Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nothing But A Heartbreaker

I was prepared today to put on my snarkiest suit of clothes and lay waste to the MLB work stoppage that has taken place in Kansas City, Missouri the past few days.  I was prepared today to harsh on the perpetually pathetic Royals by noting that given the crowds that the All-Star festivities drew at Kauffman Stadium, should MLB look to expand again, Kansas City would appear to be a good place to station an actual big-league franchise.  I was prepared to vent my spleen a bit in the direction of that obtuse asshat Tony LaRussa and his decision to bypass R.A. Dickey as the NL starter in last night's All-Star Game.  I was prepared to do all of that....

....and then I saw this.  Within the past seven days, two more Jerseyans who were members of the United States Armed Forces currently in the service of this country in Afghanistan were killed.  Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001 forty-six service members with ties to my beloved State of Concrete Gardens have died there.  That figure, when added to the one hundred and two service members from New Jersey who have died in Iraq since that war started in 2003, brings New Jersey's war dead to one hundred and forty-eight.

Spc. Jonathan Batista of Kinnelon was only twenty-two years old.  Batista was on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was an infantryman with A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.   He had been awarded several medals, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.  According to the Star-Ledger, he was scheduled to return to the United States next month. 

Staff Sgt. Raul Guerra of Union City was thirty-seven years old.  The Star Ledger reported that his death was not "combat-related" but other than noting that he died on a base in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan it provided no other details of what happened.  Sgt. Guerra was on his fifth tour of duty when he died.  Since 2001, he had served four separate tours in Afghanistan.  For good measure, he also served a fourteen month tour in Iraq.  Guerra was  assigned to the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, which is part of the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.  He is survived by his wife and one child. 

After reading the story of the deaths of Spc. Batista and Sgt. Guerra - and being saddened more than just a little - I read this.  If you have not done so yet, then you should.  And be certain when you read it to take the time to read this as well.  When you have taken the time to read both of those pieces, the stories they tell will likely so enrage you that you shall wonder no longer why I called an aubible today....

....or question the wisdom of Edwin Starr as it applies to places such as Afghanistan. 


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