‘Wash Post’ Op Ed: Father of Soldier Slain in Iraq Calls Death a ‘Waste’

By: E&P Staff

In a sure to be much-debated Op Ed column in Tuesday’s Washington Post, the father of a Marine killed in Iraq last August declares that this supreme sacrifice was a “waste.”

Paul E. Schroeder is identified as managing director of a trade development firm in Cleveland. His son, Lance Cpl. Edward “Augie” Schroeder II, was one of 14 Marines from Ohio killed in Haditha on August 3.

Schoeder reveals that his son was killed on his fifth mission to clear Haditha. “In our last conversation,” he explains, “Augie complained that the cost in lives to clear insurgents was ‘less and less worth it,’ because Marines have to keep coming back to clear the same places. Marine commanders in the field say the same thing. Without sufficient troops, they can’t hold the towns.”

Although many call his son a “hero,” Schroder writes, “Two painful questions remain for all of us. Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?”

He concludes: “Though it hurts, I believe that his death — and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq — was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator — a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation — a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

“But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

“This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush.”

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