Friday, March 30, 2007
How much do think about the Iraq War? If you're like me, as little as possible. Yes, sometimes I catch a hideous news item - 77 dead in truck bombing, 36 corpses found by a substation - and my stomach turns and I get very angry, and I shake my head and feel a sense of awful bleakness. But then I quickly move on and think about something else. Because Iraq is just too depressing. It's like Ulster in the 70s. there's nothing I can do about it - so why ruin my day dwelling on it?
But very occasionally something happens which brings the terrible reality home. That happened to me yesterday morning. I was vainly Googling my name - as egocentric writers often do, to find reviews of my books, etc - and I discovered, from a PA news item, that I had just died in Baghdad.
Put it another way, a soldier with my name, 33 year old Sargeant First Class Sean Thomas of Lycoming County, north Pennsylvania, was killed two days ago in central Baghdad by a mortar attack on the Green Zone, supposedly the safe part of the city.
The more I read about National Guardsman Sean Thomas the stranger it got. His full name is Sean Michael Thomas. My full name is Michael Sean Thomas. He has a new baby, his first, a six month old daughter. I have a new baby, my first, a ten month old daughter. His grieving friends back in Hughesville PA describe him as something of a party animal, outgoing, extrovert - I guess some of those are my attributes too. I certainly like a party.
There is much that seperates me from this other Sean Thomas. He's American, I'm British. He's 33, I'm 43. He's a brave and hardworking soldier, who fought in Afghanistan, twice, before serving in Iraq, twice - and I'm just a comfy writer, who likes to Google his own name.
Most of all, I'm alive, and he's dead: leaving behind his mourning friends, his grieving wife, and a tiny baby who will grow up without a father.
Maybe I should sometimes think about the Iraq war just a little more.
Posted by sean at 10:08 am