Too Many Field Crosses


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I wrote this earlier in 2004.  This past weekend (October 16-17) the total US killed in Iraq passed the 1100 mark. I had planned to keep politics and these personal opinions off the website --- but I feel I must express my views.  Perhaps someone will listen.  I fear we are repeating the errors of Vietnam and will continue to do so until the government acknowledges that we invaded under false pretenses.


Too Many Field Crosses

One of my responsibilities in Vietnam was to prepare the “Field Cross” for a memorial service.  The construction is quite simple:  Boots on the ground facing forward,  Rifle is fixed bayonet with bayonet stuck into the ground,  Helmet on top of the rifle butt.  The emotion it invokes is intense – for each Field Cross represents the death of a fellow soldier. 

Over thirty years have passed but the Field Cross remains a powerful image for me.  You won’t see one on TV very often – for like a flag draped coffin, it makes the loss too real to be shown – more than just a casualty number.  The government does not want the American Public to think of these as more than casualty numbers.

Fifty-eight thousand Field Crosses were constructed in Vietnam.  And for what?  We were told we were protecting the US and World against communism.  Vietnam is now communist – has this been a danger to the world?  To the US?  Vietnam has not launched terror attacks in the US.

The news is reporting more than six hundred casualties in Iraq.  SIX HUNDRED FIELD CROSSES.  And for what? 

There has been no evidence found that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction.  There is no evidence Iraq had any part in the attack on the US on 9/11/2001.  So, why are all these young men and women dying?  I don’t see how Saddam was a threat to the US.

We are forcing our “democracy” on another country.  Our government says that the Arabs do not understand – we are trying to help them.  The fact is we do not understand the Arabs. And who are we to tell them what government they should have.

So why are we in Iraq? Why so many Field Crosses?  Are we finishing the effort started by George Bush in 1991?  Perhaps we had excess stockpiles of weapons that needed to be used up so that the weapons industry could produce more?  Or did we invade Iraq to show we were doing “something” to fight terrorism since Bin Laden is still at large.

I don’t see any of these as reasons to be building all the Field Crosses.  Did we not learn from Vietnam?  Is the US and world any safer from terrorist attack? Why does there continue to be Too Many Field Crosses?


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