Monday, June 26, 2006

It seems the new Iraqi government is considering granting amnesty to insurgents, even those who have killed American troops. The sniper who killed Thomas was probably dead within five minutes since Thomas's friends reacted as soon as they realized what had happened. One more building gone in Mosul. I would not be surprised to find that the number of people affected by this proposal is quite low but I really don't want to think of them as walking free.


I keep returning to the day that Thomas died. It was the week of the Fallujah offensive in November of 2004 but Thomas was Army, not a Marine, and he was in Mosul, a couple of hundred miles north of the major action. Unfortunately, the insurgency moved some of this action north. Policemen deserted their stations and chaos was beginning to overtake the city. Thomas was on a mission that day to restore calm to a particular neighborhood, a mission that was considered successful until he was shot. He was the only American casualty that day in Mosul, the first of four Marylanders though who would die in Iraq over the next four days. (As a state, we have had one week since then that was worse.)

I knew that there had been heavy fighting in Mosul that morning thanks to an NPR report at 1:00. I took a deep breath and thought "No one here yet, everything must be all right." The notification team arrived at 2:45.

As the day wore on, we kept thinking of people we had to tell before the press got hold of Thomas's name. At some point, I posted that he had been killed in combat on a forum of mostly Catholic, mostly women that I had been part of for several years. Their response was amazing and deeply comforting. Those who were local came the next day and sat with us for hours. My dear friend Deborah spent most of the afternoon and the evening and then much of the rest of the next week with us.


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