Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
No comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

One Year After the Death of Chase Comley

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

This weekend marks the first anniversary of my nephew's death in Iraq.

August 6, 2005 is the date Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Comley was killed instantly by a vehicle-borne IED. My brother, Chase's father, received the news just after midnight, early on the 7th. "We regret to inform you." These are the words that shifted the earth's plates.

"Chase was killed in Iraq." This seismic sentence traveled the telephone lines,
rocking the earth under all of us.

Even now, to think or say this, a year later, is unreal. It's as if our minds still can't grasp that Chase is dead. Something essential to understanding language is missing. Something necessary to understanding right and wrong is askew. Chase was 21-years-old. There is nothing right about this, nothing noble, nothing we can look to in Iraq and proudly say, "Chase died for this."

Chase was killed in Iraq. There is no accepting it. Ever.

My 86-year-old father had bargained with God to take him, not Chase. He didn't tell my mother this, nor did he say a word to me. Nor did I tell them that I had a terrible feeling. Nor did my mother say that she, too, expected the worst. Nor did my brother, Chase's father, let on for a second that when he said goodbye to Chase, he knew that he would never see his son alive again. This was revealed after the shifting of the plates.


My mother still agonizes that maybe we didn't try hard enough to talk him out of enlisting. But we did try. I tell her this over and over. I remind her that Chase couldn't be dissuaded-that when I suggested the Coast Guard, he thought that would be settling for much less than first. The U.S. Marine Corps would make him a man. My mother says it made him a dead man.

My brother Mark called yesterday. His voice was oozing grief. I think of him a year ago when he received a call from his fiancée to come home. She mercifully told him she had a particularly bad migraine and needed him immediately. The Marines had come but wouldn't tell her anything. They hovered in the neighborhood, waiting for my brother to arrive. Mark loaded his equipment and began the drive back to their house. I imagine him as he pulled in front of their place. I see him as he got out of his car, walking in, and hearing her tell him to "sit down." I think of the ringing of the doorbell. I picture the look on my brother's face, his demeanor. It was in the middle of the night-a time for only bearers of words that are too horrible to hear.

And I picture Chase. For the longest time, I could see only a gauze-wrapped head inside a flag-draped coffin. No, I didn't actually view this, but I knew that he came home this way and I could not block this image from entering my mind. It was months before I could think of him without seeing gauze. And after that, it was months before I could walk the streets and not imagine I saw him on every corner.

I think of Cindy Sheehan's falling to the floor, screaming for her son Casey. I think of Carlos Arredondo, father of Alexander, who, upon hearing of his son's death, set fire to the military vehicle he thought was bringing Alexander home safely, just in time for Carlos' birthday. I think of my brother. I think of my parents and hearing my father cry. I think of my mother who can't cry but whose tears remain inside her heart. And I think of all the parents whose children are in Iraq and Afghanistan. Knowing that many more will hear the ringing of the bell if we do not demand an end to the catastrophe we've created for our soldiers, their families, and for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan makes me want to collapse in anguish. I feel powerless. And stupid. Because I thought my words could make a difference. People tell me to speak truth to power. I can speak truth, but I have no power. The powerful don't give a damn, while those who understand and feel the truth are powerless as the war wages on.

Occasionally, I receive e-mails from people who praise the president, telling me we haven't had an attack on our shores since 9/11. I respond that we haven't caught the person responsible for the events of that day. I remind them that the president made a link between that tragedy and Iraq and, then, whipped up patriotic fervor to convince Americans to support the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And, then, I go on to list the many attacks we have endured here at home-on our constitution, on the people of New Orleans, the impoverished, the environment, our liberties, and that assault we see daily on our intelligence as the lies continue to flow from the mouths of the neocons who are running and ruining our democracy.

And there is the heart-shattering assault that occurs, that shifting of the earth's plates, when the military messengers ring the doorbell.

Now, we're hearing the generals admit that Iraq may be "descending" into civil war. Months ago, it was "on the brink." This war based on lies was a civil war as soon as we invaded. And like all wars, it has brought tsunamis of pain and suffering, altering the hopes and dreams of families whose loved ones have been killed or injured. Coalition families and Iraqi families.

On Thursday, Donald Rumsfeld testified that he never painted a rosy picture in Iraq. His memory is deficient. Just before the invasion, he said: "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that." He also said in July of 2003, "I don't do quagmires."

And from Dick Cheney: "Weeks rather than months."

From Richard Perle: "I can't tell you how many days or weeks. But by historical standards, this will be a short war."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Now, Paula Zahn

Ann Coulter and Fred Phelps Announce Engagement

The Friendly Fire of Dick Cheney

Acuna Matata

Chris Matthews Plays Ball with Karen Hughes

Our Family's First Christmas With an Iraq Death At The Table

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments