FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In Harm’s Way

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

In harm’s way. This phrase originated with John Paul Jones in 1778 when, during the Revolutionary War, he wrote, ‘I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail FAST; for I intend to go in harm’s way.’

In harm’s way.

Today, we hear this said over and over, so much so that it almost has become a lulling.

George Bush speaks the phrase often. Here are a few examples:

During a 2003 visit to wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bush said, “We put a lot of fine troops into harm’s way to make this country more secure and the world more free and the world more peaceful.”

In 2004 when Bush was campaigning in Colorado with Gen. Tommy Franks at his side, he vilified John Kerry and John Edwards: “There were only four members of the United States Senate who voted to authorize the use of force and then voted against funding for our troops in harm’s way-two of whom are my opponent and his running mate.”

And this past week in a taped Christmas message to the armed forces, Bush thanked the families of our soldiers and said that he prays for the safe return of their loved ones in harm’s way.

In harm’s way.

Army Reservist James E. Dean had already been in harm’s way in Afghanistan, having served 18 months. When he learned that he would be deployed to Iraq, Dean became depressed. He barricaded himself in his father’s house on Christmas Day and threatened suicide. He was killed by a police officer after aiming a gun at another officer.

Neighbors said Dean was “a good boy.”

In harm’s way.

War is so much more than this phrase. It is straddling the edge of physical mutilation, psychological lesions, and death, always. From bullets to improvised explosive devices to not knowing who is friend or foe to being taken captive and tortured, our troops have the constant fear of never seeing their loved ones again or never seeing the baby born during their deployment. War is seeing your buddy’s face blown off. It is nightmares and flashbacks. It is forever. War is not being able to relate to those who haven’t lived through the soul-searing experience. How could any encounter, from the mundane to the extraordinary, have the same meaning it did before?

Over a million Americans have served in Iraq since Bush/Cheney’s illegal invasion and occupation of the country. Some have served three tours of grave danger in Iraq.

And if they return and sever their ties with the military, they cannot separate from the memories. In more than harm’s way, they will have as their companions the scars of war for the rest of their lives.

And so will the people of Iraq who survive the hell committed in my name and yours.

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 novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail