By The Andrew Meyer 

We hear it on the news almost everyday.

“At least 18 people were killed when two car bombs exploded in a busy market…”

It happens so frequently at this point that we have become desensitized to the message.

“Eleven more died when a minibus blew up in the Karrada district, while a suicide attack…”

Iraq is thousands of miles away from the United States. When a suicide bomber strikes in the middle of a crowded Baghdad street, leaving mayhem and carnage in his wake, America is largely unaffected. The only thing we hear in the States is the same tired story. Yeah, yeah, suicide bomber, 20-something dead, we’ve heard this one before. But in Baghdad, no one is “over” these attacks. Every new bombing is a deadly and frightening jolt, a senseless thunderbolt of destruction bringing the city to its knees and death to its inhabitants. Yet we in America are so far removed from Iraq, so jaded to the tales of violence in its streets, perhaps the only time we truly feel the human cost of the War in Iraq is when it hits close to home.

Shannon Timmann is a friend of mine. On January 7, 2006, her father was killed outside of Mosul, the biggest city in northern Iraq. He was in one of two Black Hawk helicopters that lost contact with base. “Human error in a storm,” they called it. They don’t know what happened. The helicopters just went down. They just crashed.

In exchange for the life of her husband, Shannon’s mom received this letter from the government:

“Dear Mrs. Timmann:

I extend my heartfelt condolences on the death of your husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am grateful for Robert’s service to our nation and to the Department of State. His dedication and bravery should serve as an example to us all.

Sincerely,

Condoleeza Rice.”

Nice words from our Secretary of State. But that is all they are. Words. Nothing can bring back Shannon’s father, nor the 3,566 other Americans who have died in Iraq to date.

I asked Shannon what she thought of the letter sent from our government. She said it was nice, but, “I mean ….but how many of those do they send a week? It’s just copy.”

Shannon had another letter, sent to her from the Iraqi chief of police. It was heartfelt, and genuinely saddened for the loss that Shannon and the world would feel from Bob’s death.

I watched a video that Bob Timmann filmed in Iraq before he died. He was a good man, and he believed that America was doing good work in Iraq. But what exactly are we accomplishing over there? America invaded Iraq on false pretenses, bogus intelligence that Saddam had WMDs and links to al-Qaeda. Read the rest of this entry »