My condolences to Ray Quichocho and his wife on the death of their son/stepson, Victor Michael Fontanilla. I'm sorry he died in Iraq. I'm sorry that we Americans have funded war, rather than peace. I'm sorry that this soldier and others won't be coming home again to these beautiful, pacific, islands.
The sun shines here. The CNMI is intensely beautiful, with flame trees in brilliant reds, plumeria laden with fragrant blossoms, flourescent-pink bougainvilla climbing everywhere. And yet, our young people are attracted to the military life. I have trouble fathoming that choice.
The "glory" of war isn't much like war as depicted in the movies. We can see the real thing up close in images available with a click. Just go to You Tube and type Iraq. You'll find footage of what's really happening there. You can view events as "officially" reported by MNF-IRAQ.com.
Like this, taken in March 2007:
And this night raid, also in March 2007:
What strikes me about these skirmishes is the almost casual nature of some of the fighting. Standing around outside in the open, uncertain where shots are coming from, or stepping over bodies.
You can also see Iraq before America's invasion, what the Iraqi people see when they look at their country. Like this:
Or this, footage taken 2 weeks before America invaded:
Real life doesn't come with a soundtrack, so the music adds artifice, makes it seem perfectly peaceful, and we know it wasn't, but it looks pretty normal.
So what does it all mean? What are we, as Americans from a very peaceful island, supposed to think and do, for our country, for God? So many of our youth sign up with noble intentions. But I hope that those now contemplating joining the US military take a closer look and listen.
If you've missed this Iraqi-American rapper, you aren't confused enough yet about America's role in Iraq.
And if you stray from the "official" footage of the war in Iraq, the chaos of the situation, and what our soldiers are facing, becomes much more evident. Perhaps this video captures it best:
As for me, I'm still praying for peace.