one more deserving of happiness than her.

"I will see you again, in the place where no shadows fall."
- Ambassador Delenn, Babylon 5

I don't know if there is an afterlife; I tend to doubt it, to be perfectly honest. But if there is any way possible, Amanda, then I will live up to Delenn's words, somehow, some way. I love you.

26 Comments

Folks, I'm in the middle of a power outage here due to the storm, writing this thing by canndle-light, laptop battery, and dial-up because the generator is out of gas.

I don't know when I'll be back. It may be a few days. But instructions have been given to the Marshals to treat comments here very seriously. Make me proud when I return...

What can you saw at a time like this? I feel so much, words seem so meaningless. I'm proud to have written here at Winds with Andrew and the rest of the team. My condolences to Andrew's family. Godspeed, Andrew.

Because I haven't yet found an appropriate video or audio feed for it, I'm settling for posting the lyrics.

Outside the Beltway has a YouTube link to the parody/serious song Maj Olmsted recommends be listened to with drink in hand. Scroll down a little, you'll see it. Skaal!

If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

Good call, Andrew. And bless you for paying the whole buck-oh-five, damn it.

Trey Parker's "Freedom Isn't Free"

What would you do
If you were asked to give up your dreams for freedom?
What would you do
If asked to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Would you think about all them people
Who gave up everything they had?
Would you think about all them War Vets
And would you start to fee-uhl bad?

Freedom isn't free
It costs folks like you and me
And if we don't all chip in
We'll never pay that bill
Freedom isn't free
No, there's a hefty f***in' fee.
And if you don't throw in your buck-oh-five
Who will?

What would you do
If someone told you to fight for freedom?
Would you answer the call
Or run away like a little p**sy?
'Cause the only reason that you're here
Is 'cause folks died for you in the past
So maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass

Freedom isn't free
It costs folks like you and me
And if we don't all chip in
We'll never pay that bill
Freedom isn't free
Now there's a hefty f***in' fee
And if you don't throw in your buck-oh-five,
Who will?

Oooh... buck-oh-five
Freedom costs a buck-oh-five

After learning of this, I thought of Lt. Col. McCrae's poem. I'd had the chance earlier in the summer to visit Flanders and see the field hospital bunker where McCrae worked as a surgeon in WWI.

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Andrew went out fighting.

From the MNF-I website...

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Jan. 3 in As Sadiyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using small arms fire during combat operations. Both Soldiers were assigned to the Military Transition Team, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Killed were:

Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Cpt. Thomas J. Casey, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M.

____________________________________

I did not know Andrew was with a Military Transition Team (MTT). I've done embeds with Marine MTTs in Anbar (Kaladiyah and Fallujah). The MTTs and PTTs do much needed work.

Sadiyah is in Kanaquin province, which is adjactent to Miqdaiyah in Diyala province. I noted on December 30 that Miqdadiyah is the new al Qaeda in Iraq "haven."

link

And followed that up here yesterday:

link

Please understand my only purpose in providing the links is to help those that want to understand the circumstances of Andrew's death have access to the information on what is happening in Diyala province. Andrew died fighting in one of the last strongholds of al Qaeda in Iraq (I'd say regions in Mosul and near Samarra also qualify.) I'm having a scotch for you now, Andrew. It will have to do.

[links and formatting corrected to fit MT requirements. --NM]

Thanks a lot, Bill. That helped.

I'm terribly sad to learn of this. I'll raise a shot of fine arak to Andrew's memory.

Long life and good health to Amanda, and to everyone else who loved Andrew Olmsted. May they find abundant healing, soon.

May Andrew Olmsted find great success in the afterlife, and joyfully keep his final promise.

And may Andrew Olmsted's good name be preserved for a long time.

Andrew will be remembered with gratitude and pride -- and with humble thanksgiving for his choice to serve and willingness to sacrifice.

Amanda - if you haven't already received support from them, please reach out to the military community during this time. I'm too far away to be of physical help, but as the wife of a retired officer I'm here to listen if you'd care to share.

Andrew, we will remember.

Comments and links (in the Update) at hilzoy's post at Obsdian Wings.

I'm reminded of something James Caan said in the film Gardens of Stone (paraphrase): "It seems that there are no more Unknown Soldiers in war, because we've gotten to be so good at identifying them. I wish we were better at knowing them."

I think Major Olmsted has said it all. God bless his wife and his family, and the distracted nation that owes him thanks.

Andrew, I wasn't sure what vintage 80s song to commemorate you with. I settled on The Gunner's Dream by Pink Floyd. I thought you would appreciate it.

Most of the tributes to our friend Andy are here. Many links therein.

My thoughts from here in the UK are with all who knew and loved him.

Humanity is one good man down...

Thanks to everyone for keeping the tone where it has been, and for the new resources/ additions.

Thanks, too, to hypocrisyrules. Now that the generator is finally running here (power lines were down, hence couldn't get out to gas it before... I can see why Iraqis get annoyed), I've had a chance to look in on another thread, and note his request for a post like this.

HR, consider your request fulfilled. And thanks for making it.

Here is another video if you are in the mood to cry. Yesterday I couldn't stop. I'm better today.

Damn. It seems like yesterday we were discussing the meaning of it all on WoC.

Thanks for the post Joe. It means a lot to say something here.

I hope he can read his Sitemeter stats and follow the links where ever he is now (blog heaven).

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
"Land of Song!" said the warrior bard,
"Tho' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav'ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!"

The Minstrel Boy will return we pray
When we hear the news we all will cheer it,
The minstrel boy will return one day,
Torn perhaps in body, not in spirit.
Then may he play on his harp in peace,
In a world such as Heaven intended,
For all the bitterness of man must cease,
And ev'ry battle must be ended

****************************************
My children sleep at peace in their beds at night because Andrew Olmsted and men like him stand at arms. Saying "thank you" to a man I never knew, now dead, seems pretty weak and small, but we all have nothing left to offer but that, except maybe "Earn this!" . If you understand the meaning of that phrase.

May his name and memory be forever green and fresh in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him best.

Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings?
but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were:
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.

Vaya con dios, Major. You sound like an officer I would have been proud to serve under.

More links about Andy here.

Slidshow here.

Video of Andy prior to going to Iraq here.

And this is the way Andrew went -- it was utterly him:
A sniper killed Maj. Andrew Olmsted as he was trying to talk three suspected insurgents into surrendering, relatives confirmed Sunday.

A sniper's bullet also cut down Capt. Thomas J. Casey as he rushed to Olmsted's aid during the small arms firefight in Sadiyah, Iraq, on Thursday.

"They were pursuing some insurgents," Casey's brother, Jeffrey, said. "Major Olmsted got out of his vehicle and was pleading with these three individuals to stop and surrender so that the team would not have to fire upon them and kill them."

"Unfortunately, there were snipers in the area, and apparently that's when Major Olmsted was hit," Jeffrey Casey added. "He didn't want to kill these individuals. He was trying to save their lives."

After the gunfire erupted, Thomas Casey went to help Olmsted, thinking that the three suspected insurgents were responsible for the shooting, his brother said.

"That's when he took his bullet," Jeffrey Casey said. "The fact that a sniper round caught him in the neck . . . that's just one of those fluke one-in-a-million shots."

Army officers relayed a brief account of the gun battle after they informed Casey's father, John, that his son was dead. Olmsted's father, Wes, also confirmed the account.

The fact that Olmsted tried to talk rather than shoot first wasn't surprising, his father said.

"That's him," Wes Olmsted said. "As a warrior - as my wife would call him - he never really wanted to fire his weapon as his first option. Now, I kind of wish he did."

Olmsted, of Colorado Springs, had been writing a blog, "From the Front Lines," about his experiences in Iraq for the Rocky Mountain News.

He and Casey were part of a team that was responsible for training Iraqi police and military forces.

Olmsted, 38, and Casey, 32, were the first two U.S. casualties of 2008 in Iraq. A third soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Will Beaver, was wounded in the neck during the gun battle, Jeffrey Casey said.

Casey said he and his father were golfing in Albuquerque on Thursday when his father let out an anguished howl after listening to a voice-mail message on his cell phone informing him that three Army officers were waiting at his door.

In stunned disbelief, Jeffrey Casey e-mailed Olmsted, hoping against hope that the officers who had come to the family's door were somehow mistaken.

"If you get this and the information turns out to be false, please have Tom contact us as soon as possible," Casey wrote, unaware that by then Olmsted also was dead.

On Sunday, the younger brother said the Army's account made sense, based on what he knew about Olmsted through his blog and what he knew of his brother.

"Absolutely, from what I know about Major Olmsted, I firmly believe that's the way it went down - and from what I know about my brother, I absolutely know that was the way it went down."

"Tom was just a stand-up individual. He always had his family's back, and in this case, his family was his (Army) team."

Wes Olmsted said the unit in Iraq had a memorial service for the two fallen soldiers Sunday.

"They're going to send us a tape of it," he said. "That will be difficult to watch."

In the wake of the deaths, readers have posted more than 125 comments on Olmsted's Rocky blog, some from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

One comment came from Capt. John K. Thompson, who served with Olmsted and Casey.

"They both displayed tremendous courage under fire," he wrote. "I am proud to have served with them. They will be greatly missed. We were all blessed to have known them. They will always be my brothers in arms."

Wes Olmsted said the outpouring of sympathy from around the country has been "incredible" and that he is proud that his son's life touched so many.

He said his son really enjoyed writing a blog for the Rocky and another one called "Obsidian Wings." He said comments from people who read them have helped the family through their grief, though they are still in a state of shock and sadness.

Services for Olmsted are pending. Services for Casey are scheduled for Friday in Albuquerque.

Thanks for posting #18 and #19, Gary.

Today's piece in the Rocky Mountain News was a nice tribute by the Rocky, full page on p.5. Thanks to the Rocky.

"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! We are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Its hard to believe Andrew is gone. God bless him. God bless his family.

Godspeed, Major Olmsted.

Despite the bickering back at home, we appreciate your sacrifice, your ultimate sacrifice. If it wasn't for you and others like you, our country would be the less. I am sad to know your fate, but I am proud to know your sacrifice. You, and all of your brothers and sisters in arms, have made a difference.

I am glad that you got one last post, that you got to say one last thing before you went. This only shows that you knew the risks of your service, and it shows the strength of your character that you still chose to re-enlist. I hope that your words can give comfort to your loved ones in your passing, my heart is with them.

We are one of the few countries in the world to operate an all-volunteer military. The fact that we get so many valiant volunteers is testament to the greatness of our nation. Regardless of one's political opinion of this war or of any war, the choice to stand on the line and defend this nation's interests is a noble choice. While no death is pleasant, few men can die with such honor.

I do not know you, I never met you. I have never read your blog. Still, your sacrifice made a difference in my life. It is with a heavy heart that I must acknowledge your passing. As I type this, I shed tears for your loss. The world is a lesser place for your loss, the world is a greater place for your sacrifice.

In closing, let me reiterate that I am proud of you, and of all of our men and women in uniform.

Oh, this isn't what I wanted to come home to. Damn, and damn again.

Marc

Yeah, it was not a good week Marc.

The completest set of links about Andy is now here. It's still ongoing.

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  • Fred: Good point, brutality didn't work terribly well for the Russians read more
  • mark buehner: Certainly plausible but there are plenty of examples of that read more
  • Fred: They have no need to project power but have the read more
  • mark buehner: Good stuff here. The only caveat is that a nuclear read more
  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Chris, If there were some way to do all these read more
  • Chris M: Marcus Vitruvius, I'm surprised by your comments. You're quite right, read more
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