Death Comes to Brook Park

Yesterday I said that Congress needs more people like Paul Hackett.

Today, not too far from the district Hackett was running in, we get dramatic evidence why:

The rash of violence in Iraq this week has taken an especially brutal toll on a Marine battalion based in this working-class town: 19 members from the unit were killed over two days.
Grief and anger shook the town, as families and residents anxiously awaited answers after learning that 14 Marine reservists were killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb — one of the heaviest blows suffered by a single unit in the war.
Two days earlier, six others — five from the same battalion, the 3rd Battalion — were killed while on sniper duty.

While most Americans, even after two-plus years of war, aren’t asked to sacrifice a jot to support it, this one town has to bear the tragedy of losing nearly twenty of its young men in just two days.

For a town of 21,000 people, that’s a hell of a loss.

“You never know who it could be. It could be your best friend. It could be your husband — it could be anyone from here,” Eleanor Matelski, 69, said as she angrily tore up a paper cup that had held her coffee.
“Tell Bush to get our soldiers out of there now before any more of our soldiers die,” she said.

Paul Hackett had the guts to get beyond the platitudes about “supporting our troops” to take on the hard questions about the mess we’re in over there; but no other leaders seem to have that kind of intestinal fortitude these days. Which is too bad, because the people of Brook Park deserve some answers. What are we pushing for in Iraq? What’s our plan for dealing with plummeting recruitment figures, beyond holding reservists like their kids over there even longer? Are we running this war, or is it running us?

We need leaders with enough honor to justify to the people of Brook Park why nineteen of their own needed to become new names on a wall yet to be built. In today’s Washington, unfortunately, honor is in short supply.