Eating the Apple

Eve did it. Adam did it. Now it's my turn to take a bite. Why not? Hey! It's delicious.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wasted or Sacrificed?

Two U.S. Senators have apologized recently for saying that the lives of three thousand American servicemen were 'wasted' in Iraq. That angered many people who thought that the term 'wasted' was demeaning to those who were killed. The Senators apologized saying that they should have used the word 'sacrificed'.

Let us examine the two words, 'wasted' and 'sacrificed'. Which of these terms is the better, the most appropriate word to use?

The ritual of sacrifice is so ancient that we do not know when or where the practice started. We do know that sacrifice was practiced throughout the ancient world. It is the first sacrament mentioned in the Bible. The author of Genesis testified to the antiquity of this tradition by ascribing it to the sons of Adam and Eve.

Sacrifice entails the deliberate and ritualistic killing of a living organism in order to appease the gods. Abel sacrificed animals. Cain attempted to sacrifice the fruit of the earth. Abraham nearly sacrificed his second son.

Is the term 'sacrifice' appropriate for the deaths in Iraq? I do condemn the cabal of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld for their ideological blindness, for their gross incompetance and mismanagement of this misbegotten war. Bush and Cheney deserve to be impeached for using bogus intelligence to sell the war and for putting Colin Powell up to that terrible speech at the United Nations.

As much as I despise George W. Bush, I am not about to accuse him of the deliberate and ritualistic killing of three thousand Americans in order to curry favor with his god. But I do accuse him of the responsibility for wasting America's reputation in the world, for wasting our moral authority at Abu Graib and Guantanamo, for wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, for wasting the Bill of Rights, for wasting the lives of three thousand dead Americans and the futures of twenty-five thousand badly wounded serviceman. And do not forget the wasting of the lives of coalition troops, of United Nations and NGO presonnel, and the uncounted number of Iraqi dead.

The Senators have nothing to apologize for. Better that Bush and Cheney apologize.